Archive for ‘Economics’

December 6, 2010

The Great Con Job

If you’re wondering why there is pessimism and suffering in America you only need to look at what the Republican Administrations had perpetrated from 2000 to 2008. Most citizens have lost their faith in the systems provided to us
by our forefathers which guaranteed every American an opportunity to succeed.

Our Electoral Process was manipulated in the 2000 elections. Our presidency was decided by the Supreme Court. This was preceded by a purposeful deregulation of the financial services industry in 1999 with the Gramm, Leach, Bliley Act all of these sponsors were Republican and President Clinton could not veto the bill because the Republicans had a two thirds margin to override his veto.  In 2001 the World Trade Center attack shook America at its foundation which went unrecognized by the Republican Administration at the time to change our priorities as a nation. The propaganda machine of government utilizing our legislators who were controlled by corporate influence provided the media with constant erroneous information to accomplish one objective. Create a diversion in the day to day lives of all Americans in order to transfer the wealth of a nation to the top two percent wealth holders in the United States. While all Americans specifically Joe Middle Class were focused on the nine eleven tragedy and two wars fabricated by the Bush Administration Wall Street and Corporate America were reaping the rewards of the great con.

A picture is worth a thousand words:

Beginning in 1995 until 2007 republicans held a majority in both houses of congress except for the Senate in 107th congress
2001-2003 when it was split 50/50.  Reference:   http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0774721.html

Make no mistake when history is written the George W. Bush Dick Cheney Presidency will go down in history as the worst or at least one of the worst presidencies in the history of the United States.

It is now two years later into the Obama Administration with Republicans attributing our economic disaster to President Obama and the democratic controlled congress. If you listen intelligently to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner you wonder how they were elected and whom do they represent. All of their rhetoric borders on lies and nonsense. Their logic defies
rationality.  An example of this creative logic is the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans in the United States.
Their argument is that a continued deficit creating tax cuts to the top 2% will create jobs in a recessionary economy. These tax cuts which originally contributed to the deficits and the recession will stimulate jobs growth. The Bush era tax
cuts created 1 million jobs until the election of Obama six months into Obama’s term June 2009 all of those jobs were lost. In affect the Bush era tax cuts lost jobs.

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December 3, 2010

Pay back and Tax cuts for the top 2%

What we are experiencing now in Washington is a real example of pay back. The 2010 midterms racked up total campaign spending of 4 billion dollars exceeding the 2006 midterms which raised 2.85 billion dollars. These contributions
represent money given by individuals, small businesses and corporations, to candidates directly or through the DNC, RNC and PAC.

How does payback work you may ask? A prime example is what Republicans are fighting for today in Washington.
Whether it be the Senate or House they are fighting to give the top 2% of our economy seven hundred billion dollars ($700,000,000,000.00) in tax cuts for their investment in their campaigns totaling two billion dollars (2,000,000,000) . If you calculate the return it is obscene at a whopping 35,000% return. To put this in perspective if you invest 10,000 on January 1, 2010 at 35,000% you would get back 3,500,000.00 dollars on December 31st. How many Americans are getting that return on their CD?

All Americans must start to realize that the middle class whether you are Lower, Middle or Upper regardless of party affiliation have been prayed upon by the wealthy and influential. Through Wall Street, Investment Banking, and Insurance Companies and politically controlled Republican representatives’ the wealth of middle class has been stolen by the top 2%. How have they accomplished this? Deregulation of the Financial Services Industry in 1999 was the start. It began in 2000 with the Supreme Court election of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The Tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, two wars in 2001 and
2003, all of which were not paid for. The subsequent great depression caused by these irresponsible republican policies and the bail out by the United Sates Government protecting the wealth of our nation of which the cost still undetermined will be added to the debt. The massive debt built because of these irresponsible policies 1 Trillion dollars and growing and the transferring of the wealth to the top 2% is now being asked to be paid for by the middle class through reducing entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Benefits freezing pay for  Government Workers and the denying the Unemployed. Basically not only have they ripped us off but now they want us to pay again for that which they stole from us.

The argument for tax cuts being presented by the Republicans is that the top 2% represent small businesses and job creators. Here are some facts 98% of small businesses earns less than $250,000 of taxable income. Most small businesses average return on gross revenues after expenses is 10%  a year. A small business would have to gross 2.5 million dollars to be taxed at an adjusted taxable income over $250,000.00. How many of the mom and pop shops gross 2.5 million dollars? Please read the 2009 SBA report. Effective Federal Income Tax Rates Faced By Small US Small

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Bottom line Joe the Plummer is not the Small business the Republicans are representing. The top 2% do not represent small businesses or job creators. It’s pay back time by Republican and their integrity is questioned and rightfully so.

November 11, 2010

The Lame Duck Is Miserable

 

The dust has settled on a devastating defeat on November 2, 2010. The anti acids are soothing but the reality still plagues us mentally. Billions were spent on campaigns for change from either party yet the rhetoric remains the same. In January Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives and have a good size minority in the Senate with two Independents. Over the last two years the Democratic control of both houses looked for compromise and bipartisan participation to accomplish a sustained growth in the economy, the beginnings of a health care reformation, and a constitutional idea to protect the common good of the nation by once again including the middle class. On all fronts current statistics are indicating progress in all of these areas. The economy is growing, initial unemployment claims are down, and more people are getting health care.

Now the winning party has begun to once again attack the accomplishments of the past two years with the same rhetoric and demand bi partisanship one day and look to repeal everything that has provided a path to success the next. They believe that they have a mandate from the people because of the election results. NOT, they are being challenged to continue what needs
to be fixed. Fiscal responsibility has been their campaign by those who put us in this mess in the first place from 2001 to 2008. The deficits need to be attacked. Not by going back to the Bush tax cuts for the rich and add an additional 700 billion to the deficit. The so called bipartisan committee formed by president Obama is attacking Pentagon spending, proposed? 100 billion cut, Social Security, Medicare, entitlements and tax cuts to the middle class, does this sound familiar? The people who bear the burden currently the middle class and who have suffered the most by the Bush induced misery are being asked
to sacrifice again for the sake of the country and of course to fill the coffers of the top 2%. Here’s the new misery index the percent of Republicans in the House of Representatives (55.6%) and Senate (47%) added to the percent unemployed (9.6%) equals 112.2%  now that’s a fever that needs medication.

If anything gets done over the next two years it will certainly be a miracle. I hope President Obama has his VETO pen ready.

 

July 24, 2010

Unemployment Extension approved

I’d truly like to address politics from a logical perspective but I find myself totally influenced by a theatrical perspective.  On Wednesday and Thursday July 21 and 22nd I glued myself to C span 1 and C span 2 the broadcasting network for the U.S. Congress and the broadcasting network for the U.S. senate respectively.  I watched the debate over whether to extend unemployment benefits to millions of Americans faced with the possibility of losing their homes, being unable to put food on their table, pay their rent, utility bills and other expenses which are part of the necessity to live if not approved. On one side the Democratic Party representatives voiced their concerns for the need to approve this extension immediately.  On the other side the Republican Party approach was to complain that the bill would not pay for itself.  They complained about the future generations their grandchildren and how they would have to pay for this bill.  The hypocrisy of their argument was so overwhelming I looked at these men and wondered if prior to entering these congressional chambers each of these republicans had taken drugs causing their irrational thinking.  If they were able to stick to the subject I would not be writing this but one by one Republican objections to the extension of unemployment were preceded by discussions of the need to do away with the inheritance tax for estates over seven million dollars, lifting the drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico, extending the bush tax cuts for an additional decade all of which is not paid for.  They continually pointed out the fact that the current economic situation was a result of the Obama Administration policies. I began to visualize Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  If you had ever watched this program you would recognize some of these characters currently filling congressional and senatorial seats for the Republican Party.  Their complete disregard for facts and figures and out right lies is beyond comprehension to any intelligent human being.  Another movie comes to mind it is called the night of the living dead.  If you observe most Republican Party followers specifically the new tea party movement you will observe a similarity to the aforementioned movie. We are seeing the party of no, the party of obstruction, and the party of fabrication become more radical in their thinking. The leadership of this party does not exist. They are out of control and are becoming an additional burden if not a threat to our democracy.

Just some facts concerning some of their arguments, Tax increases do not loose jobs.

During the Clinton presidency he raised taxes and created over 10 million jobs. During Bush 2 presidency he lowered taxes to the wealthy and created 2 million jobs. At the end of the Clinton presidency we had a 236 billion budget surplus at the end of the Bush 2 presidency we had a 1.2 trillion deficit. Finally, during recessions and now the great recession the congresses both approved emergency unemployment extensions during the Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2 administrations without paying for it.

January 27, 2010

To the best of Geithner’s and Paulson’s recollection

Treasury Secretary Geithner and former Secretary Paulson’s testimony today at the AIG House oversight committee hearing has disclosed nothing new. Geithner continues to dodge questions related to his knowledge and his assistants’ knowledge related to AIG counterparty relationships and their associations with Government Officials such as Henry Paulson and his assistants who previously worked for Goldman Sachs. Specific questions related to counterparty settlements of 2.5 billion of U.S. Taxpayer Dollars to Goldman Sachs, and 16.5 Billion Taxpayer Dollars to a Foreign National Bank the top two recipients. The web of financial transaction connected many of the financial institution who received billion of T.A.R.P. tax dollars was the reason for rescuing AIG. Geithner’s rationale behind their decision was to prevent a financial catastrophe or meltdown of the US financial systems. Paulson’s rationale similar to Geithner’s was First AIG was too big to fail. That’s sounds familiar. Second, AIG was seriously unregulated. The wolves were guarding the Hen House. Third, AIG could not go into bankruptcy successfully. This was because its failure would affect other financial institutions. The bottom line was the U.S. Taxpayer had to make Goldman and other institutions both domestic and international whole by paying off AIG liabilities to those institutions that had political leverage through our government officials. Of course Paulson denies any role in the decisions being made to help make Goldman whole. The continued excuse is that the future of our economy was at risk. Not really knowing what the results would have been if AIG failed. The scare tactics used over and over again during the Bush/Chaney years to justify two wars carried over into this debacle used by Paulson, Geithner and Bernake. We wonder why the public doesn’t trust Government.

November 24, 2009

Health Care A Simple Solution

Health Care can be reformed by offering not a public option, but a single payer option. To me its very simple, all those uninsured, or those who are tired of paying high premiums, or those small businesses who can’t afford premiums demanded by the Insurance Manopoly, should be afforded the option of purchasing a pre-medicare policy through Medicare for those between the ages of 21 and 64. Their premium will be much less than the current market and they will be exempt from medicare payroll deductions. This will help put medicare in the black. For those who choose to stay with their current insurance plans must continue to pay into the medicare trust through payroll reductions. I guarantee this will bring private insurance premiums down.

Those individuals and families who can’t afford full premiums will be accepted based upon income levels related to the poverty level. Most of the political oposition will of course call this socialism, I like to call it humanitarianism. Caring for those less fortunate is not socialism.

November 11, 2009

Commissioners Transfer Tax Burden (Wealth)

It is obvious that the leadership of Hernando County continue to prescribe to old solutions to long-term problems. Tuesdays vote to lower impact fees only proves that the real leadership does not sit on the County Commission but in Development, Builders, and Real Estate Offices. Our Commissioners have now provided their first promise to their financial supporters.

What is perplexing is that the Commissioners as a group can only focus on one idea to stimulate our real estate industry not the economy. Where are the jobs outside of real estate industry? 

The voters of Hernando County must understand that until a tax base other than real estate taxes is developed all home owners in Hernando County will bear the full burden of financing County Government, the Sheriffs Department, County Schools and County Fires Services.

Don’t count on this Commission to keep taxes low, prepare for a tax increase with county deficits looming ahead. This vote by the County Commissioners on Tuesday not only placed the burden of taxation for infrastructure costs on the home owners but will continue to keep the value of your home low and will lower them for years to come. The reason is supply and demand. With builders adding new inventory on the market in addition to all the foreclosures and empty homes on the market values will continue to decline. This is a formula approved by your County Commissioners to increase county deficits and have home owners pay for them.

In October of next year when the Commissioners decide to raise the millage rate a half of a mil or exhaust the County Reserves and delay the tax increase for re-election reasons, and sell you a bill of goods that it is to protects the level of services to the County; remember the impact fee cut this past Tuesday given to their builders and developers their financial supporters. They were more important then the voters who put them in office.

November 8, 2009

Some more facts about Impact Fees

This Sunday the Hernando Times publish two letters favoring an Impact Fee reduction.

We must compliment the Times Editor for his non bias presentation of the issue.

First let’s not confuse the readers this is a politically divided issue. So my associations are as obvious as the two letter writers associations to the other party. Putting political affiliations aside lets look at the facts concerning Impact Fees.

It is implied that costs for infrastructure have declined, this is not true. The cost to build a road, or install electrical and water service has not declined since 2001. The frequency has because of the downturn in the construction industry. The statement by the builders association that impact fees are charged to the buyer is true, but lowering them reduces the price of a home for the benefit of the builder (more sales and more profits) and the new homebuyer, but neglects to mention that the reduced tax revenue will not be enough to pay for the cost of infrastructure required for the new home therefore passing on the burden to the rest of the county taxpayers. Just as a reminder the builders and developers shared in the real estate bust don’t pass it on to banking alone.

My opposition to impact fee reduction goes way back to prior county commission boards.    

In response to my other opposing letter writer concerning the $20 million down payment assistance for first time buyers is as follows.

The 20 Million was available to all 67 counties in Florida; if equally divided by 67 that would make available to Hernando $298,507.00 for First Time Buyers of Low income Housing. Most Fist Time Buyers are Lower to Lower Middle income household. Their credit ratings are sometimes lower than the average buyer rating of 700. In the 2008 credit crunch, lenders were looking towards higher end credit ratings over 700.  If we estimated the value of these lower priced homes at 100,000 and if lenders require a 10 to 15 percent down and closing costs of 2,500 on average, the average applicant will get 12,500 to 17,500 from this fund. This equates to 24 to 17 homes sold respectively. This is not what I would call a stimulus.

My political party affiliation has nothing to do with my opposition to lowering impact fees, just logic. The other party calls themselves capitalist when the profit margins are high and supply and demand work in their favor. When the times get tough they blame Government for high taxes and not stimulating the economy. You must share the burden like everyone else in this economic downturn and not pass the burden onto the Hernando County Taxpayers.

August 22, 2009

Supreme Commissioners

Re: Stabins forges own budget, Barbara Behrendt, St. Petersburg Times

Mr. Stabins should have used the term governing body when referring to the county commissions implied lack of their role in making budget and policy decisions over the last 9 months instead of returning to their “supreme authority” role.

Although, jobs are a main concern in any cost reduction plan, the reality is that someone will suffer for decisions that must be made in an economic downturn. Those employees who have decided to take early retirement have displayed a compassion for their associates by helping those who still need to earn a living. Consolidation of positions indicates a move to efficiency. Long time employees who are departing in most cases have trained subordinates to conduct business in their absence. This is called a back up plan in most organizations.

The plan to dump the counties membership in the regional water supply authority is a political decision and not a budget decision. Mr. Russell and Mr. Stabins have never supported the Regional Water Authority made up of 3 counties Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter. Rose Rocco, Diane Rowden and Chris Kinngsley did (re: Regional Water Approach is best Hernando Officials say, Barbara Behrendt, March 15, 2008). The Regional Water Authority continues to protect our water supply from over development in conjunction with SWFTMUD regulation.

Mr. Stabins has now publicly attacked Mr. Hamilton by stating “David woks for us and I reject much of what he has proposed.” Mr. Stabins lacks the ability to make the hard decisions he faults Mr. Hamilton for making in behalf of our County Government and ultimately the tax payers of Hernando County. Mr. Hamilton should keep up the good work and Mr. Stabins should be held accountable for any budget shortfalls.

August 9, 2009

Healthcare and Capitalism

The debate over a Public Option for healthcare centers on the premise that Government’s entrance into the Capitalist System of providing healthcare insurance options will decrease the overall services they will be attempting enhance. The extreme rhetoric by the opposition centers on dollars and cents rather than providing services. An example of this is the rhetoric that anyone over 70 years of age needing a procedure will have to wait and possible die because of the wait, today procedures in most hospitals outside of emergencies take from diagnosis to procedure a minimum of two weeks and even more.

I remember after two unsuccessful operations in 2004 locally being told that I would have to wait three months to see a Specialist in Tampa for a relatively common problem. I chose not to wait and had the procedure performed by a good doctor in a neighboring county. Needless to say the procedure performed by this good doctor didn’t work. I finally waited for the specialist and the last two out of five operations were successful. The point being made by opposition to the public option is that waits will be longer. It took 5 operations and 3 years to correct my problem and this was under the current system. In my opinion there is only room for improvement.

 The second argument currently being expressed through fear tactics is that employers will decide to drop their current plans so employees will be forced to take the public option. What hasn’t been discussed is that employers are currently being forced today to cut benefits and raise premiums paid by employees. Employers are also raising the number of hours needed to be worked to qualify for employer provided benefits. All of these cost saving methods continue to increase the number of uninsured in the United States. The reason for all of these actions taken by employers is a result of the cost of healthcare has doubled over the last 10 years. The question is why? Have healthcare employees salaries doubled, have provider fees doubled? The answer to both questions is no. But, Healthcare Insurance provider profits have.

 The final argument being waged by the opposition is that Government intervention into a free capitalistic system only creates inefficiencies and waste. It was Government intervention that helped bring our country out of the depression of 1929. It was Government intervention in the 1940’s that provided Social Security to millions of Americans who would have starved to death. It was Government intervention in the 1960’s that provided Healthcare to millions of retirees who could not provide for themselves. . It was the lack of Government over site that almost brought the entire world into the greatest depression man kind has ever seen in 2008. The problem with Government is the Capitalist Intervention into Government through our elected Representatives.      

 Human services must be provided for those who are less fortunate. We Americans have always provided support to those who have been persecuted. We have provided support to those who have been starved. We are a nation of people who are Humanitarians. If we continue to ignore our own citizens who will come to help us?

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