Why should you vote for David Esrati for Congress in OH-10

Yesterday I posted the positions for my congressional run. It’s too long- it’s covering a ton of things I’ve posted on this site before, and it’s on www.electesrati.com for you to peruse. However, I run into a fundamental problem with having two different sites- this one, where I’ve got the 1,900+ posts on positions and where many of you visit daily- or the campaign site, which is fundamentally a fundraising site. Comments aren’t set up on the campaign site either and moderating two sites isn’t practical.

So, the solution will be to post in two places- and hope that you comment here.

The positions: I’m a candidate of substance and ideas – not soundbites and ideology. Yes, it’s a lot to read, but I want your take and feedback. I’m here to represent you- not PACs, special interest groups or corporations. That means as I continue this site after my election, your input will be taken under advisement with every vote I cast.

Why I should vote for David Esrati.

Fundamentally, I’m a Democrat. I believe that we’re judged not by how the most successful people are doing, but how well we take care of those who cannot. This means I believe in government (which is supposed to be all of us- collectively, not just the politicians) serving as a safety net.

However, instead of just being there when you fall, I believe that proactive actions by government can help keep people from failing. A great education system produces better, more capable citizens. Universal health care stops people from having to declare bankruptcy when they get sick. Simpler tax processes and code means less people to fine for screwing up (and boy can I tell you stories as a small business man).

I believe the most important thing I can do once elected is to keep open lines of communication to the people I represent. I plan on making sure my voice is your voice. I’ll use my blog, twitter and plenty of public meetings to stay connected from DC. Here are what I think are the most important issues that I will work on for you.

Note, I am not going to mislead you by talking about the “hot button” issues– because most of what is done in Congress has little effect on them. Guns, God and Choice will all ultimately be decided in the Supreme Court or on a ballot, not in Congress.

The TOP issue is to stop holding auctions instead of elections. It shouldn’t cost millions to run for Congress or take a year. Half of every term we’ve elected these jerks, they are campaigning instead of working. I promise to not engage in campaigning for more than 6 weeks before an election and 2 weeks before a primary.

I believe we need to do the following to change the electoral process.

  1. Pay for the campaigning with tax dollars, with no private money being used.
  2. Send every registered voter a complete election guide, with equal space for every candidate to say whatever they want- and to link to their website for any additional info.
  3. Allow you to vote by mail (yes, it can be done) so that you can have time to analyze the ballot, the candidates and the issues in the privacy of your home, and not allow things like bad weather to change the outcome.
  4. Eliminate primaries, using a process called Instant Runoff Voting, which allows you to rank your preferred candidates so that you can vote your mind instead of either based on who you think can win, or against the guy you don’t like.

How to make the United States a world-class power- and not a debtor nation anymore:

  1. Close the Wall Street Casino. You wouldn’t invest in a company for 12 seconds based on your view of the performance of the company. All shares in a company must be held at least a year.
  2. End stock-option pay: I don’t have a problem with the founders of a company making large sums of money. They took the risk. However, I do have a problem with the CEO as some sort of idol. Any stock awards must be at cash value at the time of issue, and voted on by the shareholders. The boards of directors have too much power and are all members of a private club. If options are offered, the value at time of cashing in will be the cost to the company- no more tax breaks for gambling.
  3. If a company is publicly traded- there will be a ratio of cash salary enforced. The top people can’t make more than 35 times the bottom U.S. payroll. And to prevent the sending of all but the smart jobs overseas, the company must have over 51% of its workforce here, if not, the CEO pay will be 20 times the bottom pay of the majority of their workforce. We need to reward people as job creators- not reward people who have the money to create jobs and may or may not.
  4. If a company lays off more than 3% of its workers, the CEO pay cannot exceed $500,000 per year. All stock awards must be turned back into the company. This only applies to publicly traded stock-owned companies.
  5. If the government has to bail out a company, or the company declares bankruptcy, the CEO will be held responsible, and compensation will be limited to no more than 10 times the average U.S. payroll until the company is back on its feet.
  6. Commodities trading will be limited to companies that actually take delivery on the commodity. Investing and gambling are two different things- our financial markets will not be casinos.
  7. Banks will no longer be able to sell off mortgages and engage as “investment banks.” We saw too-big-to-fail create less competition and bigger banks- instead of the other way around. The Glass-Steagall act needs to be reinstated.
  8. The foreclosure mess needs to stop. Right now, it’s a downward spiral because the banks aren’t being rational. Homes only maintain value with people in them. The moment the people move out- thieves and entropy move in. Banks should be forced to maintain the property in the same condition, or to restore the property to the condition they are in when they throw people out. I have a video to show you what happens when we let “nobody” own a home.

Health, education and welfare

  1. A healthy citizen is a more productive citizen. I believe we need to have a system of proactive, universal health care. We should pay doctors for keeping us healthy instead of paying insurance companies to restrict our care and take 35% as a useless middleman.
  2. Post-secondary education (either college or a vocational training program) is no longer an optional choice when it comes to being prepared to work in the modern economy.  We need to have a universal pre-K through 4 additional years of schooling. Starting most of our workforce out at least $25K in debt is a crime.
  3. Welfare is a safety net, not a way of life. We need to have everyone working, doing something. Welfare and unemployment checks only come to those who work- doings something for the country. Either clean up parks and roadways, or report for retraining, or separate recyclables.
  4. Universal service. Our military is the best in the world. It’s all volunteer and very expensive. In exchange for the extra education, every 18 year old will serve for a year either in the military or in the Civilian Conservation Corps or some other national service. If we’re all as patriotic as we think we are, giving one year to our country is nothing in comparison to what it gives us back.

Taxes

  1. Our system of collecting taxes is a monstrosity. It’s time to create a single employer’s portal, where all income is reported for all employees, and it automatically funnels the money to the jurisdictions. Currently I have to either pay a service or engage in way too many tax portals and forms. This takes time, causes mistakes and is a nightmare to manage.
  2. Sales taxes need to be leveled out, collected nationally, and distributed per capita to each state. No more sales tax avoidance by buying online out of state. No more complicated process of collecting and distributing them. The same collections for small businesses as large ones- a level playing field for all. Sales taxes shouldn’t be collected on basic necessities like healthy food or diapers. They shouldn’t be collected via a value added tax along the way to the end user. Sales taxes shouldn’t be applied to capital goods for the production of other things.
  3. Progressive income taxes should be charged in a simple fashion, without hard rate-structured rate breaks, loopholes, etc. Rates will be calculated in relationship to the national average income and the median income with a ratio and a maximum tax rate of 35% of all earnings at the top- on everything over the median.
  4. Wars will be paid for with bonds and a war tax, that raises the maximum tax rate to 70% on the wealthy. There will be no more wars paid for by the lives of the poor.
  5. Tax breaks will no longer be able to be used by communities for “job creation” or “economic development” or, political cronyism as they are now. All tax breaks must only be created at the national level in support of broad-based policy. For example, tax breaks for living within walking distance of work, installing energy-saving products. If a tax break doesn’t apply nationally, it doesn’t exist.

Economic Development

  1. Broadband: Our nation is sorely behind in both broadband coverage as well as speed. South Korea and Estonia both have speeds 20x or more what we consider “Fast internet.” For online learning, business, democracy to work- we need a better technological infrastructure. I believe this should be paid for by a flat rate sales tax on Internet purchases and distributed to the states per capita. It should only be used for supplying technology to students and increasing broadband speed.
  2. Water is a key resource and we’ve been unwise in allowing unfettered growth in areas where the water supply can’t meet demand. We need to become much more water secure and work to make sure we have the cleanest water available.
  3. Energy independence isn’t solved by “drill baby drill”- it’s just an excuse to continue guzzling fuel. If we electrified our rail lines that carry freight, we’d no longer be dependent on foreign oil at all. http://esrati.com/an-energy-independence-no-brainer-electrified-rail/6610/
  4. Local food isn’t just for the crunchy granola types- it’s good for all of us. Fresh food that can be traced to where it comes from is much safer. It’s also less energy intensive. Ohio, which is an agriculturally rich state, has allowed pristine farmland to be developed into sprawling suburbs that we can’t afford to support. We need smarter thinking about development.
  5. See point 5 under taxes to reiterate the point about “corporate welfare” being disguised as “economic development.”

Justice

Recently the stats came out that 90% of the murders in Dayton are of African Americans. We have infinitely more people in prison for petty crime than for the Wall Street destabilization of the global economy. It’s time to reevaluate what crimes warrant imprisonment. No one wiped out 20% of the value of your home by selling dope that you couldn’t actively go out and kick their butts- however, the wizards of Wall Street did it from their boardrooms. It’s time for accountability.

Drugs are bad. The War on Drugs is worse. If there is one program that’s been more unequally applied by our government it’s this one. It’s time to decriminalize marijuana and tax it. It’s time to make sure the addicts get treatment as soon as possible, instead of just warehousing them in prisons. It costs infinitely more to incarcerate a man that it does to better feed and educate a child. Only if we start taking a logical approach to this problem will we solve it.

Incarceration isn’t supposed to be a permanent scarlet letter. It’s supposed to include rehabilitation, or so we’re lied to. We’re creating a permanent underclass of citizens with records that prevent them from being productive contributors to society. It’s time to take a hard look at why as the “land of the free” we’ve put more people behind bars than any dictatorship. It’s costing us all and it has to stop.

Issues specific to Ohio 10

There are very few issues that I should have effect on locally. We’ve all heard the posturing by previous congressmen that “they work for Wright Patterson Air Force Base” That’s not their job- they work for you.

The people on WPAFB- guess what, they work for you too.

It’s my job to make sure that your dollars are spent as smartly as possible, not as pork for our district. Because pork here, means pork everywhere. You can’t have it both ways.

I do believe that it’s time to streamline government. I believe it’s time for national support for restructuring local governments. Just simplifying tax collection is one part- the same gateway can be used for collecting fees and municipal billing. No more water or trash billing systems to be maintained locally- we could have one central system. We need to help cut down the numbers of local jurisdictions and bolster resource sharing. It’s time to use federal money to create larger more efficient local government. 88 counties is more than enough political subdivisions in a state- continuing to use divisions that were practical when the Northwest Ordinance was enacted is irresponsible.

If you like the positions here, and want to support the campaign, please make a donation

Originally posted here:http://electesrati.com/why-david-esrati-for-congress/

The most important American stock exchange: your neighborhood housing stock

Last night, around 6o South Park neighbors got together at Hope Lutheran Church for our annual “Hot Toddy” party– food, desserts, alcohol, kids, a raffle for some amazing gift baskets and South Park Family Feud game- where the survey said: we’ve built a pretty special neighborhood. South Park is reportedly one of only a few Dayton neighborhoods where the property values went up in the last appraisal.

Sure we have some vacant homes that could be torn down as nuisance structures and we’ve also got some homes occupied by nuisance people, but the real difference (besides the recent crime spree which can be directly related to the aforementioned nuisance people) is that we truly have built our social capital by relentlessly working on quality of life issues, so that the tagline “where neighbors become friends” actually means something. The “social network” of our neighborhood is more real than virtual and the value is very tangible.

Last year I met a nice couple who were starting a business through my Veterans Owning Businesses group- VOB108.org When they visited my office, a building I bought in 1988 for $2,200 plus taking over $2,400 in back taxes, they fell in love with what I had done with the old corner grocery. I informed them of another old storefront that was available down the street. They now own 4 buildings in South Park, are residents and even have his parents investing in some other homes in the neighborhood. These values aren’t like stock prices at the Wall Street Casino and these investments aren’t short-term bets, because real housing markets have real transactional costs and real values attached to them.

Earlier this week, the Dayton Daily News reported that the Feds weren’t too happy with our demolition-happy policy pushed by Commissioner Nan Whaley (who accepted huge donations from “unknown demolition contractors”)

The city of Dayton, already losing ground in its war on urban decay, is slashing its housing inspection department after the federal government said it spent millions in taxpayer dollars with “no reportable accomplishments.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said the amount of seriously dilapidated housing exploded between 2005 and 2009 in all four neighborhoods it studied.

It questioned the city’s long-standing policy of funding its housing inspections with HUD Community Development Block Grant money, and called on city officials to re-evaluate how it is spending the federal money.

via Feds criticize city’s proposal to trim housing inspection program.

Had the millions been spent improving quality of life (CDBG money has been used in South Park for park improvements, street closings, new lighting, wrought iron fences for public spaces etc) perhaps the value of the investment of our tax dollars actually brought a return. You don’t build value by tearing down, you just subtract negative value. There is no incentive for new investment, no growth. Empty lots are very rarely tangible assets in a country going through a disastrous slide in real housing values thanks to the non-existent Federal oversight on the FIRE industries (Financial, Insurance & Real Estate) with their play money secondary markets and the trillions of dollars stolen from the working-class people of this great country.

From today’s Dayton Daily News we find that Ohio is particularly hard hit by the double whammy of higher vacancy rates and lower tax revenues:

Ohio’s housing vacancy rate jumped 50 percent between 2000 and 2010, the 10th largest leap among the states and far above the U.S. average of 33 percent, the Government Accountability Office said last week.

The increases in vacancies are costly to taxpayers, the GAO noted, straining community services like police and fire protection and sometimes requiring taxpayer-funded maintenance and demolition. The impact of vacant homes on surrounding property values also may reduce communities’ tax revenues.

Across the nation, the number of vacant housing units, excluding units for seasonal migrant workers, climbed from 6.8 million in 2000 to 10.3 million in 2010, a change of 51.2 percent.

Ohio’s vacancy rate — the amount of vacant property as a percentage of total housing stock — rose 49.8 percent from 2000 to 2010, going from 6.1 percent to 9.1 percent, the GAO said. That’s the 10th highest, but better than the top three: New Hampshire (77.4 percent), Minnesota, (75.8 percent) and Michigan (73 percent).

Ohio ranked in the top 20 states in three other indicators related to vacancies: the 2000-2010 percentage change in the number of vacant residential properties (13th), the unemployment rate (18th) and the percentage of loans in foreclosure (eighth) as of December 2010, according to the GAO report, issued Tuesday.

via Ohio’s housing vacancy rate up 50 percent in past decade.

The focus on the wrong “Stock Markets” by the media and the politicians has allowed the greatest crime in history to be carried off which has filled the pockets of the super rich while draining those of the rest of us. This is the transfer of wealth and the huge income gap that brought the Occupy Wall Street movement to the forefront. The giant sucking sound will continue as community after community goes bankrupt- all while the fat cats on Wall Street continue on their merry way playing with your money on their play market. Had we bailed out the homeowners instead of the robber barons by:

  • Forcing down interest rates on loans instead of bailouts for banks
  • Capping pay for publicly traded companies’ executives (forcing distribution to shareholders instead of to executive pay)
  • Placed transactional taxes on financial trades to stop volatility and bring real value back to stock pricing
  • Funded the unpopular wars with higher taxes (wars do tax society and voters would react differently if they saw a war tax coming out of every paycheck)
  • UPDATE

    (updated later, same day)Place compensation ratio limits on any company that does business with the Federal government.

There are some other issues of fairness that need to be addressed in the United States if we want to build a relatively fair and level economic playing field including:

  • A flat rate federal internet sales tax (which would fund universal high speed access nationwide and fund technology for education)
  • The ending of all tax-funded corporate welfare at any level less than national (no more luring of jobs from one community to another with public tax dollars).
  • Funding all election campaigns with tax dollars giving a level playing field to all candidates who would be rated on the value of their ideas, not the size of their campaign kittys. We need real elections instead of auctions in our county again.
  • Universal access to affordable health care (note- no mention of insurance) because good health is a mandatory part of being able to work and be a net contributor to society (if anyone can prove the value of the health insurance industry as middlemen sucking up 35% of all health care spending in this country, I nominate you for the Nobel Prize).
  • Re-evaluating our system of higher education which has seen huge price increases without creating equal value in economic return for students over the last 30 years.

The real stock value in America has never been on Wall Street but on Main Street. It’s time we aligned our Federal policy with good sound financial policy. Only then, will we be building value in our country instead of allowing the few to profit from the collective labors of us all.

On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, I’ll find out if I’m on the ballot to run for Congress in OH-10. If you like what you read in this post, please consider visiting www.electesrati.com and signing up to volunteer or donate to a campaign that will be funded by the people who built this great country- not the ones who are trying to steal it.

How to end the ending of jobs

In Jewish culture one of the highest ranking “mitzvahs” (good deeds) is to give someone a job. The old adage about “give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach him how to fish, he eats for a lifetime” is in the same vein.

Yet, the most highly paid fishing instructors in this country could care less about anybody eating- except themselves, and the impact of their decisions is leading to the possible fall of our country. Yep, while Rome is burning- these idiots aren’t just fiddling, they’re throwing themselves birthday parties where the entertainment costs a million bucks– and laughing it off.

Our global financial system has teetered on the brink of collapse for the last three years, with countries defaulting on debt, getting downgraded, the U.S. taxpayers bailing out the “too big to fail banks” and in the meantime, the CEOs who “run” these monstrosities continue to get paid millions for failing.

Take Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan, who in 2010, his first year, made $2 million, (who was also granted $5 million in stock options in ’09) – and is at the center of the housing industry collapse, is laying off people left and right. From the New York Times:

The beleaguered financial firm, which continues to struggle under the weight of bad mortgage assets, is planning to cut 3,500 jobs, on top of the 2,500 reductions year to date, according to an internal memo written by the company’s chief executive, Brian T. Moynihan. And more could follow, with the total number of layoffs potentially reaching 10,000.

via Bank of America Layoffs Continue – NYTimes.com.

While libertarians and Republicans will say he’s getting highly compensated (and yes, anything over $500K a year is highly compensated – when the average family of 4 is living on around $50k a year) to “reel in costs” and “rightsize” the banking behemoth, the reality is that these layoffs are costing the rest of us serious money- in unemployment costs, and the resulting financial failings that go along with being jobless: home foreclosures, decreased consumption, loss of health benefits etc.

In the modern economy, no major business decision is done in a vacuum, and decisions like huge layoffs become risks to our national security. Look to the costs of the riots in the U.K.- a man-made national disaster with epic real costs. Sooner or later, the costs of allowing Wall Street to play with our economy as if they were playing Monopoly, while the rest of us are struggling with real money will be huge- with riots in the U.S., where guns are readily available.

Somewhere along the line- our financial system stopped looking at financial dealings as contracts between real people- and turned it into a casino game, and no one has looked twice at which house we have to live in. The United States is our house, the house of the people- Wall Street and Congress have become the owners of a giant casino, where the owners guarantee they make money and everyone else will pay dearly.

Who cares about having a military with global reach, when we can no longer make magnets in this country? Or anything else for that matter. China is holding $1.3 trillion or so in U.S. dollars- what’s stopping them from buying up Google, Apple and Exxon- and then taking those companies’ profits and buying up everything else of value? National defense isn’t just having better and more bullets- it’s about keeping the flag and what it stands for.

Much has been said about presidents not getting re-elected when unemployment is above 8% or whatever number economists want to use (unemployment figures have become as farcical as the “compensation” of Wall Street- with many people no longer counted because they’ve “stopped looking for work”) but the real question is, what kind of country we will have left after years of high unemployment coupled with years of exorbitant compensation of the game masters.

If the true costs of “laying off” employees is charged back to the corporations that don’t care, and compensation of the corporate leadership is linked to the average pay of their employees, we would see dramatically different actions being taken in this country – ones that would help guarantee that America doesn’t lose any more of its AA+ rating, or global leadership.

The American Dream requires jobs. The American economy requires jobs. Unfortunately, the American government is standing idly by while a small percentage of greedy idiots are being allowed to do as they please, while we all pay.

That Congress and the President stand idly by while this happens, is more than just the ending of jobs for Bank of America workers, it’s the beginning of the end of America.

It’s time to reward the mitzvah of making real jobs pay real money, and to end the benefits of playing with play money- that’s how we’ll end the ending of jobs in this country.

How to get small business moving, Mr. Immelt?

When did Dayton become the first stop on the bullshit express?

We had John McCain go rogue and introduce Sarah Palin as his secret weapon at the Nutter Center- and now, we get a junta of overpaid CEOs from big business trying to figure out how to create jobs via small business:

The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness will hold the first in what the White House said would be a series of “listening and action sessions” Tuesday at labels manufacturer Hooven-Dayton Corp.’s Vandalia plant, 7468 Webster St….

The council’s sessions will take place around the country and are geared toward bringing “new voices to the table” in helping the council arrive at recommendations for the president, the White House said. What’s said at these meetings will help inform the “future policy work” of the council, the Obama administration said Friday.

In Vandalia, administration officials and council members will tour the Hooven-Dayton facility before holding discussions and question-and-answer sessions with local business owners.

“Small businesses need to be the engine of the U.S. jobs recovery,” said Jeff Immelt, General Electric Co. chief executive and head of the new council. “Creating new opportunities and lowering barriers to small business growth is at the core of our mission on the president’s council.”….

The administration said the council’s core mission is to encourage hiring, education and training of workers to compete in the global economy.

Participants in Tuesday’s event will include Immelt; Darlene Miller, president and CEO of Permac; Dick Parsons, Citigroup chairman; Karen Mills, of the Small Business Administration; John Fernandez, of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, and others.

via Obama’s Jobs-Competitiveness Council to hold first session in Dayton.

I’d like to go and introduce a few strategic ideas- but, doubt I’ll get a chance to talk to people like Immelt who think they are worth $10.5 K per hour- no, that’s not $10.50 but, $10,500 per hour- or $175 per minute:

Compensation for 2010
Salary $3,300,000.00
Bonus $4,000,000.00
Restricted stock awards $0.00
All other compensation $389,809.00
Option awards $7,400,000.00
Non-equity incentive plan compensation $0.00
Change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings $6,338,956.00
Total Compensation $21,428,765.00
via Jeffrey R. Immelt Profile – Forbes.com.

So, Mr. Immelt, are my ideas, worth five minutes of your esteemed time ($875)?

  1. Since the Federal Government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the U.S.- how about a simplified GSA-EZ schedule for small business– those under $6 million in annual revenue (571 hours of Jeff time). The current GSA schedule requires about 80 hours (or $840,000 in Jeff time) to fill out. By creating a GSA EZ schedule the federal government could widen their vendor base and help many small businesses get a chance to operate in this market.
  2. End “corporate welfare” in the name of “economic development” creating a competition between cities and states for “jobs” where decisions are no longer based on solid business models, but purely on short-term extortion by big businesses- including yours (GE’s new  “Episcenter” on UD property). A level playing field is absolutely essential for small business having an opportunity to compete. The taxpayers subsidized about half your annual salary to this facility. Why?
  3. Instead of protecting the people from online poker, let’s protect the integrity of our financial system by restoring sanity to the Wall Street Casino. The average share of stock is now held for less than 12 seconds- ($35 in Jeff time). The reality is that no business would ask for investment for 12 seconds- we need to return sanity to what the word “investment” means- and force stock holdings to last for more than a New York minute.
  4. Small business needs healthy workers, yet including the health insurance companies in the delivery of health care is like guaranteeing a vig to the mob to stay in business. As a small business I used to provide 100% of my employees’ health insurance. Now, I can barely afford my own. When the CEOs of Anthem and United Health Care both made around $140,000,000 each in annual compensation (making Jeff time look like minor league money) it was clear that the insurance industry wasn’t interested in taking care of anyone but themselves. A single-payer system would cut a ton of overhead out of the health insurance industry, giving us money for actual health care delivery. We’d have to build an effective retraining program to teach former paper pushers how to become pill pushers instead.
  5. There are two major addictions in this country that we need to deal with- cheap oil and high fructose corn syrup. Presidents as far back as Nixon have set goals of “energy independence” yet nothing has happened. We could make major changes by electrifying rail, offering a walk to work tax credit, and by investing in high-speed rail. The addiction of our processed food manufacturers to high fructose corn syrup has created a nation of unhealthy fatties. If we work at getting America to eat better- and to lose weight, our costs of health care will drop as well. This may be too esoteric for the scotch and caviar set- but when you can get more crap calories off the $1 menu than you need in a day, we’re in trouble. When small businesses get hit with price increases in both energy costs and health insurance costs- they don’t have the flexibility that large companies do to pass the costs along, making factors beyond their control a major stumbling block.

This list is getting longer than Mr. Immelt would ever afford me to speak- but, the last two items are absolutely critical to seeing real change in our country and creating opportunity- political reform.

  1. We need to simplify our tax code and payment and collection systems. For small businesses to have to go to a multitude of different government websites- from local to federal, to file paperwork and make payments on a schedule that only tax professionals can keep track of is criminal. We need a single site login with our federal employer ID- where we report our simplified payroll and tax info– so that we don’t spend more time trying to decipher what we owe, to whom and when. The amount of fines levied on small business because of complexity is criminal- the amount that GE doesn’t pay because they can afford tax-avoidance departments is also criminal- it’s time to simplify.
  2. Last but not least, we need to take the auction atmosphere out of politics and reform campaign finance once and for all by making it something the taxpayers pay for- not selling our political offices out to the highest bidder. The cost of campaigns and the bad policy we’ve made to satisfy campaign debts is killing us. In a country that prides itself on having tons of choice in everything from education to hot sauce, the fact that our system asks us to choose between two political parties is a bad joke. It’s time to get down to real politics and honest government.

If Jeff Immelt really wanted to give small business a chance- it would have to start with a new definition of what the American dream is these days. While he may be living it- there is a cost associated with it, that he’s been tasked to offer solutions. The reality is, he’s being incredibly well paid to manage a company he didn’t create, didn’t take any risk to run, or has any personal risk if it fails- the total opposite of what we as small business people have to deal with. When our big businesses have to operate with the same challenges that small business have to operate with- we may see the change we are supposedly talking about with this Jobs Competitive Council.

This took me about 93 minutes to write. If I was paid like Jeff Immelt, I’d be $16,275 richer. Considering $15,810 is what the minimum wage pays in a year, you should quickly see the problem with creating minimum wage jobs the way we are shifting our work force in America. If Immelt was paid based on a formula for how many people he pays- and how much the total payroll is – instead of some whim of the unregulated market, we’d probably see more focus on the kind of jobs we create in this country. But, that’s asking way too much of a man with nothing to lose.

Dayton was the first place we figured out the secrets of powered flight, it’s where we solved the Bosnian war, now, let’s end the bullshit and get serious about rebuilding the American Dream.

 

 

 

 

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?