To The Daily Sun,
What Americans perceive are American businesses are that in name only. It has become a case of mistaken identity. The percentage of business actually done here by American corporations is declining. It has been for years.
The icons we think of as American are often foreign businesses in disguise. Simply because a business may be incorporated here, is headquartered here or has been here since 1910 does not guarantee it is an American business. No matter how much we associate companies like GE, GM, or IBM with being American brands, they have ever-increasing employees abroad with with ever larger percentages of sales and profits originating offshore. More than half of the current profits of the S & P 500 come from foreign sources.
In 20 years, two-thirds of the profits of American companies will be foreign. That means two-thirds of all investment and two-thirds of the jobs will be created outside America. The negative impact this macro trend portends for American living standards is beyond bleak.
Recent polling confirms the impact is already occurring. Since Barack Obama was elected, the number of Americans who now consider themselves middle-class has dropped to 44 percent from 53 percent in 2008. A staggering, near 10-percent drop.
Democrats' reaction to globalization has only made matters worse. If anyone thinks forced higher labor costs that increase prices for American-made goods originating from mandated higher taxes, minimum wage increases or a tsunami of new rules and regulations politically cloaked in the "environment" will improve the lives of the middle/lower classes, or stem their decline, donkeys are in Fantasyland. I mean nuts. If Democrats refuse to come to grips with the effects of globalization on the American economy this country is headed for a period of violence, social upheaval, and potential civil war it has not experienced in more than a century.
This unrest is already happening. Lynch-mob racial attacks like those from George Maloof and Nick Vazzana that serve no purpose except to create ethnic and economic divides that increase social temperatures to an explosion point. Occupy Wall Street protesters, defecating in Zuccotti park, urinating in the streets and spitting on police officers are just the beginning when people are encouraged to dislike a segment of society.
France beheaded their 1 percent during the revolution. Guess what? France drowns in as much inequality today, as ever. Their 200-year-old, over-the-top, cradle-to-grave welfare state highlighted by a 35 hour union work-week keeps the country teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. High-cost products from high-cost, inefficient labor causes France to lose ever more market share on world markets. Their socialist president anchored to a 22 percent job approval rating is considering beheading the rich again as a sacrifice to the equality gods. Beheading is simply preferred to admitting the endless structural and systemic failures of socialism in France, now or 200 years ago.
America's star is dimming, the middle class is declining, and the economy is dawdling, while American business, as represented by the stock market, reaches records never seen in history. American business had the vision to recognize the endless opportunities offered by globalization. America, the country has not. In fact, Democrats have done everything possible under Barack Obama to hasten the exit of American business. Most Democrats embrace protectionism and isolationism. They embrace unions because unions are a protective mechanism for labor to hide behind. They demand high cost wages in a global market place, devaluing labor. They oppose technology, because it replaces labor. Technology, America desperately needs to make products competitive in cost.
Democrats embrace rules and regulations because it strengthens government's hand while weakening business. Weak businesses are far more susceptible to powerful labor interests and government bullying. The obstruction by Democrats at every level to globalization under the guise to protect the less fortunate has only produced a bumper crop. Ever-declining business tax revenues will only worsen their plight.
American business has become just an illusion in America. It's people, production, profits and prosperity, all moved some place else forced there by the "We hate business" policies of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 08:51
To The Daily Sun,
I was driving home today from work when I came across a domestic situation on Messer Street. I watched so many people drive right by and not help the poor girl out. So I stopped and got her out of there. Brought her to my house were she could wait until her cousin drive down from Maine to pick her up.
What is wrong with people today? No one going by could stop and take a few minutes out of their lives to help out a stranger. I did not know this girl before today. I stopped and helped. Not looking for any recognition but wish more people would help someone out stranger or not. Maybe this world would be a better place. Maybe my story will inspire others to help someone in need being a family member or stranger.
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 08:45
Not too many years ago, any news story about bonus money would've been about some 20-year-old baseball player — an up-and-coming superstar getting $100,000 or so on top of his salary as an extra incentive to join the Yankees, Giants, Red Sox or whatever team. Sportswriters dubbed them: "Bonus Babies."
How quaint. These days, stories about bonus money don't elicit cheers, for they feature some of society's least admirable people: Wall Street bankers. Far from superstars, they can be subpar performers or even what amounts to crime syndicate bosses overseeing everything from simple fraud to laundering money for drug cartels. Yet, in the first part of each year, we witness this cluster of greedmeisters quaffing champagne, laughing uproariously and shouting, "It's bonus time, baby!"
This year, even though the Wall Street bosses have presided over a 30 percent drop in their banks' profits, they've extracted a 15 percent raise in overall bonus money, totaling a ridiculous $27 billion. That averages out to $165,000 in extra pay to each Wall Street banker. But averages deceive, for thousands of lower-level bankers are given a dab, while those up in the executive suites make off with the bulk of the bonus heist.
Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup, for example, didn't just grab a 15 percent increase in bonus pay, but nearly three times that. His total haul was $16 million. Then there's Jamie Dimon, boss of JPMorgan Chase. He had a really terrible year in 2013, forcing his shareholders to shell out some $22 billion in penalties for tallying up a long list of illegalities. But that didn't stop Jamie from taking a 74 percent hike in bonus money this year — he pulled in a cool $18.5 million.
In a time when the 90 percent majority of Americans see their income falling, you'd think Wall Street might show a bit of modesty.
But, instead, they choose to show us just how much Wall Street crime really does pay.
Let's review the rap sheet of Wall Street banks: Defrauding investors, cheating homeowners, forgery, rigging markets, tax evasion, credit card ripoffs ... and so sickeningly much more.
At last, though, some of the cops on the bank beat seem to be having regulatory epiphanies. The New York Times reports that some financial overseers are questioning "whether such misdeeds are not the work of a few bad actors, but rather a flaw that runs through the fabric of the banking industry. ... Regulators are starting to ask: Is there something rotten in bank culture?"
Really? Where've they been?
Millions of everyday Americans had no problem sniffing out that rot back in 2007 at the start of the Wall Street collapse and nauseating bailout. Imagine how pleased they are that it took only seven years for the stench of bank rot to reach the tender nostrils of authorities. Still, even sloooww progress is progress.
Both the head of the New York Fed and the Comptroller of the Currency are at least grasping one basic reality, namely that the tightened regulations enacted to deal with the "too big to fail" issue do nothing about the fundamental ethical collapse among America's big bankers. The problem is that, again and again, Wall Street's culture of greed is rewarded — bank bosses preside over gross illegalities, are not punished, pocket multimillion-dollar bonuses despite their shoddy ethics and blithely proceed to the next scandal.
More restraint on bank processes miss a core fact: Banks don't engage in wrongdoing; bankers do. As Comptroller Tom Curry says, the approach to this problem is not to call in more lawyers, "It is more like a priest-penitent relationship."
Public shaming can be useful, but it should include actual punishment of the top bosses — take away their bonuses, fire them and prosecute them!
(Jim Hightower has been called American's most popular populist. The radio commentator and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture is author of seven books, including "There's Nothing In the Middle of Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" and his new work, "Swim Against the Current: Even Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow".)
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 08:39
To The Daily Sun,
The state of N.H., as we know, is in crisis due to drug addiction and the social consequences, never enough money. A 10-year-long endeavor to get closer to intervention directly in the community through a continuum of care has recently come to fruition and Master Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselors (MLADCS) like me need to be vastly and expensively qualified to do it. OUR initial investment
I am one of dozens of independent outpatient MLADC providers who are set up to make the plan whole. With privatization of what once were mostly state provided services comes competition. NOW here is the important part. My colleagues are also my competitors.
Those close by bigger competitors, Nathan Brody Program, Horizons Counseling, BIG national chain-model drug and alcohol treatment programs like Phoenix House have money, funding, staff and a zillion resources at their disposal. And NOT UNLIKE Red Lobster Restaurants, for instance, buying up privately owned Maine seafood restaurants, I am not able to compete and may not survive! It has already started.
So here is the part that is important. It can be frustrating when I see those who run the old dinosaur treatment programs getting periodic FREE exposure complete with photos and kudos while I am forking out several thousand dollars yearly for advertising with the SAME papers BUT I CAN'T get a return call, or even an acknowledgement of a letter to editor!
The new system of treatment in the community overall all IS A BIG STORY! That may bring hope to those who are losing loved ones daily because of a proliferating drug spread UNLIKE anything since the post Civil War era of MORPHINE soldier sickness that killed 50,000 civil war veterans AFTER 1865, when the war had already ended!
PLEASE. All I ask is a fair shake in terms of getting my message out. I haven't seen a real PAID for ad in The Sun or the other paper from Horizons, Nathan Brody, Plymouth House, Phoenix House, Farnum Center, Webster Place,etc. There's money there from state and fed and they are scooping. They have staff at the state, they set up trainings and charge people like myself and MLADCs to take the trainings, or we can not renew our licenses. Those who own and/or run the training centers are on the STATE regularity board that sets policy as to how much training, by whom and when etc. is required. That is just a ice berg tip.
Michael Tensel, MS-MLADC
A&D Recovery Counseling
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 10:04
To The Daily Sun,
This is in response to Nick Vazzana's letter in the April 9th Sun:
While I agree with some of the points he brings up about the need for repairing/upgrading our roads, I do not think increasing the gas tax is the first step that should be taken. Instead, we should be focusing upon the unconstitutional use of highway funds for purposes other than those mandated by the state Constitution (Part II, Article 6-a) which states:
"[Use of Certain Revenues Restricted to Highways.] All revenue in excess of the necessary cost of collection and administration accruing to the state from registration fees, operators' licenses, gasoline road tolls or any other special charges or taxes with respect to the operation of motor vehicles or the sale or consumption of motor vehicle fuels shall be appropriated and used exclusively for the construction, reconstruction and maintenance of public highways within this state, including the supervision of traffic thereon and payment of the interest and principal of obligations incurred for said purposes; and no part of such revenues shall, by transfer of funds or otherwise, be diverted to any other purpose whatsoever."
At one point during the John Lynch's administration, up to a third of the monies in the Highway Fund were being siphoned off to pay for things having absolutely no connection to maintaining, building, or patrolling our state's roads, or enforcement of various traffic and transportation laws and regulations. Instead funds were repurposed to Health and Human Services, Family Court, and other state functions that could in no way, shape, or form be construed to be part of maintenance, construction, patrolling, or enforcing the laws and regulations that cover our highways. Gov. Lynch rightly labeled such illegal repurposing as "the legislature using the Highway Fund as an ATM."
Perhaps we should audit where the money from the Highway Fund has been spent, stop the misuse of those funds for purposes not allowed under the state Constitution, and then see if there's still a need to raise the gas tax. Without fixing the problem beforehand, the additional revenues anticipated from raising the gas tax may end up going anywhere but for the purposes intended. If it is found that the abuse has stopped, has not recurred, and there are indeed insufficient funds needed to repair and upgrade our roads and highways, then by all means I can support (reluctantly) an increase in the gas taxes. (Yes, I am loath to increasing taxes. Call it my stubborn Yankee frugality kicking in.)
Dale Channing Eddy
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 09:58