Monday, 19 January 2009

The Stimulus Package

For some odd reason, some folks woke up and decided to build up a web page and a information portal on the stimulus package.

The site? readthestimulus.org.

Curiously, they actually have started reading it, and comprehending it. Page 228 for example...some folks suddenly found that a billion dollars is set aside for community development. basically a block grant....of one billion dollars. No, its never going to be returned....unlike the bank loans that you kept seeing....this is purely a give-away.

On page 219, congress sat aside $800 million for fast rail service. Again, its not a loan....its a bulk money pot. The best part? You can actually ask for the money strictly to do surveys or studies, just for a year or two of engineer research. The $800 million has nothing to do with real fast rail service construction unless folks came and asked for it....but be realistic....for any city, you'd need $500 million minimum.

$50 million was reserved for youthbuild (a concept that the government readily admits that no results have ever been shown....either positive or negative). $750 million is reserved for job training for "emerging industry sectors" (it could mean energy, but it could also mean a new Lego block sector as well). Please note, none of these are loans like you thought with the banking sector....the vast amount is simply open-end grants that the money will be dumped no matter what.

At the end of the day....that $750 billion was simply a bucket of money to hand out....and little else. It made congress and the senate look good....but the money is basically gone and the majority will never be returned. Will the folks come back for more? Yes....that is the only thing that is guaranteed about this entire episode. A drunk always comes back for more.

Millions to Waste

I rarely chat on baseball...because I've come to dislike the business of baseball so much. Today, there is another example of how the business of baseball is draining the blood out of the system.

There was this outfielder for the Atlanta Braves...Andruw Jones, who won 10 Gold Gloves as the Braves’ center fielder before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2008 season. It was a two-year contract. As great as Jones was...there was this question mark about his ability to stay healthy and contribute. He should have been offered a six-year deal...at the peak of his career. He wasn't offered that kind of deal.

So he appeared last season at Dodgers training camp....severely overweight...he said thirty to forty pounds....I'm think eighty pounds would have been the appropriate guess. I'm thinking the guy weighed near 280 pounds. Jones had to undergo knee surgery in May, and hit a career-low .158 with three homers, 14 RBIs and 76 strikeouts in 209 at-bats. The Dodgers came up at the end of the season...wanting desperately to dump him...but no one would take trade bait.

So this past week, they released him and owe him $22.1 million. This is the lousy business of baseball. They come to hate or dislike a player so much...that they have to dump the guy, and he walks away with millions.

So this weekend....the old team...the Braves...are sitting there. They are asking themselves if the guy will lose fifty pounds over the winter and become a everyday player....and then, if they offered him anything....it probably won't be more than the $400,000 minimum that the league maintains as the base price for a player per year.

He keeps the $22 million, no matter what. Its Dodger money...lost money....and the fans there ought to fire the management...but they won't.

If I were the guy? I'd hire a personal trainer for two months....limit myself to 1500 calories a day....run five miles a day. I'd do this....because I could make millions playing baseball. Whether or not he's that smart.....I'd have personal doubts.

Baseball is screwed up. They have players by the dozens who are in this category. They bring them in on five-year deals. The guy barely delivers on the first two....screws up season three and four, and then has a decent fifth season. I could never own a team because of this way of business.