Sunday, April 17, 2011

Republicans claim savings as they let tax cheats off the hook for 9 times as much

Last week the Republicans were crowing about the $38 billion they cut out of the 2011 federal budget, but what they didn’t tell you was that they’re also letting $330 billion in taxes go uncollected according to the Government Accountability Office. That’s right not only does G.E. legally not owe any income taxes on its $5.1 billion in U.S. profits because of loopholes in the tax code but the Republicans in Congress don’t even want to try to collect money that is legally owed.

How do they do it? Simple, they just don’t allow the IRS the requested funds to hire more agents. Rather than hire agents, a job that has a return of $10 for every $1 spent on salary the Congressional Republicans claim they’re saving $38 billion instead of bringing in $330 billion from tax cheats.

Of course most of that money is in the hands of high rollers such as the gentleman with a multi-million dollar home and luxury cars who owes $1 million in back taxes. Someone please explain to me how this is fiscally responsible.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Response to letter claiming that government hurts the economy

In his letter Bill Jones’ is right that government protection diminishes our freedom, but is the freedom of a company to pollute the soil, water and air more important than the freedom of the local citizens to breathe clean air and drink clean water? I’m quite sure that the former residents of Love Canal in Niagra Falls, New York feel that their freedom to be safe from toxic materials outranks a corporation’s freedom to dump it. After all Hooker Chemical secretly buried toxic waste that then polluted the land and water so bad that it forced residents to evacuate. New York State Health Department Commissioner David Axelrod stated that Love Canal would long be remembered as a “national symbol of a failure to exercise a sense of concern for future generations.”

I doubt the families of the miners who died in the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine think Massey Energy should continue to be free to risk the lives of miners. I doubt that the employees of Enron whose 401k’s were invested in the company’s stock think they shouldn’t have been protected from their CEO’s manipulation of stock values. Banks risked their client’s money in casino like gambles on bad assets crashing our economy in 2008 putting millions of Americans out of work. We’re still reeling from the effects as Texas is about to slash funding for education.

History shows time and again that strong regulation protects Americans and keeps our economy healthy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Response to letter to the editor about going back to limited government

In Romelio Carta’s letter of a few days ago he blames loans
to low income individuals for the banking collapse when in
fact low income individuals have a very strong record of
paying their mortgages. What actually imperiled the banking
system was predatory lenders doing a hard sell on variable
rate mortgages to unsophisticated buyers. In addition there
were plenty of financial incentives to loan money to
unqualified buyers in order to collect the up front fees and
the lending institutions knew they had no intention of
keeping the loans because they would resell them in the form
of a package that investors would buy.

Mr. Carta’s solution for our economic problems is: “Let's go
back to limited government and the free market capitalism.
This system brought the United States to be the most
prosperous nation in human history?” Unfortunately free
market capitalism is exactly what caused the banking
collapse that imperiled our economy and obliterated the jobs
of millions of Americans by failing to regulate the actions
of all too many banks, mortgage brokers and insurers.

Our economy has been strongest when it was heavily regulated
in order to protect individual investors. Remember that the
best known banking collapse “The Great Depression” was due
to failure to regulate banking activities, over the last two
decades the regulations put in place as a result of what was
learned from that devastating experience were systematically
removed and we once again have suffered another collapse.
Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Constitutional protections more robust than anti-Sharia Law bills

HB 911 by state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, and HB 3027 by state Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland, attempt to prevent the imposition of Islamic law in Texas. I would commend them for their concern for the sanctity of our laws except that we and the rest of the 50 states are already protected by a much more robust measure known as the Constitution. Yes, that marvelous document which was read in the U.S. House of Representatives at the opening of the current session already protects us from the imposition of Sharia Law or Jewish Law or rulings by the Catholic Pope.

The First Amendment says in part “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The Supreme Court has ruled on more than one occasion that this amounts to a separation of church and state. Unfortunately the very same people so concerned about imposition of Sharia Law seek to undermine the protections offered through separation of church and state by claiming that the United State is in fact a Christian nation and our laws are guided by the Bible.

Once we open ourselves to this notion we’re just a step away from the very same type of theocracy that people like Leo Berman and Randy Weber claim they want to protect us from. If you really want to protect Texas and the United States then you must support the Constitution’s protections by supporting separation of church and state.