Monday, December 31, 2007

"Just follow the stench of money to find the real culprits."

Follow the trail of money in 2008


The Palestine Herald
copyright 2007

PALESTINE — Well, it’s New Year’s Day, and it looks like we are going to be having a busy year ahead of us, at least in terms of news.

There are three things I would like to focus my attention on, two of them people are quite aware of, and the other I’m afraid very few actually know what is taking place.

The one thing that jumps out to everybody this year is that we have the opportunity to put a new stooge in the White House, whether it be a Democrat or a Republican.

One of the most interesting candidates I’ve seen on either side of the race has been Ron Paul.

The doctor from Sugar Land stands little to no chance of winning, but his stance on the issues is admirable. If something that goes to a vote in the House isn’t delineated in the Constitution then Ron Paul will not vote for it. He puts personal liberty over security — which is another rare thing these days — because he believes liberty is the basis of security.

Beyond that, we’ll likely know by Feb. 6 who the candidates for each party will be after the Super Tuesday primaries in several states.

Then we’ll get to look forward to 10 months of despicable politics as both sides slug it out.

Another issue we’ll hear a lot about over the coming weeks and months is the nation’s credit crisis.

I am no economist by any means and monetary policy is a mystery, but it seems we are traveling down a road from which we may not be able to return.

What got all of this started was the sub-prime lending crisis. Banks gave substantial amounts of loans to individuals with risky credit histories. Well, it came back to haunt them.

As the interest rates climbed many of the folks receiving those mortgages began to default. Billions were lost. Those woes have spread into the housing market.

The dreaded word you will hear on the television news casts is “recession.” Here’s a comment from AP Business Columnist Rachel Beck.

“The housing and mortgage crisis has escalated into a full-fledged credit crunch, which now threatens to throw the economy into a recession. People and places far removed from this mess are finding themselves caught in the fallout.”

People are spending money faster than they can make it — literally. The average household holds more than $10,000 in credit card debt.

All of this is a mess of our own making. We, as a nation are pushed to consume. We are told that if we don’t consume then we are not good Americans. Large investment firms and retailers do not look at the American public as producers or commodities — only as consumers. Here is a suggested headline from the Associated Press concerning Wall Street’s closing on Friday.

“Stocks temper gains after sharp drop in new home sales stirs concerns about consumers.”

There is not concern for the well being of people, only the bottom line. That’s fine if they want to be that way, but in the end this incessant push to consume more will bite us all in the tail.

The price of homes has fallen almost 10 percent or more in many markets. Overall the country has lost over six percent on home values. That translates into about a $1.2 trillion loss in assets for homeowners.

These are staggering numbers to say the least. What the future holds, only God knows, but I would suggest people start getting out from under these mountains of debt they are finding themselves in.

Now the third thing that nobody will hear about this year is the continued planning of the Trans Texas Corridors.

There was a moratorium passed but I doubt it will do little to stop what’s already begun. The biggest concern to those of us here in East Texas, or should be if anyone new about it, is the plans for TTC-69, which could possibly affect our neighbors in Cherokee and Houston counties.

There will be a series of town hall meetings across East Texas concerning TTC-69, which is currently in the process of completing an environmental assessment.

Thousands of acres of farm land, ranch land and timber would be stolen by the state for this NAFTA superhighway to go through.

Some officials have said TTC-69 would help East Texas producers get their products to more markets.

Folks, the Trans Texas Corridors are one-way streets for products to come into the U.S. Hardly anything is leaving these borders going South.

China has invested billions of dollars in port improvements in Western Mexico to get around tariffs and to be able to get their products to the American consumer which has been programmed to buy whatever marketers are trying to sell them.

It’s all about money, whether it’s presidential politics, consumer markets or unwanted highways through our backyards, just follow the stench of money to find the real culprits.

© 2007 The Palestine Herald:

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