Thursday, October 4, 2012

Letter to Paul Ryan

You were supposed to be different. I remember reading about you a few years ago in a Time magazine article that touted an early edition of what is now your "Path to Propriety" plan. The main theme from the article and form most media coverage over the past few years has been that while a lot of people might not like some of your ideas at least you were willing to crunch the numbers and come up with something to tackle the national debt. You understood that nobody will balance the budget without coming up with a plan to either a) raise taxes/revenue b) cut spending on defense, health care and/or social security, since those three buckets alone account for 78% of the federal budget or c) both.

I appreciate your honesty even if I disagreed with some of your policy proposals. Turning Medicare into a voucher program is something that was a clear difference between you and President Obama's policies. I didn't understand how this would do anything more than shift health care costs from the government to individual people, but at least you were willing to address one of the sacred cows.

When you were selected as Mitt Romney's Vice Presidential candidate, I was told many times that this was something that was good for the country because we could have serious conversations now. I was optimistic. It was time for you to explain to the country your Atlas Shrugged influenced worldview and let the country vote on those issues. This is what I thought your talking points would be:
  • Medicare will be a voucher program starting in 2022.
  • The age of eligibility on Medicare will increase to the age of 67.
  • Your plan to decrease non-defense discretionary spending.
  • The specific deductions, exemptions and subsides you would remove from the current tax code.
  • The details of your tax code that seems to favor the wealthy.
  • Why reducing the deficit is critical for the country and why you will succeed when so many other politicians (especially Republican Presidents) have failed.
I haven't heard any of that. I've heard why Obama has failed the country and how you love America, but you act like a normal politician and not the "policy wonk" that I was expecting. You were supposed to talk details and give us the hard, honest truth about our budget. Instead now you talk nothing but generalities and say stuff like "I don't have the time, it would take me too long to go through all the math." Not to be like the ESPN announcers on Monday Night Football, but come on, man. This was your moment to be the wonk that we all wanted and needed. Explain the math. I have the time and am curious how you plan on reducing taxes without reducing revenue - what deductions are you getting rid of. Are you planning on getting rid of the mortgage interest tax deduction? Are you going to cap the amount of deductions you can make?

When I hear you speak it doesn't give me pride in the fact that we both have degrees from Miami University. I would like to think that a Miami alum wouldn't be judged to have had 44% of his statements be mostly false, false or pants on fire.  (If you were curious Obama comes in at 27% and Romney is at 43%). It was supposed to be different with you. You were supposed to elevate the debate, and maybe it is because my expectations were too high, but right now I've never been more disappointed in a VP candidate.

There is still time to change. There is a VP debate. You can be honest about your plan and vision for the country or you can lie like you did with your RNC speech. I will probably never agree with your policies, but I hope some day soon you will better represent Miami's motto "to accomplish rather than to be conspicuous." Right now you would rather attract attention than actually get anything accomplished.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

First month in a new home

I can say that almost everything about owning a home has kind of met expectations. Do I enjoy being part of a neighborhood? Yes. Do I struggle with basic home-owner tasks? Yes. Am I getting better? Slowly, but yes. It is nice to finally have a place to call our own here. When looking at the advantages of buying a home compared to rent one one thing we focused on was finally being able to put roots down in Columbus. We still miss Minneapolis, but things here should hopefully get better now that we have a place to entertain friends (like they say on all those HGTV shows) and meet neighbors.

The good and somewhat surprising thing about owning this home is the feeling that we have so much space. If you followed the home search you know that we fluctuated between very large (very expensive) homes and smaller, less expensive homes. At first we were under contract on the large/expensive home, but when that fell through we decided to pivot to the smaller type of homes. The great thing about all of this is that the smaller home doesn't feel small. It is amazing how much bigger this home is after going from a 2 bedroom duplex and then more recently one bedroom of borrowed space. We have ample room and don't feel constrained at all by the size of the place. Now that all might change in the future, but at the time things seem pretty good.

As for the basic home-owner tasks there are a few things that we've needed to work on. I'm trying to get better about 1) learning how to do stuff and 2) not becoming frustrated by failure to do stuff. The second one is especially important, since I've kind of been like Steve Jobs when faced with an obstacle. It doesn't really help anyone when I say stuff like "it should just work" because unlike Steve Jobs I don't have the power to actually get somebody to make it work. The good news is that M and I put together a bookcase on Saturday morning in pretty good time and even better spirits.
Anyway, below are the pictures of our place:

Outside (obviously)

A small family party

Our small dining room table and the liquor bar

Our bedroom

The picture of the cherry & the spoon and the rest of our living room

The man cave - it looks better now with a bookcase

Our freshly cut backyard

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hello again

I started this blog five years ago and up until last month had never missed a full month without some type of update. My apologies. I don't really have any good excuse. I have had plenty of things to write about and just haven't sat down and put my thoughts to the computer. Here are the things I missed and if you want one to be written about then just let me know:

-An open letter to fellow Miami alum Paul Ryan
-AT&T Park review
-Yankee Stadium review
-Comerica Park review
-Minneapolis trip recap
-Napa trip recap
-Pictures and thoughts on our home
-The wonderful feeling of being a Dolphins fan
-Duke 2012/2013 basketball preview

As you can see there are a lot of things that I've been meaning to write about. I will try to get to them soon.