Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Holiday?

I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.
-- Jackie Mason (1934 - )

As we anticipate the possibility of snow, politicians who have been elected (or re-elected) are being sworn in. Most face the difficult task of doing more with less as New York City and New York State look for loose change to cover the growing financial shortfalls. California evidently was a harbinger of things to come and now falls somewhere between Greece, Latvia, Iceland and Dubai, in economic decline. Look for more of the same to spring upon us.
Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg clearly have their hands full and when the MTA looks to cut service for the elderly and disabled, you know the problem is beyond voter rage.

In the Hamptons, newly elected Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst (a cipher who is a skillful politician that has managed to defeat Linda Kabot) will need more than just cooperation from the Republicans to keep things moving. Perhaps the success of the Shinnecock Indians in having gained tribal recognition from the Federal government should now be considered a godsend in improving the economy. This was written about years ago in the SoHo Journal when “Skip” Heaney (former Supervisor) and the Republicans fought casinos in the Hamptons. Looks pretty interesting now as a source of incredible income, which could offset the cost of keeping police, teachers, and social programs intact – while lowering property taxes. It’s something to seriously reconsider.

If you follow the meanderings of Wall Street, it is difficult to tell what the pundits are predicting -- since all things point to a resurgence of inflation, more prolonged pain on Main Street, an increasing number of foreclosures and job losses, a commercial real estate collapse this year -- come with record bonuses at Goldman Sachs -- along with a 50% increase in the Dow Jones.
All things point to improvement that investment bank employees experience -- coinciding with more financial and emotional pain for the average citizen. It is clear that the unemployment numbers are likely to continue to rise as inflation cures some of our problems temporarily. The fact that the employment numbers are “better” is no solace for people who are out of work, out of money and entering foreclosure. There is the possibility of a double-dip recession in spite of the numerous bailouts (like unemployment insurance) that keep the sans-culottes docile – and, as we wait for the credit bubble to burst, leading us into the Depression predicted for 2012-2013 – as a result of all of the money we have been printing.

Read between the tealeaves and hope that the spring selling season brings us some temporary relief from the pain. But, don’t be fooled by the economic shell game that does not hide a fragile economy where, instead of allowing the “too big to fail” banks -- to fail -- we have simply propped up bankers who want their bonuses at our expense and at any cost.
Remember, there were several drops after 1929 and they were much more severe than Black Friday.

PS. Since there is now an openly gay Mayor of Houston, the challenge of Regina Calceterra ( for State Senate takes on a new meaning. It is likely that State Senator LaValle will now face a credible and serious challenge to his incumbency. While there is certainly controversy over Gay Marriage, there is little disagreement over the need for equality – in long-term relationships and in civil rights. For many, it boils down to the use of the word Marriage. And, that is eroding. Keep your eyes open on this challenge in a typically conservative county on Long Island.