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Award For Delaware's Most Influental P/P/or T of The Year
The Golden Flush Award
/Click Image for Past Winners

Usually this is an after thought…” Oh, wow, year’s over, let’s get a person of the year”…  And then once we elect one,  we go… “holy crap… we totally forgot so and so….”

So to try to stir up some old simmering coals of memory, both mine and others, and perhaps even to (heaven forbid) get some debate going in the blog sphere, I thought I’d make an initial run on Thanksgiving Week, and then add people into the nominating category as others mention various ones I should kick myself for forgetting.

It will also force me to review the year which is something I rarely do… because face it, as a human being, I am slave of the moment….  If I did this last year, come December 14th the entire world would have been turned upside down and all the old priorities of 2012,  would in one day become trivial….

And so starting early gives me the chance to make the argument for each of those I decide to enroll with your kind recommendations included….

Julius Cephus:  Particularly this one man organized and stopped an end run around the Port of Wilmington.  The Kinder Morgan deal did not go through, and the Wilmington Port is bustling like never before…   Kinder Morgan was to strip the union of power, and drop the rates of pay, further dampening the economy of Wilmington proper.  It was also the first defeat of a Lavine-Markell development project, .. Fisker and Bloom had gone forward without a hitch.  Julius and other’s push back resulted in a General Assembly motion that stated they, not the governor, had final approval. It was the first time we were exposed to the current Governor’s manipulations.  They were to play a significant part across this year’s tapestry.

Steve Newton:  A blogger who has written infrequently, but effectively. His piece on SB 51  is what alerted us to the end run being performed by Dave Sokola on lowering the current standards being used for educating teachers.  It is brilliant.  It took an evening of reading the legislation line by line and cross referencing  it with Steve’s analysis, to understand the huge negative impact this bill would cause.  By the time this was done, the Bill had already passed the Senate unanimously without comment, and with an friendly amendment added that was voted upon without even being read.  Some public outcry was mustered within the House, both in committee and on the floor, but under the Governor’s direction, the Speaker of the House, pushed the bill to the floor before significant outcry could be mustered.  Only 4 House members were not on record for it’s passing.  Our educational schools now have to water down their teaching standards to meet the new law.  Steve also has brought the Highmark story to Delaware.  His research in the increase of medical costs in Western PA as a result of knocking out competition by unfair practices, leads one with a cold chill of what to expect in Delaware’s future.  We are already there.  As an insurer, Highmark is only paying medical claims in its own affiliated clinics.  As the new Blue Cross/Blue Shield owner, that is a huge percentage of Delaware’s residents.  None can go to any other hospital.  He has properly fingered Karen Weldham Stuart for not catching this prior to implementation.  Without Steve, this would have passed unnoticed.  The News Journal still has not once mentioned the takeover of Delaware’s health field under one owner.

Ernest Lopez.  If Kennedy were still writing Profiles of Courage, he should include this man.  Ernest Lopez is a conservative, and voted with Libertarian values to pass the gun legislation recommended by Markell and Biden.  Reflecting the views of his district, instead of taking the threatening message sent to him down from the NRA, he voted for his district.  A very vocal minority, who is always vocal, and always in the minority, swore they would unseat him.  He disregarded their idle threat, and voted both his and his constituents conscious.  A major billboard was put up to call him out.   His vote caused the passage of us now requiring background checks at public gun sales.  Now a certifiably insane person cannot slap cash and get a gun.  It is a no-brainer, and Ernie was the only Republican with brain enough to even know what a no-brainer is….

Cathy Cloutier:  her vote allowed gays to marry.  Again, she is a Republican who said enough is enough… Tired of voting against her conscious just so Sussex County would not flip over to the Democrats, she finally did not toe the line and voted along the lines of her own constituents, all overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage.  In doing so, she went against the entire grain of her party, who firmly feel that gays are second class citizens, even though most Republicans in office are closeted gays.

Bethany Hall Long:  on the same vote, made a viable personal decision, and also voted for the legalization of gay marriage. Unlike Cathy’s vote, this was accomplished at great personal sacrifice, for all of those in her personal life, were solidly against this policy from taking effect.  In voting for what was morally right, she had to contend against those whose influence she could not escape.  She went with the correct vote, over the easy one.   As a result, Gay marriage is now legal in Delaware.

Paul Baumbach:  gave great ammunition against the fight for SB51, and later against HB 165. Both bills which will damage Delaware’s education for years to come.  He was one of the four who put up a fight on the House floor.  Paul also arranged for the meetings in Newark to discuss the new Power plant that figured in this past week’s election.

John Kowalko:  also was against SB51, HB 165, as well, being against the power plant.  In fact, John was the first person to sound the alarm over how big the power plant would be.  Without his big voice, it may have slid through unnoticed.  The power plant has defined northern Delaware politics since September.

Kim Williams;  responsible for HB 40 which investigates Charter School’s meddling into our educational systems.  She was as an acting state representative, allegedly refused entrance into a committee hearing on education, for fear she might say something damaging to the bill being rushed through….  She brought to the public’s knowledge, that the Charter School bill was drafted illegally without public input, and the charter group constructing it, was also under FOIA, to which the private group denied.  The Attorney General backed up her assertion, that the bill was formulated illegally but their decision was moot, because the bill was passed both houses anyways.  Kim Williams also in the HB 40 task force, led the group to realize that charter schools unlike public schools, do indeed filter those entering charters to weed out those who might lower their test scores….

Mark Murphy, Rodel, Sweeney, Hefferman, and the Fake Educational Reform Establishment:  I almost purposefully did not post this.  Although the first person’s name is usually followed by explicatives whenever mentioned, it is unlike Voldermort’s, still getting mentioned.  Mark Murphy was not put in his position based on his ability. He was placed there for his loyalty to the cause of  corporatizing public education.  Markell pulls the strings, Murphy figures how to get it done…  It is hard to make a puppet the most influential person of the year… So I was going to skip him… But at the last minute, remembered that every time  he or anyone of these make an op-ed, it resonates as gigantic news. The entire community rises up to counteract each op-ed, usually with the word “lies” thrown liberally about…. So, they do exert an influence.  I looped all of them together, as the group of liars in a Greek play, who stand on the stair steps and taunt the protagonists.  Well,… they are part of the play…….

Dan Short:  Sometimes villains get noticed too.  Primarily a single issue candidate, who personally supports the NRA, he actively campaigned and organized to create enough backlash so Markell’s gun laws could not get enough votes…  Without him, there is a possibility that all four of Markell’s gun control pieces of legislation would have passed both houses of Delaware’s legislature. Dan Short should be given the credit for stopping them.

John Sigler: Single handedly by his very brief tenure as the re-elected head of the Republican Party, he pointed out through his pigeon shooting, just how inept the Republican Party was at everything else.  With his leaving, all fissures cracking the Republican bedrock, were impossible to ignore.  Blogs split. The IPOD’s split. Former candidates of the same party just months earlier, now not talking to each other. The Delaware Republican Party is dead; no it is past dead.  More dead than a pigeon shot inside a box by John Sigler, former head of the Delaware Republican Party.

Nancy Willing: Her blog, the Delaware Way, is the go-to site for local information. Whether about Dover, about New Castle County, about any of New Castle County’s associations, Nancy combs all sources and puts them down in aggregate form. Heavily involved in the Power Plant controversy, The Delaware City Rail Yard controversy, Barley Mill controversy, the Woodlawan controversy, the Kinder Morgan controversy, the Charter School Controversy, the Common Core Controversy, Nancy has who is saying “what”, and links to “why”. One can expend less energy by using her blog to follow all the stuff the News Journal neglects, in a few quick empty steps.

Amy Roe:  a head of the Sierra Club, who emerged from nowhere to lead the fight against the power plant, and give quite a run against the establishment candidate.  Becoming the face the anti- power movement could coalase behind, she gave the anti power plant movement both dignity and grace.  Coming up short only 115 votes, she has awakened Newark now politically as never before…  The power plant if it goes forward, now has a strong group of Newarkeans against it.  Hopefully they will be monitoring it regularly and helping authorities keep in in compliance with all local law.

Tom Gorden; although much quieter than his first term in office, Tom Gorden is rapidly rolling back the privileges the previous Clark administration handed over to our state’s top developers. The Barley Mill plaza which had a green light, is now parked at a red. In a big sea change, though handled quietly, community groups are now no longer persona non grata in county government. It is no longer accepted as a matter of course that the Woodlawn Trust will be gobbled up by developers. If enough fight can be mustered, it can be stopped. Furthermore, with Tom there is closer coordination with the City of Wilmington, than we have experienced anytime in our lifetimes. In the county, local policing has been stepped up, particularly in neighborhoods prone to crime…

Dennis Williams: Came in with grand expectations, which looked deliverable for a while. The tide is turning and his relevance on this list, is because every day, the headline reality in Wilmington’s streets, brings his electioneering boasts back to haunt him, like a sizzling hot branding iron.  Time, Dennis, to say “Damn the torpedoes… Their punk asses are going in jail no matter which blowhard on City Council spouts off,before mine gets tossed in jail for impersonating a mayor..”

Alan Levin:  Jack Markell’s second in command, he was instrumental in defending Markell’s position on Kinder Morgan and the port, as well as the new power plant for the data center. He also had a hand in keeping Dole in Delaware, and worked to slip the power plant past a slew of unsuspecting Newark City officials.

Jack Markell: had his hand in everything.  He was behind Kinder Morgan’s takeover.  He was behind SB 51 and HB 165.  He was behind the illegal charter group, requiring HB 40. He also was the driving force for the four rational steps to gun legislation, 2 of which were passed. He was also the driving force behind the passage of gay marriage, signing the bill in the chambers just moments after its passage. He also supported the transgender bill in its travels through the labyrinth of Legislative Hall. He as behind keeping Dole in Delaware. He was behind changing an icon in Millsboro away from pickles, over to poultry. He pushed the bill to curtail Flowers. Despite your opinion over whether these were good or bad, they still showed a ubiquitous and wide reach across the state of Delaware. Seems like nothing got done that didn’t have his fingerprints all over it.

John Young: As head of Christina board, John Young led the board in standing up to Mark Murphy and Jack Markell, by refusing the RTTT funds slated for his district. Although some hired fools, (Jea Street) tried to paint Young into a corner, it served the opposite purpose and gave Young a platform. For the fist time, Common Core was getting publicly bashed. For the first time, many were finding that aligning themselves blindly to this sham of improving standards, was probably going to hurt them politically in the next couple of years. It was the fist salvo back, so the damage estimates were not high, but it did open eyes of many who had been on the sidelines of all educational issues, making them also become vocal in fighting Common Core. His blog Transparent Christina has channelled a lot of detailed information into the Delaware market, and had made Common Core an apprehension, instead of the savior it was supposed to be….

Kilroy: Kilroy has always been haranguing over education. In fact he was doing such a good job I left that issue alone for years, because other issues for me, like the economy and elimination of guns from the hands of the mentally ill, were more important. But as the issue has shifted back into the limelight, Kilroy’s hard hitting is making its mark… Kilroy is blunt, and right now, that is the language that needs to happen. Blunt descriptions of what takes place in the stratosphere of he academic field…. Kilroy often breaks stories before the News Journal, especially ones embarrassing to the Murphy/Markell cartel of education. If you have read Kilroy over the past couple of years, you would already know that Common Core is not the panacea we have been promised. It is a power grab for taxpayer dollars, financed by Wall Street itself…. If you think otherwise, you haven’t been reading a balanced reading list….
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That is what I have so far. In retrospect I am surprised that education has played so much, as even I have only come to that topic lately… But if one looks over the News Journal op eds, education really did dominate the discussion in the 2nd smallest state this year….

I may have forgotten some big ones. To reiterate, that is why I am posting this early, to catch those big mistakes as they get brought to my attention….

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This is going to my hard core Republican friends. Why are you still supporting Romney?

1) You know he is not going to win.
2) You know as the election heats up, his Bain Capital experience will make Republicans untouchable for decades.
3) You can’t pin down where Romney stands on anything.
4) He tied his dog to a car.
5) He stands with black people and says “Who let the dogs out, woof, woof.”

Most of you are telling me, “I certainly can’t vote for Obama. I guess I’m not voting for President this time.”

Let’s say, just for argument sakes there was a presidential candidate out there who says to have good government you need: …………………

1. Become reality driven. Don’t kid yourself or others.
Find out what’s what and base your decisions and actions
on that.

2. Always be honest and tell the truth. It’s extremely
difficult to do any damage to anybody when you are
willing to tell the truth–regardless of the
consequences.

3. Always do what’s right and fair. Remember, the more
you actually accomplish, the louder your critics become.
You’ve got to learn to ignore your critics. You’ve got to
continue to do what you think is right. You’ve got to
maintain your integrity.

4. Determine your goal, develop a plan to reach that
goal, and then act. Don’t procrastinate.

5. Make sure everybody who ought to know what you’re
doing knows what you’re doing. Communicate.

6. Don’t hesitate to deliver bad news. There is always
time to salvage things. There is always time to fix
things. Henry Kissinger said that anything that can be
revealed eventually should be revealed immediately.

7. Last, be willing to do whatever it takes to get your
job done. If you’ve got a job that you don’t love enough
to do what it takes to get your job done, then quit and
get one that you do love, and then make a difference.

Honesty. Integrity. Principal.

Sounds good so far. Let us say just for argument, he had chief executive experience. Let us say just or argument that he once ran a state, one of the fifty in this union. Let us say while governor, this is what he did…..

During his tenure, New Mexico experienced the longest period without a tax-increase in the state’s entire history.

1) He cut the rate of government growth in half,

2) Left the New Mexico state government with a budget surplus and 1000 fewer employees (without firing anyone),

3) Privatized half of the prisons in the state,

4) Brought a state-wide school voucher system to New Mexico.

5) Vetoed 750 bills (more than all the vetoes of the other 49 Governors in the country at that time, combined) with only 2 overrides, earning him the nickname Gary “Veto” Johnson.

6) In 1999, Johnson became the highest-ranking elected official in the United States to advocate the legalization of drugs.

7) Shifted Medicaid to managed care.

ISN’T THAT WHAT YOU WANT? ISN’T THAT WHAT WE NEED?

Can you not think of a better way to show your lack of enthusiasm over a wealthy capitalist buying his way to the top of your ticket, by voting for someone who has character, who does what you’ve always wanted, a doer, not a talker?

And to think…. you were simply just going to throw your vote away.

His name is Gary Johnson. He is the new party’s candidate for President.

Remember Republicans. It is your values that are important. If your party has given up and moved on from your values, don’t think you have to be loyal to the word…. “Republican”… What you have to be loyal too, is yourself. Always. Never lie to yourself.

You don’t need to waste your vote on Romney. You probably need to find more about this guy, Gary Johnson, and then throw your support behind him.

Don’t worry it is not one of the two parties on whose ticket he is running. Remember, at one point in time, the Republican Party was a once a third party too. One that went mainstream because of its core values, its principles resonated with everyday American People.

I’m trying to put all your ideas together into one package. So, let me get this right… All you are asking is for, is a country where:

1) There is no universal healthcare.
2) Few entitlement programs.
3) Low Flat Tax System.
4) Faith based Government.
5) A deep reverence for God.
6) Extremely strict rules against abortion.
7) Marriage has already been strictly defined as between man and woman.
8) Homosexuality is a sin, and illegal.
9) Dress Codes are strictly enforced.
10) Tattoos, piercings, baggy pants, are banned.
11) Has the Death Penalty which they aren’t shy about using.
12) Strong private school system with religious focus.
13) Widespread dependency on oil and natural gas drilling.
14) Growing nuclear program
15) Nonexistent environmental nuisances
16) Culture that promotes family and stereotyped roles for men and women.

I’ve endeavored to put all your values on one page. I share your frustration because today, ever since 2008, it seems like America is moving further and further away from these values.

But you don’t have to be frustrated anymore. I have looked far and wide and have discovered a place already in existence that has those values in place, and more. If you sorely long for those values above, it is sincerely a place where you and your family would be very happy.

It is Iran.

You don’t have to pay me. I don’t need any commission. Just glad to help a fellow Delawarean out…. No problem.

Unfortunately, sadly, heartbreakingly so, there is a dire shortage of medication to treat Childhood Leukemia. … All five pharmaceutical companies that make the injection drug methotrexate, which treats acute lymphoblastic leukemia by slowing the growth of cancer cells, have either slowed and stopped manufacturing of the drug, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The companies have cited “high demand” or “manufacturing delays” as reasons for the shortage.

Where have we seen this before? In the oil industry. “Shut down that refinery until the price rises sky high.”

We have a shortage of life giving medication, one that is isolated to children, one that will tug at the heart-stings of parents.

There is no shortage of raw materials. There is no shortage of manufacturing space. There is no shortage of labor. There is only a shortage, because 5 major pharmaceuticals, all at the same time, chose “not to make” that certain drug….

Now according to Dr. Michael Link, pediatric oncologist and president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, some hospital pharmacies have reported having only a couple weeks of supply left.

Which means that kids start dying in 14 days…….

To counter this, President Obama on October 31, signed an executive order, instructing the Food and Drug Administration to broaden its reporting of potential drug shortages, expedite regulatory reviews that can help prevent shortages, and examine whether potential shortages have led to price gouging. The drug shortage has compromised or delayed care for some patients and may have led to otherwise preventable deaths.

This caused Christopher W. Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, to applaud the signing of the order, saying in a statement that it would “allow government, industry, providers and the public to more systematically analyze and understand the causes of specific drug shortages as they occur, and to develop real-time solutions that are also needed to address the acute problems that cancer patients live with daily.”

But the order does not go far enough.

While the FDA can oversee imports of drugs that are in short supply, it cannot regulate how much a company can make. In fact, manufacturers are not required to report shortages to the FDA.

Isn’t that what Romney touts? Isn’t that Gingrich’s modus operandi, Isn’t that what Santorum lavishs, WE NEED LESS GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION???

Don’t all of them recommend that government needs to slim down, cut back, and get off the backs of business in general to create jobs?

WELL…..

Here is a direct case of that policy in action. There is no government on the backs of Pharmaceuticals. They are completely independent, private, not regulated, and free to decided what drugs to make, and when to make them….

“Oh gee, let’s see… we make 89 cents per pill on our placebos…. and only 64 cents on each bottle of methotrexate…. Let’s close down the meth lab, and instead, make placebos instead….”

Mitt Romney’s philosophy in action…

Because of it, there is now a shortage of highly necessary medications… Ones that have to be had, to maintain life…

(There is no end to the number of Sudafed knockoffs on drugstore shelves)….

Just a look at the top ten prescribed medicines in America, only one, Lipitor, is still under patent. All the others, have lapsed into generic….

The apparent problem is rather simple. In order to chase after profits for your stockholders, for the analysts of CNBC to mention your stock on their show, … you have to sell the top 15 drugs helping 100% of the population, and the 4000 or 5000 people needing your specialty drugs, are simply sick with the wrong disease…

Remember the death panel controversy made up and disseminated by Michelle Bachmann? Well, now, we see the real death panel….

“I’m sorry (not). I know he is your child; I know we have the medicine to keep him normal, I know he will die if he doesn’t get it; I know we could easily makes some in less than 5 days; I know we could have never run short if we had wanted; I know all these things. But, we arbitrarily choose not to make it; your son is out of luck and will be dead in less than two weeks…”

Why?

Because you voted for Republicans…. Seriously, if you hadn’t, what would have happened?

In an all Democratic Congress, when this shortage was brought up, legislation would be passed levying extensive fines if the drugs did not reach market by a certain date. The price would include only a ten percent markup. Meaning the pharmaceutical company would not lose on the proposition. How do I know this would work? It was the law of the land for 70 years, until Republicans began selling the concept that letting the market place settle everything, and the FDA got gutted.

Interestingly,…. due to the shortage, black market drugs have materialized…. As soon as a drug hits a shortage level, unreliable distributors pop up offering supplies of suspect origin at highly inflated prices, said Denver based Porter Adventist Hospital pharmacy director, Ryan Stice.

“I have a story about one of these vendors calling on a Friday night, lying to a staff member to get approval for shipment, and sending their products for Saturday delivery to avoid our normal safeguards on bogus shipments and invoicing,” Stice said.

Premier Healthcare Alliance, which published data on drug price-grouging practices last week, said nearly 2,000 sales offers from “gray market” distributors amounted to an average price markup of 650 percent for drugs used to treat cancer and other critical illnesses, as well as sedate patients for surgery, that have been in short supply in recent months.

The highest markup was for the drug lebetalol, used to treat high blood pressure. Lebetalol usually sells for $25.90, but “gray market” offers priced it at $1,200.

When pressed, it appears there is little knowledge over where these “grey market” drugs come from. Most speculate that those drugs which are currently being dispensed on the “grey market” come with a majority of their kickback returning to the pharmaceutical companies. It was as if someone in the pharmaceutical business figured out: why sell this drug for $25 dollars when we can create a shortage and sell it for $1200 instead?

“Greed is good”, if you remember the movie Wall Street.

Ironically, the similarities between both Mitt Romney’s hairstyle and philosophy and those in that movie, are extremely uncanny.

If it is your son who is dying, obviously the market place is not where we want to take health-care. Their death panels are far more crooked than any other panel that would occur if we had any other system of medical insurance.

One must wonder why in any debate, not one panalist has yet brought up the question…Mr. Republican, about your market philosophy…. when it comes to cancer drugs and others that are necessary for life,… there seems to be a problem….”

Then follow up with: “No, it appears you’re wrong there, Mr. Republican Candidate. The obvious solution is for America not to vote for any Republican candidate…”


Right click to open full image… Pictograph Courtesy of Viral..

So, can someone tell me again, why we shouldn’t tax the rich, and instead, balance the budget on the backs of everyone else?…….

I seem to be missing that little detail where that all makes sense……

Definition: Where American spending was brought up to the level where it should be, without the necessary revenue to support it.

(As evidenced by 154,000 private sector jobs being created in July.)

The problem is not with spending. The problem is the lack of taxing of the top 1%. The spending seems to be doing its job.

The global markets lost 1% today… Actually that is pretty good. The losses stemmed over the fact that Republicans won’t allow new revenue to enhance our failing budget…….

Like George Washington, they want to apply more leeches (tax cuts) which eventually will bleed the father of our country dry, and kill him dead.

There are great ideas to get around the impasse……

One was so close last week in which Obama and Boehner had come almost to a 4$ Trillion Deal… It was so, so close. Boehner was about to become the Alexander Hamilton of the 21st Century: Historians would forever know him as the man who brought America back from economic ruin…….

But Boehner’s owner, jerked hard on his leash… cracking Boehner’s trachea. He then spun Boehner to the ground, and applied zip strips to his wrists and ankles. He then tazed Boehner repeatedly. For the first time in his life, Boehner did not cry. He was then strapped to a board, tilted backwards into a tank of water, and held for 45 seconds, over 111 times. He was then blindfolded and pummelled with cans of Pepsi, embedded in old cotton socks, leaving no evidence. He then poked with a tube, in his (you know where) and the other end was attached to a fire hydrant.

The next morning, Boehner said the deal was off; he refused to return Obama’s calls.

Leaks from those working for his owners, tell us the taxes on the wealthy 1% were the sole reason Boehner was given “the treatment”… It’s a damn shame; for a package of $3 trillion in cuts, (yes, includes modifications to SS and Medicare) and a Trillion in tax increases on the top 1%… would shake the dynamics of our economy.

It would spur investment here in America.
It would therefore create jobs.
It would stop the uncertainty where America was financially headed.
It would prevent the immediate loss to our economy of $4 billion a day.
It would reduce the deficit over time, and save money spent paying interest, which could then be used for services.
It would be the proper step at this time in the direction we need to go.

But, if the US defaults on its debt, nothing in the financial markets is sacred, and when nothing is sacred, that… causes panics…

And a panic in 1929… caused the Great Depression. A panic in 2008, caused the mess we’re in right now.

The world’s managed wealth is $122 trillion… A one percent drop.. is $1.2 trillion. That is the amount, that one half, of one third our government,… cost the world today.

They are kids, playing with a live junction box… Sticking a screwdriver in the wrong hole, burns down the entire house……

(At $50,000 a job, today’s loss is the financial equivalent of putting 24 million human beings out of work)

It’s clear as day.

When you have no engine in your car, you have to put one in… When banks aren’t lending, when the private sector is incapable of spending, the government has to..

It is called deficit spending. It’s been done before. Whereas we suffered a horrible Great Depression, Sweden emerged from theirs in 1934 by using just such a Keynesian approach towards deficit spending. While America suffered through dust bowls, “Grapes of Wrath”, Hoovervilles, soup kitchens, and one out of every four workers unemployed, Sweden was thriving and its citizens were living quite comfortably.

America finally… five years later, had no choice but to follow suit after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. We too spent money we didn’t have and guess what? From 1939 to 1941, U.S. manufacturing shot up a phenomenal 50 percent!

So what happens to those people who have no choice but to work, when the government gives them a job? They spend…. soon,… more people have to work… who spend… so even more people have to work,… who spend … so even more people than the more people spending money previously, have to work. … and they spend.

Republicans clamor we need more jobs… Mike Castle even hands out a giant check he voted against! LOL.. But they are all lined up against the very engine that brought us out of The Great Depression… How silly is that?

They say… we’ll owe sooooooooooooooo much money… Hello…Excuse me? Uhhh, have you ever bought a … house? Don’t you personally owe soooooooooooooooo much money? A $200,000 dollar house cost over $455,000 by the time the last payment is made. But…… how long would it take you, forced to spend more than you currently make just to live, to save $200,000 cash just to buy that house outright?

Right…. you couldn’t…

The same principal applies to economics. If you need to spend money for jobs right now…. and don’t have it… when and where will those jobs come from?

They won’t. Duh.

Therefore when Bonini says “Delaware spends more per person than any other state, excluding Alaska and Hawaii…” and that “the No. 1 employer in Delaware is the state itself, and the number of people employed by the state has doubled in the past 12 years” … right now we should be grateful… not troubled. Because we too are making some of that money those people are spending.

When he says…. “Tough economic times have prompted people to get involved in the political process,” it’s hilarious…. Especially when you look at this… on the Republican side… THEY ARE ALMOST ALL MILLIONAIRES…. (C’mon… It’s Delaware… Even if you’re Republican you gotta laugh)…

But, when he says … “The fact that people are making tough economic decisions in their personal family lives is bringing attention to the fact that the government is not,” it shows he doesn’t understand government’s role in the economy. It unfortunately shows us all that he doesn’t either read, or understand, American history.

And… that is what makes him a dangerous person to put in as our State Treasurer. He’s a great guy, and I certainly wish him well, but now is just not right time for someone who does not understand deficit spending to be running our state’s Treasury. Thirty years from now… based on my best estimates…that will be his time.

Tit for Tat:

Anyone who reads this blog knows that comments are where the action is.. The best writing is usually below the canal, where smart minds give and take and dissect the others points of view… Having spent an inordinate amount of time on one such comment, I thought today’s epistle would be, something that in the olden days would have been titled: “Comment Rescue… ”

(Since I didn’t garnish another’s permission, I’m not naming him or her, but if they want to come forward on their own, they most certainly are welcome… They probably will, because their comment is not that hard to find.. But I thought the overall give and take was done well enough to showcase to others how all argument should take place on blogs, and use this as a measure upon which all other future commentary can be judged…)

“Bush is the person who fought a war in which Americans died for oil.” Where was Congress? I seem to remember they voted to send troops but that can’t possibly be so, can it?

There are two ways an administration can approach Congress… One is to say look at all the evidence and come to your own conclusion… The other is to say, take our word, we have the intelligence that says this will happen, we need your support as a fellow American… The latter was the path that was taken… Today, trying to pin Congress in on the instigation of the Iraq War, is nothing but a cowardly attempt to shift blame… Those of us who know human nature, chuckle at each such attempt, because we know that is done only by people who KNOW they are guilty… The act of blaming Congress actually drives home our point that Republicans were guilty and got caught! The proof is there. Cheney constructed the threat of Iraq and sold it… We found out too late it was nothing but a contrivance…

“Bush is the person who bankrupted our nation by spending every dollar of the surplus and then ran our nation on deficit spending for 8 years…Let our children pay for it!” So you’re a deficit hawk then. Great. Please direct me to the post where you go bananas when Obama takes a mere 143 days to surpass Bush’s 8 years of spending which included not one but two wars.

There are two kinds of deficits. one is flagrant spending of favors to bolster the Republican party’s power; the other is to borrow to save a nation… Deficit spending saved us during WWII… The deficit spending that was spent recently, is an investment that saved the entire financial global network. The government of the United States of America, absorbed the stupid Republican-caused collapse. We now own shares of the banks. When the economy grows, we can cash those shares in at a profit. Your deficit argument is like castigating a well-meaning American homeowner for going into debt for a house… After all, someone signing a $250,000 note while making $30,000 is scary. But it is a good thing for the rest of us, that a lot of homeowners have balls, isn’t it..

Republicans obviously don’t have balls or brains. … Their wimpy whinings are no more relevant than the naive advisor who says “don’t buy a house, rent… You don’t want to go in debt.” Bottom line, the deficit of saving a nation, worked.. or has so far. The previous administration’s deficit, of making the wealthier even wealthier, didn’t work. Instead it fucked up this nation….

“Bush is the person who pushed the Medicare Reform that first tripled the cost of pharmaceuticals and then reimbursed drug companies three times over what the drugs originally were worth.” Cite please. I agree that the program was ill conceived and even poorly executed but I’ve not seen anything approaching these numbers.

If you bought drugs over the counter and paid $40 dollars for your supply before the Medicare pharmaceutical supplements came to be passed by the Republicans, today those same drugs cost $120 dollars, and the government covers $80 of those dollars and you pay….. $40 dollars… What has changed for you? The pharma companies are now getting $120 dollars for the same drugs they once got $40 for…. you pay the same $40, and your children and grandchildren pay the $80, which assuming interest will accrue, could amount to about $240 dollars depending on how long we allow the debt to continue unchecked…… The sacrilege comes from the fact that the $80 dollars part, was added to the deficit, so the wealthiest 1% could receive a tax cut… We doubled the cost, while cutting the revenue stream in half…

Smart Republican policy… WE are all paying for our nations stupidity now, aren’t we? As for citation… go to you own bills or ask you parents… That is far better citation than I could ever give… Go look.

“Bush is the person who deregulated our finance industry, so it collapsed on his watch.”
Nope. Bush warned three times that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were headed for trouble and he was rebuffed three times. Misregulation was the cause not deregulation. The largely unregulated hedge fund industry (Cerebrus Capital notwithstanding)skated through while the very tightly regulated insurance and banking were devastated.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were not the problem although Bush was right to warn us of their unwieldiness… No, they were secondary symptoms caused by the main problem which was in Phil Gramm’s Commodities Act, a clause he inserted which allowed all derivatives to be unregulated. Insurance on these derivatives, was also unregulated… When the time came for AIG to cough up? There was no money! It had all been spent on bonuses… and when the Feds coughed money to save AIG, they tried again to spend it on their bonuses… such malfeasance among our corporate brethren, can only happen on a Republican’s watch… “do what you want… we Republicans won’t interfere.” The Democrats would have been all over that before a crises had occurred…

“Bush is the person who sent your manufacturing jobs overseas.” Really? Did he put them in boxes or…? Labor and regulatory costs sent them overseas. Blame our high standard of living.

No, our jobs went overseas because it was cheaper under the tax codes made up by Republicans to make something in another country and bring it back over… Under a better tax package this would not have occurred, we would not have had as deep of a deficit, and we would have had a much healthier economy. As pointed out in the Kavipsian theory of economics, the difference of only 5% in our top rate, is all we needed to keep our economy steaming forward as it did during the Clinton years.. Pure and Simple. It is the Republican financial philosophy that caused us to experience what earlier this week became official: 0 % real job growth over the entire Republican presidency… That is just plain sick.

“Bush is the person who tried to remove your social security.” If remove = privatize then yeah he made a half-assed attempt and then quit.

Facts are in: Had Social Security been privatized.. as of around somewhere in November 08… It would not have existed. I call that getting rid of Social Security.

“Bush is the person who tried to get rid of Medicare.” By increasing funding?

Medicare has always been on the Republican chopping block. Bush was nothing new at putting lip service into eradicating it… The increased funding you mention, was passed on to future generations… That shows real responsibility… “Here, spend as much as you can on your health… Don’t worry! Your children and grandchildren will foot the bill…”

“Bush is the person who came close to nuking Iran.” Define close.

As for defining usage of nuclear weapons upon Iraq, that is what all were saying… In fact, one ranking officer said he would refuse the order if given to bomb Iran… Everyone who wasn’t a neocon, received a sigh of relief…

“Bush is the person whose policy made the US hated around the world.” Really? How’s Barry’s Charm Offensive going? Poland hates us, he snubbed the King of Norway and the UK, our closest ally isn’t returning our calls. Bang up job there Barry. Oh, and Muslim terrorists are still trying to blow up our airplanes.

As for Barack, I haven’t seen the evidence you mention… I do know, however, that the entire globe breathed a sigh of relief to see the former president step down…

“Bush is the person who destroyed the economy…” Please keep it straight. Is he a dunce or an evil genius. He can’t be both. (I’ll give you a hint. Liberals typically make Bush the dunce and Cheney the Evil Genius.) YMMV.

So say what you will about Barack… He is no Bush and for that, every American can be thankful…..

Since taking office, he has saved this nation several times… Bush in eight years… with help from all Republicans, mind you… destroyed it… At the rate were are currently on, (knock on wood) we should be in good shape to remove the rest of Republicans from office by this November…

With lies about Barack circulating about, yes, we do have some work to do, but then again, everything wonderful that ever happened to this nation, has always had some work behind it….

If we could owe this debt to ourselves instead of others, we’d be rich from all the compounded interest we’d be paying back… — kavips

There is nothing that a strong dose of morphine can’t cure…. at least to the person receiving the injection ….. Damn… No legs…. Ahhh… no problem…..

Obviously the long term plan is the one we need to tackle first, so short term fixes like the one above, are seen as steps in the right direction, and not random neural contractions found during a soon-to-be-eaten chicken’s last minute.

Long term:

1) We need to spend within our means, both personally and as a nation.

2) We need to pay down the deficit, reducing our national interest payment.

3) We need to control our spending on entitlements: Social Security and Medicare.

4) We need a better trade balance with our trading partners.

5) We will need more cash in order to do all of the above.

We have been lulled into believing that we can spend money that we do not have… Hell we’ve been doing it for 8 years now… We did it for twelve years before that, starting with Ronald Reagan. And it was working fine up until late September…. Why can’t we keep on the same path?

As we have now found out, there is a small problem with taking out loans…. It’s called paying them back. To pay back a loan, some of the money that you are currently making needs to go back to those who invested in you at the beginning. Wait you say… why can’t we get more people to invest in us, and use that money to pay off those who invested in us earlier?

It’s been tried. And someone Madoff (made off) with a lot of other people’s money by doing just that. But eventually somewhere along the line, one cannot find enough new people to pay off the old, and crash, the system collapses.. Sort of like our Social Security system today ….

So if we have a loan, we have to pay it back?

Yes, that seems to work best. Although often loans can be forgiven after it becomes clear that they will never be repaid, and that further attempts to repay will collapse the entire pyramid where everyone loses everything… In those cases, sharing the risk by writing off some of the debts, allows one to begin making money again at some point in the future…..

But choosing to default, or not paying off the loans, also makes it impossible to get loan money later when you really need it.

So how much do we owe?

That depends on how you want to count it.. When you get a loan, there is a price tag attached that is called interest. One pays back the loan plus the interest to the party that fronted the money. After all, that is why people lend money in the first place… to make more of it… So if you bought a loan for $100,000 dollars, you could pay $100,000 the next day and be done.. That is one way of counting how much you owe. But, over time, that house you are buying is going to cost you 2.15 times its amount, because of compounded interest. So saying that you owe $215,000 is also correct….

The current U.S. obligations as of September 30th..( before any of the bailouts were passed by Congress) stood at 56 Trillion dollars. Every man, women, and child now owes $184,000 dollars. If we pay that back over 10 years, that is $18,400 per year of our income going just to the Federal government. Which means that if your family is struggling on $60,000 a year right now, that you had better start planning on how you can survive on $41,600 over the next ten years.

It may not be as bad as it seems. If free health-care becomes a reality, a yearly out of pocket savings of $7800 is a step in the right direction. Now we have just $10,600 to make up…. And if we cancel further investments into our 401 K for ten years, depending on how much you put in yearly, that accounts for somewhere between another $2000 to $10,000 dollars of which you will soon be out of pocket.. One had better hope that Social Security is still there for you when you retire…..

This is not something we have options on. This is a reality that must happen. Of course we can choose to pay it out over a longer time frame and survive with less money leaving our household per year, but over the span of a long time, we will ultimately pay a lot more… It seems better to knock out the debt, learn to live within our means, and once that debt is paid, prosper again after hopefully having learned our lesson over not paying as you go…..

That means that any new money pouring in from the “tax to the max”, must all be designated toward paying down the debt, and not be split off to other much needed projects. That is a hard choice to say no to… but once all debt is gone, less money will be required to be collected to fund those projects on a pay as you go basis. Our tax burden will be much less, giving us more money to spend, yet we will have ample money to fund the projects being built. The economy will grow in that scenario.

Of course this $184,000 is a shock figure designed to wake America up with a dose of reality. A bulk of the repayment will be paid back in the form of corporate taxes… starting as high as 50% and climbing perhaps to 90%. But the American consumer eventually also pays for those in the higher cost of each item he buys, since that payment will be embedded in the price he pays at the cash register.

The corporate rates mentioned above, were the same levels applied to corporate incomes after WWII, which continued and were not relaxed until under John F Kennedy’s administration. Over this time frame, corporations will have to settle for just being in business. After all,… that is what most small businesses do; they are grateful each day they open their doors. There is going to be a new reality that permeates the American corporate business world.

The essence of our nation’s problem is that we have lived off a credit card; one that will be paid by our children and grandchildren. And it has not just been our government that has done so.. Private debt, corporate debt, as well as government debt have all elevated our spending beyond where it should naturally be. This has been going on for so long that most investors thought that this debt/GDP ratio could continue rising indefinitely without ever overwhelming the economy and corporate earnings. In fact, the way it kept growing, we also started wondering if this could also go on forever. The total debt in round numbers is almost $52 trillion. This was not much changed this year due to the credit freeze, but rose $4.3 trillion in 2007, which was over 5 times the rise in GDP. The composition of the debt is $25 trillion in Corporate debt-both financial and non financial, $14 trillion in Household debt, and $13 trillion of Government debt-Federal and State & Local) and the GDP is $14.4 trillion. These debt composition numbers are rough estimates but all would agree that we currently owe 3.6 times our entire GDP….

This debt cycle really started in the early 1980’s when the U.S. savings rate peaked at over 10% and continued downward until this year when it troughed at a negative savings rate. People once again spent everything they made and then some last year, pushing the U.S. personal savings rate to the lowest level since the Great Depression more than seven decades ago.

As anyone who has been on the wrong side of debt can tell you, once the savings rate goes negative, it becomes a lot harder on the next round to change it. For then we have to pay charges on that amount which we spent beyond our means… So not only do we have to cut back to live within our means, but we need to further cut back in order to live within our means AND pay back those pesky charges…..

Under compounded interest any wait to pay back the cost is expensive; sooner is better than later. If we borrow a dollar and are charged with 3% interest, we pay back that dollar and the three cents of interest we owe… If we wait one year and are charged 3% on the dollar-and-three-cents we owed but did not pay back, we now owe a dollar and six cents. That may not sound like much, but when it comes to big numbers, that 3% on our national debt of 10.6 Trillion, becomes $318 billion dollars. One chuckles when Republicans find themselves up in arms over bailouts costing these amounts, but yet when the same figure is just interest, it is just considered the price we pay for living “la-de-da” beyond our means… At 3%, want to know how much interest we will pay on just that 3% interest itself, if we skip a year? $9.8 billion just to pay the interest, on the interest, that we are too broke to pay… “Deficits don’t matter” said Dick Cheney. When no one has money… where do we find that additional $9.8 billion to cough up?

But debt can be eradicated. Here is proof from a fellow posting his strategy.. It is a personal story to be sure, but it shows the proper mental attitude that must be created if one is about to embark on changing his lifestyle for the better….

Just the numbers of consumer debt are startling…. U.S. Household debt soared from 4.2 Trillion in 1990 (the first Bush president) to $13 trillion in 2008. During this period, the average American household dramatically increased its home mortgage debt, from almost $2.5 trillion in 1990 to nearly $10.5 trillion today. Similarly, consumer “revolving” or credit card debt quadrupled from $239 billion (B) to about $950B today. Moreover, the growth of U.S. credit card debt is substantially under-reported by the official U.S. Federal Reserve statistics, due to the tremendous volume of mortgage refinancings that were transacted between 2001 and 2005. At least $350B in consumer credit card debt was paid off through mortgage refinancings, home equity loans, and cash proceeds from the sale of real estate over this five- year period. This is consistent with the findings of Alan Greenspan and James Kennedy, who report that equity extraction was used to repay an average of about $50 billion of mortgage consumer debt between 1991 to 2005, about 3% of the outstanding balance of that debt at the beginning of the year.” Significantly, it averaged only $25.2B per year prior to 2001 (link to Manning’s work)

So how do we responsibly pay down our national consumer debt? Judging from the data provided above, it cannot be done. But a reasonable approach would be to isolate consumer debt into three categories: a) Chapter 7 Bankruptcy; b) substantial debt relief in the range of 60 to 80 percent; and c) repayment of the full balance over a 5 year credit management plan. The first category (a) is for those right on the edge; we know bankruptcy is inevitable, so we get it done and over so that they can start their ten years of rebuilding their credit as soon as possible. The second category (b), is a win win for both lenders and debtors. Just enough of their debt is forgiven allowing them to be debt free in 3 years.. The third category (c) is solvent enough to pay all their debts over a 5 year period on a managed plan. As is done with any bankruptcy, applicants for these programs are mean tested to determine into which category they fall … We can dream that all debts may someday be repaid. That is unrealistic. A practical approach moves forward, determining which debts are solvent and which are not, expeditiously processing those that are not, and in just a short time, all debt is secured and we know what our economy has to work with. No more surprises.

You can determine how your family finances can be resolved by using this calculator provided by the same Manning mentioned above.. I recommend that if you have unsecured debt, you play around with the credit card repayment section, seeing the differences that occur if you contributed your coffee fund, you movie allowance, your HBO bill towards paying down your credit card debt. Those little totals often taken for granted, can make years of a difference in pulling yourself out of debt.

We often hear pontificating towards our governments, local, state, and federal, end with the admonishment that since American consumers live within their means…. why can’t the federal government do so as well…

That is not exactly true. We do a lousy job compared to our parents.

They and their parents bought savings bonds… Which brings us back full circle to our best idea of paying down our national debt… What if a percentage of everyone’s pay check went toward buying themselves savings bonds. Unlike a tax, at the end of maturation, they get the entire bond returned to them with nominal interest tacked on.

Kind of like our parents and grandparents implemented for us growing up. A forced savings plan… “Oh but I want to spend it….” “No, we’re putting it in savings”… With this plan, like a tax, the government has access to increased funds, but unlike a tax, it pays us back. This has three things going for it.

One it helps us save. The American saving’s rate was negative last year. That means individuals spent more than they had… Obviously when the time comes to pay it back, it will not be good for the economy.

Two it provides a intermediate source of funding for our government. Instead of cutting taxes, this plan augments taxes… Since the money must be paid back upon maturation, the government needs to get a rate of return higher than what it is paying back..

Three. Using this money to decrease the Federal deficit, is a win win for all. Essentially we are using this program to buy up our own stock. It will be us who have control over our nation’s destiny, and not…. it’s foreign creditors…. Applying the entire amount bought in this fashion, to paying down our National Debt, will give us lower taxes in the future. The legislation initiating this program could earmark all revenue from these mandatory bought savings bonds, go towards decreasing our National Debt.

It will take great leadership to change our behavior. The bully pulpit is needed now more than ever. Since the 1980’s, we have funded our economy by borrowing. Anyone can be given an unlimited credit card and then tell us he is living well. For a long time this nation has placed the acquisition of corporate profits as the prime gauge rating the welfare of our nation. Now, with acknowledgment that it will take 4 years of GDP to pay off all debt, private, corporate, and governmental, we understand our predicament.

Simply put: to survive, we need to acquire more money than we spend and use that extra amount to buy down debt. Once our debt is down, we can use that extra amount to spend again, exploding our economy through the roof of expectations.