Tuesday News Chum

  • From the “Say That Again?” Department: Headline seen on CNN: “Bush arrives in Texas; Residents urged to leave”
  • From the “Nothing Up My Sleeve” Department: We all know that the budget compromise developed by the California Senate/Assembly supposedly does not raise taxes. But it is going to hit all of us in the pocketbook. According to the LA Times:

    Some businesses and individuals would have to pay their taxes sooner, and some would have to pay more than they owe and would get the extra back later. State taxes withheld at the workplace would jump 10% for everyone.

    Translation: Your paycheck will go down, because your withholding will go up. Yes, you’ll get the money eventually, but without any interest. Taxpayers who file quarterly would have to pay more of their taxes earlier in the year. The plan is loaded with accounting gimmicks, and does make large cuts to education.

  • From the “Coffee, Tea, or Me” Department: I probably should have posted this yesterday in honor of pradagirl’s birthday… the New York Times has a very interesting article on the life of a flight attendant. No, it’s no longer the swinger’s life of the 1960s movies. It’s a hard and unappreciated job. Good read.
  • From the “McCain/Gore” Department: You know how Al Gore invented the Internet (funny, I though it was Lenny Kleinrock). Well, John McCain is responsible for the Blackberry. It must be so, because CNN says it. Specifically, McCain senior domestic policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin recently held up his Blackberry, stating, “[John McCain] did this. Telecommunications of the United States, the premiere innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce Committee. So you’re looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create. And that’s what he did. He both regulated and de-regulated the industry.”
  • From the “And the Dominos continue to Fall” Department: The news from Wall Street just continues to get worse. Just last week there was the hope that the support of Freddie and Fannie would buoy things a bit. But come this week, we have Lehman Bros. going Chapter 11, Merrill Lynch becoming part of BofA (which certainly knows its bull), AIG is faltering and may collapse by the end of the day (and if it doesn’t, it won’t make the week). The Fed has kept rates steady (the market was hoping for a drop), T-bill rates are falling as everyone rushes to safety (which may have the upside of lowering 30 year mortgate rates). We’re likely to see more companies engulfed by the panic, irrespective of whether they actually deserve to day: WaMu, Wachovia, or even Downey. We’re seeing massive job losses: over 24K at HP, and who knows how many from Lehman Bros and AIG. But throughout this all, we’re being told that our money is safe, and its just a little glitch. McCain thinks the fundamentals of the economy remain strong, and thinks the problem is unbridled corruption and greed (notwithstanding that his parties official stance is that less regulation is good, and giving the large companies more money actually helps the little people). Obama thinks this is the most serious financial crisis since the great depression, and calls for more consumer protection and regulations (although I don’t see statements about how to handle the massive failures). Me? I’m just glad that the buildings in New York have sealed windows these days, or we would be scraping investment bankers off the street.