Local Stories, Events
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Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
Thinking About Incentives
Instead of tax credit "carrots" to stimulate jobs, the President and Congress could use the stick approach and levy added taxes on those who downsize or terminate employees here and replace them with cheaper workers abroad. If the “stuff makers” don’t reside here, slap ‘em with a tariff. These will generate revenue and reduce deficits.
I’ve been thinking about incentives. Actually I’ve been thinking about our troubled economy, real politics, budgets, sticks and carrots, jobs, and the debt/deficits. The political/economic and comic/tragedy epic that is unfolding before our eyes right now is something I never expected to see, or to live thru. So many things are linked together now that one must literally fly over the lower 48 states in a space shuttle to even begin to grasp the whole picture. We are witnessing the ultimate in soap operas. So curl up in a comfy chair with a large bowl of popcorn and a cold drink. This is gonna be interesting!
You see in the tradition of classical Greek drama, a comedy is when the protagonist, or lead character (TH*NK Uncle $ugar here), succeeds in his quest or mission. In the alternative, a tragedy is when the lead character fails. We had better hope that in this theatre that is Washington DC, Uncle $ugar succeeds in turning things around and we can all enjoy a good laugh when it is over. Let’s face it... laughter is always better than tears. There is so much potential for plot/story lines when politics goes head to head with economics. Political maneuvering that was money driven got us into these messes, now it will be further political maneuvering that will get us out of our dilemmas? Or... will it?
We have seen the Obama Administration and the Democratic controlled majorities in Congress go from being the drivers of change to double talking (not-so-slick anymore) salesmen in the space of one year. They claim the turn around has begun, but the public just isn’t buying the sale. We are only thru one third of the housing real estate crisis. We should see the unfolding of the commercial real estate crisis in 2010. Estimates of losses in commercial real estate in 2010 now exceed $300 BILLION on $1.4 TRILLION of loans! The employment facts and statistics being reported are laughable. Everyone knows a jobless recovery won’t cut it. The “fix” will be years away WITHOUT their fictional jobs tossed in.
The budgeted numbers for the present fiscal year are bracing US/us for a $1.6 TRILLION deficit. This is for one year! It should be noted that it took the US from January of 1791 to September of 1984 for the US to accumulate $1.6 TRILLION of debt. This, by the way, includes all the war debt from the Civil War, the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. We will now add that much just in fiscal 2010. War is expensive and we will spend ONE TRILLION on IRAQ and Afghanistan in 2010. The other $600 BILLION of debt/deficit relates to other stuff, bailouts, and stimuli. As our President and Congress tell US/us it is all needed for “the recovery.”
Washington DC operates on the principle of the “rule of the stick or the carrot.” As the Thomas Nast cartoons depict: “you get the mule to move by beating it with a stick, or luring it with a carrot.” Our problems run so deep... it will take one heck of a big stick and/or a lot of carrots to get the mule moving in any direction. Hence, we will see a $1.6 TRILLION deficit in 2010. I’ve included all the $1 TRILLION in war expenses as part of the solution, because without the mobilization our unemployment levels would probably double and our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would shrink accordingly.
Jobs are a hot button issue for 2010 and the mid term elections. Our fearless leaders will be talking a lot about jobs and what they are doing to get America working (or at least on the payrolls) again. Uncle $ugar can “create” the new jobs, but just how many “assistant vice deputy directors in charge of paper clips” do we need? Federal payrolls have skyrocketed and we still have 10% not working presently according to Uncle. Jobs will come from existing business and start ups. These must be real jobs paying living wages and have decent benefits or it isn’t going to work (pun intended).
The President and the Congress would prefer the carrot approach and lavish on tax credits to anyone who adds an employee. The “bribe” will come in the form of so many dollars in reduced tax liability for each new hire or position created. In our current situation, every dollar of tax credit will mean an additional dollar of deficit; which will men an additional dollar of debt. There is no way around this. They forget the old rule of thumb where each and every employee should generate at least TWO times the costs of wages and benefits in added revenues.
The President and Congress could use the stick approach and levy added taxes on those who fire, downsize, can, or terminate, anyone here and replace them with cheaper workers abroad. If the “stuff makers” don’t reside here, slap ‘em with a tariff. These will generate revenue and reduce deficits. Then Presidential advisor Dick Cheney once said: “The deficits don’t, matter.” Well... the deficits DON”T matter... until they matter!!!
I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This story was published on February 15, 2010.