At the very last minute, county commissioners in Jefferson County, home to the metropolis of Birmingham, Alabama, decided to postpone a final decision on whether or not to declare bankruptcy over their excessive indebtedness. The bonded indebtedness incurred to build a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant exceeds $3 billion, far beyond what the county can afford to service. And raising sewer fees for a fourth time in ten years isn’t an option as the outrage from the last increase still reverberates.
The proximate cause of the difficulty goes back to December of 1993 when three citizens of the county sued the county commissioners over untreated raw sewage being dumped into nearby rivers. The suit, which was picked up by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1994, forced the commissioners to build a new sewer system. In 1997, the county began selling municipal bonds to pay for the project, with the help of a broker at Raymond James & Associates. By November of 2002, the county had raised $2.9 billion and began construction on the project.
Barack Obama and his minions continue to lie. Okay, this is it, I promise: my last column on the so-called debt crisis (at least until next month). I know you’re getting tired of hearing about it. Heck, I’m getting tired of writing about it. But the lies and distortions have gotten so outrageous in the past few days that I simply must get up on my soapbox one more time and try to clear up a few of the biggest piles of malarkey. (Some of you may prefer a stronger word for what’s being thrown around.) Here are the latest “Big Four” that got my goat.
There is no August 2 deadline.
I know; it’s hard to believe. All we’ve heard for months is economic catastrophe will befall us if the debt ceiling isn’t raised by Tuesday.
But where did that date come from? It was plucked out of thin air by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
This article is the third installment in a series on Americanist entrepreneurs. The first two, on Robert Welch and Fred Koch, appeared in the May 23 and June 20 issues of The New American.
A given name such as Augereau was bound to get a boy in trouble, especially in Texas at the turn of the 20th century. Whether or not Augereau G. Heinsohn, who was born in 1896 and lived near Gulfport as a small boy, was aware that his namesake was the brother of Revolutionary War hero Lafayette, he developed early a fighting spirit as a result of being teased about his name. Although as an adult he was known as A.G. or “Heinie,” Heinsohn’s fighting spirit never diminished, and drove him to become an uncompromising foe of Big Government for decades.
House Speaker John Boehner’s last-minute “pep talk” to his Republican caucus early Thursday morning failed to turn the tide of Tea Partier “nays” to “yeas,” and the vote on his debt-limit bill has been postponed. Calling on them to “get ... in line” because “I can’t do this job unless you’re behind me,” Boehner failed in getting the 216 votes he needed. He claimed, “The Republican proposal includes real spending cuts and reforms that will restrain future spending — and the spending cuts are larger than the debt limit increase.”
He went on to say his bill represents "the best opportunity we have to hold the president’s feet to the fire. [Obama] wants a $2.4 trillion blank check that lets him continue his spending binge through the next election. This is the time to say no."
George Soros recently made a stunning announcement: He would be dissolving all of his non-family aspects of the hedge fund that ultimately made him an authority on all things monetary.
Bloomberg News reports:
The billionaire, best known for breaking the Bank of England, is returning money to outside investors in his $25.5 billion firm [and is] ending a career as hedge-fund manager that spanned more than four decades.
As the debate over the debt ceiling heats up, and as time ticks down, heroes and villains are emerging. Of course, who they are depends on who is asked, but for Tea Party activists, perhaps the greatest disappointment has been House Speaker John Boehner.
Fox News reports on the progress of Boehner’s bill:
Boehner revised his plan after congressional budget analysts said it would save $850 billion over the next decade instead of the $1.2 trillion advertised. The latest figures put the savings above $900 billion, more than the bill's proposed debt limit increase. The House is expected to vote on the revised plan Thursday.
The federal government just can’t stay out of agriculture. From subsidy programs that decide winners and losers in the markets by favoring corporate farms over family farms to ethanol rules that sacrifice food for fuel to laws that give undue influence and power to a select few pesticide and seed producers, Washington has maintained a stranglehold over farming that has forever altered the industry’s competitive landscape and doomed consumers to pay ever-higher prices at the grocery store.
It wants even more power. Now, another assault comes from the Capitol and the unlikeliest of agencies: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an arm of the Department of Transportation. The DOT/FMCSA has new standards currently in the public comment period that, were they to become law, would override states’ rights — and the rights of the individual farmer — and have a detrimental impact on how business is done.
Watching DC’s spendthrifts and Keynesians try to resolve the nation’s catastrophic debt is like watching witch doctors try to cure cancer: We know the patient’s gonna die, and painfully, no matter how many goats they sacrifice.
Nonetheless, Leviathan’s lackeys in the media keep leading more goats to the altar. Catch this article from the Associated Press, “States eye fee increases as alternative to taxes.” Rather than asking why government at any level should license us to go about our daily lives or charge us an additional fee for using what our taxes supposedly subsidize, AP’s propaganda inquires instead whether jacking those fees is an acceptable substitute for raising taxes.
Here's what President Barack Obama said about our high rate of unemployment in an interview with NBC's Ann Curry: "The other thing that happened, though — and this goes to the point you were just making — is there are some structural issues with our economy, where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers," adding that "you see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM; you don't go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate." The president's statements suggest that he sees labor-saving technological innovation as a contributor to today's high rate of unemployment. That's unmitigated nonsense. Let's see whether technological innovation causes unemployment.
In 1790, farmers were 90 percent, out of a population of nearly 3 million, of the U.S. labor force. By 1900, only about 41 percent of our labor force was employed in agriculture. By 2008, fewer than 3 percent of Americans were employed in agriculture. Through labor-saving technological advances and machinery, our farmers are the world's most productive. As a result, Americans are better off.
In her essay "For the New Intellectual," Ayn Rand warned that the United States would go bankrupt — financially and morally — if we allowed intellectuals and political leaders to define commercial pursuits as inferior to noncommercial pursuits, if we permitted the productive and the creators of wealth to be defined as looters, and if we refused to see the unrestricted growth of government power as a threat to freedom. To avoid national bankruptcy, Rand called for an intellectual defense of business and capitalism, a defense of productivity, success, individualism and wealth. She said we are fed instead a steady diet of "the whining injunctions that we must love everything, except virtue, and forgive everything, except greatness."
Said Austrian economist and social philosopher Ludwig von Mises, "Under capitalism, the common man enjoys amenities which in ages gone by were unknown and therefore inaccessible even to the richest people."