Let’s on-shore the American dream

There is a major employer in Dayton that hires thousands of people from India to come here and work and untold thousands more in India to do high-level coding for its information-services business. When it comes to immigration status, they have the best lawyers around on retainer to work though the issues.

There are local hotels, construction companies, restaurants and manufacturing companies that hire “illegal immigrants” to clean their rooms, do the dirtiest of demolition, wash dishes, and do menial labor.

Rich friends of mine brag about their Mexican electrician, groundskeeper, housekeeper.
Our farm economy still depends on illegals (we like to call them “migrant farm workers”) to pick tomatoes, mushrooms, oranges, lettuce- etc.

Our poor people complain that these immigrants take their jobs- yet, I had a two-time ex-con tell me that doing data entry “wasn’t in his job description” (which is odd because I don’t have written job descriptions) as “office manager.”

For a year, I had the luxury of having a coder from Nigeria who was here on a student visa while getting a master’s degree at Wright State. His work ethic was excellent, his enunciation a bit difficult, but upon graduation he was on a countdown to get his visa sponsored and my small company couldn’t compete with bigger businesses.

Our manufacturing base has moved off-shore because they say they can’t compete with cheap overseas labor- yet, others (including Congressmen and Supreme Court justices) have been caught hiring these affordable “illegal immigrants” in “nanny-gates” while still passing laws against paths to immigration, not raising the minimum wage and continuing to support laws that create “illegal underground economies” with the “war on drugs,” bipolar gambling laws; it’s legal on Wall Street and the Lottery- but online poker or a home game for money is illegal.

A friend went to Siberia to build a waste-water treatment plant for Pepsi a good 15 years ago- he went over a 40-year-old, overweight, cynical, not-by-choice bachelor- he came back with a beautiful 25-year-old pregnant wife- with a master’s degree in economics. Her family came to visit- and thought his 4-room shotgun cottage was a mansion. Because he owned a car, a “band van” and 2 motorcycles- they believed him to be rich.

In Dayton, we’ve got a growing population of Mexicans, Nigerians, Armenian Turks, and Indians to add to a bunch of Koreans (we’re home to an Air Force base where airmen meet Korean women and bring them back).

Ohio is losing population, Dayton is spending millions to tear down homes, and lamenting the loss of income-tax revenue- yet there are probably thousands of workers working in Dayton, who would be happy to pay taxes, if it would not come with a knock on the door from immigration.

What could happen in America if we just integrated the “illegal immigrant” underground economy into the legitimate one? Would we stop seeing the budget crisis? Would the economy bounce back almost overnight? I’m not advocating instant citizen status, but a path to citizenship with a legal work status.

Those who’ve been convicted of crimes would not be eligible, but, the honest hardworking people who clean your hotel room, wash your dishes, pick your vegetables would.

Immigration is one of the “hot button” issues that is used to divide voters, to rile them up, to take them out of rational discussions of the real issue in America today: the economic divide.

While 13% of us continue to be out of work, while our city “leaders” are about to raise our income tax again while we hand over a $30-million dollar building to a California “developer” with no money down- the divide continues to grow. Our political system has devolved into an auction to the highest bidder- with no end in sight.

What kind of country do you want to live in? One that has “Freedom and justice for all”- or only those who make the laws (hint- it’s not the people anymore).

Why the taxpayers should say no to IRG on Airport deal

Yesterday, I posted documents showing City employees structuring a deal for IRG so UPS could get out of a long-term lease for a very valuable building that sits on city property.

IRG stands to put a few million in their pocket right off the bat, with the city asking for a couple of years of escrowed lease payments. Then IRG can take the assets of the building- strip what they want, and later walk away.

Why can’t the city just take a one-time payment from UPS to get out of the deal- and hand the building over to the taxpayers, who then can contract with any developer who is willing to pay the city?

Or, use the building as an incubator – instead of building more buildings in Tech Town?

Maybe, it’s because the people who structure deals for the city don’t know how to structure deals at all? Remember the Wayne Avenue Kroger fiasco?

The City Commission should put this vote on hold until they have time to study this deal carefully.

Something smells pretty bad about the deal as presented.

You can’t trust Dayton City Hall

Arial view Dayton AirportIf you think the people running the City of Dayton have your best interests in mind, you are in for an eye opener. I warned of problems with this deal with Industrial Realty Group last week.

First, meet our local hometown hero: Mark Herres, CEO of The Builders Development Group. Mark had an idea to put a solar array on top of the former Emery air freight hub at the airport. The building, currently owned by UPS, which would cost about $380 million to build today, sits in a mothballed state until 2020.

Over the next 9 years, UPS must keep it in perfect operating condition, because of special regulations of buildings that sit on FAA grounds. The city leases the land for $657K year- and is guaranteed it until 2020. UPS pays about $185K in property taxes to the county. All in- UPS spends at least $2 million a year to keep an empty building. Included with the building is a conveyor system worth about $20 million, 5 diesel generators worth about $500K each and a fuel farm that’s worth about $15million (it’s made of stainless steel and aluminum). There is 166K square feet of IT office space built out with fiber and fast internet. There is a million square feet of warehouse space, in an International Free trade zone. It even includes the old airport tower- which, believe it or not- has nothing to do with the FAA tower that was just built. If you just scrapped the metal in the building- you’d get a cool $6 million or so.

Mark approached UPS in 2009 with a way to end up at least cash neutral though 2020- by leasing the roof for $1- supplying UPS with cheap power- and slowly filling the facility with jobs- both in green energy (solar manufacturers) and in turning the fuel farm into bio-composters. The warehouse could also house distribution for tech companies- but all this really doesn’t matter, because his deal was with UPS- and they weren’t getting out of their lease.

Mark approaches the city and has a conference call with airport director Ahmad Iftikhar, Stan Earley, Tim Riordan, Shelley Dickstein from the City manager’s office- Walter Krgowski (airport deputy director). Chris Meyer from the Dayton Development Coalition and representatives from UPS. As the lease holder, the city must sign off so the FAA can approve the use.BDG dec 10 Krygowski

Even though the lease would still be paid by UPS no matter what BDG does- this is a deal between BDG and UPS, the city asked for “Financing Details” and- at some point asked what would happen to the building in 2020 when the UPS lease was done.

UPS said that by 2020- they’d sell the building to BDG for $1 and let them take over the 20-year option.

Apparently- when that number popped up- someone saw a chance to cut themselves a deal.

On Jan. 25, 2010, Director of Aviation Ahmad Iftikhar (who is already looking for another job) wrote Riordan- about the “Emery MOU” – Memorandum of Understanding between the city and UPS/BDG and says in item 8. “At some point we would want IRG to talk to Mark Harries (sic.).” In item 3 he’s also asking Doug Hanish- a local real estate property appraiser to look at this deal. Why would an appraisal be done since this deal has nothing to do with the sale of the building which belongs to UPS? Jan 25 2010 Iftikar to Rirodan IRG

By March 1st- on city stationery, Ahmad- who is about to accept a job in New Orleans, sends the wording of an MOU to Stuart Lichter- the President of IRG in Downey, Calif., that he should use to make an offer to the city of Dayton to buy the building out from UPS and cut Herres and BDG out. Ahmad is promising to undo a deal which the city had already entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with a local player. Mar 1 2010 Iftikar to Lichter

Of course, Lichter takes a week or so- to review it- and then sends back Ahmad’s language- copy and paste: Mar 12 2010 IRG to Iftiakr

Next we have city manager – fast tracking IRG deal, asking via e-mail April 1st, 2011 to “Stuart,” as if they are best friends- where he wants to see a pro forma- asking why IRG’s deal only is through 2016 instead of 2020- and something in the agreement that indicates the UPS funds will be spent on the project (as opposed to pocketed by IRG- who has not shown any kind of plan for the building).Apr 1 2011 Riordan to Lichter

Note, IRG set up an LLC explicitly for this deal so they can take the money out and run if they feel the need. IRG also wants the fuel farm taken out of the deal- as they see it as a liability.

Lastly- we have an e-mail on April 15, 2011 where the FAA is sticking their nose in- rightfully- asking what IRG plans to do with the FAA’s investment in an aviation facility- which requires the new owner to have at least 10% aviation-related use. There is a final jab- in that if the new owners don’t comply- the FAA can pull the ownership of the building- probably after IRG has scrapped as much as they can out of it. Apr 15 2011 FAA to City

The City Commissioners were handed this- plus a lot more information on this deal today- for a vote on Wednesday as part of the city manager’s recommendations: http://www.cityofdayton.org/cco/Commission%20Agendas/2011/04-27-11%20Agenda.pdf

They are entering into a deal with IRG- doing business as “Air Commerce LLC” and walking away from a guaranteed contract with UPS.

Under the terms of the deal, UPS will pay IRG (not Air Commerce) $5,750,000 and Air Commerce will place $1,280,000 in escrow and pay the city $640K a year for a total of $3.2 million- with options. Why the rush to do a deal with a company that clears an easy couple of million right off the bat- without promising the city ANYTHING in return? Why did the city rush out to move around our local hero, BDG- who was promising jobs, innovative technologies- and not changing the terms of the lease at all? Why do we need to do a deal with someone smaller than UPS- which is what we have now?

There can only be one answer- and that is that someone at IRG is paying people in City Hall- or promising to pay them. Both people who started this deal at the airport have moved off to New Orleans.

There is ZERO reason to act on this deal this week– yet, already, almost 70 employees of UPS and their security firm etc- were already given walking papers- with a termination date of Friday. How does this benefit the taxpayers?

Questions need to be answered- because we can’t trust city hall at all. These documents prove that they are conniving backstabbers, unable to do an honest deal.




Dead sign petitions without prosecutions

Whoever commits election falsification is guilty of a felony of the fifth degree

The warning on petitions

In an opinion piece in the Dayton Daily we find this gem:

Montgomery County’s Steven Harsman does acknowledge that the names of dead people have shown up on petitions gathered to get candidates and issues on the ballot. But, he says, “They get deleted, because their signatures don’t match” the signatures on their registration forms.

Even if just a few people are signing another’s name, that’s not good.

via Editorial: Dead people aren’t stealing any elections | A Matter of Opinion.

Yet, we’ve not heard about any prosecutions? On the petitions I’ve seen- it clearly states: “Whoever commits election falsification is guilty of a felony of the fifth degree.”

Now, either Harsman is lying about people turning in signatures of dead people- or he is guilty of not doing his job.

Which is it?

He’s sure good about keeping live people off the ballot with his team of crack graphologists– where is the prosecution of the crimes?

Have any of the party faithful been elected with signatures of dead people on their petitions?

It’s time for a full investigation of the BOE- and who is on the payroll of this political patronage cesspool.

Required watching: The Tillman Story

Photo of Pat and Kevin Tillman in Saudi Arabia

Pat & Kevin Tillman

One thing about Netflix is that random discovery isn’t quite random. It’s for this reason, I sort of hope neighborhood video stores don’t go away. I also hope we always have libraries- and printed books- because, one day, once all the batteries wear out- there needs to be some proof that all this existed.

Friday night we stopped by Family Video- and when going back to look for another title- with big name action stars, I saw a movie I’d missed the first time- “The Tillman Story.” They had one copy. I looked it up on Flixster and saw it had a 91% rating- and took it home.

When Pat Tillman first left the NFL to “join the Rangers” I remember thinking- joining is one thing, making it is another. I didn’t know Pat Tillman from Adam- but, I did admire the fact that he was walking away from $3.6 million a year- to do what I’d wanted to do on 9/11– go in the Army to kick ass and take names. However, at 38 I knew I was a few years past when they’d take me back.

Tillman turned down all attempts to interview him- and, he kept his dignity and did his job. Unfortunately, his life was cut short by the accidental nature of war- he was killed by friendly fire. I do not hold the shooters responsible for his death- I know war is not order- it’s chaos combined with a roulette wheel.

It’s what happened after Pat Tillman’s death that is the real lesson in how far our country is being failed by our current system of “leadership” and how we as apathetic bystanders are just as culpable for his death as Osama Bin Laden supposedly is to blame for 9/11.

“The Tillman Story” isn’t a glorification of a “true American hero”- it’s a documentary about the systematic hijacking of his death into a PR move for “God and Country.” You even get to see John McCain and Maria Shriver talking about God at his memorial- only to hear his baby brother tell them that Tillman didn’t believe in God- and sharing the F-bomb freely.

Tillman knew that the war in Iraq was a farce. He also knew he couldn’t speak about it until his three-year enlistment was up (even though he was offered an early out after his first combat tour in Iraq). His diary as well as his uniform were burned by the Army- a direct violation of procedure- so that we will never know exactly what Tillman had to say on the matter. But luckily, we have his little brother, who enlisted with him, who shared an essay just before the 2006 elections- the whole thing is well worth a read- but, near the end he says this:

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

via Kevin Tillman: After Pat’s Birthday – Truthdig.

This is not a democracy, it’s a republic- and the people who have taken us into not just two wars, but now a third, in far away places- have ignored the war going on at home. One where those in power are doing everything in their power to remain in power- and keep the people who put them there- arguing about things like abortion and SB5 while they clean out the rest of our piggy banks- so they can yell Monopoly at the end and pronounce themselves the winners.

War is big business, this community depends on Wright Patterson Air Force Base as its last remaining large employer- yet, when we get down to all those jobs- and all that money, what are we really supporting- a government that can’t be trusted.

This country is built on trust. Trust that our money is good, trust that our political system is honest and that our justice system is just.

We’re fed a continuous line of crap from the government, the media and it’s strewn around the internet like manure on a mushroom patch- but every once in a while, the crap slaps back.

The Tillman family is rightfully proud of their sons- and we should be as well. Watch this movie, and you’ll understand what really makes our country great- people like them.

The question is- how do you and I stack up? And, are you willing to fight the machine and take our country back?


State of the City of Dayton

Mayor Leitzell made his state of the city address yesterday- and wisely posted it on his blog so that he didn’t have to count on the media to get it right.

Using the web to skirt the media is a step forward.

However- speaking in platitudes isn’t an answer, a plan or even remotely what we need. What we need is a vision of leadership- a direction, a plan.

This doesn’t cut it:

  1. Dayton is on its own
  2. Dayton must reinvent itself to survive and thrive
  3. If we’re going to get anything done, we need to work together
  4. Dayton is evolving
  5. Dayton will prosper

In the meantime, we’ve not answered how we are going to staff our safety forces- our core mission for our government, we don’t have a plan to clearly “reinvent” ourselves- name one piece of legislation he’s introduced, never mind an agenda for transformation- like true charter changes? We could start with eliminating the policy of making lateral hires go back through our safety academies- and instead do OJT. We could also eliminate the charter requirements based on numbers of registered voters- and change it to percentages of last general election.

And while we continue to pour money into “economic development” projects that are nothing but corporate welfare- we could instead invest our money in programs to rebuild the fabric of our neighborhoods- working together with Dayton Public Schools and the Charters to create citywide youth sports programs- so our kids have something to do other than join gangs or move away when they reach school age. Strong neighborhoods build strong cities.

Instead- we got none of that. We got this:

we have world class citizens with world class ideas. Now is the time for us to put those ideas into action. This is our moment. Let’s work together and seize it.

via Dayton Mayor: State of the City Address.

I won’t even touch his endorsement of William Pace– but, it is his first attempt to actually stand for something- so- I guess we do have progress.

What’s the plan, Mayor?

(and- btw, I would have been in attendance, but instead I was helping coach my kids’ soccer game in Sidney).

Who is sleeping with the vultures in City Hall?

In the grand rush to do anything that looks like progress the City Commission is in a rush to do a deal with IRG, the same people who just took the Moraine GM truck plant for chump change.

A source tells me that the city is due revenues from UPS for the former Emery Air Freight building at the airport for 8 years.

If the city commission approves the deal next week- UPS pays IRG $5 million to take over the deal, and then IRG pays the city $3 million- netting the vultures a cool $2 million right away- with no long use plan in place for this facility.

Later- IRG can walk away- leaving the city with a building- and IRG with a pocket full of UPS cash.

Granted, the city should never have been in the real estate business in the first place- but, until this nation stops expecting taxpayers to subsidize mega corporations with corporate welfare- that’s how we’ll roll.



The Feds shut down the wrong casino

online pokerLet’s see- GE pays no corporate taxes.

We have hedge fund managers collecting billions a year– while making the global economy fail.

Angelo Mozilo gets to pay back a pittance of his pay in return for throwing millions of Americans into foreclosure- but no criminal prosecution.

Ignore the 10% unemployment figures, ignore the US workers who used to make cars and a decent living- now making hamburgers at minimum wage.

Ignore the fact that the rich are getting fat- while the rest of us are having services cut left and right, while cities and states and schools are flat-busted broke.

Let’s go after…. online poker.

But late last week, the United States Justice Department delivered an unexpected thunderbolt to this huge lobbying campaign when it indicted top executives at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, accusing them of fraud and money laundering. In doing so the government has taken on a politically powerful industry that for a while seemed like it might transform gambling around the world….

An estimated 10 million online poker players in the United States have turned to these Internet sites, helping generate perhaps as much as $5 billion in annual revenues for the companies.

On Friday the Justice Department said the companies had illegally moved their earnings to corporate headquarters in spots like the Isle of Man in Great Britain and Costa Rica by conspiring with middlemen who disguised them as sales of items like flowers, pet supplies and golf clubs.

via Online Poker Has Big Setback, Despite Lobbying – NYTimes.com.

And, no- it’s not being shut down because the game is being run illegally- with electronic decks skewing to the house or dealing better hands to the house- it’s because the money is being moved to tax havens (note- it’s not even legal to run online poker from the US).

Also note- while it’s illegal to run online poker in the US- it’s not illegal for the politicians to receive campaign contributions from the companies (trust me- the amount is tiny when compared to the amount coming from the Wall Street Casino). Why aren’t we bringing charges up against every congressman who took the illegal money too?

I am not a big fan of gambling as big business- but, while casinos make big money from “games of chance”- the poker room is the one place where skill actually comes in to play. If there is any kind of “legal gambling” – I put poker ahead of slot machines and the lottery any day. It’s also safer than the stock market- where the rules and the playing fields are tilted to the super rich- and out to screw the casual investor.

If the Justice Department truly was seeking justice- they’d be shutting down the casino on Wall Street- but that would also shut down the flow of campaign dollars into Washington- and then what would we be left with? Honest politicians? Want to bet on it?

The systematic devaluation of the little people’s America

While Bill Nuti is being wined and dined by our elected leaders and paid a princely sum for losing value of a once great company, the effects of his actions are killing the people who still have no choice about paying the taxes that support our government.

First, the taxpayers in N.Y. were hit for 1.5 million so he could move the executive offices- the “C-suite”- to NYC into high-rent offices in part of the new World Trade Center complex. Note- the office space in Dayton was pretty much paid off.

Then there was the $100 Million plus deal with the state of Georgia to move the rest of NCR to Duluth. The company isn’t doing that much better- but Nuti is making triple what he was when this insanity started. In 2010 Nuti took home $12,170,898. That’s $5,851 an hour, or $46,811 a day, $234,055 a week, $936,222 a month- just to make the numbers a bit “more real” and relevant to the taxpayer. Note- the stock price is about the same as when he hauled NCR out of Dayton- around $18 a share.

But, the raping of the taxpayer isn’t over yet:

Diebold Inc. faced a difficult decision after chief rival NCR Corp. was wooed from Ohio to Georgia.

Diebold didn’t want to leave Ohio, but it couldn’t compete with NCR after it received more than $60 million in incentives to move its corporate headquarters and 2,100-plus jobs south in June 2009.

So Diebold approached North Carolina and Virginia, where it has factories. Both states offered attractive deals to move.

When Ohio countered with its own offer of $56 million in tax breaks, grants and loans, Diebold was sold on staying.

via Diebold was ‘dead serious’ about leaving Ohio, company officials said | cleveland.com.

The comments on the story are divided between outrage, and praise for our “pro-business,” CEO-loving governor.

The current Diebold, CEO Thomas Swidarski only made $5,531,245.00. He’s been CEO since 2005- and the Feds are just squared up the books on the last CEO in June of 2010:

The SEC Clawbacks Compensation from Former Diebold CEO – But No Fraud Alleged (Again)

On Wednesday, the SEC announced it had charged Diebold and three former finance officers for engaging in a fraudulent accounting scheme to inflate the company’s earnings. The SEC separately settled an enforcement action (here’s the litigation release – and here’s the complaint) against Diebold’s former CEO Walden O’Dell, obtaining reimbursement of certain financial benefits that he received while Diebold was committing the accounting fraud. The SEC used the clawback provision under Section 304 of Sarbanes-Oxley to get the former CEO to agree to reimburse the company $470,016 in cash bonuses, 30,000 shares of Diebold stock and stock options for 85,000 shares of Diebold stock.

via The SEC Clawbacks Compensation from Former Diebold CEO – But No Fraud Alleged (Again) – TheCorporateCounsel.net Blog.

Let’s be real folks- while a $470K fine would kill most of us- this is slapping a 2 weeks with no pay on a guy like Bill Nuti- who couldn’t spend his money as fast as he made it if he had to buy just stuff for everyday living (no investments- just stuff you needed to live on a daily basis) without the unspent funds going away at midnight each night.

Yet, the story of corporate pillaging and corporate welfare is old news. How does this all end up playing in Peoria- or Dayton. The rich get richer while the small businessman gets screwed. Buy low, sell high doesn’t work for the little guy anymore. You have to be in the world of ratified air to have access to capital, and that, my friends, is still hard to come by.

A potential client came into my humble offices on Bonner Street about 4 months ago. He liked what I’d done with my former corner grocery- which I purchased Oct. 19, 1987. (the day of the Wall Street crash– (which was nothing compared to later) for $2,200 plus $2,400 in back taxes. He said to his wife- “Honey, we need a building like this” and I told him about a corner store down the street that was for sale for about $15K because of the demise of the owner. The building had been vacant, except for the squatters and thieves who had ripped out the plumbing  for about the last 3 years. Around 10 years ago, a woman had died in a fire in one of the back apartments and parts of the building had been redone.

Turns out the estate was in settlement phase, and the widow was finding out that her husband had around 100+ properties all over Dayton- many with tenants paying very little to the landlord (her husband) because they were his girlfriends. This was all news to her- and the estate hadn’t been planned properly and she was wanting out. My clients were asked if they would like to make an offer on all three of his remaining South Park properties- including a grand manse on Wayne and a brick double down my street. They offered $15k for all three and it was accepted.

Their good fortune was that they had access to cash and had a deal in front of them too good to be true. They had 3 buildings in 2011 for $500 more than what I paid for my home on Jan. 28, 1986 (the day the first Space Shuttle blew up). The tenant in the brick double was paying $200 a month in rent- and had been for over 20 years. The other side was empty. My clients went to work- cleaning it out, fixing it up, putting in a new kitchen, bathroom, refinishing floors (believe it or not it had a new furnace and water heater) and $20K later- looked to get a first mortgage so they could then finish the next side and have working capital to start work on the next building.

The “appraisal” came in at $16K. The “appraiser” asked how much they bought it for- was it a sheriff’s sale, a foreclosure, or a bankruptcy?- and pulled comps to justify his number. Never mind that this house is in a stable block with 2 “Rehabarama” homes that sold for $250K and $200K- and just had a house sell for $105K a few months ago.

The bank won’t even make a loan on a home under $25K. The expected rent on the half that’s complete is over $700- for a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house with a formal living room, dining room and kitchen downstairs- a large yard and an unfinished tall attic.

Where is the support of this small businessman- who happens to have a full-time job as a sergeant. first class in the Army, who has been to the sandbox 7 times in service to his country. They just started a business that detects bedbugs with a trained Jack Russel– and are so booked with work that they are getting a second dog (these dogs are $10K to train). These are the hard-working, honest, small business people that really make this country great- yet they don’t get the millions in tax breaks, nor help from the governor. They jump through hoops and pay lawyers to make sure they have clear titles, they put their own retirement funds into their dreams and hope to make enough to be able to be able to pay for health insurance for both of them once he’s retired from the Army (which by the way- just switched from a 20 year to retirement to a 26 year plan I heard last night).

The effects of deregulation on banking has continued to skew our economy to the side of big business. The transaction costs and risk assessment costs of doing small deals is heavily outweighed by the value of creating credit default swaps and doing arbitrage. The power of the local banker for one of these megabanks is nothing more that that of a checkout clerk- putting numbers into a machine to get a printout. When a banker in the community used to be a judge of character and able to do a deal on a single sheet of paper (I found the 1988 home equity line note on my house- one page, in type you could read)- we now have empty suits hustling credit cards to those who don’t need them. Our entire financial system has become a giant pinball machine that has tilted and their are no balls in play- but it still lights up and says play me one more time.

One just has to take a quick look at this chart of banking CEO compensation in the US compared to the rest of the world for 2010. http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/02/banking-compensation-around-the-world/

World CEO Banking Compensation 2010

CEO pay around the world for bankers 2010

And when you start factoring in the fact that GE, the company that just broke ground in Dayton on former NCR property to build a new tech center also got 8.8 million in tax breaks, despite paying no corporate tax in 2010 you start to see how there is no more room at the table for the hardworking taxpayer at the bottom of the food chain to get ahead.

While those at the top can’t seem to admit that this country has been in a depression for the last three years, and that 10% unemployment is unacceptable and unsustainable- these deals at the top keep happening, while the deals at the bottom don’t. Rising gas prices are going to put the working class in an even bigger pinch this year- just as we’ve clawed our way back to a new normalcy. If our government doesn’t get serious about demanding a connection to jobs and payrolls to justify these outrageous salaries- and force Wall Street to stop doing deals among each other instead of on Main Street to create wealth- the fall of the Republic is near.

When it comes down to the eventual cage match between the high priced CEO and the SFC- I put my odds on the Sgt. any day- and we need the banking community to do the same. Otherwise America as we believe in it, is history.