Thursday, March 15, 2012

I know what California should do

California State Controller John Chiang published a summary of the state's finances (small PDF). February state revenues fell 22.6% compared to the same month in 2011.

I recommend that Governor Brown and the state legislature raise taxes to make up the difference. Government has already been cut to the bone. Greedy businesses can easily afford a raise, and it's about time for the rich people in California to pay their fair share.

It is good that Governor Brown is on it. He also has some pretty powerful support from those who realize the importance of making the rich pay their fair share.
That leaves one other potential tax increase vying for the November ballot. Attorney Molly Munger, the daughter of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/B)’s vice chairman, Charles Munger, is pressing for higher taxes on earnings of $17,346 or more, with rates stepped up on higher incomes.
Yes, those fatcats working at McDonald's need to start contributing more. People are getting desperate.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Washington Post and the Student Loan Crisis

The Washington Post finally got around to addressing the student loan bubble:
The amount of student borrowing skyrocketed from $100 billion in 2010 to $867 billion last year — or more than the $704 billion in outstanding U.S. credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Of the 37 million borrowers who have outstanding student loan balances as of third-quarter 2011, 14.4 percent have at least one past-due student loan account. Together, these balances come to $85 billion, or roughly 10 percent of the total outstanding student loan balance.
But there is one critical piece of information that the Washington Post left out of the article: Their ownership of Kaplan, Inc.
The Kaplan Higher Education unit had campuses where students defaulted on federal loans at rate of higher than 30 percent, more than three times the rate at private, nonprofit colleges, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education. The high default rate may even trigger the loss of student aid under federal rules that take effect in 2012. When students default on their debt taxpayers are stuck with the bill and the students have their credit destroyed. Kaplan's marketing campaign targets especially veterans, single mothers and low-income students. According to the U.S. News & World Report, only 33 percent of Kaplan students graduate within six years.
I read that Post article twice. Did I miss their reference to Kaplan?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dennis Kucinich Divorce Countdown

We all know that she married the soon-to-be ex-congressman because of his handsome, rugged looks and his brilliant mind.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's time to tear down the Astrodome

The county has been delaying and excusing the inevitable for almost a decade now. It's embarrassing. Worse, it's becoming a hazard. Whole chunks of the Astrodome are falling off now and the concrete entryways are too dangerous to walk on.

I understand the historical significance to the Astrodome, but it is not that old. It's just a shell made of concrete and steel, less than 50 years old. And like a lot of architecture from the 1960s it is extraordinarily ugly.

Just get the inevitable over with. Tear it down, make the crater into a nice plaza. Quit dragging out what we all know is coming.

Inflation

$9.75 for sausage on a stick at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo today. They can kiss my ass.
On the other hand there are new things to deep-fry besides Twinkies, bacon and ice cream. I don't know how they did it, but they did.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wall Street bonus cutbacks are hurting cute dogs!

Awww. Poor guy. How will he cope?
Scheiner said he spends about $500 a month to park one of his two Audis in a garage and at least $7,500 a year each for memberships at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester and a gun club in upstate New York. A labradoodle named Zelda and a rescued bichon frise, Duke, cost $17,000 a year, including food, health care, boarding and a daily dog-walker who charges $17 each per outing, he said.
(H/T Mish.)