To The Daily Sun,
In our spiral to third-world status, we twisted from sequestration (still growing) to shut down in seven months. Will default follow in 17 days?
Other than Denmark, we are the only developed nation on the planet with a debt ceiling. Nothing in our Constitution requires it. No rationale justifies it.
It began as a charade in 1917. As America prepared to enter World War I, it needed financial resources to raise and equip an army. The Wilson Administration proposed selling Liberty Bonds to raise funds; that is, it proposed borrowing money to fight the war.
To comfort skeptical Americans, Congress wrote a debt ceiling into the Second Liberty Bond Act. Its purpose was not to limit spending and borrowing. It was to reassure the public that Congress could control spending even as it approved a credit line.
It was a ruse. There was no need for the law. The Constitution unequivocally gives Congress the power to tax, pay debts and borrow money. Congress perpetuates its absolute "control of the purse strings" through authorization and appropriation processes.
An authorization is a law giving government entities the okay to spend designated amounts for purposes specified in the legislation. No government entity can spend a nickel without Congressional authorization.
An appropriation is an entirely separate law that actually makes money available. Again, a government entity cannot spend a nickel until Congress appropriates the nickel.
It is like a mother telling her child, "You can buy the smartphone. Go ask your father for the money." If the kid gets the money, mom authorized it; dad appropriated it.
In its nearly century-long existence, the ceiling never significantly curbed spending or borrowing. The reason is straightforward. Raising the debt ceiling is not a policy, spending or borrowing decision (although many would have us think it is all three). It is a mathematical imperative.
While debt ceiling as fiscal restraint has proved useless, it has provided a near perfect vehicle for Congressional demagogy and grandstanding. Members of Congress could berate debt with impunity. No matter how loudly they wailed and strutted, there was no downside. Congress had to raise the ceiling. The money had been authorized, appropriated and spent.
A near perfect rant came from Senator Barack Obama of Illinois in 2006, when he voted against a raise: "(Raising the debt) is a sign of leadership failure . . . that (government cannot) pay its own bills . . . that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our (recklessness. . . . This) weakens us domestically and internationally. . . . Americans deserve better."
Of course, there was always a small, but real danger demagogues might command a majority. If that happened, though it seemed farfetched, Congress could stand on principle, vote an ideology and crash the economy. (Who could be that stupid?)
When the debt ceiling became law — America was a bit player in planetary economics. Today, as the Great Recession (2007 – 2009) demonstrated, America plays lead. Its turbo capitalism nearly brought down the world's economy.
As it stands, the Department of the Treasury has said it will run out of money Oct. 17. Several independent analysts think Nov. 1 is more realistic.
So, what happens to America if it defaults? The best answer is we do not know, but it looks scary, very scary.
In 2011, just by publicly considering it, confidence fell, hiring declined, the recovery stalled, Standard & Poor's downgraded our credit worthiness and the stock market (Dow Jones) dove 14 percent. (In today's 15,000-point market, 14 percent would be 2,100 points.)
We should anticipate an actual default to be worse than a scare of default on confidence, recovery (perhaps a new recession or worse), our credit rating and the markets. Over time, we might find costs to borrow (nationally and individually) will be elevated for years or decades and our standard of living damaged for a generation or more.
Two parting thoughts:
Is the Constitutional authority given Congress to pay debts also the authority to renege on debts? It would be something if after plunging the planet into depression, destroying our credibility, undermining the dollar, condemning our children to lesser lives and making our homilies to be emulated a joke, the Supreme Court said Congress did not have suicidal authorities?
Section 4 of the 14th Amendment reads, "The validity of the public debt . . . shall not be questioned." If the president evokes this provision to pay debt after Congress reneges, what new Constitutional and political crises arise? What new spin deepens the spiral?
Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 11:22
To The Daily Sun,
The large majority of residents at Briarcrest Estates, a 241 unit manufactured home park currently with two purchase offers on the table, are organizing to form a home owners association and have retained attorney Phil McLaughlin to provide legal services in the matter of who purchases the park. These residents believe only one interested party will be able to maintain the quality, affordability, ease of living and high standards for which people choose Briarcrest Estates as their home.
In July Mark and Ruth Mooney, who have owned the top-tier manufactured home development for 25 years, received a purchase offer from Maple Holding & Redevelopment, LLC on behalf of Hometown America, which owns and operates 41 top-tier parks across the nation. They have the financial power and management expertise to keep Briarcrest Estates a superb community and maintain the quality and standards the Mooney's have provided us with all these years. In fact the Mooney's have agreed to be involved with running the park for two years after the purchase is made.
However, a relatively small number of residents, who would rather be in control of the large park by making it a co-operative or resident owned park, took it upon themselves, with the aid of ROC-NH — a housing and loan operation — to form Lakemont Cooperative, Inc. with the intent to purchase the park. The co-op placed a matching offer in September. Belknap County Superior Court has been petitioned to determine if the offer must be accepted, given the fact the large majority of current park residents don't want the responsibility of owning or maintaining the $10 million dollar park.
A core group of 11 residents, representing the nearly 80 percent of residents who oppose the formation and actions of the co-op, have been meeting to organize and take action on behalf of the residents. We will hold a resident-wide meeting this month and have gained legal representation and a voice in the matter. It is our goal to stop further action by the co-op and preserve the quality and integrity of Briarcrest Estates, which we feel would be achieved in the experienced hands of Hometown America.
Briarcrest Estates Homeowners Association
Last Updated on Monday, 07 October 2013 11:59
To The Daily Sun,
All of us at the Meredith Emergency Food Pantry thank the Meredith Kiwanis Club for its continuous support and donations. Trying to keep up with the demand, our shelves are at an all-time low and with the cold weather and holidays coming this will definitely help us to continue our work in the community. We are seeing more and more new people each week.
So again THANK YOU KIWANIS CLUB!
To the people of our community, remember to make your appointment for the FAP (Fuel Assistance) & EAP (Electric Assistance) program before the real cold weather gets here.
Paul Rowley, Director
Meredith Emergency Food Pantry
Last Updated on Monday, 07 October 2013 11:38
To The Daily Sun,
It has been recently reported that 93 percent of FDA personnel were deemed non-essential. That breaks down to 9 out of 10 employees. How much money does this mostly non-essential department control?
An online article reported that the 2012 FDA budget was going to stay the same at $2.5 billion dollars. This year, in a press release, the FDA said that it requested $4.7 billion dollars to ensure the safety of food and medical devices. That is not quite double last year's budget.
And now, the $4.7 billion dollar question; in this bad economy, with millions of Americans financially suffering, why would this government fund a department that is almost wholly non-essential? An additional question could be, is it possible for a private company to do a better job, for much less money? If we care about those paying taxes, should we at least explore some of the answers to these questions?
We need to make much wiser decisions in how our immense, yearly tax burden is spent. Maybe, just maybe, we could decrease taxation, which would effectively give everyone a pay raise. If the government really doesn't need so much, then they don't need to take and spend so much. I know- call me radical!
Last Updated on Saturday, 05 October 2013 12:45
To The Daily Sun,
To any that have an ear, let them hear:
As a resident of the Newfound Region, I am very disgusted by the invasion of industrial wind projects in my community. With the potential of four different foreign-owned projects planned around Newfound Lake, I see the Groton Wind Project as not just an eyesore, but an assault on the environment and the well being of people (taxpayers) who are left dealing with reduced property values, loss of quality of life in their homes and on their property, and strife within their communities.
Residents of the Newfound Region living around the Groton Wind Project now live with red flashing lights at night, loud roaring of industrial engines whenever the blades are spinning (day or night), shadow flicker from the blades for hours at a time during various parts of the day, the whooshing of the blades as they spin, and the low frequency vibrations that are not audible but are felt within the body.
The Newfound watershed is of great concern as this is what provides residents of this area with drinking water. Industrial wind turbine construction will alter the flow of ground water affecting the watershed in ways no human, specialist, or agency can predict.
I have lived in this community for almost a decade and enjoyed the numerous sitings of red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, owls, blue heron, bats, migrating Canadian Geese and other seasonal birds, moose, black bear, coyotes, fox, and yes, even a wolf or two! Raptors rely on the thermal currents of air provided by the Newfound ridge lines in order to feed. A number of birds migrate along the Newfound ridge lines. It is not wise to place 500-ft. industrial turbines with blades larger then a 747 spinning at speeds that can reach well over 100-mph directly in the path of such animals that help to control our mosquito population and our rodent population.
As for economic benefits, I see very few. There may be a handful of temporary local jobs created, but not guaranteed. There will only be a few permanent jobs created and those are not guaranteed to be filled by local residents either. PILOT payments made by Industrial Wind companies to host towns only reduce the "town portion" of your tax by a minimal amount. The rest of the PILOT money can be used to increase town employee's payroll or benefits, purchase new equipment, upgrade roads, etc. It is not likely that tax payers will see any significant reduction in their property taxes unless they receive an abatement for the reduced value of their property. Those that benefit the most are the landowners leasing their land to the industrial wind company, and of course, the foreign-owned industrial wind companies.
Industrial wind is not just an eyesore issue. This is a quality of life issue, environmental issue, community well being issue, political issue, and an economic issue.
Last Updated on Saturday, 05 October 2013 12:40