Window of Opportunity

When it comes to the possibility of pandemic, to prepare ourselves at home is wise, but to take the fight to the source is brilliant. Today affords a window of opportunity to do both.

The weak first-world response to the Ebola epidemic in west Africa has been criticized since mid summer by apolitical groups like Doctors Without Borders. The case of the late Mr. Duncan has America reeling, and today’s announcement that a health care worker in the hospital where he died having been diagnosed with Ebola has escalated the talking point politicalization of this public health issue.

We still have a window of opportunity to use our collective assets effectively. Let’s get smarter here and more aggressive there. This is a “war” worth fighting. NOW. We cannot wait for the Congressional lobbyists to figure out where the profit lies in this call to medical combat. This window of opportunity to “fight it there” will close. Soon.

window of opportunituy

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.

corporate-tax-e1317741002922

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.

Post Card Tsunami

The same five Supreme Court Justices that brought US the Citizens United decision have taken the next step toward the gentrification of American law. They continue to interpret the constitution as though it favored those of means. What to do? From the comfort of your own home you can send them a postcard an share your dismay.

Address side:

Chief Justice Roberts
Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Alito and Thomas
1 First St NE Washington, DC 20543

Message side: (this is just what my postcard said – say how you feel) don’t forget the black edges (a sharpie will do)

Postcard Tsunami copy 2

The Two Faces of Hawk Talk

Situations in Europe would have us revisit the debate, “Democracy v Stability” as we consider our role in international affairs. Today I am asking, “what kind of stability?”

‘American leadership through the threat of force’ is consistent with a ‘maintenance of the status quo’ notion of stability, but currently fails any sustainability test. The very same who believe America should be ever ready to flex muscle do not support any viable means to fund their intentions.

These Hawks appear happy to spend tax dollars but reluctant to ask those who fund their campaigns to pay taxes. So, while top private and corporate earners have far more skin in the game than most, they pay proportionately less into the kitty than a kindergarden teacher.

In compensation for these opposing values, Hawks embrace austerity to justify the abuse of American warriors: enlistment promises are broken; the wounded are brought home and then left behind; and funds are found for new war planes but not for hand sanitizer for the remotely deployed. By now we should all know that austerity is a costume worn by too many at the masquerade ball we call American politics today.

As long as Hawks burden breadwinners and protect cake eaters The People must resist their chest-beating racketeering.

TwoFaces

Image thanks to rapgenius.com

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.

quotes-1984-george-orwell-HD-Wallpapers-300x103

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.

The Tyranny of the Minority

How is it working for you? 

This trend is not about what political party you call your own, it is about the ability of a small percentage of Americans to impose their will on all of US, regardless of political affiliation. Gerrymandering, phony filibusters, a steadfast commitment to “the plan”, and a seemingly endless war chest keep the champions of the minority in control. 

Despite popular opinion as measured by many credible polling groups, efforts like tax cuts, the sequester, budget cuts, corporate subsidies, and gutting the social safety net endure. Add self serving super-strategies like the WAR ON THE VOTE and it feels like the ship of state is adrift. Add lobbying, controlling the media, and bankrolling the faithful, and the majority of US are less and less significant players in this republic’s democracy. 

Again, how is this working for you? 

Image

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.

Devious_rich_people

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.

hostiletakeoversmall

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