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05/20/2003 Archived Entry: "Back from Victoria Day Weekend"

I'm back blogging from the long Victoria Day Weekend -- a glut of yard-sailing, sunshine, good conversation, yard work and much relaxation. Today's blog will be a brief one due to the backlog created by my wretched excess of neglect.

The first of order of business is clear, however. I wish a speedy and thorough recovery to Justin Raimondo, the moving force behind one of my favorite sites antiwar.com, who was hospitalized briefly due to a mild heart attack. Take care of yourself, my friend. You are not replaceable.

I have been reporting for a few weeks on the steady rise of the Canadian dollar (and other currencies, especially the Euro) against the US dollar, a trend that continues. Inflation is catching up with the buck but I doubt if the printing presses in the Treasury Department will be allowed to cool off. There is an election brewing and the individual states are in desperate deficit straits. They are all scrambling to cover the shortfall, using different methods. Just a sampling -- one that avoids California and New York, the only two states who seem to get coverage of their budget woes...

Nevada. "After more than three months of discussions, the [Nevada] Senate Taxation Committee on Thursday approved increasing taxes by more than $730 million over the next two years. These taxes include assessing a 1 percent tax on most services, even haircuts and auto repairs ..."

Maryland -- renown for turning around its deficit bind of 1992 -- faces its first fiscal deficit in more than a decade, "leaving the state as much $65 million in the red when the new budget takes effect the next day." The next year's budget will probably "bring the state closer to a $1 billion shortfall."

Washington state. "Legislative negotiators have reached a deal to fill the state's $2.7 billion budget shortfall without substantially raising taxes. The $23 billion, two-year bipartisan plan would also reject proposals to expand state-sanctioned gambling, but would boost prices at state-run liquor stores." Other endeavors, such as nursing homes, will also be more heavily taxed.

Colorado State "Treasurer Mike Coffman blasted Colorado's fiscal policies Thursday as disasters, noting that lawmakers balanced the state's $13.4 billion budget this year through fee increases, accounting gimmicks and raids on trust funds."

The situation is no better on a city-by-city level. I have been looking through my inbox for the San Francisco Chronicle story describing the city's demand that traffic cops issue over 40,000 extra tickets before the end of May in order to cover a shortfall...but I can't find it. Another sign of being overwhelmed by accumulated work and emails!

Author's message: take good care of yourselves and your families for the next few years. Life is going to be increasingly expensive and monetary pressures are a formula not only for tax grabs in all their guises but also for an uncivil society. Crime may increase, frustrations abound, goodwill between (wo)men decrease. So...be frugal and self-sufficient, be careful and private.

My best to all,

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