Archive for January, 2010


January 28, 2010

In what had to rank as one of the most anticipated US presidential state of the union addresses in recent times, coming after a string of delays, stumbles and defeats, President Obama took the podium this week to address the joint session of Congress, the American people and the world.

Just two months ago, one would have expected health care reform to lead the way, but the subject was buried deep into the back end of the speech….and while the President tried to appear to remain firm on that part of his agenda, one cannot help but interpret some degree of conciliatory acknowledgment on his part, that the sweeping changes and massive expenditures originally envisioned are on life support at the moment.

State of the Union addresses have always amused me because of the typical Washington audacity they portray, no matter who the President is. You have pauses written into the speeches so that the chamber can break into raucous or polite applause, depending upon the last statement, you have the vice-president and the speaker of the house grinning and fidgeting directly behind the president, knowing full well they are on camera to the world, but always seeming very uncomfortable about that…and you know that immediately after the speech, you’re going to get supporting and dissenting commentary from a whole cast of characters.

I received an email from a news media agency offering me 23 different potential show guests with expert opinions about the speech…2 days before the speech was delivered!

Democrats like Tom Harkin and Jay Rockefeller predictably applauded the President, saying he spoke directly to the American people and supported his call for an investment in education.

It was a state of the union address…of course he was speaking to the American people and name me one President in history that didn’t support investment in education.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch accused the president of being stone deaf to the message sent by angry voters and accused the President of giving full throated defense to policies the American people oppose.

I personally was disappointed when the President pulled his overly used and now seemingly tired rabbit out of a hat trick, in blaming the previous administration for his troubles and our economic and social woes…Mr. President, you have the job, you don’t have to campaign for it any longer, we get it, you think Bush did a very bad job as President and 14 months ago most of America agreed with you….and that is why you were giving the state of the union speech this week.

You have appointed car czars, banks czars, wall street czars, all kinds of czars…we no longer need a blame czar…Americans don’t need a place to put the blame, they need a place to go to work.

Lesson from Massachusetts

January 21, 2010

All the political eyes of a nation were on the state of Massachusetts this week as the special election was held to fill the Senate seat was vacated when Ted Kennedy passed away last August. This was a Senate seat held by the Democrats and the Kennedys for Decades…..

It was a lock, the Democrat candidate Martha Coakley held a 30 point lead in the polls over Scott Brown as late as Christmas…and then something happened…

The House and Senate had dragged out the health care reform bill past August, past two deadlines set by the President and still nothing had made it to his desk to sign.

We began to hear rumblings that compromises were being made, to get SOMETHING passed, ANYTHING passed…public option was in, public option was out….all of this was going on while the Democrats pushing this legislation held the Super majority in the Senate and could pass anything they wanted to…but yet, the haggling went on…..and all of a sudden, Martha Coakley’s 30 point lead was only 10.

Then the backroom negotiations came up with a plan to exempt unions and government employees from the Cadillac Tax, where a 40% tax would be levied on people whose employers provided them with excellent health care coverage. 40%!!!

The health care reform act was supposed to be paid for only by the rich…remember that promise? But just because you have a good health care policy at work…it does not make you rich…likely you’re middle class!

And then the lead was five….

Then the President unveiled a plan to levy upon banks who had received TARP money and had already paid it back, PLUS interest…a special tax of $90 billion!

$90 billion! And who do you think would end up paying that in higher fees and interest rates…that’s right…people who borrow money…and the rich don’t have to borrow a lot of money…but the middle class sure does.

And then, all of a sudden, the race in Massachusetts, the bluest of blue states, where a Republican hadn’t won a Senate Seat in over 30 years…all of a sudden the race was a dead heat.

The Democrats lost Massachusetts, lost their super majority in the Senate and likely lost any chance of getting health care legislation passed before the mid term elections this fall.

They’re pointing fingers all around on the TV talk shows, but they have no one to blame but themselves…and if they are not careful, this could be just the beginning!

Health Care Debate Keys in on Massachusetts

January 13, 2010
This was certainly an eventful week in politics and the way politics can and will affect your money.

Let’s start with health care reform. Remember health care reform? This was supposed to be a done deal by Thanksgiving, then it was supposed to be on the President’s Desk before Christmas, now the Super Bowl is going to likely come and go and we still won’t have a deal.

Now, there is talk of the Senate special election race in Massachusetts…the seat once held by Ted Kennedy. There is no more of a blue state in the country than Massachusetts and this race was supposed to be a walk for Democrat Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general, but all of a sudden, Republican challenger and state senator Scott Brown has made this race a dead heat in the final days before the vote.

To be sure, the Democrats are bringing in the heavy artillery, Bill Clinton will campaign, John Kerry is actively involved, the news talk shows are being overrun with warnings that if Scott Brown wins, health care reform in the US would be set back 15 years.

This is better reality TV than anything Hollywood can come up with!

But what I am seeing here is a sneak preview of what we are going to get all over the country this fall as the mid term elections will shape the balance of the Obama Administration and create a dramatic statement as to how things will move forward. Obama’s job approval ratings have been falling consistently and are now in negative territory, especially among the all-important independent voters.

Many political analysts see a loss in Massachusetts as disastrous for the Democrats.

But as important as what is going on in US politics right now, it is insignificant to what is happening in Haiti, following that devastating earthquake.

You’ve seen the pictures and the video, you know what those people are going through. Help when and where you can, through your church, your service club, the Red Cross…anywhere….anything…but please….. do help.

2009 Hangover or 2010 Optimism?

January 6, 2010

A friend of mine used a term in a Facebook post this week that I had not heard before and I think it really summed up, at least for me, the two kinds of people we will be encountering as we welcome the new year 2010.

The term was …2009 Hangover….. and he was wondering who would be grabbing twenty ten optimism by the horns vs. those who would succumb to allowing the difficult year of 2009 ……hang…over…like a cheap champagne headache on New Year’s Day.

The federal government had their chance last year to fix the mess and I think it is consensus across the board…with the exception of the most ardent drinkers of the kool-aid……. that the government failed.

What we received instead was rampant, uncontrolled spending, a now $12 trillion national debt, 10% unemployment, our creditors beginning to show their nervousness and a stubborn insistence to try to craft and pass tremendously unpopular and horrifically expensive health care legislation….with no idea how to pay for it.

The 2010 election season has just begun and already, Democrats watched a string of their House members announce retirements, one congressman defected to the GOP, Senators Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter all announcing they will not run for reelection…. in what is already proving to be an unfriendly atmosphere for incumbents, particularly for the party in charge.

These are not 2010 optimists, these are people running away from the 2009 hangover. The going got tough and they….well, they quit.

It is up to us, we the people. It’s up to us to embrace a new year, a new decade, with a steadfast determination. We will create new opportunities for ourselves and for our neighbors, we will risk everything and start new companies and new ventures, create new jobs and new opportunities. We’ve done it before, our parents and grandparents did it before.

As MoneyTV begins its 14th year on television, now seen in more than 60 countries all over the world, we will continue to bring you stories about exciting, emerging companies that represent the great entrepreneur spirit, the future and the optimism that goes with it.

A new year, a new decade, are you ready for the rebuild?