WE HAVE A PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE NATIONAL AND STATE LEVEL ELECTIONS AND TODAY I'LL END FOR NOW THE DISCUSSION OF ELECTIONS WITH A LOOK AT LOCAL ELECTIONS OF CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR. THIS IS WHERE THE FIELD TEAM IS BUILT AND THOSE THAT MAKE IT TO THE STATE ASSEMBLY HAVE BEEN GOOD 'TEAM' PLAYERS. THEY ARE THE ONES WHO ENABLED ALL OF WHAT WE FACE TODAY. CATHERINE PUGH, NATHANIEL MCFADDEN, MARTIN O'MALLEY FROM BALTIMORE FOR EXAMPLE. BELOW YOU'LL SEE A MODERN DAY GREEK TRADEGY FULL OF INTRIGUE. THE CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT PROTESTS TOO MUCH AS HE OFFERS A BUDGET FOR THE EVERYMAN. HIP-HIP SAYS ALL THE COUNCIL AS THEY SEEK RETRIBUTION; BUT ALAS, WE ALL KNOW THEIR CONTRIBUTION.....TO THIS MESS (I WAX POETIC!) THIS PEOPLE'S BUDGET IS OBVIOUSLY A CAMPAIGN PLOY AS JACK YOUNG AND ALMOST ALL ON THE CITY COUNCIL THESE SEVERAL YEARS HAVE BEEN APART OF ALL THE MECHANATIONS.
THE ARTICLE BELOW GIVES THE REASON AS TO WHY IT MATTERS NOT; THE CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR OF PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS VOTED TO GIVE THE MAYOR THE SOLE AUTHORITY TO ASSIGN TAXPAYER MONEY TO PROJECTS.....COUNCIL MEMBERS CAN ONLY LOWER THE BUDGET OUTLAY. SOUND LIKE A TEA PARTY ARRANGEMENT? YOU BETCHA! THIS MOVE HAPPENED WHILE O'MALLEY WAS IN LEADERSHIP IN PREPARATION FOR THIS 'NEW ECONOMY' TRANSITION (I'm being challenged on this...I'll be back with verification!). AS THE MAYOR SAYS BELOW....WE CONTINUE ON IN OUR QUEST TO ATTRACT 10,000 NEW AFFLUENT IMMIGRANTS TO OUR CITY......BLAST BE TO THE COMMONERS! LET THEM EAT CAKE! I'M REVERTING TO REVOLUTIONARY DIALECT BECAUSE THIS 'NEW ECONOMY' IS TAKING US BACK TO PRE-ENLIGHTENMENT DAYS (FREE WILL AND SELF-DETERMINATION AND CITIZEN OVER PEASANT BE DARNED DAYS).
WE SEE THAT THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR ARE KEY GOVERNMENT POSITIONS THAT MUST BE FILLED WITH A REAL PROGRESSIVE AND NOT A THIRD WAY CORPORATE POLITICIAN. REVERSING THIS MAYORIAL CONTROL OF THE BUDGET IS A MUST FOR A DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM. WHAT WE HAVE NOW LOOKS MORE LIKE POLITICS IN UZEBEKISTAN. AND EXPLAINS THE LEVEL OF CORRUPTION/CRIMINAL ACTIVITY.
June 21, 2012 New York Times
Losing Faith in American Institutions By CATHERINE RAMPELL
Dollars to doughnuts.
As Tyler Cowen (and then I) wrote about earlier this week, trust in government is declining.
The decline in American trust is not unique to government, though, and it’s also not terribly recent.
Gallup has just released its latest figures on Americans’ confidence in various institutions. The numbers are all pretty grim, with new lows recorded for Americans’ confidence levels in public schools, churches, banks and television news.
These latest record-lows were within the margin of sampling error for last year’s measurements, I should note, but the longer-term trend is still down, down, down.
UNDERSERVED AND MINORITY COMMUNITIES ARE SEEING ALL THEIR COMMUNITY ASSETS DISAPPEAR UNDER THE GUISE OF BUDGET CUTS......SCHOOLS AND REC CENTERS CLOSE, PLAYGROUNDS TURNED TO PARKS, CITY AND STATE MIDDLE-CLASS JOBS CUT, POST OFFICES CLOSE, AND OF COURSE THE PLANNED SUBPRIME MORTGAGE FRAUD TO CLEAR THE WAY. IT FEELS LIKE A WAR AGAINST THE WORKING CLASS AND POOR. I THINK THESE COUNCIL PEOPLE WILL BE SURPRISED AT THE VOTER TURNOUT NEXT ELECTION. RECALL THE MAYOR BY REFERENDUM YOU SAY? THAT'S IF CORRUPTION CHARGES DON'T TAKE A TOLL. ONE GOOD SIGHTING THIS WEEK....CATHOLIC NUNS ON A CROSS-COUNTRY BUS TOUR TO RAISE AWARENESS OF ISSUES OF POVERTY.......THEY ARE COMING TO BALTIMORE! BEELZEBUB BEWARE!
Council discards cuts, approves mayor's budget plan Young calls vote "a loss for the people of Baltimore"
By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun 9:22 p.m. EDT, June 21, 2012
The Baltimore City Council reversed course Thursday, rejecting millions of dollars in budget cuts it had endorsed earlier in the week, and passing Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's original $2.3 billion spending plan.
The abrupt shift derailed $6 million in cuts that had been proposed by Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young in an attempt to prevent the closure of recreation centers and fire companies. Nine council members voted for the mayor's budget, rejecting his proposed amendments.
Rawlings-Blake's office praised the council for passing her budget, which closes a $48 million shortfall and includes, for the first time in several years, a small property tax cut for homeowners.
"The budget plan was built around our vision for growing Baltimore's population by 10,000 families in the next 10 years," the mayor said in a statement. "Additionally, the budget supports significant funding for programs and services that impact Baltimore's youth."
But Young said after the meeting, "A vote against the amended budget is a vote against our kids." The mayor's staffers, he said, "think it was a loss for me. It wasn't. It was a loss for the people of Baltimore."
Three council members who had supported many of Young's amendments earlier in the week — James B. Kraft, Nick Mosby and William "Pete" Welch — voted against the amended budget and for the mayor's plan.
Councilman Carl Stokes, who had previously voted for the amendments, did not attend the meeting; an aide said he was dealing with a family emergency. Five council members — Warren Branch, Mary Pat Clarke, Bill Henry, Helen Holton and Young — voted for the amended budget.
Council members, many of whom were dressed in seersucker, nervously joked before the meeting about the intense heat outside — and in the council chambers.
Before casting his vote, Kraft explained that he realized there was no point in voting for the amendments because the mayor would not agree to boost funding in the areas that the council had identified.
"I want to thank the council president for his leadership," Kraft said. Young, sitting beside him, frowned and shook his head before walking out of the room.
Young said later that the mayor had "bought" the support of council members by offering services for their districts. Kraft, he said, would receive a ranger for Patterson Park and a housing inspector, while Mosby had been promised a new rec center.
"I'm sure the others got something, too," Young said.
Kraft said that the administration previously had pledged to allocate such services to his district, but acknowledged that the topic had come up during discussions over the budget. When he agreed to vote for the mayor's plan, it was already clear that Young's amended budget would be defeated, he said.
"I'd rather walk away with a victory for my district, than with a loss not only for my district but for the entire city," he said.
Mosby said he has continually asked for a new rec center in his district, but it did not come up in discussions with the mayor about his vote. "It has nothing to do with this budget or whether I say yes or no," he said.
A spokesman for Rawlings-Blake denied that the mayor offered perks to Kraft and Mosby in exchange for their votes.
"Councilmen Mosby and Kraft are independent voices on the City Council who make up their own minds about what's best for Baltimore," Ryan O'Doherty said in an email.
On Monday, council members had endorsed a slew of measures designed to trim money from several agencies and services, including executive protective of elected officials, the inspector general's office and police administration.
The council has held weeks of marathon hearings on the budget, as is customary, although members have little power to shape spending. Under the city charter, the council can only cut money from the spending plan; it cannot allocate funds for particular services.
The council rarely alters the mayor's spending plan. Three years ago, the council, guided by Rawlings-Blake, then the council president, led a similar insurrection, which also fizzled out
HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IF NOT BILLIONS OF CITY TAXES TO LUXURY DEVELOPMENT IS THE PROBLEM.......THE DEFINITION OF AN ENTERPRISE ZONE IS AN UNDERSERVED COMMUNITY GETTING FUNDING TO BUILD SMALL BUSINESSES OWNED BY MEMBERS OF THAT UNDERSERVED COMMUNITY WHO HIRE OTHERS FROM THE COMMUNITY.....CREATING ANCHORS FOR GROWTH. LOOK WHAT PASSES FOR ENTERPRISE ZONE IN MARYLAND.....THE DEVELOPERS ARE WEALTHY BUILDING FOR WEALTH......SEE WHY AMERICANS ARE LOSING FAITH IN THEIR INSTITUTIONS? ABSOLUTE LOSS OF INTEGRITY.
Baltimore may take Harbor East out of enterprise zone
Baltimore Business Journal by James Briggs, Reporter Date: Thursday, May 3, 2012, 10:26am EDT - Last Modified: Thursday, May 3, 2012, 11:49am EDT Enlarge Image Karl Connolly Photography
The Baltimore Development Corp. has proposed trimming the city's enterprise zone by 39 percent to 13,489 acres by eliminating Harbor East (above) and Harbor Point.
Baltimore’s Taxation, Finance and Economic Development Committee is holding a hearing at noon Thursday to receive public feedback to proposed changes to the city’s enterprise zone.
The Baltimore Development Corp. has proposed trimming the enterprise zone by 39 percent to 13,489 acres by eliminating Harbor East and Harbor Point, as well as most of Locust Point.
That would end the massive subsidies that helped turn Harbor East into a glossy new neighborhood.
State enterprise zones provide a 10-year property tax reduction for business improvements or new construction. Companies within enterprise zones receive an 80 percent tax break for five years, followed by another five years during which the rebate declines by 10 percent annually. Companies also receive a $1,000 credit for every new employee hired.
The city must renew its enterprise zone every 10 years. The BDC on April 16 submitted the new enterprise zone map to the state Department of Business and Economic Development. It must be approved by both the Baltimore City Council Baltimore City Council Although the new enterprise zone is scheduled to take effect June 15, tax breaks will be grandfathered in for companies that already have completed, or are in the process of constructing, qualifying projects.
LOOK AT THE CONTRACTORS INVOLVED IN THE DEVELOPMENT ABOVE AND THEY ALL COME FROM NEW YORK OR ELSEWHERE...THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH BALTIMORE. THE ARTICLE BELOW SPEAKS TO WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE THAT GET ALL THIS TAX MONEY AS COMMUNITIES DIE....THE 1% ARE MOVING ALL PUBLIC ASSETS AND TAX MONEY INTO THIS GLOBAL BANK WHERE THEY WILL DISPENSE OF THE MONEY AS BEST PRODUCES PROFIT. HILLARY CLINTON WAS THOUGHT TO TAKE THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND AS A THANKYOU TO BILL FOR CREATING THIS MEGA-WEALTH DYNAMIC. THE EUROPEAN BAILOUT IS JUST AN EXTENTION OF THE US BAILOUT FOR THE SAME REASONS....MASSIVE FRAUD BY BANKS. TAPAYERS ARE STILL PAYING FOR THESE FRAUDULENT LOSSES!
April 26, 2012,
U.S. Assets at Work, Unsupervised
By SIMON JOHNSON New York Times
Simon Johnson is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management and co-author of “White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You.” From 2007 to 2008, he was the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist and director of research.
Most Americans paid no attention last weekend when the International Monetary Fund announced it was well on its way to roughly doubling the money that it can lend to troubled countries — what the organization calls a $430 billion increase in the “global firewall.”
The United States declined to take part in this round of fund-raising, so the monetary fund has instead sought commitments from Europe, Japan, India and other larger emerging markets.
At first glance, this might seem like a free pass for the United States. The additional monetary fund lending capacity is available to euro zone countries that now face pressure, like Spain or Italy, so it might seem that global financial stability is increased without any cost to the American taxpayer.
But such an interpretation mistakes what is really happening — and actually represents a much broader problem with our budgetary thinking.
The International Monetary Fund represents a contingent liability to taxpayers in the United States — much as the Federal National Mortgage Association (known as Fannie Mae) and Freddie Mac (formally the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) have in the past — and as too-big-to-fail megabanks do now.
The budgetary consequences of all those government-supported enterprises are known as “contingent liabilities — simply meaning that when something goes wrong, the taxpayer is on the hook.
The International Monetary Fund is not a corporation, nor does it exactly resemble any other legal entity you are likely to encounter. To understand the way in which the American taxpayer is on the hook, focus on the fact that, like any corporation, the fund finances its activities with a combination of equity and debt.
Traditionally, the monetary fund was financed mostly with “equity” — contributions paid in by member governments. In the 1940s, when the organization was created, the United States paid in dollars and gold (this was when gold was the mainstay of the international payments system). Other countries have also paid in gold, as well as in acceptable “strong” currencies.
According to the International Monetary Fund Web site, “The I.M.F.’s gold holdings amount to about 90.5 million troy ounces (2,814.1 metric tons), making the I.M.F. the third largest official holder of gold in the world.”
(On Tuesday, gold was trading around $1,640 a troy ounce, so the market value of the I.M.F.’s holdings was close to $148 billion. For more detail, including on how countries might get back “their” gold, see this fact sheet.)
More recently — and particularly since 2009 — the monetary fund has increased its lending capacity not so much through additional equity (known as “quota” in fund jargon), but through debt. In effect, the I.M.F. is borrowing from some countries in order to lend to other countries.
There is a simple reason for this switch. The monetary fund quota comes with voting rights — and these are currently skewed toward those countries that held the balance of power in the 1940s and 1950s (the fund was created in 1944). The United States has a veto, and the Europeans are overrepresented.
Now the emerging-market nations, like China and the oil producers, have the cash reserves. These countries would be happy to put up more equity to get a bigger say at the monetary fund, but there is no way that Europe or the United States and its allies would be comfortable with a big shift in who is calling the shots within the international monetary system.
But there’s the catch, and to see it, think about the European Union’s recent decision to lend 200 billion euros (about $260 billion) to the fund. If the European Union lends to European countries under duress, it could lose this money, in the event of a complete default. But if the union lends to the fund and the fund lends to stressed European countries, then the union has some downside protection — from fund shareholders.
In the event of default or complete nonpayment on official borrowing, including loans from the monetary fund, the losses would be borne in the first instance by shareholders. In this sense the fund is like a bank, with loss-absorbing shareholder capital. If that capital were exhausted by losses, then the fund would be unable to pay back what it in turn had borrowed.
Some officials assert that none of this could happen, because the International Monetary Fund is always paid back — one way or another. Certainly that has been the pattern in the past, but then again we have not seen this level of stress on the international system at least since the 1930s, when all the rules were torn up repeatedly.
A major euro zone meltdown would cause severe damage around the world. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not been paying attention.
Over the weekend, the monetary fund became a lot more leveraged — that is, its debt increased relative to its equity. The potential future liability to American taxpayers went up, because the risk of large credit losses increased, and those losses would need to be covered by shareholders (and the American stake in the fund is 17.69 percent of quota, with 16.8 percent of the votes).
There is also an implicit guarantee — arguably without limit — from the United States to the monetary fund. The United States set up the world trading system after World War II, and has a huge amount to lose if it fails. It also has deep pockets, compared with almost all other countries.
Therefore, unlike those at a typical corporation, the shareholders in the International Monetary Fund do not have limited liability, so we should care a great deal about the downside risks. The Europeans are currently increasing those risks — by lending to the fund and planning to use fund loans as part of future bailouts.
The Congressional Budget Office is getting better at scoring contingent liabilities, including United States obligations to the International Monetary Fund, but there is still a lot more work to do.
It’s time for Capitol Hill to pay more attention to the implications for the United States budget (and therefore the likely path for the national debt) of what is happening at the monetary fund – points also made by Desmond Lachman, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, in Congressional testimony (see his Points 12-16).
Do not take the statements of global leaders at face value. Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle should begin by asking the Congressional Budget Office to update its scoring of American commitments — explicit and implicit — to the fund