Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

How Has the GOP Improved Alabama Quality of Life?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, August 31, 2018

In almost every measure of the quality of life, Alabama comes up short. Seriously short. Or, to couch it in somewhat Biblical terms (which most Alabamians of any political or religious stripe would understand… and, which most any reasonably well-read person would as well), “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” ref: Daniel 5:27 (NIV)

This is not a Republican thing, per se, nor is it a Democratic thing. It is an ongoing statement of the poor quality of of almost EVERYTHING in Alabama. The root of most every problem plaguing Alabamians lies with the state’s 1901 Constitution which, among other things, FORBIDS local self-governance known as Home Rule – the basic principle upon which our democratic republic was founded – which is that EVERY person has a voice, a vote, and a say-so in how things are run from the grass-roots level, and that all are equal under the law, which is no discriminator of persons.

That is in large part why on almost every statewide ballot there are questions pertaining to counties or cities, and why the entire state must vote on what people in the opposite sides of the state do, and why they have a say-so in other towns and cities governance. Think of it as allowing your nosy neighbors a say in how you do things in your house.

Yeah, I know… weird, isn’t it? Maybe “stupid” would be another, better, or more accurate choice of words.

In Montgomery, when the part-time Legislature with full-time pay convenes (total compensation for legislators approximates $50,000/year), they are constitutionally required and mandated to legislate local matters, because the constitution literally FORBIDS local people from making local decisions.

The legislature is further hamstrung, and the people are thereby harmed, by the inordinately short period of time to which they are similarly constitutionally constrained to meet – 30 meeting days in a  105 calendar day period. Who could get ANYTHING done for 4.8 million people in such a short period of time? Seriously… WHO?

Consider public corruption as an example of how problematic the 1901 Alabama State Constitution truly is. Most recently, the GOP-dominated Legislature, Governor’s office, individual legislators (predominately GOP), and other ancillary agencies (Alabama State Troopers/Department of Public Safety, later known as ALEA, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, etc.) were involved in corruption scandals, the likes of which the state hasn’t seen in, like… FOREVER! Seriously. The extent and degree of severity of corruption which has recently plagued Alabama is unparalleled.

Once the GOP-dominated Legislature was in power, they promptly set about improving the practically toothless Ethics Laws which many of them promised to change, if elected. Ordinarily, that’d be a good thing. Mike Hubbard became Speaker of the House, and the state’s top executive branch offices – Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer, and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries – were all filled by Republicans.

Now, here’s where the problems begin.

All THREE branches of government – the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial – were touched by serious corruption. As a natural consequence, the people’s business was impeded and damaged, which also wasted the taxpayers time, money and resources to investigate and prosecute.

But perhaps the MOST costly price paid was continued damage to the state’s already tarnished image in the public eye, nationally and internationally… as if it could get any worse.

Governor Robert Bentley was the subject of Federal and State investigations over whether he misused public funds, and violated campaign finance law to further his extra-marital involvement with a female aide. Corollary to that, he was also facing impeachment… the first ever Alabama governor to face such serious public scrutiny and reprisal.

The Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and other legislators were facing investigations and indictments by the Attorney General for possible violations of ethics laws, and other related laws. Named as witnesses were many well-known, high-powered big business lobbyists, and their clients.

The State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was facing a SECOND investigation in his second elected term over his refusal to obey and uphold Federal Law, and a Federal Judge’s court order to obey the law, which meant he could face public trial by the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission (his peers), and a SECOND possible expulsion from the bench.

The Governor accepted a plea deal to two lesser misdemeanors, resigned from office, repaid monies, performed community service, and promised to never again hold public office.

The Chief Justice was found guilty and removed from the bench – a SECOND time.

The Speaker of the House and other legislators were all found GUILTY of violating the very Ethics Laws they passed – which were all felony violations.

As well, over a dozen current legislators and others (high-powered attorneys, former legislators, lobbyists, business owners, etc.) are STILL being found GUILTY of, or pleading GUILTY to violating Federal and/or state law, including bribery, mail fraud, Medicare fraud, misuse of public office, and various other forms of abuse of public trust.

And then, there’s the sheriff from Etowah County, Todd Entrekin, who was found to have LEGALLY redirected funds which were to have been used for feeding inmates (three-quarters of a million dollars), to his own personal use, to, with his wife Karen, purchase a luxurious beachfront house on the Gulf Coast.

All but one of those identified are Republicans.

But again, this is not an “Us versus Them” or “Republican versus Democrat” problem. It’s a corruption problem, the predominate root of which lies with the 1901 Alabama State Constitution. Consequently, the entire state suffers.

Harvard University’s Center for Ethics researched Legal and Illegal corruption in all 50 states three branches of government, and found Alabama wanting by most measures.

Of course, it neither helps that Alabama has a continuous and ongoing history of voting for one party, or the other – so that there’s rarely if ever a mix of parties in power. It’s quite literally, a bipolar type of operation, which goes from one extreme, to the other.

Alabama has had SIX constitutions, and the one under which it now labors is not even the best of the five which preceded it.

The state’s present constitution – the 1901 Constitution – has well over 900 amendments. That one thing alone makes it the most bloated and inefficient of any such type of governing document in the entire world – hands down, bar none.

The Dictionary of Alabama says this about Alabama’s 1901 Constitutional Convention:
“Called primarily to establish White supremacy by disfranchising Blacks, the Constitutional Convention of 1901 continues to shape Alabama politics in the twenty-first century. The convention also concentrated power in the state legislature, decreased opportunities for Home Rule, and established voter requirements that even many White men could not meet, reducing the political influence of the state’s many poor Whites. The 155 delegates to the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1901 codified Black disfranchisement and increased the political power of the state legislature at the expense of local government.”

So when combined with the fact that it STILL contains racist language, and provisions which have been Read the rest of this entry »

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Look Deeply For Dignity

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 3, 2017

Saint Martin de Porres (1579-1639) was a barbershop surgeon when he joined a Dominican monastery at age 15. Soon his success with medicinal herbs and miraculous healings earned him great fame as a healer. But Martin was famous for tending to small things, too. Once, he solved the monastery’s pest problem by Read the rest of this entry »

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All Work Has Dignity -and- The Laborer Is Worthy Of Their Hire

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 23, 2017

A long-time & dear friend recently shared this thought: “If you’re going to say something about people lacking career aspirations, make sure you’ve created opportunities for advancement and not merely encouraged people to work from Engineer II to Engineer III.”

My thoughts follow:

While I am in an ethnographic & demographic majority, I am simultaneously in an educational & professional minority. However, for as long as I can remember, I have NEVER ceased advocating for educational attainment, either through Vocational Education – and that word, “vocation,” is one we have improperly derided, though it has ALWAYS had greatly esteemed meaning. So let us instead, use the OUTSTANDING and more descriptive term “Trades.”

Now… I have NEVER ceased advocating for educational attainment, INCLUDING Trades!

ALL work has dignity! And “the laborer is worthy of their hire.” And that is PRECISELY what those who purport to promote employment do NOT do by deriding & belittling Read the rest of this entry »

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Free Enterprise And #Beer

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 6, 2017

I am a FIRM PROPONENT of ENTREPRENEURSHIP, FREE ENTERPRISE, and FAIR COMPETITION.

budweiser-beer-original-logoabinbev-china-logoFor that reason, and others, I have NOT purchased an AB-InBev product in quite some time, not only because of the inferior quality of their products, but because it is a greedy, global, monolithic oligopolic (virtually monopoly) enterprise.

It is NOT an American company, and ceased being an American company when it SOLD OUT to the Belgian brewing company InBev for around $52 billion in 2008. From then, the company was named AB-InBev.

Molson Canadian Lager beer, original bottle, brewed in Montreal, CanadaTo add insult to injury, the U.S. Department of Justice OK’d a deal in 2016 in which AB-InBev BOUGHT SABMiller’s U.S. business which in turn, would allow Molson Coors to Read the rest of this entry »

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Citizens United Ruling Violates Equal Protection Clause

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 6, 2017

Nick Hanauer, a multi-billionaire about whom few have likely heard, authored a highly publicized article not too long ago warning about wealth inequity. Increasingly, the wealthy are realizing that a strategy of cutting taxes upon the wealthy and their corporations is not a recipe for American success, precisely for the reason that it adversely affects economic infrastructure, and jobs, among other damages.

However, one needn’t be wealthy to realize and understand that money, and the unreasonable desire for it known as avarice (an extreme form of greed), and the unwieldy power that accompanies it, are corrupting influences in any nation, and particularly in our United States because of SCOTUS ruling in the 2010 Citizens United v Federal Election Commission decision which Read the rest of this entry »

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The Great Unknown… Or Not: Separating #Fact From #Fiction: @realDonaldTrump’s First 100 Days – Realistic, Or Idealistic?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 12, 2016

November 11, 2016
Day 3: Still thinking

Yesterday, President Obama met with Donald Trump at the White House. It was the first time either of them had met. According to brief remarks made to the Press afterward, their collegial meeting lasted about one and a half hours.

The erudite will recall that “the first 100 days” is taken from a radio address given by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first term in office, in which during his first 100 days , and modeled after his plan to get Americans back to work, protect their savings and create prosperity, provide relief for the sick and elderly, and get industry and agriculture back on their feet.

Having read Trump’s goals for his first 100 days in office, it seems to me that there are some ideas I can support. Yet, there’s some pure bluster and ignorance designed for purely emotional appeal. I’ll separate fact from fiction, and we’ll have to wait and see how it all pans out.
See: donald-trumps-contract-w-american-voter

Trump’s objectives are in bold, my comments follow.

—/—

First: Constitutional Amendment for Congressional Term Limits – I have long supported that idea. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R), however, opposes them – as, presumably, do some others. Whenever their income source or security is potentially challenged, they’ll fight. Which is probably all the more reason it ought to enacted. A Lifetime Limit of Eight terms in the House of Representatives (2 years x 8 terms=16 years), and a Lifetime Limit of Two terms in the Senate (2 terms x 6 years=12 years) for a combined total of 20 years Lifetime Total ought to be enough for anyone.

Second: Federal Hiring Freeze, to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health) – I can understand that, and could go along with that for a period of time. Realize also that whenever any public action is required to be taken – such as “extreme vetting,” it is done by Federal Employees. So if their numbers are reduced, as a natural result, expect slow-downs and delays in any actions undertaken.

Third: Require that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated – That’s unrealistic, and impracticable. It may be nice to think about, but as a blanket statement, it’s simply unrealistic.

Fourth: A 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service – TOTALLY in favor of this idea.

Sixth: Lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government – Totally in favor of, and the ban should extend to ALL former Federal Employees.

On the same day, I will begin taking the following 7 actions to protect American workers:

FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205 – I have long advocated for changes to NAFTA, and other Free Trade deals to which the United States is a party.

SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership – TOTALLY in favor of this idea.

THIRD, I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator – Some say “yes,” some say “no,” but there is no disagreement China has bought American currency on the FOREX (Foreign Currency Exchange Market), and has purchased American indebtedness (T-bills, and other bonds). Mr. C. Fred Bergsten, Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, put it this way: “Currency manipulation occurs when Read the rest of this entry »

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Reinvigorating Our Workforce

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, February 7, 2016

Youth employment apprenticeshipsI have long advocated some type of national service for ALL – and ALL means ALL – for ALL have something to contribute.

Whether that service is by a paraplegic youth with computer skills, or a high school footballer with a strong back, or an art student with creative skills, every high school graduate can and should be expected to contribute to our nation through service to our local & state communities, and to our nation.Disabled-youth-can work

Were our nation to become serious about infrastructure repair & expansion, were our nation serious about jobs & employment, were our nation serious about economic vitality & personal responsibility, we would put our money where our mouth is by Read the rest of this entry »

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What Underutilized Renewable Alabama Resource Could Catapult The State Economically?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 14, 2016

Soon, the Alabama state legislature will reconvene, and soon enough, they will – once again – be faced with enormous fiscal shortfalls.

And, once again as well, the Republican super-dominated Alabama state legislature will be reticent, reluctant, and recalcitrant to raise taxes… except upon those least capable of paying them. I refer, of course, to the impoverished, which – according to the United States Census Bureau – comprise nearly 20% of Alabama’s population. And with a population estimated at 4,849,377, that’s 901, 984 people, who annually, according to the research, Read the rest of this entry »

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Reasons Why Ohio Governor John Kasich Will Be Our Next President

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 24, 2015

There are numerous reasons, actually.

Here are a few:

He has an excellent political background/pedigree/experience.
• In 1978, aged 26 he was elected to the Ohio State Senate’s 15th Senatorial District, and remains OH’s youngest ever elected state senator
• In 1982, he was elected to the US House of Representatives 12th Ohio District, where he served from ’83-2001 (was re-elected 8 times) by at least 64% each time
• In 2010, he was elected governor, and in 2014 re-elected in a landslide, carrying all but 2 counties (86/88) – including the traditionally Democratic-leaning Hamilton county, where Cincinnati is located

Ohio Governor John Kasich (2010 & 2014)

Ohio Governor John Kasich (2010 & 2014)

He has done quite well by Ohio voters.
• His approval rating (always fluctuating for any elected figure) among Ohioans, has been as much as 77%.
• He expanded Medicaid in Ohio (which reduces uncompensated care & increases hospitals’ solvency)
• He saved $3Billion in the Medicaid budget, and slowed growth in the plan from 9%-3%, the lowest rate nationally
• He used cost-saving reforms & turned a $6-8 Billion Ohio budget shortfall into a balanced budget without raising taxes
• During his first term as governor, he grew the “Rainy Day Fund” (surplus) from $890M-1.5B
• In his first budget, he implemented a Personal Income Tax cut
• In his second budget, he implemented a 10% Personal Income Tax cut, and a 50% Small Business Income Tax cut
• During his first term as governor, he created 316,800 new jobs, and the state Unemployment Rate fell from 9.4% to 5.1%
• Education funding is at the highest level it’s ever been
• Because of Criminal Justice reforms, Ohio’s recidivism rate (reoffending) of prisoners is the lowest in the nation
• He has vigorously worked Read the rest of this entry »

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Google Announces $600,000,000 Data Center Investment in Jackson County, Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This is THE biggest news for Alabama since development of NASA at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville!

JACKPOT!
Google Announces $600,000,000 data center investment in Jackson County, AL
https://www.google.com/about/datacenters/inside/locations/jackson-county/

100% powered by Renewable Energy
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2015/06/a-power-plant-for-internet-our-newest.html

A power plant for the Internet: our newest data center in Alabama

Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Every time you check your Gmail, search on Google for a nearby restaurant, or watch a YouTube video, a server whirs to life in one of our data centers. Data centers are the engines of the Internet, bringing the power of the web to millions of people around the world. And as millions more people come online, our data centers are growing, too.

We’ve recently expanded our data centers in Iowa, Georgia, Singapore and Belgium. And today we’re announcing a new data center in Alabama—our 14th site globally.

This time, we’re doing something we’ve never done before: we’ll be building on the grounds of the Widows Creek coal power plant in Jackson County, which has been scheduled for shutdown. Data centers need a lot of infrastructure to run 24/7, and there’s a lot of potential in redeveloping large industrial sites like former coal power plants. Decades of investment shouldn’t go to waste just because a site has closed; we can repurpose existing electric and other infrastructure to make sure our data centers are reliably serving our users around the world.

TVA Widow's Creek fossil plant will be the site for Google's 14th, and newest Data Center, and represents a $600,000,000 investment in Alabama.

TVA Widow’s Creek fossil plant will be the site for Google’s 14th, and newest Data Center, and represents a $600,000,000 investment in Alabama.

At Widows Creek, we can use the plants’ many electric transmission lines to bring in lots of renewable energy to power our new data center. Thanks to an arrangement with Tennessee Valley Authority, our electric utility, we’ll be able to scout new renewable energy projects and work with TVA to bring the power onto their electrical grid. Ultimately, this contributes to our goal of being powered by 100% renewable energy.

In 2010, we were one of the first companies outside of the utility industry to Read the rest of this entry »

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TVA Closing Widow’s Creek Coal-Fired Electricity Plant In Stevenson, Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 8, 2015

TVA announced recently the Board of Directors voted to close the last operating unit of 8 coal-fired electricity generating operating units at their Widow’s Creek facility near Stevenson, AL by October 2015.

Especially problematic was the issue of costs associated with storing “fly ash” the toxic residual waste generated by burning coal. While fly ash is used in construction of roads, and in concrete, there is more waste generated than used.

Nationwide, increased “accidents” from accumulated and overfilled swamps of coal ash have polluted rivers and water supplies. Remediation costs associated with cleanup, and repair of waste storage facilities has proven unprofitable for TVA and other coal-burning electricity-generating utilities.

According to Knoxville, TN television station WBIR, TVA has spent an estimated $1.2 billion cleaning up since the [December 2008 Kingston, TN] spill. Coal ash is left over from burning coal to power a power plant.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Democrats Vote to Save Jobs: ABC Privatization Bill Dies in Senate Committee

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A bill by State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) to privatize the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has died in the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee by a 7-6 vote along party lines, with one Republican voting ‘NO.’ The vote received applause from attendees.

A substitution bill presented by Orr would’ve changed the suspension penalty for Selling to Minors from one year to one week, and increased taxes, was also adopted along party line vote.
Orr said earlier that, “Part of our job is to downsize government,” and demanded a committee vote be taken on his bill today.

Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Administrator Mac Gipson testified that employees are paid from mark-ups from sales in the state’s 176 ABC stores. He also noted that by comparison, there are 587 private package stores in the state.

In Alabama, liquor is marked up at Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Solar Energy Farm Announced

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, February 13, 2015

TVA Announces 80 MegaWatt Solar Farm in Lauderdale County Alabama

At their quarterly board meeting, the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Valley Authority moved Thursday, February 12, 2015, to adopt resolutions which would allow TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson to:

  • Establish a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with NextEra for electricity from its planned 80MW solar farm in Lauderdale County, AL. The installation would be significantly larger than any existing solar facility in the Tennessee Valley.

and

  • Acquire for $340 Million Quantum Utility Generation’s Choctaw combined cycle Natural Gas (NatGas) plant near Ackerman, MS. TVA has been buying power from the 760MW plant since 2008. This would be TVA’s sixth combined cycle plant, with two more under construction, all since 2007.

Confidential terms of the agreements were not released.

Concerning the NatGas plant, Mr. Johnson said, “We can purchase the gas plant for substantially less than it would cost to build one, and the solar power is at a price competitive with other energy sources.”

The board unanimously approved the purchase of Quantum Utility Generation’s 760MW Choctaw combined-cycle power plant near Ackerman, MS, for about $340mn, or $447/kW, half the cost to build a new gas plant, according TVA Chief Operating Officer Charles Pardee.

TVA has bought most of the output of the Choctaw gas plant since 2008. If the deal closes, Choctaw will be the sixth combined-cycle gas plant TVA has purchased or built since 2007. Two more combined cycle plants are under construction.

Since 2007, TVA has built or bought Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis: Alabama Unemployment Higher Than Stated

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bentley UR Tweet 10-17-14

Alabama Governor Bentley claims he, and his policies – whatever they are (he has none… just look for your self) – have been responsible for declining Alabama Unemployment. Fact is, he’s blowing smoke.

Bentley UR Tweet Claim 10-17-14

Alabama Governor Bentley claims he, and his policies – whatever they are (he has none… just look for your self) – have been responsible for declining Alabama Unemployment. Fact is, he’s blowing smoke.

Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert Bentley, MD has crowed about “success” in lowering Alabama unemployment during the past 4 years of his term.

However, to be certain, a random statistical examination of the state’s Unemployment rate shows that it is very likely, AT LEAST two points higher than reported.  Here’s how.

Unemployment is calculated as a simple average. Take the number of people working, added into the number of people NOT working, AND who WANT to work, divided by the people who are available to work, gives the unemployment rate.

Here’s how the Bureau of  Labor Statistics defines the parameters of the equation:

What are the basic concepts of employment and unemployment?

The basic concepts involved in identifying the employed and unemployed are quite simple:
• People with jobs are employed.
• People who are jobless, looking for a job, and available for work are unemployed.
• The labor force is made up of the employed and the unemployed.
• People who are neither employed nor unemployed are not in the labor force.

Simply put, the formula is:

Unemployment Rate = Unemployed


Employed + Unemployed

 

However, if you’ve had a college course in Statistics – and most folks in Alabama have not (it’s part of maintaining the policy of “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”) – then you’d understand that a random sample of the set would show essentially the same results.

And face it… most folks in Alabama DO NOT HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION. In fact, according to the Alabama Department of Education, Alabama’s High School Drop Out rate is 28%. Page 2, Frame 2 of the linked document shows the 2010-2011 TOTAL Graduation Rate as 72%.

Face it… ALABAMA IS

Read the rest of this entry »

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Gone With The Wind: How Alabama’s State Legislature Blew Away $200 Million Of Industrial Development And Jobs

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

labama Governor Robert Bentley signed legislation PROHIBITING two out-of-state businesses from investing in Alabama & constructing business operations, and hiring. Total Cost of Loss = $200+ Million

By his refusal to act, Alabama Republican Governor Robert Bentley allowed legislation to pass which PROHIBITED TWO Out-of-State Businesses from Investing, Conducting Business Operations, and Hiring in Alabama.
Total Cost Loss To Alabama = $200+ Million

Governor Bentley Refused To Reign In Unfounded Fear Mongering By GOP Dominated Legislature

Fueled by unfounded, unscientific constituency fears, Legislators in Alabama’s state Senate and House of Representatives recently authored restrictive regulatory legislation which made it impossible for a Texas-based business to expand operations in Alabama. Not counting the jobs and salaries lost, the investment cost of the loss to Alabama exceeds $200 Million.

Specifically, Pioneer Green Energy, 802 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701, (512) 351-3363, planned to spend over $200 Million to build two facilities in Cherokee and Etowah counties to generate electricity, and hire local people to operate and maintain the facilities.

In comparison, Remington Arms – the firearms manufacturer which recently announced relocation to Huntsville, Alabama – will be spending $110 Million, with $38 Million in tax incentives provided by the state.

Pioneer was set to construct 30-45 wind-driven turbines (electricity-generating windmills) in Etowah county at a cost of $160 Million in their NoccalulaWind project. In nearby Cherokee county, they were set to construct 7-8 such windmills, at a cost of $40 Million in their ShinboneWind project.

A series of bills which originated in Alabama’s state Senate, and House of Representatives was effectively, the death knell for the projects.

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams, 10th Senate District, Floor of Alabama State Senate

State Senator Phil Williams, a Republican in Alabama’s 10th Senate District, speaks from the Floor of Alabama State Senate. He authored SB 402 & SB 403, prohibitive regulatory legislation which hamstrung $200 Million in Industrial Development and Jobs.

As reported by Conservation Alabama, April 10, 2014, in a column entitled “2014 Legislative Session recap, “Two local bills opposed by Conservation Alabama did pass. Senate Bills 402 and 403 requiring strict regulations for wind energy conversion systems in Etowah and Cherokee counties passed, eliminating any real chance of wind energy in those two counties. After these local bills passed it was thought that Senate Bill 12, a statewide bill to regulate wind energy conversion systems, would make it through with language that superseded the two local bills and included more reasonable and agreed upon language between the two sides. However, proponents of the bill could not get on the same page. Last minute changes to the bill created additional controversy, and the bill ultimately failed to pass in the House and consequently the two local bills will become law.”

Alabama state Senate Bills 402 and 403  were authored and sponsored by Senator Phil Williams, a Republican whom represents Alabama’s 10th Senate District, which includes Etowah and Cherokee counties. By profession, Senator Williams is a lawyer, and in part, he wrote this about himself on his legislative profile/biography webpage: “Phil Williams is the managing member of Williams & Associates, LLC, a law firm based in Gadsden, AL.” His campaign website states this, “His legal focus is largely in the areas of insurance, municipal and corporate defense.” (SB402 may be found online here -or downloaded from this site AL SB402-int– & SB 403 may be found online here  -or downloaded from this site AL SB403-int-)

Here’s Part One of the Grand Hypocrisy. The Alabama GOP website states this about Senator Williams: “One of the most promising freshman Senators in Montgomery is Phil Williams of Rainbow City. He is the proud sponsor of the Alabama Jobs Creation and Retention Act, which provides tax incentives to new or existing businesses that engage in industrial projects. Sen. Williams said, “This Act will help make Alabama a center of gravity for new and existing business growth, and is another example of our Republican-led senate following through on our campaign promises.””

Why would a State Senator whom sponsored the “Alabama Jobs Creation and Retention Act” author legislation that FORBADE the creation of jobs?

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams (R), authored regulatory legislation which hampered $200 Million Industrial Development in Alabama, and cost jobs.

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams (R), in green tie & suit, authored regulatory legislation which lost $200 Million Industrial Development in Alabama, and cost jobs.

According to an article in The Alabama Reporter written by Brandon Moseley, published 07 June 2013, Senator Williams, who hails from Rainbow City, is seeking a second term in office, and made this remark about his candidacy: “It has been a great honor to serve the people of Senate District 10 these past few years. We have accomplished so much of what the people in our communities said they wanted, and my intent is to continue the fight for conservative values and finish what we’ve started.”

Readers may recall that Etowah county is home to disgraced former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore – sometimes popularly known as “The Ten Commandments Judge” – who was removed from office following a hearing November 12, 2003 by a unanimous vote of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary. Since then, he campaigned for the same office – State Supreme Court Chief Justice – and was elected November 6, 2012.

It certainly seem that folks in Alabama Politics – that’d be the GOP/Republicans – are largely backwards, hypocritical, narrow minded fear mongers who appeal to their equally “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command” constituency.

Because while on one hand, they decry “regulation” and “excessive” regulation which they claim constrains business, and free enterprise – and therefore jobs – in the state, they simultaneously enact the very legislation they decry.

It’s called HYPOCRISY. And to be certain, it’s simply defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.”

This is a HUGE case in point, that an out-of-state business was prepared to construct and expand business operations in Alabama – from the ground, up. Had leased land, obtained easements, and every other necessary preliminary item to conduct business operations… including hiring professional services in Alabama to prepare for business operations.

BUT!

Wouldn’t you know it? The GOP-dominated Alabama State Legislature (House & Senate) enacted legislation, which passed without Governor Bentley’s signature, which PROHIBITED the businesses from even getting the first bulldozer out to clear land. Seriously.

Think I’m joking, exaggerating, or kidding?

Read on.

Oh… and be sure to thank them in November.

—-

Alabama regs too strict for turbines, says lawyer for wind energy developer

By William Thornton, wthornton@al.com
Twitter: WThorn7
on August 20, 2014 at 11:16 AM, updated August 20, 2014 at 12:03 PM

GADSDEN, Alabama — The lawyer for a Texas-based company abandoning plans for two windmill farms in northeast Alabama said today that recently approved state regulations on wind energy led to the decision.

Charlie Stewart, attorney for Pioneer Green Energy, said the company no longer has plans to develop two wind energy farms in Cherokee and Etowah counties. Groups opposing the development announced yesterday they had received word Pioneer Green was relinquishing land leases for the projects.

Pioneer Green Energy announced last year it planned to develop wind energy projects in the two counties, and said land leases had already been secured. Five Cherokee County residents filed suit in an attempt to stop the development, and a group of Etowah County residents also filed suit.

Pioneer Green planned a $40 million project with seven to eight turbines in Cherokee County. The larger Etowah County project would have had 30 to 45 turbines costing $160 million.

Stewart said the company was ready to begin construction when the lawsuits were filed, and the legislation passed earlier this year, which established setback and noise standards.

That bill required the state’s Public Safety Commission to oversee wind farms, mandated that noise from the turbines not exceed an average of 50 decibels, and laid out a setback of five times the height of the tower from the base to the nearest property line. Last year, a company official said the legislation was too restrictive by making the property line the threshold and not the nearest residence or structure.

Stewart said much of the opposition was fueled by “hysteria.”

“The bill was basically Read the rest of this entry »

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Who Pays Unskilled Labor US $80,000/year?!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 22, 2014

“For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”
-1Tim5:18

Lately, much has been made of raising the Minimum Wage, which does nothing more than establish a minimum standard.

But who cares about minimums?

We should strive to exceed!

Some well-known, publicly-traded, highly profitable firms, however, revel in greed, and wallow in the slop, when they can do far better for the employees who operate their businesses.

The question is often asked “why pay unskilled workers $10 or even more per hour?”

It’s a valid question, and deserves a genuinely thoughtful response.

So, let’s pose that question to BIG OIL COMPANIES in Williston, North Dakota, where…

“oilfield companies pay unskilled 19 year-olds $80,000 a year.”

 

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/mall-middle-what-used-be-nowhere

by Dan Weissmann
Monday, June 16, 2014 – 15:21

Williston, North Dakota, has the nation’s highest rents. Thanks to the fracking boom, a basic apartment in Williston costs more than something similar in New York or San Francisco. And it comes with a lot fewer amenities.

For instance, shopping. If Walmart doesn’t have it, the nearest outlet is at least two hours away. Now, a Swiss investment firm has announced plans to Read the rest of this entry »

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Bureau of Labor Statistics Labor Force Participation Reports May 2014: Don’t Believe the “Spin”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 8, 2014

This will be of interest to the curious, especially those who seek and search for the truth.

Asserting to cite data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), CNS News recently reported that the Labor Force participation rate was at a 36-year low.
The headline to that story reads:
37.2%: Percentage Not in Labor Force Remains at 36-Year High
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/372-percentage-not-labor-force-remains-36-year-high

Upon examination of the BLS website, the data was found to be honest and accurate.
http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000

Information on the data set presented is:
Data extracted on: June 8, 2014 (4:07:31 PM)
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
Series ID: LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title: (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status: Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data: Percent or rate
Age: 16 years and over

Following is the chart as shown on the BLS website:

Chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of Labor Force Participation, Seasonally adjusted http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000

Chart #2: From the Bureau of Labor Statistics of Labor Force Participation, Seasonally adjusted http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000 Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate, age 16+

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the information is accurate – that is, if it accurately represents the thing it purports to represent – then there is a genuine cause for concern, perhaps even alarm. But first, sometimes, information has to pass the “smell test.” If it just doesn’t sound right, dig a little deeper.

However, there is a DEFINITE skew which, when considered, renders the interpretation of the findings questionable, at best.

Since there are TWO separate entities reporting the SAME information, how could it possibly be inaccurate, or incorrect?

Let’s consider further, to determine if such alarm might be genuinely warranted.

Searching for Labor Force Participation Rate datasets from Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the LGBT community should support Shirey Ice Cream in Florence, Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Edwin Markham, American poet,

Edwin Markham, American poet

Outwitted

He drew a circle that shut me out–

Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.

But Love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle that took him in!

by Edwin Markham, April 23, 1852 – March 7, 1940

That brief poem, or epigram, by Edwin Markham summarizes succinctly the idea upon which I will expound in this entry.

In the past several days, it came to light that a Shoals area Alabama entrepreneur, Garrett Shirey – who, with his brothers Reese & Austin, are founders and co-owners of Shirey Ice Cream in the northwest Alabama town of Florence, population 39,447 – had Tweeted at least two uncharacteristic and very unbecoming messages. The specific dates and times they were made, and the content can be seen in the screen shot images of the Tweets, both which appear later in this entry.

First, some background.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Teaching Jobs Lost Under Alabama Governor Bentley

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 8, 2014

Yet more bad news from Governor Bentley’s incompetent, do-nothing administration.

Chalk up more jobs lost.

This is a DIRECT RESULT of the closure of the International Paper manufacturing facility in Courtland.

And the best worst part is, he’s playing with our children’s lives.

Be certain to thank him at the ballot box this November.

And the bad, sad news is undeniable: Alabamians are “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

When will Alabamians learn?

Wait… if the residents are “largely poor” they’re certain to be “uneducated, and [therefore] easy to command.”

Remember the cheer” We like it, we love it… we want some more of it!

Or if not, how about the line in the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist?

Please, sir… I want some more“.

Alabama obviously likes it, and hasn’t gotten a bellyful yet.

Again… apply the circular logic of:

“largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

(Board Of Education) BOE cuts local funded teacher units

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 6:00 am

The Lawrence County Board of Education continued to take steps to solidify the county’s financial footing Monday night, eliminating five certified positions in an effort to cut the number of locally funded teacher units.

Superintendent Heath Grimes said more cuts could be on the horizon.

“We have to start focusing on building our financial reserves and this is one step in doing that,” he said. “We’ve been working closely with the state Board of Education to get a plan in place to build a one-month operating reserve and this is one of the suggest measures.”

Lawrence County’s one-month operating cost is roughly $3.2 million. Grimes said the board has $1.5 million in reserve.

“It’s important to understand that, yes, we are Read the rest of this entry »

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Fun-n-Easy Guessing Game… of International Intrigue

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 28, 2014

Hey kiddos!

Here’s a funneasy guessing game!
(Emphasis on “easy.”)

Don’t be scared or intimidated by the fill-in-the-blanks.
(Which appear as _?nation?_.)

It’s really only two answers.
(The other answer is _?currency?_.)

HINT: (None of which are “United States.”)
FROM:

The CIA World Factbook

The _?nation?_ economy has experienced continuous growth and features low unemployment, contained inflation, very low public debt, and a strong and stable financial system. By 2012, _?_ had experienced more than 20 years of continued economic growth, averaging 3.5% a year.

Demand for resources and energy from Asia and especially China has grown rapidly, creating a channel for resources investments and growth in commodity exports. The high _?currency?_ has hurt the manufacturing sector, while the services sector is the largest part of the _?nation?_  economy, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of jobs.

_?nation?_ was comparatively unaffected by the global financial crisis as the banking system has remained strong and inflation is under control.

_?nation?_ has benefited from a dramatic surge in its terms of trade in recent years, stemming from Read the rest of this entry »

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Perspective – By the Numbers: How has Job Loss under Governor Bentley & the GOP affected Alabama?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 14, 2014

It’s easy to talk about “the jobs situation” in Alabama. It’s especially easier to talk about it when it doesn’t affect you… directly. It’s like armchair quarterbacking.

There’s probably much truth to the statement that Alabama’s legislators aren’t directly affected by job loss in the state. They have jobs. As musician Steve Miller sang in his song “Take the Money and Run,” they make their “living off other people’s taxes.” That goes for Republicans AND Democrats. Such an observation, of course, is not to demean those who do “make their living off other people’s taxes,” because our military, public safety and others vital to our local, state and national well-being are among them. It is however, an acknowledgment of, and call to responsibility – not merely accountability – because accountability is the only remnant once responsibility has departed. And that is how the “Blame Game” is played.

In the previous entry entitled “Analysis – Examining the Record: Is Alabama Governor Bentley a “Jobs Creator” or a Drag on the State Economy?,” we looked at facts & figures about job loss & job creation during Governor Bentley’s administration.

In this entry, we examine some details on the extent of the damage done to families & individuals under his administration.

And so, let’s again refer to some previously-mentioned facts & figures, and introduce some new ones so that we can better understand the nature, scope and and extent of the situation, and corresponding problems Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis – Examining the Record: Is Alabama Governor Bentley a “Jobs Creator” or a Drag on the State Economy?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 12, 2014

When campaigning for the office of Alabama’s Governor, Robert Bentley – a retired dermatologist physician who at the time was an elected representative from Tuscaloosa County – promised if elected governor that, “I will forgo a salary as state representative for the rest of my term and will not accept a salary as Governor until Alabama reaches full employment.”
ref: http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/06/robert_bentley_extends_no-sala.html

When pressed on the matter, he later defined “full employment” as having state unemployment somewhere around 5%. It is a promise to which, as of the date of this entry – 12 April 2014 – he has kept. In other words, Alabama has NOT reached “full employment,” and he has not been paid a salary. He has, however, been compensated for out-of-pocket expenses (the governor’s office has a budget, so why would he personally have any such expenses for work in an official capacity?), though he has received – as legislator, a legally-mandated $1.00 per month salary. Since his election to the governorship, he has not received a salary.

Let’s examine Governor Bentley‘s employment record.

During Governor Robert Bentley’s watch, International Paper – the large paper mill formerly known as Champion Paper, in Courtland, and the largest employer in Lawrence County – closed and cost the area economy & state 1100 jobs. Those jobs were Read the rest of this entry »

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Historical Audio: Reagan supported increased wages & labor protection

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 11, 2014

Seems as if everything old is news again.

Of course, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

GOP Panics As Audio Emerges Proving Their Hero Reagan Would Oppose Current GOP Policies

Author: April 9, 2014 6:49 pm

A 1948 audio recording of Ronald Reagan shows that he would have opposed the GOP’s policies today. In fact, if the GOP actually knew anything about Reagan’s history, they’d wonder how he even ended up in the party to begin with. The right-wing lunatic fringe runs today’s GOP. Back when this recording was made, Ronald Reagan sounded far more like one of today’s liberal Democrats than a Republican. The difference is astonishing.

Ronald Reagan on the 1946 GOP’s plan to increase people’s real incomes:

“The profits of corporations have doubled, while workers’ wages have increased by only one quarter. In other words, profits have gone up four times as much as wages. And the small increase workers did receive was eaten up by rising prices, which also bored into their savings.”

Gee, that sounds an awful lot like what’s happening now. Soaring corporate profits should mean that workers’ wages go up, also. Instead, more people than ever live paycheck to paycheck, and fewer have any savings to speak of, let alone enough to pay six months of living expenses in case of an emergency. But the stock market has reached record highs several times. So everything’s cool, at least as far as the GOP is concerned.

Ronald Reagan on the “free market” and rising prices:

“High prices have not been caused by higher wages, but by bigger and bigger profits. The Republican promises sounded pretty good in 1946. But what has happened since then? Since the 80th Congress took over? Prices have climbed to the highest level in history, although the death of the OPA was supposed to bring prices down through ‘the natural process of free competition.’”

So, even back then, the Republican ideal of the free market didn’t work the way they insisted, and Ronald Reagan could see that. These days, they still want the government to stay out. They want competition to work for lowering prices and creating jobs. However, the so-called “free market” that they want tends toward monopolies and/or price collusion, which both drive prices up. These two situations prevent new businesses from entering the market to compete, and hurt consumers and workers, while driving profits sky-high.

Ronald Reagan on working Americans: Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Lawmaker Arthur Orr has Big Idea to Destroy State’s Competitive Business

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Alabama State Senator Arthur Orr (R, Decatur) has proposed eliminating the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board‘s retail outlets statewide.

Senator Orr represents the Third District, which includes Morgan, Madison and Limestone counties in the Alabama State Senate.

He attempts to justify his position by asking a rhetorical question, on pretense of being modern: “The fundamental question, I think, for us as legislators and as a state, is, should the state of Alabama Read the rest of this entry »

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Government Spending

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 14, 2013

More than a few folks recall the significant benefit the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) provided this nation, and how our nation’s infrastructure (roads, waterways, electrical power grid, etc.) grew during that time. In Monte Sano State Park, in Huntsville, Alabama, there are cabins which are STILL standing, and which are in EXCELLENT repair, that were constructed by the CCC. It is testament to their quality, and to the effort to put people to work in this nation in the aftermath of the Great Depression.

Sadly, this largely Republican-led, “just-say-no” congress has done NOTHING to produce or encourage any type of jobs. That is to say, they have written NO BILLS to promote, encourage or stimulate hiring. NONE.

And yet, there is a sure-fire, time-tested way to get folks back to work – and what is being done about it?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Offshoring American Enterprise: Good, Bad, or Indifferent?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, August 24, 2013

I may step on a few toes with my next remark, but I can always apologize, and ask forgiveness if it so be the case that my remarks are found offensive.

However, suffice it to say, that our nation’s Congress, has, for at least the past 20 years, or so – and even moreso in the past decade plus – embarked upon a very Read the rest of this entry »

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Remarks by President Barack Obama at Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Amazon Distribution Center on Jobs for the Middle Class, 07/30/13

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

July 30, 2013

Remarks by the President on Jobs for the Middle Class, 07/30/13

Amazon Chattanooga Fulfillment Center
Chattanooga, Tennessee

2:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Chattanooga!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Tennessee.  (Applause.)  It’s great to be here at Amazon.  (Applause.)

I want to thank Lydia for the introduction and sharing her story.  Give Lydia a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  So this is something here.  I just finished getting a tour of just one little corner of this massive facility — size of 28 football fields.  Last year, during the busiest day of the Christmas rush, customers around the world ordered more than 300 items from Amazon every second, and a lot of those traveled through this building.  So this is kind of like the North Pole of the south right here.  (Applause.)  Got a bunch of good-looking elves here.

Before we start, I want to recognize your general manager, Mike Thomas.  (Applause.)  My tour guide and your vice president, Dave Clark.  (Applause.)  You’ve got the Mayor of Chattanooga, Andy Berke.  (Applause.)  And you’ve got one of the finest gentlemen I know, your Congressman, Jim Cooper.  (Applause.)  So thank you all for being here.

So I’ve come here today to talk a little more about something I was discussing last week, and that’s what we need to do as a country to secure a better bargain for the middle class -– a national strategy to make sure that every single person who’s willing to work hard in this country has a chance to succeed in the 21st century economy.  (Applause.)

Now, you heard from Lydia, so you know — because many of you went through it — over the past four and a half years, we’ve been fighting our way back from the worst recession since the Great Depression, and it cost millions of Americans their jobs and their homes and their savings.  And part of what it did is it laid bare the long-term erosion that’s been happening when it comes to middle-class security.

But because the American people are resilient, we bounced back.  Together, we’ve righted the ship.  We took on a broken health care system.  We invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil.  Changed a tax code that had become tilted too much in favor of the wealthy at the expense of working families.  Saved the auto industry, and thanks to GM and the UAW working together, we’re bringing jobs back here to America, including 1,800 autoworkers in Spring Hill.  (Applause.)  1,800 workers in Spring Hill are on the job today where a plant was once closed.

Today, our businesses have created 7.2 million new jobs over the last 40 months.  This year, we’re off to our best private-sector jobs growth since 1999.  We now sell more products made in America to the rest of the world than ever before.  (Applause.)  We produce more renewable energy than ever.  We produce more natural gas than anybody else in the world.  (Applause.)  Health care costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years.  Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.  (Applause.)

So thanks to hardworking folks like you, thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we’ve been able to clear away some of the rubble from the financial crisis.  We’ve started to lay a new foundation for a stronger, more durable America — the kind of economic growth that’s broad-based, the foundation required to make this century another American century.

But as I said last week, and as any middle-class family will tell you, we’re not there yet.  Even before the financial crisis hit, we were going through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better, but most families were working harder and harder just to get by.  And reversing that trend should be Washington’s highest priority.  (Applause.)  It’s my highest priority.

But so far, for most of this year, we’ve seen Read the rest of this entry »

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President Barack Obama to visit Chattanooga, Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chattanooga is an old, old, old, old city.

It’s older than Civil War old.

Throughout the city there are narrow streets, many (if not most) of which need widening and repaving. Interstate 24, which leads into the city, is in sore need of widening. Because of the twisting, winding route it takes as it leads into, through and around the city and it’s numerous mountains and hills, it can be treacherous. When any slowdown for any reason occurs, traffic can be backed up for 15-20 miles, or more. When wrecks occur on that route, they’re often fatal, and create even longer delays. The only other major route into the city is US Highway 72. There is no bypass. If there are problems on either of those two routes, significant delays can take hours. (See a Google Map of the area.)

It has a university – University of Tennessee, Chattanooga – with other smaller colleges & universities nearby (Lee University, in Cleveland & Southern Adventist University, in Collegedale). One of three hospitals in the area (each which has numerous campuses) Erlanger, is a Level One Trauma Center, and teaching hospital for the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Memorial Hospital, is part of the Catholic Health Initiatives system, and is a teaching hospital, while Parkridge Hospital is operated by TriStar Health.

Because of industrial waste released by area manufacturing, in 1969, Chattanooga had the filthiest air in the nation. The Tennessee River which serves as a boundary for the area was equally polluted. For many years, troubles GALORE plagued the city, including economic inequality, poor race relations, deteriorating economic infrastructure, rapid population decline, and departure of industry.

Recognizing that the city and area residents were suffering a slow suicide, officials and interested citizens embarked upon a plan to revitalize the area, including cleaning up industrial waste, reinvigorating the economy with employment opportunity, and looking forward, rather than backward.

EPB (Electric Power Board), one of the public utilities in the area, came upon an idea to infuse their power grid with Fiber Optic cable to enable better response times, to pinpoint areas of concern, and to re-route electricity during power outages when lines were downed by trees or severe weather. They faced stiff opposition in the form of legal fights by Comcast (principally), yet were successful in overcoming. In turn, they sold High Speed fiber optic Internet Connectivity to area residents at a significantly reduced cost in comparison to the Wall-Street-traded Comcast. They also provide better service.

While the area’s renaissance is by no means complete, it has advanced with enormously significant strides.


 

Obama to visit uneven Chattanooga area recovery


published Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Mike Pare, deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Mike Pare MPare@TimesFreepress.com phone: 423-757-6318

Mike Pare, Deputy Business Editor, Chattanooga Times Free Press; MPare@ TimesFreePress.com phone: (423) 757-6318

by Mike Pare
view bio

When President Barack Obama flies into Chattanooga on Tuesday to tout new economic initiatives, he’ll see a city recognized in a national study as a metro area emerging from the recession as an “economic frontrunner.”

Area Development, a national business magazine covering site selection and relocation, ranked metro Chattanooga at No. 86 — in the top quarter — among 380 metro areas examined for the study titled “Leading Locations for 2013.”

While in Chattanooga Obama is expected to unveil new ways to spur the nation’s sluggish economic recovery.

At the Amazon distribution center at Enterprise South industrial park, the president will see a growing, state-of-the-art distribution facility with 1,800 full-time jobs created since 2011. The Chattanooga facility, along with Read the rest of this entry »

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Smithfield Foods Chinese Pork Project is a Wall Street Happy Meal Deal: American Prices Will Increase

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If you like bacon, ham, pork sausage, barbecue, ribs, or any other pork product – including cold cuts & pizza – get ready to pay at least 2 – 4 times more, and for shortages.

Why?

Wall Street minions – who manage Smithfield, an American company no more – have no patriotic qualms about taking food off your table and out of your mouth to feed the mouths of the people who steal our nation’s military secrets, defraud our motion picture & music copyrights, and have an historical track record of Shanghai-ing anyone & everyone who gets in their way.

You think I’m kidding, or that I don’t know what I’m writing about?

Just recollect back a few months – oh, say about 7 – to Thanksgiving in November 2012 when pecans were 2x – 3x the price they were usually.

And why was that?

After all, pecan farmers had a record bumper crop… and that typically translates into lower prices for consumers.

It’s because the Chinese suddenly discovered they liked pecans, and were willing to pay premium prices (translate: much MORE then you’re willing to pay), and so the growers shipped pecans over to China.

As I continue to contend, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.

Okay… so it may cost more. So what?

How about this?

Were you aware that the Chinese company that bought Smithfield sold pigs that had been fed a substance banned in the USA & England & other nations?

Yup.

Shuanghui Group, China’s largest meat processor, sold pigs fed Clenbuterol in 2011. Here are three links about the ordeal.

And, would it surprise you to find out that Goldman Sachs is one of the top investors?

1.) “According to Chinese government data, 18 outbreaks of food-related clenbuterol poisoning occurred between 1998 and 2007. The most recent report indicates one person died and more than 1,700 others fell ill.”

2.) “Meanwhile, at Jiyuan Shuanghui’s processing facilities, of the 689 pigs awaiting slaughter, 19 tested positive for clenbuterol. Shuanghui, which counts Goldman Sachs among its investors, has shut down the Jiyuan branch affected by the contamination so it can conduct its own inspection.”

3.) “And in recent months the additive has earned notoriety in China after a string of people got sick from eating pork products full of it. Hundreds took ill in one incident in March, and this week, 286 people in Hunan province after eating pork contaminated with ractopamine, a chemical very similar to clenbuterol. Chinese livestock farmers began using clenbuterol in pig feed in the late 1980s to boost growth and get animals to market faster, but it was banned in 2002 as the health risks of eating the meat became better understood. Clenbuterol-tainted meat dizziness, headaches, hand tremors, and other unpleasantness. It’s especially risky for people with heart troubles.”

Shuanghui Agrees to Acquire Smithfield Foods for $4.72B

By Shruti Date Singh and Jeffrey McCracken – May 29, 2013

Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., China’s biggest pork producer, agreed to acquire Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD) for about $4.72 billion to boost supplies for the nation that’s the biggest consumer of the meat.

Closely held Shuanghui, parent of Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co. (000895), will pay $34 a share for the Smithfield, Virginia-based producer, both companies said today in a statement. The offer is 31 percent more than yesterday’s closing share price.

China’s consumption of pork is rising with the expansion of its middle class while there are questions being asked about the safety of the country’s food supply. Smithfield’s livestock unit is the world’s largest hog producer, bringing about 15.8 million of the animals to market a year, according to the company’s website. It owns 460 farms and has contracts with 2,100 others across 12 U.S. states.

The takeover is valued at $7.1 billion including debt, which would make it the largest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company, according to Read the rest of this entry »

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The GIANT SUCKING SOUND South of the Border. -or- Ross Perot was right.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ross Perot was right.

Scene: 1992 Presidential Debate: Former Arkansas Governor William Jefferson Clinton – D, President George H. W. Bush – R, and Ross Perot – I.

White Male Audience Member: Yes, I’d like to direct my question to Mr. Perot. What will you do, as President, to open foreign markets to fair competiton from American business, and to stop unfair competition here at home from foreign countries, so that we can bring jobs back to the United States?

Ross Perot: That’s right at the top of my agenda.

We’ve shipped millions of jobs overseas, and uh… we have a strained situation because we have a process in Washington, where after you’ve served for a while, you cash in, become a foreign lobbyist, make $30,000 a month, then take a leave, work on presidential campaigns, make sure you got good contacts, and then go back out.

And if you just want to get down to brass tacks, the first thing you ought to do is get all these folks who got these one-way trade agreements that we’ve negotiated over the years, and say ‘fellas, we’ll take the same deal we gave you.’ And they’ll gridlock right at that point, because, Read the rest of this entry »

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Federal Reserve’s “Beige Book” shows improving economy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Federal Reserve regularly publishes a summary of economic activity in the 12 Federal Reserve Districts in the United States.

It is important to note that “This document summarizes comments received from businesses and other contacts outside the Federal Reserve and is not a commentary on the views of Federal Reserve officials.”

Much, if not most of the news was promising.

Summary highlights from this Beige Book 2013-01-16 are that:

• “Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity has expanded since the previous Beige Book report, with all twelve Districts characterizing the pace of growth as either modest or moderate.”

• “All twelve districts reported some growth in Read the rest of this entry »

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December 2012 Jobs Picture

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Employment Situation in December

January 04, 2013
09:30 AM ES

While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.

With the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act earlier this week, more than 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses now have certainty that their income taxes will not rise. Additionally, unemployment insurance was extended for two million Americans who are searching for a job, and companies will continue to receive tax credits for the research that they do and continue to have tax incentives to accelerate investment in their businesses. By allowing income tax cuts for the top two percent of earners to expire, this legislation further reduces the deficit by $737 billion over the next decade. It is important that we continue to move toward a sustainable federal budget in a responsible way that balances revenue and spending while protecting critical investments in the economy and essential support for our most vulnerable citizens.

Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector businesses added Read the rest of this entry »

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Another Example of how Corporate Greed Killed American Jobs

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, January 12, 2013

This time, it’s Hawaiian Pineapple Production.

And, it’s an old story.

Del Monte to End Pineapple Production in Hawaii

Last Crop Will Be Harvested in 2008

By , About.com Guide

Del Monte to End Pineapple Production in Hawaii

Pineapple Growing in Central Oahu;
Photo by John Fischer

Sugar and Pineapple – those two words used to be synonymous with Hawaii. In a year where Hawaiians of Filipino decent are celebrating their 100th anniversary in the islands, one of the two cash crops which brought them to Hawaii along with immigrants from China and Japan is facing another long-time grower abandoning the islands for cheaper production elsewhere.Where once sugar cane and pineapple fields were strewn across most of the Hawaiian islands, now you’ll find housing developments, resort hotels and condominiums and more often, just barren fields.

Del Monte to Cease Pineapple Production in Hawaii

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. announced last week that after 90 years in Hawaii, they will plant their last crop of pineapple on Oahu this month and will cease all operations by 2008 when that crop is harvested.Citing the expense of Read the rest of this entry »

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Big Business Profit Model Harms Long Term Profitability

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Perhaps the most telling rationale, or motivation for the course upon which corporations have set is explained in this statement by ANDREW SMITHERS: Yes, the current way in which managements are rewarded is perverse from an economic viewpoint. Adam Smith pointed out that some characteristics of human beings such as greed, which are often unpleasant at a personal level, can nonetheless bring social benefits. But this is not necessarily the case under current remuneration systems; greed is increasingly the cause of harm rather than help to the economy.

The long and short of it, is greed. And in that paragraph is the solitary mention of the word or practice.

Philosophically, this time, this period in our nation’s history – and in the history of the world, and in the greater, long term picture of humanity – is yet another prime example, and case in point illustrating why and how the selfishness of greed is unsustainable and genuinely evil.

Capital Wins, Labor Loses, But Andrew Smithers Says It Can’t Go On

MAKING SENSE — December 26, 2012 at 4:48 PM EDT

BY: PAUL SOLMAN

Warehouse manager at operations desk on computer. Photo courtesy of John McBride & Company Inc.

Warehouse manager at operations desk on computer. Photo courtesy of John McBride & Company Inc.

Paul Solman: Jon Shayne is not just the world’s No. 1 econo-crooner, belting out economics tunes of his own invention under the stage name Merle Hazard at his own website and for the PBS NewsHour audience on inflation, on the Greek debt crisis, on the euro crisis in general, on too-big-to-fail banks, and most recently, on the fiscal cliff.

No, Shayne/Hazard is no one-trick pony. He is also a noted money manager, recently highlighted by Forbes magazine for his perspicacity in stock-picking. Wrote Forbes: “If you follow the stock market, Jon Shayne is worth a good, long listen. Especially now.”

Having listened to Jon plenty over the past few years, I agree, especially with his emphasis on the increasing share of national income commanded by the owners of capital, in contrast to labor. This angle is the focus of Forbes’ story as well.

So I asked Jon to elaborate for the Making Sen$e audience. He has done so by interviewing the person who inspired his thoughts on the subject, British economist Andrew Smithers, who formerly ran the asset management business of S.G. Warburg, and now Read the rest of this entry »

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The Oracle at Delphi: Mitt Romney’s direct tie to increased unemployment in North Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, October 20, 2012

The average reader may not be aware that there was once a huge Delphi plant in Limestone county, Alabama, which facility was located directly across from Calhoun Community College.

American Industry... closed. - M1510 h712

Mitt Romney owned a significant interest in a firm that profited by laying off workers, dumping their pensions, moving to China, and then profiting rapaciously from the TARP bailout. That large plant – one among many, with the largest one being in Alabama – was the Delphi Steering Gear facility in Tanner, near Decatur, in Limestone County.

It was one of North Alabama‘s LARGEST employers – with emphasis on “was.”

The men & women who made careers there, whose labors enabled their children to attend college, provided their families’ clothing, groceries, housing & healthcare, and provided for their own retirement, and which was a union shop, was shuttered several years ago.

Most of what news I recall about it centered around how corporate traders, not unions, were wanting even more & more profit when they were already profitable. Time and time again, the workers took cuts in benefits & pay to keep their jobs for as long as they could… all to no avail.

Like a gazelle savaged on the plains of the Kalahari Desert in Africa, that once prosperous plant has been laid to waste, and there are only industrial skeletal remains. Even the human buzzards, scavenging metal for recycling from the industrial carcass, have left. For many years now, the hollow exterior hulk, instead of employees, materials & labor, has been drawing cobwebs, dust & rust. And soon, like all things left unattended, it too will crumble.

There are no taxes paid to Limestone county, or to nearby Decatur, Athens or Huntsville, or to Alabama for roads, schools, police & fire protection. But there is an even greater issue, one which is exceedingly more weighty and sorrowful. As a result of it all, there is no hope, there are no jobs, and there is no future.

Here’s the even more disturbing part: Mitt Romney had his hand in that pie.

And yet the saddest and most perplexing part is, that most Alabamians will vote for the GOP nominee/candidate.

Following the economic investigative report are historical local news reports that show the progression about the issue (which validate the economic investigative report by Greg Palast), from the:
Decatur Daily,
Huntsville Times,
• Associated Press,
• Athens-Limestone News Courier,
• Saginaw News (via MLive.com), and
• Wall Street Journal,
dating 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010.

For the benefit of the reader, Greg Palast is an economist and financial investigator turned journalist whose series on vulture funds appeared on BBC Television’s Newsnight. He is the author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (Penguin) and, most recently, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps (Seven Stories). For additional information about him, his website is: http://www.gregpalast.com.

Mitt Romney’s Bailout Bonanza

Greg Palast, October 17, 2012   |    This article appeared in the November 5, 2012 edition of The Nation.

This investigation was supported by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute and by the Puffin Foundation. Elements of it appear in Palast’s new book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps (Seven Stories). Research assistance by Zach D. Roberts, Ari Paul, Nader Atassi and Eric Wuestewald.

Mitt Romney

2012 GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mitt Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout has haunted him on the campaign trail, especially in Rust Belt states like Ohio. There, in September, the Obama campaign launched television ads blasting Romney’s November 2008 New York Times op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” But Romney has done a good job of concealing, until now, the fact that he and his wife, Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneys’, were astronomical—more than 3,000 percent on their investment.

It all starts with Delphi Automotive, a former General Motors subsidiary whose auto parts remain essential to GM’s production lines. No bailout of GM—or Chrysler, for that matter—could have been successful without saving Delphi. So, in addition to making massive loans to automakers in 2009, the federal government sent, directly or indirectly, more than $12.9 billion to Delphi—and to the hedge funds that had gained control over it.

One of the hedge funds profiting from that bailout—
$1.28 billion so far—is Elliott Management, directed by 
Paul Singer. According to TheWall Street Journal, Singer has given more to support GOP candidates—$2.3 million—than anyone else on Wall Street this election season. His personal giving is matched by that of his colleagues at Elliott; collectively, they have donated $3.4 million to help elect Republicans this season, while giving only $1,650 to Democrats. And Singer is influential with the GOP presidential candidate; he’s not only an informal adviser but, according to theJournal, his support was critical in helping push Representative Paul Ryan onto the ticket.

Singer, whom Fortune magazine calls a “passionate defender of the 1%,” has carved out a specialty investing in distressed firms and distressed nations, which he does by buying up their debt for pennies on the dollar and then demanding payment in full. This so-called “vulture investor” received $58 million on Peruvian debt that he snapped up for $11.4 million, and $90 million on Congolese debt that he bought for a mere $20 million. In the process, he’s built one of the largest private equity firms in the nation, and over decades he’s racked up an unusually high average return on investments of 14 percent.

Other GOP presidential hopefuls chased Singer’s endorsement, but Mitt chased Singer with his own checkbook, investing at least $1 million with Elliott through Ann Romney’s blind trust (it could be far more, but the Romneys have declined to disclose exactly how much). Along the way, Singer gained a reputation, according to Fortune, “for strong-arming his way to profit.” That is certainly what happened at Delphi.

* * *

Delphi, once the Delco unit of General Motors, was spun off into a separate company in 1999. Read the rest of this entry »

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Federal Reserve: Economy “Strengthening” & “Generally Expanded”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 12, 2012

“Most Districts reported strengthening in existing home sales, while prices were described as steady to increasing, with declining inventories noted in the Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts.

“Automobile sales were flat over the past six weeks but are up year-over-year.

“Demand for consumer credit remained relatively strong, Read the rest of this entry »

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Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Four-Year Low

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Four-Year Low

Fewer Americans than forecast filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, which may reflect difficulty adjusting the data for seasonal swings at the start of a new quarter.

Applications for jobless benefits dropped 30,000 to 339,000 in the week ended Oct. 6, the fewest since February 2008, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 370,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. One state accounted for Read the rest of this entry »

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Draught Raises Corn Price, Milk Profits fall, Cows get Slaughtered

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Regardless whether global climate change is man-made, or cyclical… it’s going to affect us all, and we would be wise to DO SOMETHING to PRESERVE, PROTECT and DEFEND ourselves NOW!

Milk-Cow Drought Culling Accelerates as Prices Jump: Commodities

U.S. milk production is headed for the biggest contraction in 12 years as a drought-fueled surge in feed costs drives more cows to slaughter.

Output will drop 0.5 percent to 198.9 billion pounds (90.2 million metric tons) in 2013 as the herd shrinks to an eight- year low, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. Milk futures rose 45 percent since mid-April and may advance at least another 19 percent to a record $25 per 100 pounds by June, said Shawn Hackett. The president of Boynton Beach, Florida-based Hackett Financial Advisers Inc. correctly predicted the rally in March.

Dairies in California, the top milk-producing state, are filing for bankruptcy, and U.S. cows are being slaughtered at the fastest rate in more than a quarter century. Corn surged to a record in August as the USDA forecast the smallest crop in six years because of drought across the U.S. Global dairy prices tracked by the United Nations rose 6.9 percent last month, the most among the five food groups monitored, and that will probably mean record costs next year, Rabobank estimates.

“Farmers can’t afford to buy as much grain and protein, and that affects milk production,” said Bob Cropp, an economist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison who has been following the industry since 1966. “In California, there’ve been some foreclosures and some sell-off of cows quite heavily. You’re going to see that in other parts of the country.”

Mercantile Exchange

Class III milk, used to make cheese, jumped 22 percent to $21.05 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange this year. That’s more than 21 of the 24 commodities in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index, which rose 1.8 percent. The MSCI All-Country World Index (MXWD) of equities climbed 12 percent, and Treasuries Read the rest of this entry »

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Man that predicted Great Recession dead aged 90

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jay Levy, Part of ‘Dynasty’ That Forecast 2008 Crash, Dies at 90

Jay Levy, who worked with his father, then his son, to publish an economics-forecasting newsletter, now in its seventh decade, that predicted the collapse in housing and latest recession, has died. He was 90.

He died on Oct. 4 at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York, according to his son, David. The cause was pneumonia. A resident of Somers, New York, he had suffered a series of mini-strokes in recent years.

The Levy Forecast, founded in 1949 as Industry Forecast, bills itself as the oldest paid newsletter devoted to economic analysis in the U.S. It is published by the Mount Kisco-based Jerome Levy Forecasting Center LLC, of which Levy was most recently senior counsel and managing director. The center carries the name of his father, Jerome, who died in 1967. Jay Levy’s son, David Levy, is chairman. They were part of what Forbes magazine, in 1983, called “a kind of economic dynasty.”

Levy and his son were “right as rain” in predicting the financial crisis and recession that began in 2007-2008, Alan Abelson wrote in Barron’s in January 2009.

Among the red flags they had raised was this from the November 2005 Levy Forecast:

“Just as the last recession was caused by Read the rest of this entry »

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A Retrospective: Bush & the GOP’s Promises VS Reality

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 19, 2012

Does anyone remember this?

Nope. Probably not. That’s why it’s being posted here… to remind us all.

In the first Presidential Debate in 2000 with Vice President Al Gore, Jr. and former Texas governor & GOP candidate George W. Bush, the forum included questions on the topics of budget & economy, governmental reform, healthcare, Social Security, tax reform, education, energy & oil, foreign policy, homeland security, war & peace, and abortion.

As you read the responses below, consider how Read the rest of this entry »

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America’s Emerging Economic Expansion will be fueled by Natural Gas

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, August 3, 2012

American ingenuity and enterprise will again place us at the forefront, and it will be very soon.

Our economy is on the upswing, and this is going to be a significant part of that big boom.

I predict it will be of longer duration, and of significantly greater strength than our economically prosperous period under the Clinton administration.

And THAT is a good thing.

States Ask Detroit: ‘Build Us A Natural Gas Car, Please’

by

Listen to the Story; Morning Edition [3 min 28 sec] Download

August 3, 2012
More than 20 state governors are taking an unusual step to boost the natural gas vehicle industry. Independent of the federal government, they’re asking Detroit carmakers to build them a new kind of car: a midsize sedan that runs on compressed natural gas instead of gasoline.

naturalgas2

Honda’s CNG Civic is the only natural gas-fueled sedan currently available in the United States. With so few CNG passenger cars on the road, pumping stations are few and far between. Tracy Samilton for NPR

The governors are hoping to boost demand for natural gas cars with their collective buying power. Combined, the states say they could ultimately buy thousands of CNG vehicles to replace their current vehicle fleets — if those cars were available.

Only a few kinds of vehicles currently run on compressed natural gas in the U.S., and only one, the CNG Honda Civic, is a passenger car. Detroit currently offers no natural gas-fueled passenger cars.

Filling up a natural gas car’s fuel tank is a cinch Read the rest of this entry »

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How to End This Depression

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 29, 2012

It’s been said that ‘everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.’

The distinguished Dr. Krugman – who accurately foretold in 2001 that the “Bush Tax Cuts” would create significant deficit (and they did) – understands the role of government in providing opportunity for entrepreneurs and private enterprise, and the equally important role that government has in responsibility to protect public health and safety.

The long and short of it is this: Government spending on economic infrastructure (including education) is a good investment because it yields significant immediate and long-term results.

Why?

Because Materials and Manpower ALWAYS come from the private sector.

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the aforementioned premise, and the numerous times about which I have written in detail about the same. This entry illustrates with three excellent examples of that principle.

Naysayers and critics miss one very important factor in their analogy, which is that the Federal government has the power and authority to print money. The way that factor relates to the issue at hand is this: While the government could – in theory, and in reality – print enough money to give $10,000 to every man, woman and child in this nation the net effect of so doing would be to devalue the money, which would be resulting from inflation.

How to correct, resolve or work within the guidelines of that factor is to understand that one very important role of government is to provide OPPORTUNITY for entrepreneurs and private enterprise. By providing opportunity, government is also encouraging private enterprise and entrepreneurship. And, for the strict Constitutionalists, courts have continued to uphold and acknowledge that such power is contained within the Preamble’s clause “to promote the general welfare.”

Further, for the “anti-Big Government” naysayers, it is preposterous (contrary to reason or common sense; utterly absurd or ridiculous) to imagine that, in this era, with every technological advance, invention and discovery which has been made since 1776, and with our population (now approaching 312,000,000), that we would have fewer laws, rules and regulations than when we first began.

And, for those who say we should balance our budget, I would agree. However, I hasten to point out, that the last time that was done was under Eisenhower and LBJ. That does not excuse us from an ongoing civil discussion and debate about how to effectively manage our nation’s budget. Perhaps a formula of some type which would take into account GDP, debt (outstanding Treasury notes), trade deficit, population growth, birth rate, and other factors – with an “escape” mechanism for times of civil emergency or war, of course.

For such, we need technocrats – experts in areas of operations – rather than bureaucrats. Perhaps in an advisory role. But then again, we have those.

So… why don’t we work together as we ought?

Politics.

It seems that “Everybody’s got something to hide except for me and my monkey.”

How to End This Depression

May 24, 2012

Paul Krugman

The depression we’re in is essentially gratuitous: we don’t need to be suffering so much pain and destroying so many lives. We could end it both more easily and more quickly than anyone imagines—anyone, that is, except those who have actually studied the economics of depressed economies and the historical evidence on how policies work in such economies.
Obama in Master Lock factory Milwaukee

President Obama on a tour of the Master Lockfactory in Milwaukee with the company’s senior vice-president, Bon Rice, February 2012; Susan Walsh/AP Images

The truth is that recovery would be almost ridiculously easy to achieve: all we need is to reverse the austerity policies of the past couple of years and temporarily boost spending. Never mind all the talk of how we have a long-run problem that can’t have a short-run solution—this may sound sophisticated, but it isn’t. With a boost in spending, we could be back to more or less full employment faster than anyone imagines.

But don’t we have to worry about long-run budget deficits? Keynes wrote that “the boom, not the slump, is the time for austerity.” Now, as I argue in my forthcoming book*—and show later in the data discussed in this article—is the time for the government to spend more until the private sector is ready to carry the economy forward again. At that point, the US would be in a far better position to deal with deficits, entitlements, and the costs of financing them.

Meanwhile, the strong measures that would all go a long way toward lifting us out of this depression should include, among other policies, increased federal aid to state and local governments, which would restore the jobs of many public employees; a more aggressive approach by the Federal Reserve to quantitative easing (that is, purchasing bonds in an attempt to reduce long-term interest rates); and less timid efforts by the Obama administration to reduce homeowner debt.

But some readers will wonder, isn’t a recovery program along the lines I’ve described just out of the question as a political matter? And isn’t advocating such a program a waste of time? My answers to these two questions are: not necessarily, and definitely not. The chances of a real turn in policy, away from the austerity mania of the last few years and toward a renewed focus on job creation, are much better than conventional wisdom would have you believe. And recent experience also teaches us a crucial political lesson: Read the rest of this entry »

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More evidence that Government $pending boo$t$ economy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, July 26, 2012

Recollect the brouhaha over Vice President Joe Biden‘s remark Thursday, July 16, 2009 in Alexandria, Virginia?

He was speaking at an AARP-sponsored town hall meeting also attended by AARP CEO A. Barry Rand, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office of Health Reform.

Vice President Biden said, “Now people, when I say that, look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is ‘yes,’ that’s what I’m telling you.”

{ref: http://cnsnews.com/node/51162}

“And folks look, AARP knows – and the people with me here today know, the president knows, and I know – that the status quo is simply not acceptable. Its totally unacceptable. And its completely unsustainable. Even if we wanted to keep it the way we have it now. It can’t do it financially, Were going to go bankrupt as a nation. Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is ‘yes,’ I’m telling you.”

Of course, Vice President Biden was speaking in context of the Affordable Care Act – also commonly known as “ObamaCare” – which the Government Accountability Office has shown has already demonstrated significant cost savings and proven to be business-stimulating legislation, and that to eliminate it’s protections would cost the federal government even more in the long-term.

Analogously, it’d be like having a fuel inefficient automobile – one that only got about 5 miles/gallon, or less. If you were to purchase even a used vehicle with twice the fuel economy – 10mpg – you could realize significant overall long-term savings. Simply ceasing driving will not solve any problem, but would rather create more problems.

Similarly, could you imagine having an inefficient Heating/Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) system? You gotta’ stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter – there’s no way around it. And to lower your average monthly utility bills by even 1/3 would be beneficial.

So, here’s a shocker for armchair philosophers, political pundits, amateur economists, Radical Republicans, TEA Party types and more: Government spending – in part – is a significant driver of our nation’s economy. And, spending on economic infrastructure is ALWAYS a most wise investment.

Why?

Because 1.) Materials and Manpower ALWAYS come from the PRIVATE SECTOR, and; Read the rest of this entry »

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Is SNAP (formerly “Food Stamps”) an Economic Boost?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, July 19, 2012

You betcha’!

Research performed by the United States Department of Agriculture at the request of then-President George W. Bush shows that for every $1.00 spent on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, $1.84 is put into the economy. In fact the report says that, “every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates as much as $9 of economic activity.”

You want jobs?

The research shows that the “jobs impact estimates from the FANIOM model range from 9,000 to 18,000 FTE-jobs plus self-employed per $1 billion of SNAP benefits.”

It should be borne in mind that the median household income in 2006 was slightly over $50,000/year.

Read on for more “shocking” economic good news!

The report in it’s entirety may be downloaded here.

The Economic Case for Food Stamps

By Michel Nischan

Jul 18 2012, 3:09 PM ET

Congress is planning to cut up to $16 billion from low-income food aid over the next five years. But research shows that every dollar spent on assistance pays for itself and grows the economy.

In its current form, the House Agriculture Committee‘s version of the farm bill proposes draconian cuts to food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The ill-thought-out proposal would deny food assistance to millions of people, many of them children. Speaking as a chef and CEO of a national nonprofit that supports small and mid-sized farmers who make fresh fruits and vegetables available to everyone regardless of income, I’m obviously alarmed.

FOOD-USA/FARMERSMARKET

Grace Blackburn, Susan Noyce and Mary Claire Geyer (L-R) set out fruit for sale at the Westmoreland Berry Farm stand at the Arlington Farmers’ Market in Arlington, Virginia in this picture taken June 28, 2008. While price hikes are rippling through farmers’ markets across the United States, they are doing little to deter shoppers looking for local produce. Cherries and berries for sale at the Westmoreland Berry Farm stand at the Arlington Farmers’ Market in Arlington, Virginia (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The Senate’s version of the farm bill would reduce overall funding by $23 billion, with a reduction in food stamps of $4.5 billion over five years. The House Agriculture Committee is proposing to cut funding by $35 billion — with nearly half the overall cut coming from reductions in food stamps by $16 billion over five years.

Those who believe in cutting SNAP funding as a cost-saving measure should know that food stamps boost the economy — not put a strain on it. Supporters of federal food benefits programs including President George W. Bush understood this, and proved the economic value of SNAP by sanctioning a USDA study that found that $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in gross domestic product (GDP). Mark Zandi, of Moody’s Economy.com, confirmed the economic boost in an independent study that found that every SNAP dollar spent generates $1.73 in real GDP increase. “Expanding food stamps,” the study read, “is the most effective way to prime the economy’s pump.”

It is important to point out that SNAP benefits go to those who need them most. USDA’s Amber Waves recently wrote that Read the rest of this entry »

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Here’s a bank where Mitt Romney has no money. Ironically, it’s American.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 16, 2012

Smack-dab in the heart of rural, working class, coal-mining America.

Oh… the irony!

Read the rest of this entry »

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