Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Obfuscation as a methodology…

When one hears from business folks something like, “we can’t do this or that in this overbearing/nightmarish regulatory environment…” there’s only one thing to do: fire the lobbyists!

Many industries have, cumulatively, vast populations of folks lobbying at all the state capitols and in Washington, D.C.; there is a need for multiple volumes of directories to keep track of all the working lobbyists. Industry and business folks complain of the need to operate in these contrived, obtuse environments from one side of their mouths, while telling their lobbyists how (and providing the resources) to keep legislators creating that very mess from the other.

Why would one want an extremely complex regulatory environment?

Because, in confusion there are gray areas that allow a company (LLC – Limited Liability Corporation) to operate in relatively unfettered freedom!


Have you ever heard the phrase, “beyond a reasonable doubt?” If you have ever watched any of the TV shows about police or lawyers, etc… of course you have heard it. When prosecuting attorneys are convinced that the laws, or circumstances, pertaining to certain events would not allow for a conviction (because to prove, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a crime was committed is not considered possible) they don’t proceed with lawsuits.

For instance: nobody is yet being prosecuted for the deaths of 15 people in an explosion at BP’s Texas City, TX oil refinery, or 11 deaths on an oil rig working for BP. Neither is there any current prosecution for the 29 deaths caused by an explosion in a Massey owned coal mine. There are not yet any prosecutions of the financial service industry folks whose contrivances caused the US economy to fall into a severe recession; to go to the edge of a depression.

The problem with a complex regulatory business environment that businesses, and their well purchased politicians (both Republican and Democrat), complain about could have been solved easily while there was a clear Republican majority in both houses of the federal legislature and a Republican President. After all Republicans have claimed, “business good, government bad,” for at least 30 years. The problem was not cleared because solving the problem is a talking point, keeping the problem is the still the preferred action.

The problem will only be addressed when reasonable, moderate Republicans and similar Democrats, “of the people,” are elected by the people and for the people!!! Only this sort of politician can function in the interest of the American people in the face of the duplicitous message from the lobbyists (who speak for the industries who support, pay for and profit from that message)!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Playing chicken with the federal debt ceiling.

The US Congressional Republicans are playing chicken with the federal debt ceiling; the limit on the federal government’s ability to borrow money. The Republicans had a majority in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate from January 2001 to January 2007, during the Republican administration of George W. Bush, and in those years they raised the debt ceiling four times (’02, ’03, ’04 and ’06).

January 2007 to January 2009, still the Bush administration, the majority in the two chambers of the US Congress changed hands and had gone to the Democratic Party. The debt ceiling was raised three times in that interval: ’07, ’08 (twice).

The federal deficit was $5.7 trillion when George W. was inaugurated in January of 2001, and was $10.2 trillion dollars on the day before President Obama’s inauguration (see the US Treasury web site detailing the deficit, “to the penny” ).

In the first few years of the W. Bush administration Vice President Dick Cheney was quoted telling the Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, that, “deficit’s don’t matter.” During the current, Obama, administration private citizen Dick Cheney is on tour and television proclaiming that the federal deficit is a major threat to the US economy; a really convenient memory loss.

In the long term the deficit really is a problem, but the US economy went from record breaking growth in the Clinton administration to a recession (that went to the brink of depression), starting in December 2007. Reducing the deficit now will result in federal departments and programs being scaled back or shut down. That would negatively impact businesses that supply federal programs with products or services. It would also reduce federal employment; the businesses that cater to federal employees would suffer.

One might ask, “How does all that affect me?” Well, if you’re a federal employee on the brink of unemployment the consequences are obvious… If you’re investor you might ask your broker, or financial planner, how an investment portfolio might perform if major investors started to believe, regardless of fact, that the US government might actually default on some of its debt; put something soft twixt your chin and the floor.

Friday, June 10, 2011

TX Legislature fails our schools!

TX Comptroller, Susan Combs, released a report detailing the cost of current tax exemptions to the government of the state of Texas; look here:

The report documents the fact that current tax exemptions cost the state $32 billion every year.

Meanwhile, our TX legislature is considering a bill to reduce the state’s financial commitment to our public schools, because they will not make any effort to get those funds. The biennial budget for 2012-2013 is multiple billions of dollars short of what current law mandates the state spend on public education. The Republican majority in the legislature is changing the law to cover-up their unwillingness to invest in educating the children of TX!

Register and Vote in 2012 (and beyond), because TX deserves better governance!