Online update and more “who is to blame”

First the update on the Online Gambling Bill -HR2267.  We don’t exactly what is in the bill, or what the next step will be or what chances – dare we say odds? – of passage may have, but the Barney Frank bill did pass the committee today, by a 41-22 margin.  One of the amendments that had been tacked on to the bill an amendment that would prohibit online gambling operators who are currently offering American players a chance to gamble through their sites from receiving licensing in the United States. The intent of the bill and indeed all of Representative Frank’s efforts are two-fold; first to stop the implementation of the anti-Internet gambling legislation that has been approved and signed into law by former President Bush; and the second to license, control and tax Internet gambling activities. The road to legalization is going to be long and convoluted with a great deal of acrimonious debate and probably more than a few amendments, but we are now officially on that road.

And then to return to the topic of the economy and blame, a word about repairing your house – or the economy.  Yesterday while on a walk at lunch, I passed a couple of houses that were in the intiatial stages of remodeling and very much in need of repair, remodeling a in general cleaning up.  They were both on one piece of property with two other units that had all been built at the same time some forty years ago as rentals.  These two could not be rented at the moment and had little more than the outside walls and interior framing left from their original state.  I walk by at least once a week to see the progress because the original archecture is interesting and I want to see what the new owner makes of them.

As I was looking a woman walking on the opposite side of the street started to talk, saying with a heavy dose of sarcasm: “Beautiful aren’t they?”  She continued, what at times seemed almost an unsolicited documentary, by criticizing the developer and calling him a slum lord, then she moved on to criticizing the neighborhood and the way people landscaped and maintained their properties; she told me – actually she was just talking, not really to anyone in particular – that me she had bought a “new” house in the area at $400, 000 that was now worth $200,000; the she moved her attack to the city, and by implication its government and all of its citizens, in general. “I am not impressed with this place at all.”  In the end in a vague sort of way she placed the blame for her own financial problems, not on having bought a house at the top of the market, but on other people who bought property afterward at lower prices, om people who owned houses that they had not paid too much for, on the community as a whole, which of course included me, although she did not say that specifically.

I don’t know who exactly is to blame for the economy or her problems, nor do I really care; what I do care about is the future.  The blame – or credit – for any future prosperity of mine, yours, Atlantic City’s or the nation’s lies with all of us – we have to be planning carefully, making good decisions and not spending beyond our means if we want something better than we have today.  Some have greater challenges – such as Atlantic City – that others, but all of us have to take responsibility for our lives and circumstances and then work toward a healthier financial future.  Finding someone to blame is not finding a solution.  I only listened to the woman for a couple of minutes before I walked off, but it was very clear to me the only person responsible for her life was busily trying to put that responsibility on someone else. If her house is crumbling she had best get to work on it not her neighbors.

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July 2010
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