Posts Tagged ‘Taxes’

Why No Bailout for Bill Heard Chevrolet?

September 28, 2008

  The government’s bailout of the banking industry raises some interesting questions. The biggest one is where does it all end? If we grant 700-billion-dollars to bailout the Wall Street investment banks, and 25-billion-dollars to save American car makers, why shouldn’t we bailout Bill Heard Chevrolet?

  After all, all Mr. Big Volume was doing is the same thing that the mega-banks were doing. As an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story says, “Like the Wall Street investment bankers who grabbed up securities backed by risky subprime home mortgages, Heard apparently staked too much on people who couldn’t pay what they owed.”

  Another interesting question is where does this bailout business end?  And what is the lesson it sends?  Is it that risk is taken out of doing business because the taxpayer will make up the difference when the business fails?

  Don’t be ridiculous, you might say, the government can’t do that for everybody. In that case, is it fair to do it for some and not others, and who decides which ones are insured against failure by the taxpayer?  And that tax payer, by the way, will be our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their children, because the government will raise the money not by raising taxes now, but by borrowing it from China and other countries willing to take the risk.  The only alternative to that, if taxes are not raised, is for the government to print money. That causes runaway inflation which is another disaster.  

  What a mess.

  Just look at what the successful deregulators have done. They have put us right back where we were in 1929 when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression followed.  As the 60’s anti-war protest song went, “When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?”

 

 

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Wall Street’s Financial Earthquake Shakes All of Us

September 24, 2008

  Now I am beginning to really understand why people who have experienced an earthquake say, “It’s terrifying because you have absolutely no control over the situation.” It appears the only thing you can do is crawl under a desk or table or something and hope nothing strong enough to crush it falls on it. 

  That’s the way I am feeling about what’s happening on Wall Street and in Washington. Taxpayers are about to be saddled with $700 billion plus to bail out financial institutions. There is nothing I can do about it as I watch it being railroaded speedily through Congress.

  Though this blog is mainly locally oriented, I have to talk about this mess. It is local in that it effects everyone in this area. It has me very frustrated and angry.

  You and I are having to pay for the insane greed on Wall Street and almost eight years of deregulation in Washington that brought about this disaster.

  The original Bush administration’s bill prevents any court review of anything the Treasury Department does after the $700 billion is handed over to them.  Thankfully some members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, are throwing up red flags on this one.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Dem. OH)

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Dem. OH)

  I like Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s idea.

 “Since the bailout will cost each and every American about $2,300, tomorrow I will offer legislation to create a United States Mutual Trust Fund, which will take control of $700 billion in stock assets, at market value and not higher, convert those assets to shares, and distribute $2,300 worth of shares to new individual savings accounts in the name of each and every American,” Kucinich said in a statement that was published on the Truthout site.

  It went on to say, “The Wall Street financial disaster is an opportunity to create a genuine ownership society. If Congress invests $700 billion in the market, then the American people must get something of real value for their investment.”

   And why not? If we are being asked to put up $700 billion dollars, why shouldn’t we get something for our money. It won’t happen though. The Bush administration won’t even go along with the idea of including a stipulation in the bill that would prohibit the reckless CEO’s who are largely responsible for this debacle from getting multi-million dollar golden parachutes. In other words, they’ll get millions while others suffer from their actions.

  Yes, the financial earth is shaking, and there is nothing I can do about it but look for something to get under to prevent from being  hit by falling Wall Street debris.  My only hope is that Congress will provide that shelter.

“Richard Hyatt’s Columbus,” Sam Rawls, and Me

August 1, 2008

  My name has appeared a few times on Richard Hyatt’s website, Richard Hyatt’s Columbus. One of the posts directed visitors to this site for the story on Dee Armstrong’s advice to her WTVM replacement. Thanks for that, Richard.

 

  The other one, which was partially about Sam Rawls and me resigning Common Cause Columbus positions, had correct information in it, but the order of events presented could give a wrong impression. Sam Rawls, who had announced CCC was protesting the airing of a TV commercial because it stated the LOST was not a tax increase, resigned as chairman of the CCC Governing Board two weeks after the July 15th LOST referendum. Right after that, the fact that I had resigned as publicity chairman was reported. You could get the idea – though, I feel certain that’s not what Richard intended – that I resigned because the LOST passed. I had resigned long before Sam, and it had nothing to do with the LOST. As you may recall from my Ledger-Enquirer letter, I voted for the LOST.  As Sam said, everybody in CCC was not against the LOST.  I am not even sure that Sam resigned because the LOST passed. That’s not the reason he gave me.

 

  Now, you may ask, what was the reason he gave me? Sorry, but that was a private conversation, and this old reporter learned long ago that you don’t violate confidences.  For one thing, that is a sure way to get sources to clam up and tell you nothing in the future.  When you are a member of an organization, there is no sense making any pretense about reporting objectively on it. What you say, even if true, is suspect because of the conflicts of interests involved.  When I made my living reporting, I turned down every request to be publicity chair for any organization to which I belonged.  

 

  As far as Common Cause is concerned, both Sam and I are still members. From what Sam has said in the past, I know that he is a member for the main reasons I am, we beleive in holding power accountable and in transparency in governmental actions.

 

    

 

 

Georgia Corrections Commissioner Backs LOST

June 26, 2008

  Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington, Georgia’s former Commissioner of Corrections,  picked up  support by the present Commissioner for his Local Option Sales Tax initiative. James E. Donald, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections, told Rotary Club of Columbus members that Georgians need to come together to do something about the prison problem in the state, and he believes that Columbus folks need to pitch in by voting for the LOST.

 

 

 

 

James E. Donald

Commissioner, Georgia Department of Corrections 

 

 

  He says his plan to stop putting away non-violent drug abusers, who are filling up the state’s prison system, will take the support of strong local police departments. Mayor Wetherington promises to spend the majority of the LOST money on beefing up the city’s safety department.

 

  It costs the state about 1.2 billion dollars a year to operate its Corrections Department, he said. And Governor Perdue has cut the department’s budget by 38 million dollars. Commissioner Donald says he takes that cut as an opportunity to be more creative about ways to make the prison system work better.  

 

  Donald, a retired infantry general, hopes judges will start sentencing drug abusers to rehabilitation programs that require them to report regularly to day reporting centers, one of which is being built for Columbus. They go to the centers to be checked to see that they are not violating their probationary sentences and not returning to their old drug abusing ways.

 

  Georgia,” he says, “has the second highest rate of incarceration in the nation, second only to Florida.”

 

  He says just locking people up treats the symptom, but not the root cause of the problem itself. If only the symptom is treated, when the inmates are released back into society they return to their old criminal ways. He wants to lean more on crime prevention, education and rehabilitation.

 

  And he wants us to support Mayor Wetherington’s LOST. Maybe we will, but I know a lot of people, including a number of Rotarians, who are not for the LOST. Me? Well, I’m torn. We’ll get into that in a future post on this blog. Stay tuned.