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.


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.


The failed experiment to create sustainable prosperity by cutting taxes to corporations and shareholders.

Record profits and record poverty in the same country are evidence of a broken economic system. In America, the evidence that today’s poverty is born of the Great Recession is indisputable. The gossip that it is due to an epidemic of laziness is ludicrous. And still, our Congress considers a budget that mocks the needs of recession victims and continues toinsure profit to those that caused it.  Now is the time to look to big money makers for tax revenue.
la-oe-zimmerman-congress-history-20131016-001Image caption: Omayra Hernadez holds a sign reading, “Hey Congress Do Your Job” as she and others gather in front of the Florida office of Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) to protest against the partial government shutdown. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

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.


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.

This isn’t funny anymore.

This isn't funny anymore.

Poster by Jeanene Louden
Photo – “Sad Clown” by Onanymous

Pork: poison pill or political payoff? Bad, either way.

The camera-talkers in DC often squawk-out for “an up-or-down vote”, but we (the people) seldom get the whole story.

“Pork”, the unrelated actions attached to pending legislation, is deadly to any notion of integrity or transparency in government. If some cabal doesn’t want a bill to pass, they attach contrary, expensive, or politically charged pork: the poison pill approach. If it is clear legislation will pass, many will attach opportunistic pork (that often benefits big campaign contributors): the political pay off approach.

I’m fed up with this barnyard mischief. I want up-or-down votes alright, for one thing at a time: the bill. Smarty pants law making must end if our current (creepy) Congress wants this citizen’s respect. Or, to be re-elected, for that matter.

END PORK POLITICS NOW. We might actually see something get done in DC.


The Anorexic Nature of Austerity


Choosing to not eat has long been recognised as a mental health disorder that is more about taking control than about weight management. Each refused bite of nourishment may feel like success in the moment, but long term health prospects diminish by the day: too many are lost or damaged to consider “anorexia” a healthy strategy.

Every time I see an affluent and influential talking-head on TV suggest that “we” should take control in the short term by refusing to spend on those things that nourish this body of citizens, I am reminded of how dysfunctional, destructive, and seductive success in the moment can be: I believe “austerity” is an economic mental health disorder.

For the sake of ALL Americans, Congress needs to do some healthy, long term thinking. NOW.

Spending problem? I can help.

If America has a ‘spending problem’, somebody should ask ME how I think we should spend the people’s money. Better yet, ask me how I DON’T want to spend it.

Given the choice between those ‘Homeland Security’ people who make me take off my shoes, throw away my hand lotion, and walk through the “get naked machine” in the airport, or meaningful health insurance for senior citizens and the disabled, I choose the latter.

Given the choice between investing in first rate public education for all Americans, or the War on Terror, the longest, least mission-driven, and most expensive / debt producing war (with the largest private Army) in the history of the nation, I choose the former.

And if asked to choose between subsidies for corporations with record profits or the social safety net? Guess.

The choices are not hard if you say them out loud.

Tax Cuts and Date Night

Parents know that when the kids begin to date, school nights are out and weekends are in. There are exceptions, of course, but we know that kids need sleep if they are going to try to learn something in the morning.

I say peace and prosperity tax cuts are just like date night: they should only happen when the conditions are appropriate. The continuation of these tax cuts during time of war and recession makes about as much sense as letting your kids go to a rave the night before their final exams.

And, as every parent knows, once it looks like the exception has become  the rule, you have a battle on your hands that you may never really win.

But when I try to be the adult in the room and point out the obvious about tax cuts (that the conditions are not right, and the exception has become the rule), you would think I was standing in the lunch line at school badmouthing the rave:  the “partiers” doth protesteth too much, methinks.

Dear Employees, I gladly impart my wisdom: pay attention!

Dear Employees:

In this country of ours it is important to vote for the candidate of your choice. But today, more than ever, your future employment with this company depends upon how you vote.

Our shareholders, executives, corporate officers, and I have gotten used to the lifestyle afforded by today’s generous tax climate. The wrong vote could change all that.

And the idea that we might have to provide equal pay for equal work, include health insurance in your compensation, contribute to the social safety net, or help pay down the debt seems so ordinary, and not attractive to investors.

You should be grateful we haven’t sent your jobs overseas or brought in guest workers already! The wrong vote just might make us change our minds.

After all, it is money that makes money in this country, and if you want us to continue to include you in our business plans, I suggest you think twice before you make us cranky.

Best wishes for smart voting and future employment,             THE BOSS

Put your money where your mouth is, American-Military-Might Types

Ever since Condie Rice came out for ‘greater strength around the world’ at the GOP convention, right up to Mr. Romney’s endorsement of the same ‘world-enforcer’ position in the debate last night, I have been asking myself,  “How are these don’t-tax-ME-patriots going to pay for their big ideas?” Since they won’t tell me their financing plan, I’m going to tell them my four terms of agreement.

1. SAY YES TO WAR TAX, the good old-fashioned  kind that is top heavy, and enough to pay the actual costs. This presumes the peace and prosperity tax cuts, loopholes, and incentives still in place during time of war and recession, are ended.

2. SAY NO TO WAR PROFITEERING. Ike warned us that war would become a cash-cow when military contractors were allowed a profit! He was right.

3. SAY YES TO THE DRAFT. Yes, the real draft, the one where even Elvis takes a turn. Our fifth- and sixth-tour veterans are a national shame. And how they are treated when they just finally come home is an even greater shame.

4. SAY NO TO THE PRIVATE ARMY. No more contractor soldiers. No more State Department force not under the control of the Pentagon. No more mercenaries in tow with FEMA. Privatization has no place in our budget when it comes to “providing for the common defense”, a constitutional charge.

Something tells me that after we start paying-as-we-go for our bravery, after we take away the profit motive, after everyone has the “opportunity” to serve, and after the control of all of our forces is returned to the Commander-in-Chief, the rush to spend for “military might” will wane.