Many banks continue to play dirty pool of sorts...I watched an expose last night on ABC (that you can watch HERE, though it may take a bit to load) where a 'disguised' high-level executive told his 'truth' about what really was going on in banks high up....the pressure execs were put under to try and force unneeded financial products on consumers because the more cards and accounts they had, the better the chance to make healthy fees off of them....how 'the top' purposefully put a lid on any efforts to ammend mortgages of homeowners in dire straits, heretofore long-term, excellent customers. If you don't have time to watch it now, I strongly urge you to watch it later. It's very unsettling.
Just as I know it's incorrect to lump all banks into one box, I also know that the box of dirty pool players is quite a full one. But that's not my seriously deep concern this morning...
Foreclosures. Bankrupticies. Business hiring mostly part-time positions, if that. State and local governments on the brink of financial collapse. All generate deeply troubling concerns. Recently, however, even amidst the little glimmers of economic hope in the news, comes word of the type of collapse that is, to me, one of the most dangerous...not so much for what it is on the surface, but what it means as the shock-wave and domino-effect takes hold and goes through the roots...through the years to come.
Watching our school systems crumble.
It's bad enough there were serious enough issues with the declining quality of public education over the past few decades, but to see the (increasing) reports of "Death by Education" is a knell we do not want to hear...yet we're held seemingly powerless to stop it.
Kansas City school systems are considering closing or consolidating 21 of their 67 schools next year. 20% of Michigan City's schools are on the chopping block. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is considering an 8-15% (some reports say an even 10%) across the board pay-cut for everyone; that or firing several hundred teachers, increasing class sizes and still possibly cutting pay (oh, and possibly creating 'combo' classes where K and 1 are put together, 2nd and 3rd, etc.). Worst case scenario is CMS will face an $83 million budget shortfall next year. And those are just three little examples I highlighted in a tempestuous sea that spans the country.
Oh, glad to see that Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, got a total compensation package of $17.9 million for 2009. Yeah, he took a big cut in salary and deferred on cash bonuses, but it is what it is: $18 million.
Also happened to dig up 2008 data for good ol' Goldman Sachs...one of THE ring-leaders of our world-affecting financial collapse paid out $4.82 BILLION in bonuses alone.
The 30-team NBA payroll total is close to $1,825,000,000. Highest is the L.A. Lakers at over $91 million; lowest is the Portland Trailblazers at just under $56 million. Average salary in 2007-2008 was just over $5.3 million.
IF you have a Master's Degree and teach for 23 years, your annual base pay in North Carolina will finally go a tad above the $50,0000 mark...that was before the proposed pay slashes ahead, of course.
Just felt like throwing that in there. Teachers have for decades gotten the short end of the pay and respect stick; not only have they gotten the short end of the stick, but the stick continues to be effectively ground down on a yearly basis. What we as a society are witnessing is a severe erosion at the very foundation and fabric of our nation. Innocent children are paying the price for the follies of adult fools, basically.
"What do you want to be when you grow up, Liza? A teacher?" Why would you, unless you were of such high moral calling that you would throw yourself into a profession that we're allowing to go to hell in a handbasket? Of course, you could say that about any number of professions these days....
Back when the horse-hockey hit the fan a couple of years ago, I remarked that some areas of society need to be shielded from demise, namely public safety (police/fire/emergency) and education/schools. When times get bad, some people get desperate, and you could argue an increased need for public safety and protection. But to screw with a child's eduction is set in motion a snowball headed for a hell of sorts, with ramifications that will go years into the future.
"The North Carolina Education Lottery" is one of the biggest farces to come through The Old North State government the past few years. Sounds great, doesn't it, that proceeds help out our education system? Smoke and mirrors, it is...it was to supplement existing funding, but our elected leaders saw fit to find ways to funnel some of the funding and proceeds for non-education programs and departments.
Allowing our schools to be shuttered, teachers fired, and kids crammed into classrooms like sardines, and then underfunding everything from supplies to support services is a bad, bad, bad thing. To say there are no other options is to say we haven't gotten tough enough in other areas.
Just like the ol' bumper sticker says: