My Head Is Exploding
I really wish I could restrain my interests to the likes of Charlie Sheen’s “meltdown“ and miraculous transformation into a “Torpedo of Truth“ or Jersey Shore star Snooki’s ability to command $32,000 to speak to students at Rutgers University or the fact that the basketball team from University of Conn. won the NCAA Division I Championship or the fact that the Bronx Zoo was missing a snake but unfortunately I have this bad habit of reading my newspapers from the front to the back.
We are very close to hitting the $4 per gallon cost of gasoline in our area! According to the A.A.A., the average price in New York City for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline today, Tuesday, April 5th, is $3.919. Yesterday it was $3.907....One week ago it was $3.831....One month ago it was $3.750....One year ago it was $2.975! So what does our government do? The feds went down to Brazil and presented them with a couple of billion dollars to fund increased and expanded drilling for oil while they continue to prohibit drilling on and off our own shores!
The price of gasoline aside, you should also know that although Con Edison just raised your rates by 4% as part of a multi-year 12% overall rate incease that was announced last year, the federal government just approved yet another 12% rate increase totalling $525 million dollars to be paid to those companies (not Con Ed) who actually generate the electrical power. Unfortunately, Con Edison will have no choice but to pass this cost along to us, the consumers!
Now this is the part that you are going to have a problem wrapping your head around. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved this hike because they believed the power generating companies were paying regular city property taxes on their plants. If the Feds had actually looked into this issue they would have easily found that these companies all receive major tax breaks! Con Ed, which does not generate its own power but only transmits it to their customers, were rightfully annoyed as they know they will bear the brunt of consumer complaints regarding this half billion dollar windfall to the power generating companies. If the increase goes through, we will be paying a big bucks to offset tax charges that the power companies are not even paying for in the first place!
Each year, at the request of the DEP, the N.Y.C. Water Board proposes an increase in their rates for water and sewer service and each year the city grants the increase. In 2007, your water bill went up 11%...In 2008, 14.5%....In 2009, 14%....In 2010, 12.9%! Want to place a bet as to whether or not our water rate and sewage rates will go up again this July? (Hint...this is a sucker’s bet!) Four years ago when our reservoirs were low, the Water Board told us that in order to force conservation of water, they had to raise their rates. So what happened? Consumption went down markedly and then the Water Board told us that because less water is being used, their revenues have suffered and they (wait for it!...) have to raise rates! The Water Board and the DEP have the best of both worlds while we, the consumers, are damned if we do and damned if we don’t!
The U.S. Treasury has released a final statement for the month of March that demonstrates that financial madness has gripped the federal government. During the month, according to the Treasury, the federal government grossed $194 billion in tax revenue and paid out $65.898 billion in tax refunds (including $62.011 to individuals and $3.887 to businesses) thus netting $128.179 billion in tax revenue for March. At the same time, the Treasury paid out a total of $1.1187 trillion. When the $65.898 billion in tax refunds is deducted from that, the Treasury paid a net of $1.0528 trillion in federal expenses for March. Basically, our federal government spent 8 times more than it took in during the month of March 2011. Try pulling something like that with your checking account and see where it gets you!
I almost forgot to mention that the Treasury has forecast that the nation’s $14.3 trillion statutory debt limit will be reached between April 15 and May 31. As of this past Friday, Treasury borrowing stood just $95 billion from the ceiling. We have two choices facing us - we can either continue spending like drunken sailors and simply raise the statutrory debt limit by act of Congress or our representatives can finally shed their diapers and put on their big peoples underwaer and start to dratsically reduce spending. Care to venture a guess which way this one will go? (Hint...again this is a sucker’s bet!)
Some nutty preacher in Florida decided (not too wisely) to exercise his right under the first amendment to burn a copy of the Muslim Q’uaran in protest of radical islam. Subsequently, several members of the Taliban responded by murdering several United Nation workers (beheading some of them) in Afgahnistan. How did the media here at home respond to this incident? All of their anger was vented at the Preacher for acting recklessly and if you were to believe everything you read, he was responsible for the vicious and brutal slayings of the United Nations workers. Of course we are a country which requires its warrior soldiers to wear white gloves when delivering a copy of the Q’uaran wrapped in a clean white towel to inmates at Guantanamo Bay. We are also a country which requred our miltary to burn copies of the Bible which had been sent to Afghanistan by a church in the United States back in 2008 out of fear of angering the country’s Muslim population.
The act of burning the flag of the United States of America also appears to be a favorite international (and, sadly, often national) past-time? Additionally, religious groups are protected and defended under the First Amendment when they attend the funeral of a fallen soldier with signs stating “I’m glad your son is dead!” But when a kooky fringe preacher burns a Q’uaran in Florida and thousands of miles away some religious fanatics from a failed Muslim state who are still living in the 7th Century go on a jihad and slaughter innocent civilians, the brunt of the responsibility is laid at the feet of the Preacher rather than “offend“ the sensibilities of the Muslim population as a whole. We truly are a nation engaged in cultural suicide.
I almost forgot to mention, does anyone out there know what the hell we are doing in Libya?
My Head is about to explode!
PETER J. MAHON