Friday, August 31, 2012
I think that we saw last night with Clint Eastwood that it is the writing that makes actors look good. Clearly his script was not as good as say the one for the GM halftime commercial. He could have reworked that commercial and it would have been fine and fit the overall theme of the night. Too bad that wasn't done.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Not only did the President authorize disaster relief, Bobby Jindal said that it wasn't enough money. Excuse me! Isn't this the guy who turns down federal money because he doesn't want to corrupt his principles? Isn't this the party that is conducting a convention where they advocate eliminating these programs? A State official said that the Federal Government was needed because it was a national security/ energy emergency. There are multiple problems with this statement. First, all of the companies involved are private, shouldn't they fix it themselves? Second, at least the energy companies are acting like they are paying for it otherwise how do you explain the leap in gas prices? Third, I don't see how my security in Wisconsin is jeopardized because Louisiana had a hurricane. Why don't the hurricane prone states budget for hurricanes? Just like sitting around the kitchen table, how many hurricanes do you think that we'll have this year? This is ridiculous, these states have their hands out year after year to the rest of the country, feel sorry for us we had a hurricane. We know hurricanes happen, we know that they are bad, what we don't understand is why you don't set money aside to pay for them. I bet I could run a low tax state if for every "unexpected disaster" I went running to the Federal Government to pay for it. Talk about a culture of dependence. These guys talk about a smaller government but that must only be in theory.
I was reading the paper today about a proposed expansion at Weir Minerals (a mine equipment manufacturer), what a refreshing story. They are going to file a permit application with the DNR. They are not asking for a rule change like Ashley Furniture, Cabela's, Gogebic Mine,... They are not asking for a government handout unlike say the Edgewater hotel, but if money is available they'll take it. They are going to provide some high paying jobs unlike other companies that get government handouts like Walmart in Monona, Beaver Dam, ... All that I can say is that Weir is building it on their own and being a good citizen about it as well. Maybe this is due to the fact that they are a British company and they have different values.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
The Republican convention is all about the phrase didn't build that. Those hardscrabble immigrant entrepreneurs building their business by themselves. They didn't rely on a government to establish a civil society that allowed a business to succeed they obviously did it themselves. They banded together a created police forces to keep the peace and provide security for their business. They created the fire departments, they built the roads, they built the railways, all without a government. And how was this fantasy paid for, by the businesses of course. That is the history that the Republicans are talking about, to bad it is all not true. No business owners ask government for fire and police protection (they always have), they ask for city services such as water and sewer, they ask that roads be built, they ask that flood control structures be built, they ask for government to take land so that railroads can be built, they ask for locks to be put on rivers for barge traffic, .... And who ends up paying for this the US taxpayer.
I was listening to Governor Christie last night and something struck me from his personal story. He was talking about his father who returned from the war got a job and then went to college with the GI bill. The GI bill is nothing more than a government handout. In fact there was opposition to the bill on those grounds and also on the ground that it was government sponsored social engineering. Most of the men coming back from the war would not have gone to college if not for the GI bill. It is not like the government owed anything to them. For the most part they were not drafted out of college or headed in that direction anyway. But, at the end of the war the President decided that we should give them a college education in order to create an educated workforce for the future of the country. This coupled with President Eisenhower's investment in infrastructure helped to create the boom that became the economic giant of the United States. It is utter nonsense for the GOP to run around and pretend that there was no assistance from government.
Monday, August 27, 2012
I'll confess that I never read the book. I hate to say this to the maker of the movie but I found it to be an indictment of US style capitalism. You have Reardon as the paramount of individualism running his steel business. Dagny Taggart is also a big individualist, of course there is no mention of the Government helping the railroads in the early days. The rest of the business executives are portrayed as scheming with Government in order to gain advantage over their rivals. Taggart's brother lobbies for a law to essentially wipe out his competition in Colorado. The other steel producers get Reardon's steel labeled unsafe by the Government. Others want bits of corporations so they get a law passed disallowing an individual from owning multiple companies. This would seem to be how big business operates in the US today. Maybe if we could solve this type of lobbying and the subsequent gifts to big business maybe the small businesses would feel better about Government.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The man is entitled to his views and I can agree with some of them. The problem that I have is his going around the country talking about how government programs are somehow hurting the people that they are supposed to help and creating a culture of dependence. Fair enough but he himself was a victim of these same programs. My daughter and other who I have talked to say that he changed his views and pointed out that my views have changed. Also fair! The difference is that I can discuss how and why I changed my positions over the years and Paul Ryan has not. He has not said how he was harmed by the Government. They assisted in funding his education at an out of state public (not deals there) university. He could have stay in his beloved state and gone to one of the UW system schools for a fraction of the cost of attending Miami of Ohio. I'm just wondering how that was a good use of taxpayer money. Paul Ryan and his family also collected social security survivor benefits a program that he wants to dismantle (I can agree with this because Social Security was not intended to be a life insurance policy or a pension program, it was intended as assistance for the people who worked hard all of their lives). I for one, want to know how he was victimized by this program? Will Paul Ryan answer questions like these? Doubtful
Friday, August 10, 2012
There is an ad running that has the Republicans all upset that it is not truthful. Here are the facts as we know them: Bain Capital did buy a 100 year old steel company, they did put Mitt Romney in charge, the company did go bankrupt, the CEO (Mitt Romney) used the employee retirement fund to try to pay down debt, the employees did lose their jobs, retirement, and health insurance. Sounds like the ad is factual to me and shows what can happen to people when Bain Capital buys your company.
Tommy Thompson's new ad made me think of superman. first he has the booming voice unlike his normal slurred speech. Then between each point there is a swish sound. He'll vanquish Obamacare, the deficit, entitlements,...
Wow, after spending the last 4 years running away from his record as Governor of Mass, he and his aids have slipped and mentioned that had someone lived in Mass. they would have had insurance. Their correct response should have been that this person could have extended their coverage with COBRA. Of course you leave out the fact that you have to pay for the premium, since most of the unemployed don't have thousands of dollars lying around. Just another example of Mitt being on all sides of all issues. He also has not said what will replace Obamacare when he repeals it on day 1.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Chick Fil A has been in the news a lot in the last couple of weeks. As we all know the issue stems from the CEO talking about his personal beliefs in a nationally run interview and the angry fallout directed towards his company. What I find astonishing is how conservatives have twisted free speech. What they are saying is that this is a free speech issue and that you should be able to say whatever you want without a fear of reprisal. Excuse me but aren't you the same group of people who ruined the Dixie Chicks for something they said in a concert by calling for a boycott? No, you can say whatever you want recognizing that the consumer is ultimately free to chose whether they continue to buy your products. I have no problems with the boycott. If Mr. Cathy had been running issue ads through as a shielded donor through a super pac (allowed under citizens united) no one would have ever known and he wouldn't be worried about his business suffering. As I have said before this is what is wrong with citizens united, you have all of this money being spent whose source is unknown. Consumers don't have an opportunity to make informed purchasing decisions. At least with Chick Fil A we can say I'm not going to shop there because their ownership is bigoted and spends money to help spread that cause. Given the deep divisions in the country it would be smart for business owners worried about their market share to not contribute to any cause or candidate. We know that this won't happen because there is less choice in the market place so as an owner you can get away with it and not suffer.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
There has been a lot said about the President not giving the business owners credit for creating their business from nothing. Unfortunately that is not really what he said. What he was talking about is how having a stable society with services provided (police, fire,...), public infrastructure, and an educated work force allow people to create businesses. There have been a lot of letters into the Wisconsin State Journal that have disputed this idea. For proof that they didn't build it all you have to do is drive on highways 151 and 94. There are 2 locations where a big corporation bought a bunch of land, probably relatively cheaply and built huge warehouse distribution facilities. The only problem and probably a reason for low land prices is that there were not interchanges in those locations. The state knowing that the $10 per hour jobs were important built interchanges at a cost of around $10 million dollars each. The company didn't build it the taxpayers did. The gas revenue from the trucks using these facilities will take a long time to pay for them (sorry it is a myth that the gas tax pays for the roads, we don't collect enough money). There is another example from the same company where they wanted to build a store. What they did was get the City of Monona to build the building in a wetland and then lease it to them. They also had the roads in the area upgraded to handle the increased traffic. So, the next time a company wants millions to stay in the state, highways built so that they can expand, public financing to expand,... remind the owners how exactly they are building their business themselves.