THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
28th June, 2012 0
The 94th State Representative contest for the congressional seat currently held by Frankenmuth Republican Ken Horn is one of the pivotal August primary battles. Insofar as Horn's tenure will be term-limited, the vacancy creates an open track to Lansing for all contenders.
Candidates for this office consist of Republicans Ann Doyle, Tim Kelly, Ryan McReynolds, and Democrat Judith Lincoln. This race also arrives at a critical and contradictory juncture for Michigan and the Great Lakes Bay region, with Michigan's per capital state income levels 11 percent below the national average, while a recent Bloomberg financial study ranks Michigan's economic health since the advent of the Snyder Administration as the second best in the country.
Additional concerns and serious issues have surfaced since the 2012 elections on a variety of topics ranging the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the Great Lakes, to attempts by the legislature to severely alter the intent of Michigan's voter approved Medical Marihuana Law, to most recently the disquieting sideshow that occurred when two female representatives were censured for using the word 'vagina' while trying to speak out against a bill containing the most regressive abortion laws in the country.
In the interest of providing an in-depth forum whereby fully informed electorate can better distinguish the differences and positions between candidates seeking this office, we present the following candidate forum for your deliberation and review.
Review: Please explain your background & education in terms of how you feel it will strengthen your ability to effectively serve as our next State Representative.
Doyle: I have been a small business owner with my husband, Steve, for over 19 years and currently have 25 employees. I have constant contact with many departments in Lansing. Of those that I work with, I have learned which ones should be merged, which need customer service improvements and which departments are not operating efficiently. Government exists to provide service to the citizens and my experience will help me to hit the ground running when reviewing each department and reforming as needed, even eliminating if the department is no longer providing a service that is needed.
I am in my eighth year as County Commissioner. During this time, I have cut the budget every year except one. I am in my sixth year as chair of the Legislative Committee. I led the way in eliminating benefits for County Commissioners that included mileage, longevity pay and more. I have voted to reform legacy costs so that eventually it will be zero. I have voted to allow the citizens to decide which services they want in the Sheriff's department. My belief is that the County must provide the Michigan Constitutional services and everything else is optional. With a poor economy, I have voted to either eliminate or reduce funding for many of these optional services in order to balance the budget. Since being first sworn into office as commissioner, I have served on 15 committees such as Human Services, Courts & Public Safety, County Services and 9-1-1 Authority.
Prior to serving as Chairwoman of the Saginaw County Republican Party, I worked for Representative Jim Howell in Lansing part-time and as his District Liaison in the 94th District for almost three years. I had the privilege of working with many constituents and helping to solve the issues they had. During this time I learned the duties of a State Representative, how work-group meetings were administered, and how each Representative's office is operated. Rep. Howell has been a mentor over the years and I think I have learned from one of the best.
I graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration. I also earned an Associate Degree from Delta College in Law Enforcement. My high school years were focused on business as I was in Junior Achievement, DECA and manager of the school store.
Community volunteering is a way of life for my family and me. I have been a Boy Scout leader since 1989. I am a Board member of the One Hundred Club and past board member of Habitat for Humanity. I am a member of many organizations that include Saginaw Field and Stream.
Kelly: I moved to Saginaw from Indiana in 1995, when I took a position with Governor John Engler as his Education Policy Advisor. I also helped create, organize and administer, the Michigan Department of Workforce Development, as the Special Advisor to the Director of the DWD. Prior to that, I held various positions in economic and workforce development with the Bayh administration in Indiana, including the Executive Director of the Indiana Human Resource Investment Council, the Executive Director of the Indiana Council on Vocational Education, and as a Business Development Specialist with the Indiana Department of Commerce.
Before that I worked in the private sector for my family's emulsified asphalt materials company, beginning as a Production Assistant in Indiana, and ending as a Sales Manager in Texas and Colorado prior to the sale of the company in the mid 80's. I have been married for almost 17 years to my wife Deenie (Harvey), a native of Saginaw, and we have two teenage sons Sean and Stone.
I have a BA in Mass Communications from the University of Denver. I was elected as a Saginaw County Commissioner in 2010, representing portions of Saginaw Township. I believe that my past experience working in the relevant areas of economic development, education, and job training has uniquely prepared me to be an effective legislator in helping to restore Michigan's economy.
Lincoln: Coming from a middle class background, I worked as a secretary and legal assistant to support my children and family and decided to go to law school later in life. I continued to work fulltime and care for my family while completing a college degree before I entered law school. At age 39, I returned to the law firm where I had worked for years and eventually became the first female partner. I retired from active practice in 2008 when I decided to run for County Commission. Since March 2011, I have worked as public policy analyst at the Center for Civil Justice where I research and analyze laws and regulations and interact with elected officials at the state and federal level, their staffs, bureaucrats, advocates and the people they serve.
I became interested in public education as my children were growing, and I represented school districts and students and their families on a wide variety of educational issues including special education, labor relations, athletic access, and student discipline. I was elected to the Saginaw Township School Board in 1998 and was re-elected in 2002 and 2006. I was known as a vocal advocate for a quality curriculum, students, local businesses, and working people. I understand public education from many perspectives. A major accomplishment during my tenure on the Board of Education was the District's success in maintaining financial stability in the face of inconsistent and ever-changing state funding.
I ran for and was elected to the Saginaw County Commission and served a two-year term from January 2009 through December 2010. During my tenure as a county commissioner, I was actively involved on the Saginaw County Convention and Visitors Board of Directors, the Saginaw County Consortium of Homeless Assistance Providers, the FEMA Board and many other committees and boards. I understand the challenges of local government when funding that has been promised from Lansing is not forthcoming, especially when property values are decreasing and property taxes produce lower revenue.
I have always been an active community volunteer and served on the Board of Directors of many non-profit organizations. I have devoted countless hours to organizations to review applications for funding and scholarships in order to help determine the best use of community resources. I have served for several years on the leadership team of the Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group. I understand the needs in our communities and the many competing interests.
My husband, Herb and I have 6 children and 10 grandchildren. Herb is a bricklayer who has carried a union card and has owned a small business. Several of our children and their spouses own small businesses. Others work in fields where they are proud members of unions.
McReynolds: That is a good question which I am happy to answer, I am an individual with high functioning autism, as a result of that, I had to take special education classes for certain school subjects, especially when you consider which school subjects I was able to handle without any specialized help, and ones in which I did need help and assistance.
I also attended a special education school in the afternoon during my middle and high school years called Millet Learning Center. During that time I would go to the regular school in the morning and Millet Learning Center in the afternoon, in the vocational/work experience program, which involved getting to go out to job sites to learn job skills.
When I was in school, there was unfortunately a lack of knowledge of autism in the regular schools and even some of the special education teachers in the regular schools had a lack of knowledge as well.
I went onto transferring to another special education school which was Post Secondary Transitional Program in Carrollton, Michigan and indeed various disabilities were among attendees, although how many like me were on the autism spectrum is a good question, but I have no doubt that both Millet Learning Center and Post Secondary Transitional Program have more autistic attendees than when I was a student at those very schools, especially considering the massive increase in the number of autistic people in this nation.
I feel I can help represent the interests of people with autism and other disabilities in the education department, such as making sure the parents have options to choose from on which school to send their child to, especially if the public school in their home district is not of good quality and the parent is wanting to find a better quality public school district or wishing to place the child in a private/parochial school, or a charter school, or if the parent wishes to home school their child instead, I wish to make sure that option is also open.
Review: What is your position and what specific policies would you advance on key issues such as the economy, our environment, and health care that you feel would improve our region and state?
Doyle: Less regulation and limiting or eliminating unfunded mandates are a must for the economy to recover. Michigan is well under-way to becoming a state that is business friendly, which will in turn grow the economy. I want to continue what has been started in the elimination of unnecessary regulations. All future mandates should be funded or made optional if there is a cost to implement them. Too many are struggling and additional mandates/regulations oftentimes add a financial burden. One of my first goals is to work with local governments, schools and businesses to clean up the over-regulation.
Public Safety is important for a healthy and vibrant community. Citizens must feel safe and the efforts being put forward currently by Michigan are welcomed. I have seen a positive difference of having the state police present in Saginaw County and from the collaboration between departments. I want to work with Law Enforcement to make ensure that not only the citizens are safe, but the officers are as well.
Public Safety includes more than just Law Enforcement. It includes the courts, the prosecutor, the jail and prisons and it also includes the Health Department.
I am a strong believer that people should be able to cross state boundaries to buy health care insurance. The more availability there is of different companies and policies, the more competition in prices and products. I also believe that individuals and businesses should have options of what coverages are in the policies that are purchased. For example, at my age, I don't need pregnancy, birth control and well baby coverage.
When it comes to the environment, we should all be careful. At the same time, we need to make sure that we are following good science and not emotions when deciding what actions are to be taken over various issues. In the area that I live in it is exciting to see the Eagles flying along the river and the wild life flourishing.
Kelly: First of all I support many of the reforms of the Snyder Administration in getting our economy back on track. The pro-growth strategy led by the Republicans in Lansing has already turned a $1.5 billion deficit into a $450 million surplus. Real reform is necessary to curb the ever-growing presence and intrusion of government on the lives and livelihood of individual citizens and their families.
Increasingly, government programs that transfer wealth from one sector of the population to another, and burdensome regulations that stifle job creation and reinvestment, reduce funding investments in critical areas like education and infrastructure. Michigan needs to strike the right balance of taxation and oversight to grow jobs and long-term prosperity.
Lincoln: The economy will continue to struggle until middle class families, seniors/retirees, and low wage earners have money to spend on more than basic necessities. This will require an organized, well-designed, and closely monitored program for job creation and must include jobs along a continuum of wage levels. Cutting taxes for corporations did not and will not create jobs, and the Governor has admitted this on several occasions. The $1.6 billion tax cut for corporations pushed through last year has not been directly linked to the creation of a single job. The tax increases placed on pensions and caused by reduction in income tax credits for low-wage earners and property taxes paid by senior citizens actually interfered with economic recovery, as did the large-scale lay-off of public employees.
For every $1 they could not spend because of increased taxes or unemployment, the economy lost an opportunity to grow by $1.78. I will work with anyone to create a program to support job creation with emphasis on small businesses that are the real job creators. This program must be designed and monitored to reward businesses that actually do create jobs that are sustainable. I will also work to curb the flood of public sector layoffs including police, fire and other public safety employees.
McReynolds: First of all for the economy, I would fight to reduce business taxes so that businesses will stay in the state instead of departing from the state or nation due to the fact that other states and foreign nations are willing to offer less taxation. I would also fight for right to work; and to any naysayers who refer to right to work as being anti-union, that is not what right to work is about.
The right of unions to exist is guaranteed by federal law and I will fight for the right of unions to still exist in this state. I feel a person should have a right to decide if they wish to join a union or not. I would also fight for people to be allowed to change their mind down the road - if a person who chooses to join a union wants to depart, let that person depart and still keep the job; if a person who said no to joining a union decides he/she wants to be in union, let that person join and still keep the job.
I feel if right to work passes, the unions will be controlled by the memberships instead of by dictators like James Hoffa, the dictator of The Teamsters Union. Furthermore I also feel more jobs will be created in this state and more jobs would allow increase in union memberships considering how many applicants will for sure join the unions.
As far as the environment, I would fight to make sure that children are not exposed to toxic chemicals, I would fight to make sure firefighters all over the state who are not trained in hazardous materials would get such training, especially considering there are areas in this state where hazardous materials abound.
As far as health care, I am pleased that autism insurance reform has passed in Michigan, as autism does need insurance coverage for sure, especially if the autistic individual has medical issues that warrant a need for insurance.
However I am not pleased with Obamacare, that man we know as Barack Hussein Obama and his ilk including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, would like us to believe that Obamacare would guarantee that all Americans are insured, but actually this bill requires every American citizen to have insurance, even if they don't want to be insured, even if they cannot afford insurance policies to begin with.
There are rich individuals like Andre Marrou the 1992 Libertarian candidate for President, that refused to buy health insurance, Andre Marrou said he did not need it cause he does not smoke and watches his weight, and takes care of himself. He can afford health insurance but he refused to buy it, and why should he be forced to buy it if he doesn't want it?
While some poverty stricken individuals do wish they did have health insurance, some have been ok with not having it, especially if they know how to scrimp and save for medical emergencies, or if they can find a doctor who will charge only the rich and middle class for services, but allows the poor to get free services or payment plans. A good example is Congressman Dr. Ron Paul who in his years as a doctor willingly treated poverty stricken patients for free; but Obamacare would make it even harder for doctors like Dr. Paul to even be able to do such a thing.
Review: Do you offer any proposals for education reform, either at the K-12 or Higher Education levels; and do you support linking teacher pay to student performance and recent moves in the legislature to reform teacher tenure and require annual evaluations of schools?
Doyle: All public schools should be evaluated. The standards used must fit ALL publicly funded schools: traditional public and charter schools. The evaluation used must be fair to all types of public schools so that it is not weighted towards one type. Being transparent is important and the results should be posted on the schools webpage and/or a state web page that compiles all school results. I am not an education expert, but I have many people that I can turn to for advice when having to make a decision. I am also a parent of two sons who graduated from public school as well as my husband and me.
From what I have heard from teachers while going door-to-door, annual evaluations are not opposed. Fairness, however, is the worry. Teachers would like to be represented at the table when deciding as to how the reviews will be designed and administered. They also would like to have their legislator job-shadow a teacher for half a day or a full day to get an idea of what a teacher's day is like. A teacher's day does not end when the bell rings. I think we have a lot of good teachers and if their annual review is linked to the classroom, it should not be their entire review, but rather a percentage of it. There are many variables in a classroom that will affect the outcome of the review. Unfortunately, there are students who refuse to learn and parents who just don't care and teachers should not be punished when all attempts have been made but without success.
I do like the idea of encouraging teachers to be creative in teaching. One idea that appears to be working is Flip Teaching. Flip Teaching is where the student first listens to the lecture at home on the computer and then comes into the classroom to do the work. The teacher records his/her lectures for at home reviewing and then assists the students in the classroom as they apply the lessons learned. This method allows students to work through problems as they get 'stuck' and when it is fresh in their heads, rather than waiting for the next class when answers are traditionally reviewed. Sometimes I think funding education is backwards. Currently, 'x' amount of money is given to schools and if schools reach desirable outcomes, more money can be earned. Perhaps we should be funding schools at a certain level and if desirable outcomes are not reached, penalties are applied in loss funding, thus promoting change to get back to being fully funded.
The unfunded liabilities are being worked out currently in Lansing. I support the efforts being made to address and to resolve this issue. As a County Commissioner I have voted in changes for current and new county employees that have addressed this very issue and as the county goes forward, the unfunded liabilities will eventually become zero.
Kelly: As a former education policy advisor to Governor Engler, I'm extremely interested in the critical role that education plays in growing and maintaining a strong Michigan economy. I don't believe that K-12 education in Michigan is an under-funded enterprise, however I do believe that for too long we have placed a higher priority on serving the interests of adults rather than those of the student.
For those reasons I support the efforts to reform tenure, healthcare, and retirement. If we do nothing to curb the growing costs associated with the status quo, there will simply not be enough money to fund the basic functions of teaching a child to read and write.
I believe that we are on the threshold of massive change in education, in that technology will soon eclipse the traditional platform of a teacher-led classroom full of kids. This change is already pushing the envelope of acceptability for cyber schools and other advancements in education. This will inevitably lead to further consternation and tumult over the traditional role of bricks and mortar school buildings and even the need for the number of teachers and school administrators we currently have today.
I am deeply concerned about the rising cost of higher education and the impact that will have on increasing the education level of Michigan residents. While we know that there are a good many jobs that go unfilled here in Michigan that do not require a four years of college, lifelong debt should not be the reward for attaining a college degree.
I would suggest that tuition increases are a direct result and unintended consequence of the influence of massive amounts of federal assistance, in the form of low interest loans and grants, that push colleges to add more seats which inevitably leads to higher administrative costs and operation of the schools.
Lincoln: I am opposed to recent expansion of charter school and cyber schools, neither of which has standards close to those imposed on traditional K-12 school districts. If charter and cyber schools have access to the same funding, they should be held to the same standards as public school districts.
Educational reform must start with adequate funding and programs for Birth to 5. Research has demonstrated that so much readiness for learning is developed before children enter Kindergarten that the achievement gap is almost impossible to overcome beginning at Kindergarten. Not only does this include preschool access for everyone, but support and training for parents to engage their children in learning activities from infancy.
I support opportunities for high school students who have mastered subjects and completed classes available at their high school to dual enroll in college programs. As for Higher Education, it is imperative that tuition assistance be enhanced and this includes reinstituting the Michigan Promise program.
I agree with the concept that all school district employees, including teachers, should be evaluated on an annual basis, but I do not believe it should be legislated as it was recently. From the perspective of a school board member, I have seen annual employee evaluations work to make improvement in quality of education and teacher performance. I do not believe the changes in teacher tenure laws will result in better teachers. It is still incumbent on administrators to properly document, address and monitor issues. Those administrators who used the prior teacher tenure law as an excuse not to follow proper procedure and process will most likely also fail to follow procedure and process under the new law.
McReynolds: Education indeed needs reform. The teachers who actually do their jobs, I greatly respect, but unfortunately there are teachers who care more about money than about doing their jobs. Sadly some teachers do not even want to help out any special education students that need it because the teacher cares more about the money than about the best interests of the student.
For example when I attended Marshall Greene Middle School in Birch Run, my special ed teacher and the lady who was my social worker at the time were super opposed to me going to Millet Learning Center in the afternoon. They did not care about my best interest, they cared only about the money they would make off my being a student in the Birch Run Area School District and me going to Millet Learning Center in the afternoon meant that the district would make less revenue off me.
I think the only teachers that deserve raises are those who actually do their jobs, as well as taking up the incentive to care about the best interests of the students. Teachers who care more about cash than the best interests of the students do not deserve a raise, nor do they deserve to teach to begin with.
Review: On May 31st the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously overturned a decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals that would have severely restricted rights of patients & caregivers under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, which was approved by a majority of Michigan voters. What is your position on Medical Marijuana and do you support efforts to make medical marijuana access better and safer for patients?
Doyle: The Medical Marihuana Act was voted in by the people of the State. I don't believe the majority of those people intended for it to be loosely regulated so that anyone could get it, even if they were not sick or in severe pain. The original language was written very vaguely and it was causing problems in the courtrooms and at the enforcement level. I agree with the recent bi-partisan legislation that has cleared up the problem areas.
Kelly: I support efforts to make medical marijuana access better and safer for patients.
Lincoln: The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was initiated by citizens and passed when a significant majority of voters supported it. Since its passage, some elected officials in Lansing have sought to impose their opinions and values on Michigan's law regarding medical marijuana regardless of the clear vote of the people. In addition to the actions of the Attorney General, bills have been introduced in the House. Any bill that would directly change the MMMA requires a vote of ¾ of both the House and the Senate, and the Governor's signature to become law. Although bills have been introduced, none have become law.
In its opinion, the Supreme Court focused primarily on the language from the ballot when the MMMA was passed. This approach was very different than that taken by the Court of Appeals. As the MMMA is currently the law of the State with respect to medical marijuana, I believe the Supreme Court's decision was correct.
I understand the research and anecdotal evidence of the benefits of medical marijuana for some conditions and diseases. If it is the treatment that provides the only or most effective relief, I would have no reason to disagree with the majority of voters who passed the MMMA. In light of the Supreme Court's recent decision, it is time that resources are devoted to properly regulate within the language of the Act rather than even greater resources being devoted to crack down on people with legitimate need for this substance as a medical treatment.
McReynolds: I think Marijuana needs to be decriminalized period, regardless of the fact we have the Medical Marijuana Act. First of all I am not a fan of using Marijuana, but I also feel it is terrible that people have their futures ruined all because they were prosecuted and convicted just cause they chose to smoke or even try Marijuana to begin with.
I think one should be allowed to smoke Marijuana in the privacy of their own home without fear of arrest, regardless of whether or not the person is using Marijuana for medical or recreational use.
Review: The fresh water of the Great Lakes is one of Michigan's most valuable resources, yet a few years ago a State of Michigan mineral rights auction opened an unprecedented amount of acreage to the process of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas - - a little regulated and immensely controversial technique that has been linked to massive ground water contamination in states ranging from Colorado to Kentucky. Current legislation exempts regulation of this practice, as well as identifying the chemicals, from regulation under The Halliburton Loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act. Are you in favor of supporting legislation to either ban hydraulic fracturing or make the companies utilizing the practice pay for 24-hour monitoring by State regulators, or impose a moratorium on this practice as other states like New York and Pennsylvania have recently done?
Doyle: Currently, I am not supportive of a state ban or a state moratorium. Just this last March, the EPA backed out of a lawsuit in Texas stating its own claims of water pollution from fracking could not be supported. (Editor's Note: This was due to the fact companies are not required to disclose the chemicals injected into the wells.) The EPA has agreed to retest in Wyoming after its methods were questioned. The U.S. Geological Survey will be conducting its own independent test. A flaw in the EPA's testing was that it was done in an area where water has been undrinkable for many decades, way before fracking was invented. It is suspected that areas like the ones that the EPA tested have had the gas naturally migrating into the water table.
The EPA did release new rules for air pollution that they say is the result of fracking; however, my understanding is that companies have until 2015 to implement the new pollution control equipment and in the meantime can utilize the method of flaring the natural gas to burn off emissions. Per the EPA, the use of the technique is almost as effective as the equipment to be installed. It would be interesting to know just how close the two are in effectiveness with each other and if the cost of the equipment is truly justified.
It is imperative that good science be used when determining if a process is causing pollution. Once it is proven to be doing so, then the Federal regulations will most likely be sufficient, but that can't be determined until the data is in and analyzed.
Kelly: I do not support a ban or a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.
Lincoln: Yes. The environment is critical to our quality of life and to our local and state economies. We must do all we can to preserve it while balancing the realities of manufacturing in our state. First, fracking must not be permitted unless and until the real consequences of this process can be determined. This requires full disclosure of all chemicals, compounds, and other materials introduced during the process, as well as extensive study of the risks of the process itself.
Second, we must protect the water in the Great Lakes, as well as ground water and surface water. Controlling fracking is part of this, but we must also include adequate funding and supporting activities of the DNR to identify and hold polluters (industrial, agricultural, individual, etc.) responsible. Likewise, I will work to prevent significant diversions of the water of the Great Lakes.
McReynolds: On the one hand I would like to see more oil reserves opened in this nation, and see us stop depending on foreign oil. However I do think our Great Lakes is a bad location to do this in. I would rather pump on land or at sea as well but the Great Lakes itself, I say no way. If we are going to pump natural gas in Michigan, we need to pump on land, not in the Great Lakes.
I would like to have a moratorium on this and tell the companies to pump in land instead of in the Great Lakes, but if hydraulic fracturing ends up allowed - whether we like it or not, I would for sure be favoring making the companies pay for 24 hour monitoring by state regulators.
Review: The Financial Crisis of 2008 and resulting taxpayer funded bailouts of Bank of America, Citicorp, and Goldman Sachs represented the largest transfer of wealth in our nation's history and has crippled the middle class along with state and local infrastructures. Would you be in favor of a .01 percent tax on all trades of stocks, bonds and derivatives that would generate enough revenue to pay back the bailouts and reduce government deficits?
Doyle: No. I was opposed to the bailouts and believe the bailouts should be treated like loans. The recipients ought to have to pay all of the money back with interest. Government deficits can be reduced and/or eliminated via the elimination of waste at the Federal level and with reform.
A big part of the problem is that the U.S. Senate doesn't want to pass a budget and doesn't want to make real cuts and the President is not leading with this issue. The current Federal Administration says it is for the middle class. I am middle class and I wish they would advocate for someone else - enough damage has been done to the middle class! When government gets out of the way and stops meddling, the economy will grow. The federal government's job is the same as state government in that it exists to protect its citizens and to provide services as outlined in the Constitution.
Kelly: I fundamentally disagree with the assumption/assertion that the financial crises of 2008 was caused entirely by any unscrupulous acts of Wall Street banks, brokerage houses, or other financial institutions, which therefore warranted the subsequent tax-payer bailouts administered by both the Bush and Obama Administrations.
I adhere to the construct that leaders in Washington DC, from both the Republican and Democrat parties, should be held responsible for foisting the idea on Wall Street institutions and their overseers, that easy money and credit should be extended to unqualified borrowers simply to push home ownership as a gateway to the middle class.
It was indeed that toxic combination of social justice politics and crony capitalism which led to the housing bubble and misguided federal bailouts. We will never know if doing nothing would have been the right course of action and of course the addition of $5 trillion in debt added in the last three and a half years will play havoc on family, local, state, and federal budgets for decades to come.
Lincoln: This does not appear to be a topic to be legislated at the state level, but more appropriate for the federal level. I would not be in favor of taxing further the people who make trades of stocks, bonds, etc., to generate revenues. That would be taxing people who already paid for the bailouts to pay back the bailouts. I believe the people and institutions benefited by obscene profits, large salaries, bonuses, and dividends over the years should be required to pay back the bailouts. This is especially so in light of the profits these institutions continue to make. Their profits should be taxed - before any of it goes to pay dividends or salaries and bonuses to its employees and corporate boards.
McReynolds: I think the government needs to quit doing these bailouts. The bailouts did not even improve our economy. We are still having problems today and a raise in taxation would mean more money for the government to waste.
Bolivia had a massive financial crisis in the 80s, yet the government kept on printing worthless paper money and that did not help. Bolivia solved their crisis when all parties in the Bolivian legislature agreed that if the government rakes in only One Peso, that is what is spent; rake in Two Pesos that is what they'll spend. Bolivia in that time frame learned how to balance the budget and the USA needs to do the same.
Increasing taxes is not going to help with budget balancing at all. This nation is officially bankrupt already, but our government is still in denial about it.
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)