Yesterday evening after work, I stopped over at my friend Ryan's house to see if he wanted to play Magic. Yes, I play Magic now. Suck it. Ryan was out for a walk with a neighbor of his, so I ended up eating his mother's delicious pork chops and rice and talking to his dad about the economy and the state of our public transit systems.
Jim has worked in the railroad industry for quite a few years and had quite a bit to say about how backwards things are, with companies turning profit off poorly-planned rail projects that exist simply to gain capital. Like a recent purchase of Acela-compliant train cars, designed with a tilt-mechanism and a whole slew of other special features built to run smoothly behind the Acela Express engines used by Amtrak that can clock in at over 150 mph. Only, the buyer had no Acela engines. It was just a regulation that Amtrak imposed on all of their purchases, regardless of the line. While that might be smart for a high-speed line from New York to Philadelphia who is planing on expanding in the near future, the other thousands of American rail lines from Nowheresville to Bumfucktown probably don't need to blow the extra coin on Acela-ready cars. Especially because a lot of the engines that have been turned out in the last few years can't even reach the minimum top speed of 120 mph due to horsepower issues, and those that could were subject to cracking disc breaks. Quite the investment.
But, as expected, the subject at hand expanded from Train Economics to just The Economy and Politics in General. Jim was of the opinion, despite his support of our new administration, that President Obama was not taking the steps he needed to prove to the rest of Washington, D.C. that he wasn't going to get kicked around. I argued that the new President had only been in office for a few months, and was still attempting to right the wrongs of the last eight years, but I couldn't help but agree with Jim on a certain level, especially when he called out the Washington Old-Heads that Obama had chosen for his Cabinet and other high-level positions. Where was, in fact, the Change that the bright, young community organizer from Chicago built his entire campaign on. Jim was scared that if he wasn't able to assert himself within these first few months, he would spend the next four to eight years being puppy-dogged through the legal process like Dick and Rummy did to Georgie-Porgie for the last eight.
Today, however, in an astounding feat of daring, our wonderfully liberal-sided Congress passed a bill at President Obama's back, taxing the shit out of all of the fat fucks who profited off of the stimulus rescue plan that was enacted in February. 90% of bonuses granted to high-level employees of banks and other institutions that received $5 billion or more of the bailout money is headed straight back to the government to be re-allocated for more useful things than new yachts and summer homes in Cabo San Lucas. The other 10% will be picked up by standard local and state taxation. That's right, do that math: one hundred fucking percent of the AIG and other similar bullshit bonuses are being paid the hell back to the government. Despite what 87 Republicans and six apparently heavily-drugged Democrats tried to say otherwise.
It might be a small step, considering the other millions of dollars no doubt lost in the cracks over the past few years. But along with the lifting of the Dover Photo Ban, these steps will begin to add up soon enough. And they're headed in the right direction.