Archive for September, 2014

The Role Of Government Being Something Other Than The Welfare Of Its Citizens

September 19, 2014

Writing for the Huffington Post in a piece entitled “House Votes To Audit The Fed… And Deregulate Wall Street” (9-18-14) Zach Carter reports:

“”Today, the House passed the Federal Reserve Transparency Act,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) celebrated in a Vine video. “Finally, we’re gonna audit the Fed.””

That same day America’s three major stock indicators (Dow, S&P, Nasdaq) hit all time high. Various news sources attributed this to the Fed’s action/inaction, not Boehner’s posturing. Carter reports that the Transparency Act received bi partisan support. The house also passed two other pieces of legislation, H.R. 5405 and 5461. According to Carter “H.R. 5405, would exempt a significant swath of the market for derivatives — the complex financial products at the heart of the 2008 meltdown — from Dodd-Frank’s new trading rules.” H.R. 5461 “would give banks a way around the Volcker Rule, a ban on their speculating in the securities markets with taxpayer backing. It would weaken rules on bank ownership of collateralized loan obligations, a type of derivative that is dominated by big banks and that pools together many loans into one security.” “H.R. 5461 would also allow banks to charge more in upfront fees when they issue a mortgage while still qualifying for special treatment under the government’s “qualified mortgage” rules.” The two bills both received bi partisan support.

A little closer to home, this past summer saw the Ohio State legislature hurriedly passing legislation redefining Joint Economic Development Districts/Zones, mandating that business sign off on their implementation thereby over riding the electoral process of resident voters. Analysis wondered at the time what would replace this citizens’ initiative on regulation of development. Rick Reitzel, for WCMH, NBC4 gives us a look into the future of such things with his report on the proposed development of 355 acres in Delaware County’s Berkshire Township, adjoining US 36/37 and I71 (Outlet Mall Gets A New Community Authority Proposal For Funding, 9-16-14). “The area could soon have new financial backing, a plan called “The Berkshire Landing Community Authority.” The plan is a way to fund the district through revenue generated within the area.” (Kinda sounds like what the old JEDD/Z did, doesn’t it?) Reitzel repeatedly references the proposal as coming from the developers themselves, Simon/Tanger — “Looking at the numbers outlined in Simon/Tanger’s request to create the “Berkshire Landing New Community District””, “Simon/Tanger’s proposal states it plans to build homes”, and finally “The proposal is a first draft sent to county commissioners and the township on September 11.” Analysis senses a rhetorical shift from “Joint Economic Development” to one of “Authority”.

All this precipitates a ghoulish possibility for just after Halloween. What happens if the proposed Newark income tax increase to fund the repair of everyday people’s streets and bridges fails, and the only improvements to streets (scapes) is that which will be done around the downtown Newark business district, which has already been funded?

The Children’s Home And The Jail

September 1, 2014

In the previous post (People Should Be Paying Attention) Analysis considered one aspect of the demise of the honey bee to segue into something we all share. Much as global warming, the demise of the bees is either poo-pooed or mourned as an ominous omen. Analysis has noticed that, although the coal fired mega energy providers have been actively promoting “green” conservation through light bulbs and refrigerators, few bugs swarm and dance around porch lights, outdoor flood lights and street lights (part of the new bulbs rely on fluorescent light, the same stuff of bug zappers, hence should prove irresistibly attractive). Indeed, going way back in the way back machine, just forty years ago (prior to the embrace of no till farming), cars had windscreens and bras, drivers needed to clean their windshields from all the nighttime bugs in the summer, etc. The welfare of this population of nature’s society has been of no import. Unlike the birds, there is no lobby for the bugs. The change has been slow. So slow that it is almost unnoticeable without some historical reference. But who wants to remember a bug?

Dialing the way back machine a little closer to the present (by five years) we find the first major assaults on what was (academically) termed “the welfare state” in American leadership and policy. Originally, “welfare state” described the role of the government (the state) to be that of maintaining or improving the welfare of its citizens. This would include, but not be limited to, operating in such a manner that its citizens were not threatened by devastating diseases like polio, measles, etc. (ebola), that the citizenry could read, write, count (be educated), that citizens could create (through work) and recreate (through parks, etc.). Popular culture contributed to the creation of the disparaging image (and myth) of “the welfare state” as being that of folks on the dole driving luxury cars and partying. Since then American leadership and policy has focused on the role of government (the state) being something other than the welfare of its citizens. The latest, and best, exemplar would be John the Governator’s evangelizing that government should operate at the speed of business. Returning to the trope of nature and another endangered species, the cheetah, Analysis can also say that the only thing that runs like a cheetah is another cheetah. The change has been slow. So slow that it is almost unnoticeable without some historical reference. Remember the Licking County Children’s Home? Like the moth’s circling around porch lights, it is no more (remember the yellow bulbs?). In its stead is the historical preservation of the means and power of the state to discipline and punish, the Licking County Jail.

An even more glaring and exemplary actuality of the shift of government’s role from that of the welfare of its citizens to that of business, by business, and for business occurred just recently. The Licking County Transit Board, headed by Grow Licking County Board member and Licking County Commisioner Tim Bubb, voted to cut citizen’s transit services in favor of jobs creation. The same county that opts to fund the Chamber of Commerce with a quarter of the 4% real estate transference tax (in addition to a yearly contribution that amounts to 125% of what it provides for citizen transit) and agrees to not only build but receive the waste from a business dedicated to waste elimination, all in the name of “jobs creation,” reduces the ability of its own citizens to access work under the guise of fiscal responsibility. According to the 8-22-14 Newark Advocate (Transit Board Approves Cuts, Hannah Sparling), folks opposed to cutting service knew there was something uncouth with what was about to come down. But the Children’s Home is long gone and only the Jail is being restored. A large chunk of the argument presented followed the WWJD line. To which Bubb defended this assault on his virtue with righteous indignation. Indeed, the Commissioner took responsibility for running government at the speed of business. Responsibility is a virtue ensconced in property law but precedence in gospel verse is indeed a stretch of biblical interpretation (check any insurance policy for verification and lack of WWJD reference). The change has been slow. So slow that it is almost unnoticeable without some historical reference. But who wants to remember a bug, or the welfare of orphans?