Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is America's Past a Distant Fairy Tale?

Can we as a government continue with bravado knowing we just averted a calamity? What started as a drama ended up as a comedy. Nations watched night after night as the crescendo built until the final act and the curtain came down.

We have lost our credibility in the world as a nation that leads, as leaders from around the globe followed what transpired on the web and large screens across the oceans. They watched a game of politics. The posturing of a party who had two and a half years to come up with a proposed budget and ignored it, and a leader who never had a plan of his own nor offered one, ignoring the calendar as the days drew closer to needing a completed script. A leader who never once in two years said to the house and senate we need to put together a budget, it is time to do your homework. The homework turned into recess and Congress played as funds continued to be handed out like play money in a game of monopoly. A leader who wanted a budget passed and pleaded for an end to the bickering asking our overseer’s to work together. Just 72 hours before the final curtain, a leader who when finally presented with a bipartisan proposal said “no.”

Russia, China and European governments were making comments that not long ago would have been unheard of in conversation about the greatest country in the world.

We have an empire that was built off the sweat of the brows of its citizens. From the planting of the first seed on this soil this land was drenched in blood for the freedoms we enjoy today. A country our forefathers fought and died for in order to be free from the tyranny and taxation from where they came.

The game of playing politics has to stop and legislators must start thinking about the people who broke their backs to build this country. For years the promises of working hard, save your money, invest the rewards of you labor for a better life seem like a distant fairy tale. Lost jobs, lost homes and a stagnant economy seem to be more and more the new benchmark. Citizens are asked to sacrifice time and time again, and bit by bit, little by little they are giving back everything they worked for to satisfy a thirsty government that spends more than what they receive. Leaving the very people it is supposed to help in despair as they find their pockets drained of any loose change, people who can’t work harder even if they wanted to, because there just aren’t enough jobs to go around.

We can no longer afford to keep raising the deficit without making cuts because at some point in the not too distant future, there will be no further offers from anyone to carry our debt. We cannot continue to pay the interest without putting something toward the balance.

Unless our leaders realize that the time has come to make cuts, because we can no longer continue to spend borrowed funds without paying down the principal, there will come a time when our lenders will close the door on a country that once was the greatest nation of earth.

          ~ Joe Sinagra


Monday, August 8, 2011

Are we losing another family tradition?

Print newspaper sales began falling before the recession began, continuing a downward spiral during the downturn and have failed to rebound ever since.

A steep drop in advertising revenue in 2008 and 2009, especially classified advertising, have taken their toll on newspapers and newspaper chains. This, coupled with a decline in circulation, have taken a toll on the printed media we depend on for up-to-date news and local events.

The economy has taken away revenue in advertising fees that many newspapers depend on. Many have filed bankruptcy for reorganization purposes, cut back on days of publication, laid off personnel, merged with other news organizations and shrunken the size of the paper, discontinuing features and reducing the amount of pages. Other papers, large and small, teeter on the brink of closing shop, and it is predicted by 2015 that many more will go by the wayside.

Others have focused less on breaking news, leaving the Internet to pursue and present the up-to-date news.

Gannett Co. owns 82 newspapers, as well as television stations, reported second-quarter profits decreased by 22 percent as circulation and print advertising declined.

The Washington Post noted that only 13 percent of Americans, or about 39 million, now buy a daily print newspaper.

At least 120 newspapers in the U.S. have shut down since January 2008, taking with them more than 21,000 jobs .

On the good side, the readership for online newspapers continues to grow. Online newspapers attracted on an average of more than 73 million visitors each month. But on the bad side, that still leaves 21,000 lost jobs in the industry.

Newspapers continue to struggle to meet challenges posed by changing reader habits, a shifting advertising market, and an anemic economy.

I remember as a kid reading the Sunday comics after coming home from church as my dad read the news. As I grew older, I read the comics less and read the news more, discussing it around dinner with the family. Will the days of families discussing the day’s events from the local newspaper be another lost tradition?

Central Jersey’s largest newspaper, without much fanfare, has again cut back on staff and the coverage of events. As newspapers continue to dwindle, getting coverage for local events through online digital media becomes somewhat difficult.

For over 200 years, newspapers have been the conventional watchdog and have been an integral part of American democracy.

As the world of online media grows, should it be considered progress?

Or is it a sign that, as the printed word disappears along with the journalists, reporters and photographers, that after 200 years it’s not just the newspapers that are in decline?

 ~ Joe Sinagra
     18th District Congressional Candidate