Elect candidates that don’t bow to Big Biz.

Taxes have been lobbied down for Big Biz with no regard for the long term consequences. Our elected have allowed it. America needs to elect candidates who don’t buy in to this racket.

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When business faces a genuine tax liability, the choice is to either use dollars to reinvest in the business or to pay taxes. It makes good business sense to choose to spend on facilities, equipment, supplies, and even wages and benefits because this is not shareholder money, it is tax money, redirected to improve American productivity.

But for too many big businesses tax liability has become a myth, theoretically “high” but performing “low” by industrialized world standards. Loopholes, subsidies, and low rates reduce the incentive to spend internally. Our power grid is failing, our internet is the slowest in the developed world, and placing new stores or factories takes local incentives – to name a few consequences.

And many businesses that cannot lobby their way out of taxes are hit as hard as wage earners in this out-of-balance scheme.

Without taxes in the equation, improvements in the means of production, a long term strategy, are at shareholder expense rather than taxpayer expense. And we all know about what is important to the few shareholders-that-matter on Wall Street: short term gain.

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Economic Freedom Zones are an Orwellian Joke

Economic Freedom Zones are to business development as the Clear Skies Initiative was to environmental protection: an Orwellian joke.

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I believe Detroit has a revenue problem as much or more than a spending problem, so I see adding even more tax cuts and reducing “payroll tax” (code for Social Security and Medicare) to existing subsidies, tax exemptions and tax cuts is counter productive. In fact, it is like inviting piranha to lunch. The feeding frenzy will only last as long as there is food on the table.

Economic Freedom Zones are an extension of the philosophy that short term concessions to business can result in long term and sustainable improvement in the economic condition of the community. In my 25 years in economic development work, I have not seen this to be as useful as hoped.

Concessions become expectations, and sunsetting of concessions often result in the closing of opportunistic business only interested in program benefits. Public investment in these projects is often not even a break even situation, let alone a sustained value. The smartypants gaming of these opportunities is the dark side of capitalism.

The cases I have seen where economic incentives have paid off  usually involve smaller, more local businesses that have a stake in the long term success and economic viability of the community. The Economic Freedom Zone idea as it is now described is just shark bait.

My Unreasonable Rant as I Watch Congress Make a Mockery of America

The next time some guy in a suit that costs more than my last car tells me that sending millions of public employees home without pay is worth it… the next time some woman in shoes that cost more than last month’s rent tells me defaulting on American debt is a good idea… I am going to scream.

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America deserves better than Political Fiscal Theatre from the cash-comfy.

I’m sick of lobbyists and legislators playing economic parlor games with my country’s sustainability. I actually know these folks are smart enough to create a win-win solution to anything America may face. And, it appears that you and I are not even game pieces on the board.

I am tired of being the airbag for these creepy people. They say they have the fate of We-the-People at heart, but all I see is cash flow and quarterly profits in their eyes. Their kind of reasoning might work on Wall Street but it does not work on my street. America is not a land of wealth builders, it is a land of idea havers, thing makers, and service providers. Apparently we don’t fit into the visions of globalization and world domination these fat cats dream about.

So here they go again, holding the national budget hostage so they can leverage something out of our hands that they could not take away democratically. Next stop, debt ceiling malarkey. Oh, they are great at inventing crisis and tragedy. Or fabricating enough confusion that we don’t know who to believe. This republic’s democracy is at the mercy of the new Gilded Age.

Shame on you all.

Now, any member of Congress who feels badly about this, go forth and do your job!

Image from: http://blog.wealthymen.com/preparing-yourself-to-date-wealthy-men-part-2/

Read NOW. Act NOW. Share.

Using bankruptcy as a tool for hostile takeover is right out of the predatory capitalism playbook. Wealth builders (not job creators) love to play this game.

The Congress is knee deep in this smarty pants biz strategy. The ongoing Political Fiscal Theater III is a manipulation of law, constitutional intent, and a media blitz that would have us believe we are in danger of some catastrophic financial event. Ironically, the economists I respect see this hostile takeover as just that. A disaster is being provoked and promoted as a means to an end game where monied interests have control of our government.

Even if you believe the government can do better, I respectfully request you contact your Representative in the House and tell them that America is not for sale. Make Congress work for US, not for campaign funders.

Find out how to contact your Representative at www.house.gov.  NOW. Thanks.

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Image from laserbrain studios – http://laserbrainstudios.com/games/

This retired small business owner thinks Obamacare is a step in the right direction

This retired small business owner thinks Obamacare is good for America. We get told every day that we are now a part of the new global economy, but our competition is from companies in countries with some form of health care for all. For the rest of the first world, health care is a social expense, while for us it is a business expense.

I played that game as a small business owner, but the deck was stacked against me. I was charged 200% of the rate for a large business, giving advantage to my larger competitors let alone off shore interests.

I never minded paying taxes: they were predictable and I could plan for them. But insurance inflation was out of control and killing many of us in the small business community. While bigger businesses were dropping coverage levels in order to leverage profit, we, the real employers of America, were dropping coverage to stay alive. In 2008 GM pointed to this flaw in our global logic and was summarily gob smacked. Like GM or not, they were right.

Now, the imperfect beginnings of a solution that serves employee and employer is before us. “Back to the drawing board” is political-speak for “bury it alive”. We can spend all day nit picking the small stuff while the elected who are beholden to BIG campaign contributors pull strings to neglect the many and profit the few.

I, for one, believe in American Ingenuity: that we should launch the project to create a yet unseen but soon to be envied strategy to ensure access to health care for Americans, and bloom as an economy within our borders and in the world. No guts, no glory. If you agree, contact your congressional delegation now.

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Hoody for Trayvon, Orange for Women

Today my avatar sports a hoody for Trayvon and is colored orange for women. These two issues are VERY related.

As a woman I know that if a stranger stalked me in his SUV, got out and approached me (with or without a gun) I would run. If he caught me I would fight with everything I had. And, if he shot and killed me he would be innocent in Florida. Yet not so long ago a Florida woman fired a warning shot at her abusive husband and got 20 years. This is not a good example of justice but it is the law.

The law is just whatever the lawmakers make it.

As citizens we need to make the connection between things like gerrymandering, big campaign funders, and the fact that the monied elite draft, distribute, and lobby for law that supports their business strategies.

“Shoot first ask questions later” laws were brought to state legislatures in 2005 by ALEC and its benefactors. In this case, the NRA and its benefactors.

Manipulating the law to sell weapons and ammo is no different than manipulating the law to sell ambulatory surgical center services. Both came from the same place, as did voter suppression strategies. It may not make sense on the surface, it may not even be ethical or moral, but it is legal and it is profitable.

One giant leap for plutocracy… for now. We will #FreeTheElected from the control of big business campaign funders and stop this fashionable trend of law for profit.

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Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts: American Healthcare

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Death by a thousand paper cuts is the biggest health risk in America today.

The most recent slice: delay the requirement for employers of over 50 to either offer health insurance or give employees access to the state health insurance exchanges.

This wound to wellness is a strategic stall. Business was encouraged by some to resist preparing, the low penalty cost of non compliance made the risk acceptable, and group-think empowered them to fight until the 11th hour.

Strike another victory by temper tantrum. The kings of part time and minimum wage threw themselves on the ground, kicked and yelled, and held their  breath until their lobbyists won the day – with more paper cuts.

The states who prepared exchanges in compliance with the law will have a year to wait for the huge numbers of employees that were expected, removing the economy of scale and bargaining power of health insurance consumers AGAIN.

This is just more smarty pants political gaming, the kind that led to a weak and confusing bill in the first place. Death by a thousand cuts has been the opposition plan all along.

A Tale of Two….

On Memorial Day I saw Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) deliver a keynote address. She spoke of her two tours in Iraq and the powerful memory of her first “unanswered roll call ceremony” for a friend lost in combat. She shared that only one percent of our citizens have fought in these, the two longest wars in American history.

And then it occurred to me: another one percent of us have made obscene fortunes from these, the two most blatantly economically motivated wars in American history.

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These two one percents could not be more different.

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One, members of the super-minority, are making record profits quarter after quarter, and “investing” frightening amounts of money in campaign contributions and spendy lobbyists in order to keep things going their way: war profiteering, monopoly building, too-big-to-care, tax dodging, unregulated global capitalism.

The other are public servants, willing to do their duty until their last breath doing a job few dare face. Too often they leave our service broken or ill, only go become the collateral damage of a system being starved out of existence by tax cuts, tax loopholes, and tax subsidies even as we spend trillions of dollars on two wars with no war tax. The call for austerity is a mocking of this one percent by the other. “We will take care of the money, now you figure out how to take care of yourself.”

I am not a pacifist, but I am very against preemptive war. The idea that we systematically abuse so few for the gain of so few –  and leave 98% of us out of the game entirely – is not sitting well with me. Yellow magnets and 4th of July flags are not enough to count as skin in the game.

I will no longer humor the self centered profiteers only to neglect our selfless patriots.

If that means less war, OK. If that means proper care for returning troops, OK. If that means higher taxes on the prosperous one percent to finance our responsibility to the in-harms-way one percent, OK.

No big box store, no stock broker, no crony contractor, no wealth building “corporate-person” is going to take the metaphorical bullet for anyone. I prefer to support the people who would take a real bullet for me.