Archive for the 'Economy' Category
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The jewel of Daly City gets a shout-out on “The Daily Show” during a discussion of California’s catastrophic budget situation.
Could the humble tea bag slingshot the Republican Party into the 21st century?
This week’s latest news frenzy, beating out swashbuckling Somali pirates and even the swirling maelstrom surrounding Bo, the First Family’s hypoallergenic new ball of fur, came courtesy of the modern-day tea party tax protest.
It’s probably the most exciting thing to ever happen on April 15 since the Titanic sank back in 1912. And the Insider was grateful that there was something to distract us from the looming task at hand, namely, procrastinating on doing our taxes until the last minute Wednesday night.
In San Mateo, it was no different. A tea party to protest excessive government spending was held on El Camino Real, on a thin strip of sidewalk in front of the Hillsdale Shopping Center. By 2 p.m., the number of protestors — many in historical-era costumes — had swelled to around 250, turning the sidewalk into a tightly packed corridor of fiscal-responsibility loving, flag-waving tax protestors.
Demographically, the crowd tended toward the older end of the age spectrum. Many seemed new to the whole “protest” thing.
“This is my first time getting involved in activism,” said Sara Dumont, a 76-year-old from South San Francisco. “I’ve always been interested but this one really got me.”
Dumont said she had gotten notice of the protest by e-mail, and advance notice of the event was posted on message boards like the conservative website Freerepublic.com.
And while there has been constant debate over the whether or not the tea parties represent a true grassroots movement or are merely a cynical political device for the Republican party, the important thing to note is that using the tools of grassroots organizers, the events organizers were able to pull in an impressive number of attendees, many in their 60s and 70s, in a predominately Democratic district.
And while the protestors’ passion was apparent (And yes, we mean you, wiry guy in the baseball cap screaming “How do you guys all like that change now!” while maniacally laughing), the thing that struck us was the sense of relief and belonging that swept over the crowd.
That everyone in attendance was thrilled to find like-minded people was obvious. Complete strangers would excitedly jump into a conversation about the dubious origins of President Obama with a comment about the broken immigration system.
It was like witnessing the simultaneous appearance of a bunch of gophers who had cautiously popped their heads out of their holes, only to be overcome with surprise … at seeing other gophers! Or like the end of that Blind Melon video, the one with the girl in the bee costume.
Back near the Hillsdale Caltrain station, we came across one lone man in a nearby parking lot, pacing in front of a black SUV. When asked what he thought of the spectacle across the street, he replied matter-of-factly, “Hey man, it’s part of what this country does, gets pissed off and then tells everyone else about it.”
And even though we knew we would be cursing the federal government later that evening as we sweated over W-2s and 1099s and piles of receipts that had faded like the summer sun, at that moment we couldn’t help but think, “God bless America.”
Rep. Jackie Speier released a statement Monday afternoon regarding the lavish bonuses that American International Group gave out with government money. She went further than most of her colleagues in Congress, except maybe for the guy who called for AIG execs to commit seppuku, in demanding accountability, suggesting that the U.S. government may have to take the company apart if it doesn’t change its tune:
“AIG has shown, once again, that they are incapable of grasping the enormity of the financial mess which they helped create. Despite receiving more than $180 billion in taxpayer money, they are set to reward executives with $165 million in bonuses. Many of the executives are from the same ethically challenged Financial Products Division whose irresponsible practices drove the world economy off the cliff in the first place.
“I appreciate that President Obama has directed Treasury Secretary Geithner to use every legal means to stop the bonuses. If AIG insists that they are unable to change the existing contracts, perhaps it is time for us, as AIG’s largest shareholder, to break up AIG, sell off its profitable state-regulated insurance companies, fire the executives of the Financial Products Division, and put in place a leadership team that respects the American taxpayer.”
We’re a bit late on this, but here’s a clip of Rep. Jackie Speier (shown earlier this month during a tour of Greenbox Technology in San Bruno) on the Feb. 18 edition of “Larry King Live,” where she debated Ben Stein on the merits of President Obama’s plan to help American homeowners facing foreclosure.
Digression: King introduced Stein as a “noted economist,” among other things. But Stein is not an economist, let alone a noted one. He talks and writes about the economy, yes, so you could call him a noted “commentator,” but that’s about it.
In order to be an economist, you should probably have a postgraduate degree. Stein is certainly a very well-educated man, but majoring in economics in college does not make you an economist any more than majoring in philosophy makes you a philosopher.
Speier, who is mourning the recent death of her mother, Nancy, also made some news last week by opposing the omnibus spending bill on the basis of the earmarks it contained. She has also proposed an amendment to a housing bill that would make it easier for struggling homeowners to refinance their loans.