Today’s Top 10 news stories I’m digging from the Arizona Daily Star, the Arizona Republic and the USA Today:
1. Leap in U.S. debt hits taxpayers with 12% more red ink – USA Today Bottom line: The government took on $6.8 trillion in new obligations in 2008, pushing the total owed to a record $63.8 trillion.
Put on a coat before reading this story, ’cause it will chill you to the bone.
2. Many small businesses lose their credit - USA Today When credit lines are reduced — or outright severed in this case — businesses could have problems such as buying needed supplies or equipment. Nearly 60% of small-business owners said they’ve used a credit card as a financing tool in the last 12 months, according to a NSBA survey released this month.
One of the pillars of the economy is credit. Ironically, abuse of credit is what got us into this mess but it is its proper use that is going to get us out. These microloans to small businesses are vital to keeping the economy from continuing to fall and for the long slog out of the hole. If the federal stimulus had been used to prop up economic engines like this rather than being doled out to state and local governments, the climb out would have been faster and less painful.
3. It’s bad timing for Bank of America to be puttin’ up a Ritz – USA Today “It’s again about the whole idea of excess and not spending money wisely,” says Hebert of the i2i consulting firm. “Somebody in those mahogany-coated rooms should have said, ‘Come on guys.’ ”
I wish I was fabulously wealthy so I could be as clueless as bankers and Wall Street financiers. Isn’t ignorance supposed to be bliss?
4. Microsoft announces big Bing theory – USA Today Bing will lead to faster, better organized and more relevant results, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said. The service, which is available to a few test users now, will be widely released by Wednesday.
Will the maker of the most prevalent but least useful computer operating system finally “get” the Internet? I doubt it.
5. Publicity push to tout Brewer budget plan; Dem budget plan bridges gap between GOP, Brewer- Arizona Republic As the minority party at the Statehouse, the Democrats are trying to chart a middle course between the deep cuts of the Republicans’ budget plan for fiscal 2010 and the 1-cent-per-dollar sales-tax hike that they believe Gov. Jan Brewer is promoting.
Wednesday is June 3. There will be 27 days left in the fiscal year before the next fiscal year’s budget has to be passed. And we get a detailed budget from the governor and the Democrats only now? What the hell have they been doing the past four months? And with a month to go, the majority Republicans still don’t have a budget? We don’t pay these guys very much, but I’m beginning to think we pay them too much. PASS A BUDGET!
6. An old tradition for tough times: Money sharing – Arizona Republic The popular monetary practice based on rotating credit is deeply rooted in Mexican culture but little known to outsiders. In a cundina, participants – typically about 10 family members, friends, neighbors or colleagues – contribute a set amount of money each week. Those contributions are pooled, and each week, a different participant takes home the entire pot.
Interesting idea. Better trust your partners, though.
7. Homeowners fall behind at highest rate since ’72 – USA Today; Delinquent mortgages, foreclosures up in Ariz. – Arizona Republic Foreclosures were started on an additional 2.52 percent of Arizona mortgages, bringing to 5.56 percent the proportion of Arizona loans in foreclosure during the quarter. Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada accounted for 46 percent of all foreclosures started last quarter.
Whatever happened to TARP buying up all those “toxic assets” and the foreclosure stability plan (Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan)? I guess the Autoworker’s Union has to get paid off first by saving a mostly dead auto behemoth. Oh, that’s right, Michigan and Ohio are swing voter states and Arizona, California and Nevada are not.
8. ‘UFO’ spotted in Southeast Valley no longer unidentified – Arizona Republic “It was some kind of electronic device,” airport spokesman Brian Sexton said of the plastic object whose owner was identified as Space Data Corp., a Chandler firm whose products have logged 250,000 hours of flying time over the United States.
When will people finally get that there are no extraterrestrials? Once you learn the science behind the speed of light, the relationship between mass and energy (E=mc2) and the distances of the galaxy and the universe you quickly realize that if not impossible, interstellar travel is extremely impracticable.