Category Archives: Economy

The Joy of Pivot Tables

Ah, January. When I have all the previous year’s personal finance data and can spend untold hours allowing my OCD nature to run wild through endless spreadsheets, pivot tables, pie charts and other instruments of analytical torture. For someone with an income as modest as mine, and as many children as I have, I’m actually […]

Transparency in action: your tax dollars into the abyss

Jim Scarantino of the New Mexico Watchdog reports that $6.4 billion in federal stimulus dollars has gone to non-existent congressional districts.  Yes, you read that right:  non-existent districts. Ed Pound at the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, blamed the apparent disbursement of your tax dollars into non-existent congressional districts on the recipients not knowing in […]

You’re all racists

Update:  NMI published this column today, September 27, 2009.  Original post (written September 21) below: You’re all racists — that was to have been the title of my New Mexico Independent column today.  But about an hour after I submitted it, I received an e-mail from my new editor (my previous editor, David Alire Garcia, […]

Read his lips

Again and again on the campaign trail, he repeated the same mantra.  The words might vary ever so slightly, but the message was the same: Let me say this again:  no family earning less than $250,000 will see any form of tax increase.  Period. Every time Old Man McCain would say that Obama was going […]

Do the math

That was my title for my NM Independent column that runs today (or ran yesterday, since I’m late posting the link and most of you won’t read this until Wednesday morning) but my editor changed it.  There are already 16 comments, but I haven’t read them yet as I just arrived at my friend’s house […]

Billions and billions…

I can still hear Carl Sagan’s voice saying it in those old documentaries. He was talking about stars, of course. Today, we think of dollars. Billions and billions of them, swelling our national debt, mortgaging the futures of your children and mine. I get almost physically sick when I dwell for too long on what […]

Building houses and bilking firemen in the City Different

My column in the New Mexico Independent today discusses the relationship between the government-financed building of “affordable housing” and the fiscal belt-tightening that has led the top brass of the Santa Fe Fire Department in its entirety to take early retirement. Our local city government cutting costs in a destructive way with its right hand, […]

Fiscal flotsam and jetsam

I’ve been trying to get a new blog post out for days, but it’s the wrong time of year for getting anything done — anything but taxes, that is. Every time I have a spare moment to sit down and write, my husband calls with another request for financial information. We go through this every […]

Bribes, bonuses and bills of attainder

My column at the New Mexico Independent this week concerns the AIG bonus scandal and the ensuing hypocrisy and unconstitutional legislation coming out of Congress. Already the comments decrying my “partisan ranting” have begun. So odd, because I don’t think I ranted in the least. Decide for yourself.

American Cicero

I don’t know for whom to feel sorrier: Bobby Jindal or me. Governor Jindal is considered one of the rising stars of the Republican Party, and all us evil rethugs had high hopes for his response to President Obama’s address before Congress. But alas, the American Cicero is a hard act to follow. Mr. Obama […]

United we spend

The historic election of Barack Obama was said to signal Hope and Change. And Unity. Let’s not forget Unity. Because Mr. Obama was going to put an end to politics as usual. We were all going to work together for the common good of the country. We weren’t going to be divisive anymore. We were […]

City life

In New Mexico, we have to drive everywhere.  We live miles from anyplace, but now we’re staying at my mother-in-law’s place on Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades, and we can walk everywhere:  grocery store, drugstore, bookstore, restaurants, library, park, church, anywhere we want to go.  Because we walk, I only buy the groceries we need for the day […]

Under my skin

Everybody’s going to have to give. Everybody’s going to have to have some skin in the game. So says President-elect Obama in his interview with George Stephanopoulos.  Fair enough, says I.  Because I’ve had my skin in the game for decades.  My husband and I have written a lot of five-figure checks to the IRS […]

Dumb and dumber

I can’t decide who’s dumber: the genius who came up with the idea of giving the car companies $40 billion when the Senate already voted not to give them $17 billion, or the governor of Illinois. Watching Rod Blagojevich act like everything’s fine, go on about his business governing the state, and refuse to resign […]

Can’t say no

Parents are writing letters to toy companies asking them to stop targeting ads at kids. According to the AP story (link here to the USA today version), The letter-writing initiative was launched by the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which says roughly 1,400 of its members and supporters have contacted 24 leading toy companies […]

Shop ’till he drops

I’ve heard some disgusting, appalling things on the news lately, but the story of shoppers trampling a man to death in their rush to get into a store and load up on cheap crap from China surpasses just about all of them. Man’s inhumanity to man I can understand, when the stakes are empires or […]


In both senses, literal and figurative. Literally, I’ve been down with a brutal stomach flu, hence no posts in the last few days. As luck would have it, my husband was out of town, so I was on my own with the kids, and pretty much let the three eldest run wild and trash the […]

The Three Bears Go to Washington

Once upon a time there was a lovely young co-ed called Goldilocks. She almost never read the newspaper because she couldn’t even get all the reading for her classes done, so when was she supposed to read the paper? She never watched TV news because what kind of loser watched the news when she could […]

Why can’t he explain it?

Why, oh why, can’t John McCain explain the economic facts of life in a way Joe the Voter can understand? A woman with whom I’ve been on an e-mail list for years, a woman who describes herself as somewhere between Democrat and Republican, who has been non-political all the 8 years I’ve known her, but […]


Thanks to all who have checked the site looking in vain for new posts.  This is the longest I’ve gone without posting since beginning.  Multi-tasking is something I’m usually good at, but this week, not so much.  Portia is sleeping through the night, God bless her, but I’m still unaccountably tired.  It’s been a difficult […]

Will work for money…or not

Naturally the man I hired to come do yardwork today didn’t show up. This happens quite often around here. I call a handyman or road grader or some other tradesman who placed an ad or put up a flyer and arrange to have him come do some work, then the guy doesn’t show. I ran […]

Cleaning house

In The Progress Paradox, Gregg Easterbrook details the ways in which people today are materially so much better off than their grandparents were, and yet are no happier, and in many cases far more dissatisfied with their lives. We really are better off than our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents, and yet at the same time […]