A glance at the newspaper (you remember newspapers, don't you?) this morning conjured up not one, but TWO familiar themes for discussion...
After devoting his entire career to raising taxes, it seems Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has finally raised the white flag and chosen an alternative to reaching directly into your pocket... In the long-standing American political tradition of opposing an idea before supporting it, Leggett has reluctantly come out in favor of legalizing slot machines in Maryland! All I can say is - Jump in, Ike... the water is warm! Leggett is not breaking open a roll of quarters to play the machines just yet - he says slots are the lesser of two evils, with the other evil being tax increases... But in a county where lawmakers have never seen a new tax they didn't like, this is real progress!
Also in the paper - the return of an oldie but goodie to this blog... More proof that the new ballpark for the Washington Nationals is proving to be a loser for the DC government. Not only is the team holding up its rent payment by arguing that the stadium is not "essentially complete", but tax revenues for the park are well behind projections, because the city foolishly figured on more than 3 million people visiting the stadium in its first year. It looks like attendance is going to come up about 700, 000 bodies short. Look - the Nationals stink - but more importantly, there is no culture for baseball in this town, and it is going to take YEARS for the team to reach that mark... and it will only do THAT if the Nats are flirting with a playoff spot... something that will not be happening any time soon!
Finally, a follow up to my previous entry concerning my visit with a financial planner during this week of global economic confusion. All went well during my visit with Dan from Merrill Lynch, but he was clearly scrambling to keep up with his nervous customers. I am admittedly lousy with money management, but in this case, it turns out one of my blunders almost certainly saved me some money. The money from my most recent 401k has been sitting as cash in a Merrill Lynch account for the past couple of months because I had never gotten around to investing it. Dan tells me that is normally a bad idea (duh.) because the money should be invested so it can grow... However, as lousy as things have been lately, Dan says I definitely saved money by sitting on the sidelines! So let's hear it for me!