04 March 2010

The Saying Rings True...
"If it ain't one damn thing, it's another"
was one of dad's favorite sayings. Now, I don't know WHO inventing the phrase, or how long ago it was first coined, but I will bet that it was during one of our less than stellar times, and most likely attributable to one of the "common folk"...kinda like you or I.
It's certainly not one of the most grammatically "correct" phrases to come down the pike, but it does speak volumes.
Case in point...If it's not Obama STILL acting like some spoiled brat by further attempting to shove this uber-flawed health care bill down everyone's throat, it's the fact that our educational system is in financial disarray.
Or, if it's not another tax against something someone ELSE deems "harmful" to us, it's some scam called GLOBAL WARMING, that is proving (with every passing day) that mankind is NOT harming the planet in the way some once believed.
How about this?
If it's not a true MECHANICAL problem with these Toyotas that's causing sudden acceleration, it might be a problem with the electronics controlling that function.
If it's not your city in financial trouble, it's the whole freaking nation itself.
Like dad said...if it's not one damn thing, it's another.
If it's not Chesley Sullenberger (Hero on the Hudson) taking his final flight yesterday from Florida to North Carolina (and arriving SEVENTEEN MINUTES AHEAD of schedule - a GOOD thing) as an airline captain, it's having CHILDREN giving takeoff orders in the tower at JFK, thinking that's "cute" (and a major violation of FAA regs - a BAD thing).
We've got global problems aplenty, but if you much prefer things to go awry a bit closer to home, how about more foreclosures, school closings, budget cutbacks by states, and even some states teetering on the brink of financial insolvency? You want something even MORE closer to home...let's try a town staring bankruptcy in the face, because the ONE industry that employed most of it's citizens up and moved to MEXICO. That's right...we're again seeing a revisiting of something once called a "ghost town", and it's occurring with more frequency across this vast nation.
Then, if we move still closer to home, we'll find neighborhoods in decline (cities like Detroit and Newark come to mind), and no way on earth to pay for any REAL gentrification, not that THAT would be a real solution either.
Fortunately for many of us, the personal home situation is better than what's happening in our cities, states and country.
But temper that with the fact that many families are but a few paychecks from the brink of financial ruin.
Here in Indiana, we're seeing our educational system needing to make some drastic cuts that will affect a LOT of families, both with children in the system, as well as those without.
Yet, as in so many cases across the country, school corporations, city departments, and even state agencies had come to depend on ever-increasing taxation as the alpha-omega of problem solving...
Indiana finally instituted a property tax "cap" to prevent taxes from rising too abruptly every year.
But with most any solution a government will implement, there is always a problem following close behind, like that ever-loyal puppy following you home from school.
When you restrict the amount of tax some agency can draw from to fund their programs and departments, you're cutting off the head of the viper, so to speak.
I blogged here ages ago about how OVER THIRTY different "entities" can levy property tax increases against the homeowners of Fort Wayne. With a tax cap, that severely hinders that ability.
Good for the homeowner, bad for the city department, school corporation or other entity involved.
Now, you have to remember that all these entities (such as our airport and public transit system) had come to RELY on this "cash cow", and looked forward to seeing OUR property taxes increase (which could ONLY be accomplished with assessments that were ALSO ever-increasing).
I had an inherent issue with that, and here's why...
Our house is in a blighted section of Fort Wayne...that's a given.We didn't ask for it to be there...the area just changed AROUND us.
The house was initially assessed around $40K...about right for the age and size of the property.
That's the price we paid to buy it from Wifey's parents.
But imagine our surprise when, after just a few years (around 1999-2001) our property was suddenly RE-assessed upwards to $76.2K!
Now, to ME, that means if we sell, we're going to make a damn nice PROFIT, right?
(not so fast)
The ASSESSED "value" (based on what other houses in the area are selling for) is nowhere CLOSE to the ACTUAL value (based on the price of houses selling in the area)...WTF???
That sounded like some sort of "double-speak" to me...how can you arrive at TWO varied prices for ONE house?
Seems that a "fair market" value-based price would be much more in tune with something we call REALITY.
As a result of the almost yearly reassessing, our TAXES went up...to almost DOUBLE what we once paid when we moved in.
And we had a "homestead" deduction (one time deal) to LOWER the taxes. But after more than FIVE years, the taxes were right back UP where they once were (a difference of about $500 bucks per year).
Now excuse me for being NAIVE here, but our neighborhood was NOT (nor is not) getting any BETTER, so, if anything, the value of OUR house HAS to be going somewhere OTHER THAN UP, kapeesh?
With an increase of RENTALS, rising crime, transience out the ass, boarded up and vacant houses popping up like weeds all around, how could the REAL MARKET VALUE go anywhere BUT down?
Well, eventually, with the advent of the "tax caps", we were reassessed (yet again, as were many other houses across the city) and lo, and behold, the taxes went DOWN. We're close to what the house USED to be worth over a decade ago, not that this is a good thing. Selling it would be easy enough, considering all the deadbeat landlords going Pavlovian over this place should they have a chance to get it, but WE would take a hit in the Hip-National Bank, as a result.
Other neighbors that moved away took some major losses when selling their houses.
It's the AREA that's the issue here, plain and simple.
Now, would it be that these were much better economic times all around, we might consider moving away to greener pastures (with less criminal-minded people), but the house is free and clear, so that extra money coming in is good, and aside from things we need to fix around here, it's (for right now) a better investment in living, than taking on a mortgage with a lot of money we don't have, spinning the roulette wheel of lending, hoping we don't "lose the wad" in the process when a lender goes chapter 11, because of bad business practices.
Better to stay put for now...
Better to make some kind of difference HERE.
When the timing is right...we'll know it.
That doesn't solve the financial woes of the city, or schools, or anyone else that came to DEPEND on all this (free) money.
But, like my Dad also used to say:
"You can''t have CHAMPAGNE taste with a BEER budget"...and he was right there, too.
Maybe, if our country, states and cities had learned early on to at least ATTEMPT to adopt some sort of FRUGALITY, all of them wouldn't be in the situation they now find themselves.
Sadly, whatever "woes" THEY acquire will inevitably be passed on in some fashion down the food chain to US, the taxpayer...it always seems to work out that way.
It's like THEY can't be responsible, so WE have to pay...and pay...and pay some more.
Well, it's like this...you got yourself into whatever mess you;re in...and only YOU can get yourself the hell out of it.
It works in families across America..rich OR poor.
Always has...always will.
Each of us must travel our OWN path in life. Sure, we can "walk a mile in your brother's shoes", but the greater journey lies with US.
We are the best custodians of what WE are permitted to have.
We don't live beyond our means.
We don't NOT worry about tomorrow, because it gets here sooner than we think. And we don't shirk whatever responsibility comes our way.
Call it more of that "pioneer spirit" our forefathers used to have.
We succeed or fail (and then get back up and try again anyway) because it's what Americans do.
And anything we set our minds to do...we can excel at.
Be well, make a difference today, and...
Stay safe out there, America.


Slamdunk said...

Yeah I heard the kids offering air traffic controllers and can't believe they let this go on for not one day but two. I am thinking the supervisor will be demoted if not fired for the incident.

Bob G. said...

I knew an ATC that was written up AND got a 3 day suspension JUST for having two aircraft within a MILE of each other (in free airspace, not in takeoff or landing patterns).

The FAA tends to take that kind of thing VERY seriously.

Hey, thanks for stopping by.

Ann T. said...

Dear Bob,
The air traffic control is perhaps the stupidest thing lately. The school thing seems to be happening all over. It's probably stupider than the stupidest, but harder to pin down.

(Okay, some grammar there)

How I honor you, and Slamdunk, and others I have learned that are fighting the good fight, each in their own way.

Ann T.

Bob G. said...

Seems for some odd reason stupidity is the only thing NOT in short supply in the world...LOL.

Now, if ONLY we could find a proper way to make some $$$ on it (the way the gov't does).

We ALL do what we do, whether we even know it or not.
And we do it because if we do not, who will?

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Jana said...

Here in GA, there is a lot going on with cuts in the educational system.

One thing is going on with the teaching hospital that I go to for my neurology and cancer care.

They are considering cuts to many of their programs, including their CANCER programs!

Other schools have classes such as theater or other arts.

The legislatures have to decide which to cut to save $300 million all together.

All I can think is: which is more important: cancer programs & other medical programs or theater & other art programs?

It annoys me that they have to THINK at all, to be quite honest.

I'm not saying that art programs aren't important, but which will help more people, save lives, etc?

From watching the news, some of the anesthesiologist students have invested $70k so far in their classes. If their programs are cut, they have to go to another school out of state.

Completely awful.


Bob G. said...

One would THINK it should be a lot easier process to determine WHAT programs are necessary, and which ones are not...

But, I'll bet that some level of politics enters into most any and all decisions we hear about these days.
And that's NOT always in the best interest of the people.

These "decisions-makers" have to start figuring out the differences between NEEDS and WANTS.

Awful, indeed.

Thanks for stopping by.