Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bannock Ghost Town, Montana

Bannock is smaller than California's best ghost town Bodie, but a huge plus is that they allow you to go into the buildings. It's also open 8am-9pm, so as long as you don't visit in late June, you should be able to catch a sunset there.

Be forewarned though, the mosquitos are ferocious!

This is a teepee that you can rent for $25/night. This composition jumped out at me as I spotted the setting crescent moon from an adjacent campsite at Bannock State Park.

California is talking about closing 80% of its state parks and raising entry fees to $15, to address politicians' mismanagement and poor planning. In contrast, I'm traveling in Montana this week, and they have no budget deficit, no parks are closing, and state parks are FREE to Montana Residents. Montana also has no sales tax, while many California residents are now paying over 10%. Montana also obviously doesn't have as ridiculous a gas tax as California: gasoline is about $2.59, vs. $2.98 in the Sacramento area (without the Bay Area's add-on) or so when I left California two weeks ago. California's property tax is also among the highest burden per household in the nation, even comparing the percentage of home value tax rate to other states, but the burden is especially high when you consider the sky-high (and now unrealistically high) California property values that the taxes are based on.

Politicians wonder why tax revenues are down, but California's representatives in Congress support importing cheap foreign labor under L-1 and H1-B visas. Since this continues during recessions, half of California's high tech workers were unable to return to the industry during the last recession. The U.S. Department of Labor publishes 6 unemployment figures, all of which under-report the true problem, and the highest one was 16.4% in May 2009 (line U-6 at the following link)!
The stock market is already doing worse than any point around the Great Depression.
It's Already Worse Than the Depression
Unemployment rates increased and home values declined for years after the stock market crash of 1929, and current unemployment is already way ahead of that history. We could still be in for a stunning economic decline over the next few years. Unfortunately the world economy essentially follows the U.S. economy, so there's nowhere to hide. Be careful out there!

I don't waste much time or energy on politics; the entire system far too dirty due to the bribes commonly referred to as "campaign contributions". However, the current depths we've sunk to and the path we're on are simply too much. I refuse to re-elect any incumbent politician next time around, state or federal. FIRE THEM ALL! To preserve what is left of our once-great country, it is imperitive that we completely remove our politicians' ability to pocket "campaign contributions" from special interests. Bribery is bribery, and should be made crystal clear as treason against the nation and against the American public (if it quacks like a duck...). Please contact your elected representative today and make your views on current affairs, and on our prospects for the future, crystal clear to them.