The Credit Crisis

It is very disappointing that no one seems able to “translate” the economic issues so that the average person can understand (a) what is happening and (b) why the bailout/rescue plan is the required solution.  From President Bush on down, the inarticulation of those whom you see on the TV is shocking.  The media is not doing much better.  Much of this is probably an outgrowth of instant communication meaning that better answers will be forthcoming as time passes, the hysteria lessens and more discussion occurs.  The “spin” and “posturing” that accompanies any discussion of these issues is disappointing. 

The Right Way to Do a Bailout

Rather than give 700 billion to bailout bad loans, why don’t we put that money into the system by allowing homeowners to submit a form to the feds showing their name, the name of their lender and the amount owed on their non-defaulted home loan.  The feds would then issue a two party check (homeowner and lender) for each homeowner’s pro rata share of the 700 billion.  This gives added liquidity to those institutions that did it right (lender), rewards those who have not defaulted (homeowner) PLUS the reduction the mortgage will allow the homeowner to buy something and stimulate the economy.  I can’t image any homeowner voting against a Congressman or Senator who approved this package.  It gets the needed liquidity into the market but does so by rewarding those who took out and made prudent loans not by “bailing” out those who caused the problem!


This has to be a true politician’s nightmare.  A little more than a month before the voters go to the polls, federal politicians must actually take actions, make decisions and produce something with the whole country watching and involved.  Making promises on the campaign trail and shaking hands is one thing, but actually having to perform to retain one’s seat is unprecedented.  In a sense it’s like the “combine” where college players try out for the NFL.  You perform, you get drafted.  You don’t; you go home. 


We can’t expect Pat White, Noel Devine, Reed Williams and Scooter Berry to do it all alone.  Watching those guys for the rest of the year will be fun.  As to almost everyone else, maybe the best way to watch them is peeking between your fingers.

Metro Government

Why do you think so many businesses merge and combine to form a larger entity?  Because it works.  The larger company has more resources and, if properly managed, stands to make more profits.  The same is true of local government. 

If cities, towns and counties combine then the new entity has larger resources.  This means among other things that the new entity can (a) respond with more manpower in a disaster or an emergency, (b) contemplate and complete larger public projects that none of the combining entities could have “pulled off” alone and (c) coordinate growth, purchasing and have more expertise available to apply to any aspect of local government.  This all happens without raising an extra penny in taxes or fees.

Let’s face it.  Crime problems don’t stop at the city limits.  Stormwater and sewer issues follow neighborhoods not political boundaries.  The point is that anything which a small community can do (fairs, festivals, roads, police, emergency services, trash pick up) easily continues after combining but IN ADDITION THE COMBINED ENTITY CAN TAKE ACTIONS AND ADDRESS PROBLEMS ON A SCALE WHICH THE SMALL COMMUNITY CANNOT.

As Charleston, Kanawha County and other areas approach this problem I hope that citizens will keep an open mind.  Many people will oppose consolidation because it is easier to be against something than it is to be in favor of something.  Certainly, there are problems associated with any large entity be that government or business.  But if you fall ill and need treatment, would you rather be admitted to a large hospital with vast resources and far-reaching expertise or to a small hospital with fourteen beds and two doctors, one of whom is on vacation?

Mountaineers Suffer Only Loss of the Season

On a windy day at Dowdy-Ficklen Field in Greenville, the Mountaineers registered their only loss of the 2008 football season.  On their way to an 11-1 season capped off with a BCS Orange Bowl victory over Georgia and a number 6 national ranking, the Blue and Gold mailed it in before a record crowd and an ESPN television audience.  “Nothing seemed to work,” one of the Mountaineer coaches said after the game, “but what the heck, last year’s national champion had a loss as well.”  Most of the Mountaineer players were devastated by the loss but informed sources saw the game for what it was – stitches in a wound which will heal into stronger than ever scar tissue.  During the ensuing ten win stretch, the Mountaineers pushed the ECU loss further and further into the rear view mirror.  After the 52-10 Orange Bowl victory ESPN analyist Brock Allen had this to say about the ECU loss.  “That early loss looked bad but after that there was a certain fragrance in the air in the Mountain State – the refreshing smell of couches on fire.”


Charleston Regatta

On Sunday we went down to Regatta to hear Blues Traveler and see the fireworks.  The Boulevard was jammed, and it was a wonderful event.  It took me an hour to walk from the stage to the end of the festival area all the way down beside CASCI.  There was a “dividing line” near the old courthouse passed which beer was not allowed.  In that area there where rides and carnival type offerings for the young at heart.  It was a well laid out event.  The people I saw were enjoying themselves.  Haddad Park was packed for the fireworks which were as good as any I have seen.  The weather behaved.  All in all, a great event for the city and for all the folks in attendance.  No sternwheelers but the river was crowded with boats of all types.  Nicely done.