Ben Bernanke Blogging Is the Greatest Thing I've Seen All Day



Alright, so the day isn't over yet but when I saw Ben Bernanke has started blogging, I squealed with schoolgirl joy.

Even better that the esteemed former Chief Executive Moneyfucker over at the Fed decided to defend impossibly low interest rates for his debut entry. Oh, Ben, you make it so easy. Literally.

Why are interest rates so low? Will they remain low? What are the implications for the economy of low interest rates?

If you asked the person in the street, “Why are interest rates so low?”, he or she would likely answer that the Fed is keeping them low. That’s true only in a very narrow sense. The Fed does, of course, set the benchmark nominal short-term interest rate. The Fed’s policies are also the primary determinant of inflation and inflation expectations over the longer term, and inflation trends affect interest rates, as the figure above shows. But what matters most for the economy is the real, or inflation-adjusted, interest rate (the market, or nominal, interest rate minus the inflation rate). The real interest rate is most relevant for capital investment decisions, for example. The Fed’s ability to affect real rates of return, especially longer-term real rates, is transitory and limited. Except in the short run, real interest rates are determined by a wide range of economic factors, including prospects for economic growth—not by the Fed.

You see, children, the person in the street is an idiot. The person in the street probably has, at best, a remedial understanding of how money works. That's a feature, not a bug.

Bernanke goes on to explain, in the most complicated way possible, why the person in the street is an idiot and actually, the Fed isn't to blame for your grandma eating Alpo in her final years.

This sounds very textbook-y, but failure to understand this point has led to some confused critiques of Fed policy. When I was chairman, more than one legislator accused me and my colleagues on the Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee of “throwing seniors under the bus” (to use the words of one senator) by keeping interest rates low. The legislators were concerned about retirees living off their savings and able to obtain only very low rates of return on those savings. 
In Bernanke's defense, they've thrown more than just seniors under the bus. So, there's that.

Really, it's not his fault, you guys, it's the person in the street for not understanding how this works.

A similarly confused criticism often heard is that the Fed is somehow distorting financial markets and investment decisions by keeping interest rates “artificially low.” Contrary to what sometimes seems to be alleged, the Fed cannot somehow withdraw and leave interest rates to be determined by “the markets.” The Fed’s actions determine the money supply and thus short-term interest rates; it has no choice but to set the short-term interest rate somewhere.


Paul Krugman didn't waste any time busting out the Jergens to give Bernanke a nice handy over his blog coming out party:

It’s a very clear, well-argued post; regular readers know that I’ve been making essentially the same arguments for years. I’d just add two points.
 
First, the image of the little old lady living hand to mouth off the interest on her bank account is basically a fiction. Most retired Americans depend on Social Security for the majority of their income, and have very little in interest earnings; the decline in rates has primarily hurt a small minority of very well-off seniors.
You'll note Bernanke was the one who chose to out grandma eating Alpo. So fine, maybe she's a cliche example used for dramatic effect -- but what about the countless Americans who aren't cliche dramatic examples that have actually been deeply impacted by monetary policy? Are they not real either?

Looking forward to reading what else this chucklefucker has up his sleeve. Thank you, Brookings, for giving him a platform on which to spout off this stuff.

0 comments:

Janet Yellen Wants You to Take the New Normal or Else



Today, my arch nemesis and holy leader of the Federal Reserve System Janet Yellen spoke at her alma mater SF Fed, the very same place I picketed years back.

I could predict what she said before I even read her prepared remarks but let's look at it anyway, shall we?

As you know, last week the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) changed its forward guidance pertaining to the federal funds rate. With continued improvement in economic conditions, an increase in the target range for that rate may well be warranted later this year. Of course, the timing of the first increase in the federal funds rate and its subsequent path will be determined by the Committee in light of incoming data on labor market conditions, inflation, and other aspects of the current expansion.  

Short version: shit is still fucked. Don't worry about it, we got this.

In my remarks today I will discuss some factors that will likely guide our decisions as we adjust the stance of monetary policy over time. I will also discuss why most of my colleagues and I believe the return of the federal funds rate to a more normal level is likely to be gradual.

Short version: we're pussies and want to see inflation run hotter before we do anything. Obviously we know if the Fed pulls out at this point, the whole house of cards collapses upon itself. Stop trippin.

Before turning to these questions, however, let me first review where the economy is now and where it's likely headed--a necessary backdrop for understanding why, after more than six years of maintaining a near-zero federal funds rate and accumulating a large portfolio of longer-term securities, the Committee is now giving serious consideration to beginning to reduce later this year some of the extraordinary monetary policy accommodation currently in place.

Short version: you armchair critics are dipshits and don't even understand why we've been giving away free money for six fucking years.

Although the recovery of the labor market from the deep recession following the financial crisis was frustratingly slow for quite a long time, progress has been more rapid of late. The unemployment rate has fallen markedly over the past few years and now stands at 5.5 percent, down from 10 percent at its peak.

Read: she likes that those who have dropped out of the workforce due to frustration or lack of opportunity or suicide don't factor in to their magic numbers. LOL.

In assessing the actual strength of the labor market and the broader economy, we must bear in mind that these very welcome improvements have been achieved in the context of extraordinary monetary accommodation. While the overall level of real activity now appears to be much closer to its potential than it was a year or two ago, the economy in an "underlying" sense remains quite weak by historical standards, for the simple reason that the increases in hiring and output that have been achieved thus far have required exceptionally low levels of short- and longer-term interest rates, reflecting a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy. Interest rates have been, and remain, very low, and if underlying conditions had truly returned to normal, the economy should be booming.

And yet the economy isn't doing that, maybe because you people have artificially held it up for how long now? Oh right, six years. Duh, Janet, duh.

I couldn't get any further into her speech. I tried but fuck, I can only take so much of this shit.

1 comments:

Richmond Fed Finally Realized Their Fed Experience Slogan Was Kinda Pervy


I'm a little late to the party since Richmond Fed killed this catch phrase last year or so according to my source but I only noticed the other night as I was making my 6 mile workout loop through downtown Richmond the other day that the old banners were gone. I was kinda hurt they didn't offer me one, really.



When Richmond Fed first launched The Fed Experience, someone over there came up with a terrible catch phrase. Maybe I found it funny because I'm 12 going on 34, who let this fly?


Where you and the economy come together? Are you even kidding me? Who signed off on that?

Nowadays, the banners say stuff like "innovation" and "change" or something but I can't help but long for the days when the banner read "where you and the economy come together." The entire Federal Reserve System is so funny they don't even see it.

That's what I'm talking about. I liked the old slogan better.

Where you and the economy come together was so genius. Genius!

God bless the Richmond Fed media department trying to make that not a joke. I take coming together with my economy totally serious.









0 comments:

Certain Senators Think Pesky Student Loan Debt Is Getting in the Way of Home Debt, So Let's Just Discharge It



You know, if you can't afford your student loans, you probably can't afford a mortgage or kids either. According to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the solution is to allow you to discharge your private student loans in bankruptcy so you can get on with "buying" that house you can't afford. Only a politician would think that's a good idea.

Consumerist reports:

The Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2015 [PDF] would amend the current bankruptcy code, restoring the availability of bankruptcy relief for private student loans.

The act, which was introduced by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, and co-sponsored by senators Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Al Franken (MN), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Patty Murray (WA), Jack Reed (RI), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Ron Wyden (OR), Barbara Boxer (CA), Tim Kaine (VA), Brian Schatz (HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and Mazie Hirono (HI), aims to address the current student debt crisis, which has propelled student loan debt to more than $1.2 trillion.

Currently, student loan debt averages $29,000 for borrowers leaving school with a Bachelor’s degree.

“Too many Americans are carrying around mortgage-sized student loan debt that forces them to put off major life decisions like buying a home or starting a family,” Durbin says in a statement. “It’s not only young people facing this crisis, it is parents, siblings and even grandparents who co-signed private loans long ago and are still making payments decades later. It’s time for action. We can no longer sit by while this student debt bomb keeps ticking.”
This news comes at the same time President Obama is trying to make the federal student loan repayment process "easier" for borrowers.

The president's memorandum -- Student Aid Bill of Rights -- explains thusly:

College remains an excellent investment, and student loans enable many who could not otherwise do so to access further education. However, there is more work to do to help students repay their loans responsibly. In 2013, college graduates owed an average of $28,400 in Federal and private loans. More than one in eight Federal borrowers default on their loans within 3 years of leaving school. My Administration has already put in place significant protections that ensure borrowers with credit cards and mortgages are treated fairly. We can and should do much more to give students affordable ways to meet their responsibilities and repay their loans.
Now, I'm all for reasonable consumer protection. But at what point does it become the government's job to protect the consumer from his or herself?

If you default on your loan 3 years after leaving school, student loans are the least of your problems and no intervention on the part of your nanny government can help you.

Back to the Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2015, which likely won't even make it out of committee. Durbin has tried this before and it didn't work then so why would it work now? How is it fair for someone else to eat the cost of your education? Debt doesn't magically disappear with the swipe of a hand. Unlike vehicles that can be repossessed if the borrower doesn't make their payments, there's no recouping an asset in the case of student loan default.

Perhaps instead of trying to vaporize the debt, we should address why it costs so damn much to get a degree nowadays anyway. If student loan debt tops $1.2 trillion, that seems to be the bigger issue. Otherwise you're just encouraging people to take on more student loan debt than they can manage because who cares, it'll just disappear anyway later if you can't afford it. SOUND FAMILIAR?

I don't feel sorry for people like the Corinthian 15, who went to "colleges" advertised during Maury Show commercial breaks, FFS. You enrolled in that bullshit school. You applied for the loans. You are responsible. I bought my car from a shady dealer and have awful payments but guess what, I read the contract and knew what my final payoff would be for an $18,000 car. No one put a gun to my head and said YOU BETTER BUY THIS CAR OR ELSE.

Are there predatory loan outfits out there? Sure. But -- forgive me for this crazy idea -- maybe we should understand what we sign before we sign it instead of needing the government to get us out of it later.

21 comments:

Most Americans Don't Know Who the Fuck Janet Yellen Is Because Most Americans Are Idiots



You know, it's kind of funny that for all the years I hated on Ben Bernanke, my least favorite Fed president would take his place eventually. Some may think Janet Yellen is an intelligent dove but I think she's an inflationary piece of beef jerky with a pulse, and haven't been afraid to say as much over the years.

So why is it so few Americans know her name? Well, gee, maybe because they're idiots? Maybe because they don't have even the most remedial understanding of what goes on at the Fed?

WSJ reports:

Most Americans have not heard of Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published Monday.

Despite the political backlash in some quarters against the Fed since the financial crisis led the central bank to take extraordinary policy actions, most survey respondents hold either a neutral or positive view of the central bank itself.

The survey showed 70% of those polled don’t know or aren’t sure who Ms. Yellen is. In contrast, just 1% had never heard of former president George W. Bush.

Face it, we're surrounded by idiots. Idiots who breed, no less. Ima pray for us.

5 comments:

This Picture of the Richmond Fed Says It All



Check out this deliciousness I stumbled upon while on a 6 mile walk the other day.

When you see it...

0 comments:

Drunk Secret Service Bros Try to Party at the White House, Fail Spectacularly



After a night of boozy celebration, a pair of drunken Secret Service agents are in trouble for making total assclowns of themselves on Obama's lawn. How does something like that happen? Glad you asked.

The Washington Post reports:
The Obama administration is investigating allegations that two senior Secret Service agents, including a top member of the president’s protective detail, drove a government car into White House security barricades after drinking at a late-night party last week, an agency official said Wednesday.

Officers on duty who witnessed the March 4 incident wanted to arrest the agents and conduct sobriety tests, according to a current and a former government official familiar with the incident. But the officers were ordered by a supervisor on duty that night to let the agents go home, said these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive internal matter.
DC cops and presumably sober Secret Service officers were already busy in the area, which had been cordoned off due to a "suspicious package" after some loon was running around over there saying she had a bomb.

At about 10:30 that night, the drunk asses turned on their shiny overhead lights because, party before they drove through security tape and hit a barricade. WEEEEE!!!

WaPo says if your average Joe drives through a White House barrier, officers can release the hounds (literally, attack hounds) or point a loaded gun at the idiot who thought it would be a good idea to drive through a White House barrier. In this case, however, the drunk ass agents were simply sent home to sober up. In a cab, hopefully.



1 comments:

So, I'm Leaving Going Concern

Thursday, March 12, 2015 , , 5 Comments



I've been debating how best to handle this news and came to the conclusion it would be best to share this here. Here goes.

A little over 6 years ago, I started this humble little site. At the time, I was working in CPA review, helping future accountants get licensed. It just so happened that the economy was taking a big fat steaming dump at the same time, and hence this site was born.

Shortly after that, the folks at Breaking Media who run Above the Law, Dealbreaker, Fashionista and others thought an accounting site along those lines would be a good idea. So Going Concern was born. Its founding editor, my now colleague Caleb Newquist with whom I have happily shared the last 5+ years of our lives, was a fan of JDA and decided he wanted me on board as he assembled the GC team in those early days. A few years later, the site was sold to Sift Media, and is still there to this day.

It was August of 2009 when I wrote my very first post for that then-fledging website. I stayed on as a contributor and resident troll for years until late 2013, when I was brought on as Managing Editor.

It was a good run. GC does good work, if I may say so myself. No one else questions the status quo in accounting quite like Going Concern, and to that end, it's been great being a part of that.

Alas, tomorrow is my final day with the company. I'm not sure what happens from here or what will become of GC -- I suspect it will be, as it always has, a place for the profession to have candid conversations.

For all the crazy Big 4 farewell emails we shared over the years, I always thought when this day came I'd write a crazy farewell email myself, calling out my colleagues and stuffing in hashtags. So it's a little weird that I'm not going that direction.

Working for Going Concern for the last 5+ years, in whatever capacity, has been awesome. Most of all, I'll miss our loyal trolls. But things change and that means me moving on.

I'm not sure what's next. Consulting? Magazine work? I'm up for whatever.

Right now, I'm a free agent. The possibilities are endless. I'm going to miss the Fourth Estate of accounting I've come to know at Going Concern, but am pretty sure there's more to it than just trolling.

I plan to make the most of my last day as Managing Editor tomorrow. And then I'm off. Here's to bigger and better. Thank you to everyone who made GC what it was and made my time there so much fun. It hardly felt like work.

You can always find me on the Internet.

Love,
JDA











5 comments:

Glenn Beck Is Pretty Sure He Can Save Silicon Valley From the Pending Douchepocalypse With Libertarianism



Uh, since when is Glenn Beck a libertarian? If he's a libertarian, I'm a Democrat.

The Blaze writes:

Glenn Beck spoke at the Launch Festival in San Francisco this week, where he says he met the “dreamers and doers of tomorrow.” Discussing his experience on his radio program Friday, Beck said many of the libertarians in Silicon Valley are as “desperate” to meet with his audience as he was to meet with them.

“These guys are desperate to reach out to a group of people that believe in a better tomorrow, believe in the power of the individual, believe that the government is the problem, not the solution,” Beck said. “They instinctively know that our audience is the audience that lives there. And they know that they can win. They know that they can beat this system. But it’s going to be tough.”

I am fairly certain "these guys" know better than to come to St Beck for their libertarian needs if, in fact, they're coming to him at all.

The "dreamers and doers of tomorrow" would be wise to avoid hot air machines like Glenn Beck and think for themselves. You wanna dream? You wanna do? Do it without clowns like Beck, who exist solely to parrot talking points and pit marginalized, brainwashed idiots against marginalized, brainwashed idiots from the other team.

Beck, stop playing. You're not on our team. We all know it.





0 comments:

How You Like Me Now?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 4 Comments



Email and RSS subscribers will completely miss this (unless -- hint hint -- they head over here to the actual site) but you may have noticed a slight change around these parts today. No, you're not on drugs, I really did change the layout.

Honestly, I don't think I changed the layout here since at least 2009. 2009!

The honorable Mr Hope and Change himself President Barack Obama may not have even been in office the last time I changed the layout. Chew on that for a moment if you will.

So, I took the leap and slapped up a responsive layout. One that required the least amount of effort on my part. Because I'm just lazy enough to be considered efficient.

Everything looks good on my end except for a few little tweaks I have to make (unfortunately, I was forced to implement this on a live site so it may have looked dumb for an hour or two today), I'm pretty happy with it. I may move some things around but what you see now is pretty much what you get.

I haven't changed much from the previous layout and assuming you've been on the Internet before, you should be able to figure out how to navigate your way around. In fact, I think it's easier to do now than it was on that tired old layout.

Do let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? Couldn't care less?

4 comments:

Actually, an Apple Watch Will Cost a Lot More Than $1000



Today, VentureBeat had a piece of exceptional clickbait journalism called The real price of the Apple Watch is at least $1,000, which highlighted the "real" cost of that bargain basement $349 Apple Watch:
At $349, the entry-level Apple Watch sounds almost affordable.

Except that’s just a fraction of what you’ll actually need to spend. The Apple Watch is useless without a recent-model iPhone.

The cheapest you can get an iPhone 6 right now is $649 without a contract. That brings the total to $998, or almost $1,000.

Don’t forget you’ll need a carrier contract for that phone. While you might be able to make do with a $40 prepaid plan from the likes of T-Mobile, it’s more likely you’ll be spending $70 to $100 per month. Let’s be generous and assume you’re not willing to sign a two-year contract, so you’re only planning on a year of prepaid service at $40 a month: That brings your first-year total to $1,478.
Holy shit. Do you mean to tell me that -- gasp -- things that cost money need other things that cost money to work? I'm horrified by this information.

Really, VB should have stopped there as they already went too far but, alas, they didn't:
You’ll probably need a computer, too. It’s not mandatory, but it will make a lot of things easier, like backing up and syncing your phone’s data, photos, music, and so on. This is one area where you’re not locked in to Apple’s ecosystem — but if you want to connect to your iPhone, you won’t be able to do it with a cheap Chromebook. You’ll need a cheap Windows computer ($400 and up) or a MacBook or MacBook Air ($899 and up).
Even once-starving kids in Africa have laptops these days, who the fuck doesn't have a computer and since when does the cost of one factor into the price of anything that may require one?

This math really makes no sense. For a few reasons: first, if you want an Apple Watch, you probably already have a compatible iPhone. Second, if you have an iPhone, you probably already have a service plan that you have pretty much priced into your life between online banking and emailing and Instagramming photos of your dinner. So to say an Apple Watch would cost you $1,478 in the first year is, well, idiotic.

Why stop where VB did? The average cost of food per month per person in the United States is $302. So it will cost $3624 to keep yourself alive through the magic of food for the year you'll play with your Apple Watch. Let's not forget you need electricity to charge it, so throw your electric bill in there (mine is about $150 a month, averaged out so as not to factor in peak summer and winter cooling and heating bills). That's $1800, so we're up to:

$349 Apple Watch
$649 iPhone 6
$40 service plan x 12 months = $480
$3624 food to keep yourself alive
$1800 electricity to charge iPhone and Apple Watch
________________
$6902

OMG! The Apple Watch will cost almost $7000 and we haven't even factored in the gas to drive to the Apple Store, which of course means we have to price in car payments as well because, hey, why not right? Throwing in that rough calculation, an Apple Watch would cost me about $11,134! Who the hell has that kind of money??

If that's just a little too rich for your blood, do what I did. Buy a 6th generation iPod nano and a watch strap. BAM. Instant smart watch. Fancy!
A photo posted by Adrienne Gonzalez (@adriennenvy) on

Remember when you stopped wearing a watch? Just don't forget there's a reason why, and no amount of technology can change that.


0 comments:

The Only Thing Stupider Than an Etsy IPO Is Some of the Crap on Etsy



Let me preface this post by saying I've used Etsy. I've coveted squirrel riding a rattlesnake taxidermy (j/k vegan friends) and often borrowed DIY craft ideas from overpriced Etsy listings because I'm just a dork like that. I've tried -- without luck -- to sell paintings on Etsy. And boy do I miss Regretsy (RIP).

Now, let's talk about what's wrong with Etsy. It's well known that Etsy looks the other way when it comes to resellers who get away with selling "homemade" products that were likely made little baby hands in China. Sometimes, these resellers will at least try to make their product look unique or homemade by slapping a coat of paint or a little glitter on it. More often than not, though, they sell mass-produced garbage as is, without even bothering to pass it off as something they cobbled together after a trip to Michael's after being dumped by their boyfriend.

Yeah, that's not supposed to happen on Etsy. But it does. And Etsy knows it.

So fine, they're letting resellers slide. Big deal.

The thing you really need to know about Etsy since we're talking about an IPO here is that -- much like many of their .com or poorly-thought-out-total-bullshit startup counterparts -- the accounting is completely fucked up.

DealBook writes:

Still, in its decade of existence, Etsy has become a significant business. It reported $195.6 million in sales last year, up 56 percent from the previous year. And as of Dec. 31, it had 685 employees, most of whom are still based in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn.

That sounds great. But...

Like other Internet companies that aim to go public, Etsy presents a measure of earnings that differs from that required by generally accepted accounting principles. Etsy’s own metric, known as adjusted Ebitda, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, says that the company made $23 million last year. But it lost $15 million according to standard accounting principles.

Adjusted Ebitda was positive because in addition to excluding taxes, depreciation and amortization, it did not count the cost of paying employees in stock.
 
Imagine if we were able to apply EBITDA to our own personal checkbooks. Instead of being flat broke and needing to pay my rent, my landlord would actually owe me money because magic. Isn't accounting fantastic? Especially when it's pretty much completely made up and not at all useful except to part a fool and his money.

Is an Etsy IPO peak tech bubble? Not even. There are far more ridiculous IPOs to come before the bottom blows out of this bitch. And when it inevitably does, some of those living high on the hog now will be in the same San Francisco alley as the Pets.com mascot, blowing Daly City dads for a hit.

Oh, and since we're on the topic, here are some ridiculous Etsy items for your enjoyment (note: some of these are intentionally ridiculous while others are, well, too ridiculous to warrant existence on this planet).


While we're on the subject, I'm just going to leave this here.


This bizarre pregnancy test Koozie

Or maybe Mickey Mouse is more your pregnancy test speed

Birthday Candle tortoise cozy (OK, not even going to lie, this is actually awesome)
 
I have to confess, this Ink Sketch of Your Mom is incredible: "This is a 9"x12" ink sketch of your ugly mom. Put this up in your house and offend your friends when they think you're talking smack about their mom."

You get the point. Good luck with that IPO, Etsy, and smart on you to cash out while you can. I'm going to print out your prospectus so I can later bedazzle it and sell it as a handmade craft on your own site.

0 comments:

Farewell, Senator Barb



When I left San Francisco back in late 2010 for the wild unknown of the Washington DC suburbs, I never imagined that just a few months later I'd be on Capitol Hill sitting quietly in Maryland Senator Ben Cardin's office with a group of CPAs discussing the tax topics impacting CPAs and their clients that year. But that's exactly what happened and I have to say, it's been pretty awesome.

As we learned recently, the longest-serving female in Congress -- who I first met my first 6 months in Washington, her tiny feet swinging from the bottom of her too-tall chair in Senator Cardin's office -- announced she will be retiring and I have to say, although I don't necessarily agree with her on many issues, I'll miss her.

The Washington Post writes:

SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI of Maryland — an impassioned, imperious, effective and unapologetically authentic lawmaker who has held fast to her blue-collar roots through 38 years in Congress — announced Monday that she will retire next year after five terms in the Senate. She did so having achieved the goal she set for herself in 1987, when she ascended to the upper chamber from the House of Representatives, “to use the good mind, the good mouth, the good heart that God gave me.”

A grocer’s daughter from a Polish neighborhood of Baltimore, Ms. Mikulski was regarded as an almost cartoonish anomaly when she was elected to the Senate, the first Democratic woman to have done so in her own right, without benefit of a politically more famous husband or father. Brash, gruff, unpolished and, at 4 feet 11 inches, so short she often stood on a box when speaking at a lectern, she seemed the antithesis of the patrician lions of the Senate.
Let's talk about that "good mouth," shall we? I may get in trouble for this, but it deserves to be said as it reflects the spirit that burned bright in Maryland's historic lawmaker.

One year, I believe ahead of the most recent presidential campaign, Congress was gripped by the most partisan cockblocking we've seen in a long time. It went beyond simple crapping-all-over of the other side's proposed bills, it was like West Side Story or, worse, an episode of HBO's Oz with each side forming tight factions that were not to be disrespected.

We waited for both Senators Cardin and Mikulski to meet us that unseasonably warm spring day in Washington, and watched Senator Mikulski, live on the Senate floor, broadcasting back into her office through a small mounted TV tuned to C-SPAN. She was noticeably heated up, passionate, and -- frankly -- pissed off. Great, we were going to get the brunt of it when she returned to her office to hear my CPA companions tell her about tax reform and whatever else the CPAs were there to talk about that particular day.

When she returned from the floor, her cheeks were flushed and she was wound up tight. The times I met her before, she was jovial, animated, and happy to see the group. But now, she was aggravated, frustrated, and generally over it all.

"Republicans are assholes," she may have said in the hallway. Maybe she used a more polite word, as a lady does, but she went on to say how even speaking to someone across the aisle at that point would bring the ire of both sides. That's how things were that year, and probably why not much got done. It was like Mean Girls but with grown ass adults on Capitol Hill and Senator Barb had fucking had it.

Surely, I'm not the only one who may recall Senator Mikulski throwing epic shade across the aisle during that tumultuous, unproductive time:

For her part, Ms. Mikulski was unabashed. “I do get emotional,” she said last year, venting her wrath at Republicans who blocked legislation to rein in income disparity between men and women who do the same work. “I get angry, I get outraged, I get volcanic.”

I will fondly remember the kind, receptive, informed Senator Barb, who never came off as an empty suit -- perhaps because there wasn't an empty suit in all of Washington that could fit her small frame -- and could light up the room even when being subjected to tax talk from a bunch of CPAs. A warm, intelligent lawmaker, of the caliber we likely won't see in Washington again any time soon.

Though I left Maryland long ago for Virginia (which was a better fit, anyway, Don't Tread on Me license plates notwithstanding), I still return as often as I can and call that crazy blue state the closest thing I have to home. And it saddens me to think this spring may be my last chance to shake her hand and watch her swing her feet off the end of her chair. Assuming I'm invited back now that I've revealed her secret potty mouth, that is.

As Rep. Chris van Hollen (D-Md.) put it, “When Barbara Mikulski is with you, the Force is with you.”

Maryland, and Congress in general, needs that force. And it's sad to think what will happen without it.

0 comments:

Miss Me?

Monday, March 02, 2015 5 Comments



A little over 6 years after this obscure piece of financial trolling blew up like Megaton on a nasty villain run through of Fallout 3, it's become painfully obvious there's been nothing more than tumbleweeds blowing around here.

There's a good reason for that. The economy started looking better (at least on paper), and I got tied up in things like cat rescue, writing full-time for Going Concern, and trying this whole "being an adult thing" I tried to put off for most of my 20s. And all that has been fulfilling in a bizarre way.

But every now and then I'd be reminded of this piece of as-yet-not-foreclosed-upon Internet real estate and feel an ache in my heart for the carefree days of 2008 when I hadn't yet infiltrated the Fed and thought for sure the Mayans were right about that whole 2012 thing. To be honest, I miss it sometimes. Sure ripping on accountants is fun, but there's more to it.

So, I'm back. And I'm prepared to make a commitment to stick around this time.

Let's be real, the economy is still in the shitter. Someone still needs to be around to call that grey-haired piece of beef jerky Janet Yellen out on her nonsense. Someone needs to verbally bitch-slap TPTB for their asshattery, and I've always considered it an honor to be that person.

I'll try to keep the cats out of it. No promises on F-bombs, though.

Keep your eyes peeled for a redesign and a slight tweak in the direction on this rickety little ship but expect to see more of my pretty little mug around here in the weeks and months ahead. There's still work to do and F-bombs to drop, ya know.

See you on the Internets.

Love,
JDA

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