July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008
Welcome to the start of another week in my life. So how was your weekend? Still ordered on bed rest here by my doctor so it was a very low key and relaxing weekend for me even though Gary and I were both sick.

Speaking of being sick, my first duty of the day was to go for my doctor's appointment. I ended up not getting to sleep until about 6am this morning and woke up by alarm at 11am. Gary is home sick from work and went to the doctor's in the afternoon. So after getting my shower, I headed to AHF for my visit with Dr. Katella since I had the earlier appointment. I also took my camera with me because I knew there were some flowers on the way that I wanted in my photography portfolio. I will add the processed photos in an upcoming blog entry.

The big news today was a report released by our government about the national deficit. The next president will inherit a record budget deficit approaching $490 billion, according to a new Bush administration estimate. The official said the deficit was being driven to an all-time high by the sagging economy and the stimulus payments being made to 130 million households in an effort to keep the country from falling into a deep recession. A deficit approaching $490 billion would easily surpass the record deficit of $413 billion set in 2004. An administration official revealed the $490 billion figure Monday on condition of anonymity because the new estimate had not been formally released. Administration officials were scheduled to do that at a news conference later in the day. The new figure actually underestimates the deficit, since it leaves out about $80 billion in war costs. In a break from tradition and in violation of new mandates from Congress, the White House did not include its full estimate of war costs. (But then it's not like we are not used to Bush making up his own rules as he goes along without any regard to the rules every other president has had to follow!) White House press secretary Dana Perino had no comment on the $490 billion figure. But she told reporters that the White House and lawmakers acknowledged months ago that they were going to increase the deficit by approving a short term boost for the slumping economy. n fact, the White House had included cost estimates for an economic stimulus bill in its earlier projections, so the new figures represent a considerable deterioration in the government's fiscal health. The White House had predicted in February that next year's deficit at $407 billion, which means the increase in the projections since then would approach $80 billion or so. Figures for the 2008 budget year ending Sept. 30 may also set a record. The numbers represent about 3 percent of the size of the economy, which is the deficit measure seen as most relevant by economists. That's considerably smaller than the deficits of the 1980s and early 1990s, when Congress and earlier administrations cobbled together politically painful deficit-reduction packages.

Still, the new figures are so eye-popping in dollar terms that it may restrain the appetite of the next president to add to it with expensive spending programs or new tax cuts. In fact, pressure may build to allow some tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 to expire as scheduled at the end of 2010, with Congress also feeling pressure to curb spending growth. The deficit for 2007 totaled $161.5 billion, which represented the lowest amount of red ink since an imbalance of $159 billion in 2002. The 2002 performance marked the first budget deficit after four consecutive years of budget surpluses. That stretch of budget surpluses represented a period when the country's finances had been bolstered by a 10-year period of uninterrupted economic growth, the longest period of expansion in U.S. history. In his first year in office, helped considerably by projections of continuing surpluses, Bush drove through a 10-year, $1.35 trillion package of tax cuts. However, the country fell into a recession in March 2001 and government spending to fight the war on terrorism contributed to pushing the deficit to a record in dollar terms in 2004. The figures to be released later will paint a picture of the financial health of the government that President Bush's successor will inherit, as well as updated predictions of the health of the economy. So how many years will it takes up to recover from the Bush administration? Only time will tell.

Now many of you may not know who Clive Davis is. Clive Davis is the man behind some of the biggest names in the music world. His latest project is bringing back a star. Whitney Houston says it all in a new track making the rounds online. "I want you to love me like I never left," the legendary songbird trills in the aptly titled "Like I Never Left." MIA from the music scene since her private life went on a roller-coaster ride full of substance-abuse problems and a trainwreck marriage to Bobby Brown, Ms. Houston hasn't released a new tune in approximately forever—or at least since 2003's "One Wish (for Christmas)." While "Like I Never Left" is technically a love song featuring Akon, the lyrics couldn't be more perfect for her return to recording. In one verse from the three-minute, 39-second cut, Houston coos, "Yes, your girl is coming back." Whit is expected to release her new—and much anticipated—album this coming fall. So will she do it... can she do it? Only time will tell but at least she has Clive in her corner again.

Gary and I mainly rested until dinner time and then made some cheese tortellini with marinara sauce for dinner. It was good and I was actually able to finish my entire plate. We watched a couple of great programs on the travel channel dealing with trip ideas to Alaska and Greece. There were some excellent shots during the programs and some great ideas for future trips.

So that's about it for my day. I hope you had a great one also. Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab