SMOKE ‘EM IF YA’ GOT ‘EM

…and just remember, the more you smoke, the more money becomes available for children’s health care. A bill now signed into law provides for spending an additional $32.8 BILLION on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP.)

Where’s the money coming from to pay for it? Lawmakers generated the extra revenue by increasing the federal tobacco tax. The bill (now signed into law) boosts the federal excise tax on a pack of cigarettes to $1.01 a pack. That means an awful lot of smokers won‘t be able to afford the habit anymore and they’ll have to be replaced by new smokers.

 

In the original stimulus plan, on page 61, it included 75 MILLION dollars for smoking cessation programs. So, the one hand, we have the politicians introducing bills to try to get people to STOP smoking, while on the other hand, encouraging people to smoke MORE to pay for children’s health care, yet adding exorbitant taxes to make it more difficult.

On the one hand, we’re told “smoking and second hand smoke kills” while on the other, we’re encouraging people to smoke in order to pay the bills for children health care insurance. While smokers are encouraged to keep lighting up for the sake of the children, politicians write laws so lawyers can sue tobacco companies, making the price go up, which discourages people from smoking, and lessens the amount of revenue being generated.

 

For smokers that can still afford the habit, they find it increasingly difficult to find a place to light up. How do they expect people to run up all that lovely revenue if they can’t smoke?

So, for the time being, smoke ‘em if you can afford ‘em, and can find a safe AND legal place to light up. Just remember, the more you smoke, the more money will be generated FOR THE CHILDREN.

 

 

I’M SO CONFUSED!!

It really hasn’t been all that long ago when I was reading in the McAlvany Intelligence Report how our greed and consumerism was wrecking the economy. We weren’t saving enough, we were spending too much, we were carrying too much debt. Nobody listened, though. We just kept spending and therefore, we were all guilty. It would be all our fault if the economy collapsed.

Well….it has collapsed and it’s all because of our free-spending ways. Okay, we got the message, and we’ve stopped spending. We’re starting to save. Skip the dinners out…cancel the vacations, rent a movie instead of going TO the movies. Shop for groceries at Walmart, Food Maxx, and Save Mart….or even the ninety nine cent Grocery Mart.

But now, we’re being told, it’s our LACK of spending that caused the collapse of the economy. Since consumer spending makes up two thirds of this country’ economic engine, we shut off the engine. It’s all our fault! The only way to get the economy back on track is (here it comes) start spending again. Go back to our free-spending ways, break out the plastic and go for it.

The Wall Street Journal puts it this way: “In previous downturns, consumers mostly kept spending thanks in large part to easily available credit from banks and credit card companies. The Federal Reserve and Treasury Department are working together on massive programs to get the credit markets, corporate and consumer LENDING back on track.”

The terminology is UNCLOG the credit markets. Sounds to me like we’re being told that it’s our patriotic duty to go back to our free-spending ways in order to save the country. Yet, it was just a couple of years ago when we were told greedy consumerism was wrecking it. I’M SO CONFUSED!!

 

 

 

HEADS, I WIN –TAILS YOU LOSE!

In January, the average price per gallon was $2.01.…and here it is February, and the average price is $2.25, and yet the price-per-barrel is still averaging $40. Why the .25 cent increase in the short span of less than a month?

So, what’s with these gas prices? When a barrel of oil reached 150 bucks, prices at the pump exceeded four dollars a gallon. That’s when people stopped buying gas, and settled for the bus, carpooling, and bicycles. Four dollar a gallon gas was the tipping point. Demand for gasoline plummeted.

When people stopped buying it, the prices began a slow but steady decline…..and so did the price per barrel.

A barrel of oil now averages $40 dollars and the price of a gallon dipped to somewhere in the $1.90 range. But here in California, the price per gallon has jumped (very fast) for some strange reason. If $150 a barrel of oil caused gasoline prices to jump to historic highs, why hasn’t the drop in price per barrel shown an equal drop in a gallon o’ gas?

 

If high demand caused oil and gasoline prices to spike, how is it that LOW demand is causing gasoline prices to climb? Sounds to me like we’re being told “We’re raising the price of gasoline so that you’ll buy more of it. Keep buying more of it, and pretty soon, we’ll start lowering the price again…..or maybe not, because higher demand, demands higher prices.

A spokesman at AAA puts it this way: “Historically, gasoline prices follow the path of oil, but so far, that has not been the case in 2009. Refiners have cut back on the amount of gasoline being refined.” Okay….so they’ve cut back. Why? (Here it comes). They’ve cut back due to lack of demand, caused by the poor economy.

So, let me see if I’ve got this straight; HIGHER demand causes gas prices to rise. LOWER demand causes gas prices to rise. Reminds me of that ol’ sayin’ “ya’ can’t win, for losin’….or better yet, “heads, I win, tails you lose.”

WHAT? NO ‘CHUTE?

When a pilot bails out of his plane, he does so with a reasonable expectation that his ‘chute will open and that his life will be saved. The current Stimulus bailout plan now in Conference Committee comes with no such expectation that the ‘chute will open and the economy will be saved. Democrats will pull the ripcord only to discover, there is no ‘chute.

How can I say that when the stimulus bill carries a price tag in excess of 800 billion dollars? Easy! Look at it this way: we’ve been told that our economic dilemma started with the housing crisis. That is, people defaulting on mortgages that had ballooned way beyond their ability to pay and therefore lost their homes due to foreclosure. They didn’t lose their jobs –they just lost their homes.

Keep in mind, two thirds of this country’s economic engine is driven by (here it comes) consumer spending. As long as people continued spending, we were fine. Somewhere along the way, the consumer became wary and began cutting spending, and salting money away. When that happened, the economic engine began to sputter. The more it sputtered, the less they spent.

When people quit buying, retailers couldn’t make a profit. The result? Layoffs…and eventually store closures, a vicious cycle feeding upon itself. Just remember, (I’ll say it again) 2/3rds of this country’s economic engine is driven by consumer spending. So, how do we get consumers to start spending again?

Democrats say unfreeze the credit markets. But, who is going to apply for credit when they don’t have a job? What bank is going to lend to an applicant who has no job? What bank is going to lend to an applicant who may have a job today, but no job tomorrow? So, the stimulus bailout plan offers billions to banks to unclog the credit markets. Will it work? No! Why? 1st Community Bank president Mark Lund says “It’s difficult in this environment to find loans that we can underwrite.”

 

The solution is putting people back to work but the stimulus bailout plan doesn’t do that. It’s a far cry from Franklin Roosevelt’s stimulus plan that actually put people back to work during the depression. And yes, I was around then, and I do remember. The current Democrat stimulus bailout bill is so larded up with pork and social engineering, even calling it a “bailout” is a farce.

Unless and until the Democrats realize people with jobs will spend, buying cars, houses, boats and RV’s, go out to dinner, take vacations, etc, there will be no bailout that saves the economy. They’ll pull the ripcord, but no ‘chute will appear.

WE’RE BACK!

Tidbits from the B.S. Notebook has been on hiatus for several months but it will soon be back in operation.  The news events of the day simply dont allow me to sit by without venting on all the goings on.

So, I’m restarting this blog so I can “vent” and give you the opportunity to vent as well.  So, watch for it over the next few days, and we’ll be back in full operation.