Friday, February 20, 2009

Thank goodness for Sully.

It’s been quite a week. President Obama signed the stimulus package. Do we know if anyone voted for it in the House or Senate read the darn thing? Anyone? It seems like no one really knows what’s in it.

Price tag? At least $1 trillion, despite claims otherwise.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scored $1.5 billion for his home state of Nevada. He’s up for election next year. How much did your state get? Look for more neon the next time you visit ‘Vegas, if you can afford to go.

GM and Chrysler made yet another trip to Washington for more bailout money. There will now be a bailout oversight committee, a.k.a. task force, instead of a car czar. Washington loves committees. More people in charge of less.

As for GM and Chrysler, they’ll head back to Detroit with a bailout total of $39 billion but without a plan or incentives for new car buyers, just more bailout money. I still believe a $10,000 tax credit for new car buyers will have customers lining up, dealers selling cars and jobs being created as a result.

Want proof? There was a story on local radio about a man with a good credit record, willing to put a 30 percent down payment to buy a new car, and the bank turned down the loan. This helps the economy how?

There was some progress on housing. Low interest rates for qualified borrowers are a start. The President also announced a new plan to help troubled homeowners, which essentially rewards failure and irresponsibility. Your cost? $275 billion. Maybe the government should reward success and responsibility instead.

Why not eliminate capital gains taxes when a qualified buyer invests in a property, which creates jobs and is able to sell it for a profit? Heck, they might take the money and buy another property, fix it up and create even more jobs. But no, success is punished instead.

So, what’s done is done. But what exactly has been done? We won’t know for awhile. Whatever the outcome, it will be spun, and re-spun.

President Obama is “Takin’ it to the streets.” He’s showing up in places like Peoria and Denver and away from Washington. He’s making his pitch on Main Street as he did during the election. It worked once. It may work again. The new President says he’s a fan of Abe Lincoln. I hope he remembers that Lincoln said, “You can’t fool all the people all the time.”

But, America today is a country that likes instant gratification. “What have you done for me lately” has been replaced by “What are you doing for me right now?”


Good luck with that Mr. President.

Normally, when the news reaches a certain level of depression, I switch over to ESPN. There’s nothing like baseball and spring training to restore the spirits. But all the stories are about A-Roid. He’s sorry. He didn’t mean to do it. He’s going to make it up to us. I think he’s making it all up.

Cooperstown will soon have an asterisk wing. It will be a big one.

But, you know what? I remain optimistic about America. Our history has been full of wild pendulum swings. We’ve always been pretty good at grabbing it when it reaches the middle and holding it there for awhile. I think we’ll do it again.

Common sense will once again prevail. Hard work and honesty will be something to be admired and rewarded.

Sometimes it takes someone like Chesley B. Sullenberger III to set the standard and raise the bar. Sully, who in his own words was “Just doing my job, what I’m trained to do,” calmly set down his crippled airliner in the Hudson River. He and his crew saved all 155 passengers. He was the last crewmember off the plane, leaving only when he made sure everyone he was responsible for was safe. Just doing his job.

As long as America has men and women like Sully and his crew, we’re going to be ok.

I’m counting on it.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
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