Sunday, December 23, 2012

Power of Attorney Abuse

Please visit my petition to strengthen the protections of the elderly against Power of Attorney abuse.  The link to the petition posted on the White House web site is as follows:

We the People White House Web Site for Citizen petitions

Abuse of Powers of Attorney (POA), especially in the case of the elderly, is currently very hard to recognize and difficult to prosecute because of the limitations in or absence of state laws that define it. When you are a senior it is increasingly more difficult to monitor whether your agent is acting on your behalf and it is estimated that over 80,000 cases of elder abuse through power of attorney abuse are reported each year.  We believe that state laws should recognize this and impose legal requirements over the whole process of power of attorney; from drawing up the POA, allowing for auditing the POA and defining specific procedures and penalties for prosecution of abuse where the principal is incapacitated or not.

For example, when a person (principal) visits a lawyer to draw up a Power of Attorney the law should protect the principal by requiring the lawyer to give statistics on Power of Attorney abuse.  Additionally, the law should require the attorney to offer protections in the the letter of the Power of Attorney document.  

Such protections might include requiring a named third party family member to review the financial books of the principal to ensure that the agent is acting in the best interest of the principal.  Most of the cases of Power of Attorney abuse stem from the agent using the principal's assets for their own benefit.  This has made the Power of Attorney become known as the license to steal.  

There should be a statement in the Power of Attorney document that holds the agent liable for any actions taken that are not in the best interest of the principal.  State laws should define these transgressions and assign criminal and civil penalties appropriate to the crime.

Suspicion of abuse by other family members should be enough to require a court to open up the principals financial records for scrutiny and evidence of abuse.

The POA document should not allow clauses that generally describe insurance policies that the agent may take out on the principal where the agent is the beneficiary.

The POA document should not allow the POA agent to be the same person as one who is also the sole beneficiary of the estate described in the last will and testament of the principal.

The POA document should not allow clauses that allow the agent to make gifts to himself/herself or the agent's family members.

The POA document should not use open ended statements that would benefit the POA. For example,  being paid fair, reasonable and adequate compensation for services plus all expenses especially when the POA is a family member or other person who is benefitting from the housing, food, utilities and comfort of residing in the principal's home without paying for any of it.

If abuse is found, there should be penalties established and carried out against the (POA) agent.

It is certain that all of us will age.  In order to prevent the despicable acts of elder abuse and Power of Attorney abuse that I have seen occur and may one day affect any one of us, I urgently ask your support of the petition I have posted and noted the link here and above.  We the People White House petition site

Thank you for your support.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dems get high on "smokin" Joe Biden (and that's no malarky)

Vice President Biden
President Obama owes Joe Biden a debt of gratitude tonight because the Vice President's performance in the Vice Presidential debate is sure to widen the gap in the polls between the President and Romney with the President soaring high.

Vice President Biden was fierce.  He never allowed Ryan to make inaccurate claims either about Republican plans or Democratic policies.  He even broke into Ryan's monologue on numerous  questions to call him out on his inaccuracies.  Vice President Biden spelled out the differences between Republican and Democratic policies on every topic presented by the moderator.  Some of those where the differences between the two men were greatest is described below.

He was able to remind viewers of Romney's flip-flops.  He reminded them of Romney's malevolence with 47% of Americans and Ryan's discontent with 30% of them.  He pointed out Romney's outrageous behavior in using the attack on the US embassy in Libya for political gain.  He reminded viewers that Democrats are the guardians of medicare and social security and asked them the question "Who would you trust to protect those institutions...the party that introduced and protected it since its inception or the Party that has been fighting against it since the beginning?"

About Iran, Ryan indicated that the administration's position is weak and giving mixed signals when we supposedly separate ourselves from Israel and say that all options are on the table.  He implied that because of that, Iran was working faster to make a nuclear bomb.  The Vice President challenged Ryan's attack on the administration's policies, showing that the sanctions against Iran are working and supported by our allies across the world.  He gave confidence that the intelligence being supplied to the government about Iran's capabilities with nuclear weapons was accurate and that the United States would never let Iran develop a nuclear bomb.

About the economy, Ryan repeated the claims that the President has had enough time to solve the problems and has not kept his promises of 6% unemployment.  He mislead the conversation by saying that the jobless rate was going in the wrong direction despite the fact that the Obama administration has seen a constant and steady increase in employment since the President took office.  The recent news of the lowest unemployment rate since 2008 did not seem to make an impression on Ryan, or he didn't believe it.  He gave no specifics on how a Romney Presidency would improve the jobs situation other than the empty promise encapsulated in Romney's speeches about reducing the tax burden on the job creators.  Biden noted that if they (Republicans) were in favor of improving the economy perhaps they should not stand in the way of the American Jobs Act offered by President Obama or perhaps they should allow the middle class tax break to go through without holding it hostage to a tax break for the wealthiest of Americans.

Viewers never got to understand the details of Romney's tax plan and supposed elimination of tax loopholes because Ryan could not give any solid examples.  He only stated that they had a framework of 20% across the board tax cuts.  We never got to see the math.

On defense spending, Ryan went on about proposed cuts by the Democrats that would weaken the military.  Vice President Biden made it clear that the joint chiefs of staff do not want or need the kind of military budget that Romney is proposing.  Further he made it clear that the cuts in military spending and other government budgets are required now as the result of an agreement that the Republicans wanted if the super committee could not agree on budget deductions being worked on earlier this year.

In a modified view of abortion, Ryan indicated that Romney would be against abortion except in cases of rape, incest or health of the mother.  These conditions were never part of Romney's recent policies and do not abide with the Republican platform.  Vice President Biden noted the change in policy and indicated that he agrees with the right to life on a personal level, but he would never impose his personal beliefs on others whose faith or beliefs may oppose his.  He reminded us that a Party's belief in that area should not violate existing laws or require the government to interfere with or control women's health issues. He added that a Romney Presidency would likely select Supreme court judges (two of whom may be retired during the next President's term) who would support Romney's view on abortion rights.  Romney has declared that he is going to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Roe v Wade during his Presidency.

"Smokin" Joe Biden did the job that Obama needed him to do.  The bounce in election polls is sure to follow.  Way to go Joe!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Before the VP debates: My assessment of how it will go

Remember the first Presidential debate?  President Obama was put into a state of shock by the abrupt policy changes Mitt Romney decided to take effect immediately as of that debate night.  The President failed to call Romney on these and because of that, led some uniformed voters to see Romney's enthusiastic lies as facts.  Even though the Republican Campaign Committee has taken much of what he said back, the President has paid for his failure to respond to Romney's claims by loss of support in the polls.

It appears that Romney's exaggerated policy changes were just another move in this "chess game" for  the Presidency.  Being so far behind in the polls and having had so much bad press about his actions, words and deeds in this campaign, my guess is that Romney's campaign decided that they had nothing to lose and everything to gain by lying to voters to soften Romney's conservative views and improve his appeal to undecided voters.  After all, you have to win the Presidency first before you can carry out your actual policies.

Tonight Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan are debating each other.  I have to cite some of the differences that I think will make the first VP debate more honest and a better read of actual stances of the two contestants that voters can use to compare them.

Even though they are offensive to many voters, Paul Ryan believes that his policies are correct.  Having a somewhat slanted view of reality based on his faith in Ayn Rand's teachings, Ryan strongly believes in survival of the fittest.  Bill Clinton has aptly named this the "you're on your own" policy.  This belief system leads to such Ryan policies as removing the social safety net from the least fortunate Americans by cutting budgets for those services.  It leads to his desire to change social security into a privatized business.  It leads to Ryan's policies to reduce Medicare to a voucher system.  At the same time, Ayn Rands anti-Christian dog-eat-dog teachings taught Ryan that the most fit and powerful should receive the entitlements in society.  This leads to his policies of reducing taxes on the very rich without consideration for how the shortfall in tax revenue will be made up, even if it means that the less fortunate will pay or lose out for it.  Ryan will not run away from those beliefs.  Unlike President Obama's debate, there will be no surprises for Vice President Biden.

Ayn Rand
Vice President Biden will have an excellent opportunity to show middle class Americans that Ryan-Romney policies will hurt them.  I believe he will enthusiastically cite specific examples of their differences.   

Vice President Biden should reassure Americans that the Democratic Party is the Party of the middle- class while emphasizing that Republicans are the Party of the wealthy.   He should expose the Republicans' true stance on social issues, women's issues, tax plans, jobs plan and military spending and the effects those will have on people and on the deficit.  He should never let any of Ryan's debate  attacks stand un-returned.  If he can do those things he should revive the support of America back to President Obama.  

This debate means a lot and could turn the tide of popular opinion back to Obama.   Perhaps you don't agree but I believe President Obama should get a huge bounce in the polls because of Vice President Biden's victory this night.    

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Obama loses 1st debate and the moral is never have a debate with a professional liar.

The man who recently told 47% of America that he can't worry about them because they are moochers on the government that he can never help, may have just won over some of those who are independent voters who he is hoping didn't take his earlier comments seriously.

Mitt Romney's personal performance on stage in Denver tonight during the first Presidential debate may have just saved his political career and made President Obama's fight to reclaim his office much more difficult.

The lack-luster performance of President Obama is sure to leave many of his supporters disappointed.  When I witnessed this, at first I thought that he was tired or ill or just didn't want to be at the debates this night.  Then I began to realize what may have actually happened that put him into what appeared to be a bad mood.

The first question was  about differences in economic policies.  President Obama answered honestly by explaining his idea was to build the economy from the middle-class out and not top-down.  He stated his views just as we have heard them over and over again during his campaign speeches.  He complained that Romney's tax plan to reduce top earners and corporate taxes as well as adding $2 trillion for military spending that the military did not ask for would increase the deficit and was not good for the economy.  He did not think it was good for the economy for government to give oil companies $2 Billion annual subsidies nor did he think that government tax credits for sending jobs overseas would help create jobs in America.  He favors eliminating the oil company subsidies and giving tax breaks for those companies that bring jobs back to America.

When the question was asked to Mitt Romney, his approach was to turn on the etch-a-sketch at full steam and change the policies that he has stated on the campaign trail and documented on his web-site.  Mitt is no longer for a top-down economic approach.  Now he is for a middle out approach that preserves middle-class tax cuts and does not reduce the tax burden of top earners.   He adds that he sees the economy improving by gaining energy independence, increasing free trade, giving workers skills training, balancing the budget and helping small business.

That's when I knew President Obama was going to have a difficult time during this debate.  When I realized he was arguing with a pathological liar.

A distinct advantage that Romney had going into this debate was that he was sure of what President Obama's policies were.  He could count on the President to state the facts as he always had.  Romney knew the President wouldn't lie.  Governor Romney knew his enemy, so to speak.

The President, on the other hand only thought that he knew what Romney would say.  Being a man of honor, President Obama was annoyed by the fact that Romney chose debate night to change his policies yet again, and you could see the disbelief in the President's face.  Now the President was in a bind.

The President reacted to Romney's lies in a gentlemanly yet impotent way. President Obama's facts were correct in each case, yet they did not hit the mark with the audience.  Even more troubling was the potential for uninformed voters to believe Romney's lies simply because he presented them more enthusiastically than the President's facts.

Romney's lies continued by claiming that President Obama was removing $716 Billion from Medicare and that he (Romney) would return that to Medicare by repealing ObamaCare.  He claimed that 15% of hospitals and 50% of Doctors would not treat patients on medicare because of the drastic cuts to it by Obama's policies.  He said that small businesses were dropping health-care for their employees because it was too expensive.  He indicated that small businesses reported to him that they are less likely to hire because of ObamaCare and that ObamaCare would add $2500 to the expenses of the average American's health care costs.  He shook his etch-a-sketch to say that under his replacement for ObamaCare a person could take government insurance if it was cheaper.  That he would allow young adult children to remain on their parent's policy.  That he would allow insurance to people with pre-existing conditions.  He lied about ObamaCare saying that it requires a board of health experts to determine what kind of individual care a person could get.

President Obama rejected all of these ideas but with much less enthusiasm than Romney had in presenting the lies.  This may have made the President appear to be less confident than Romney, even though he was being truthful and correct.

Dodd-Frank Act
Romney even said some things that have been widely unpopular with voters, but he said them with such enthusiasm, he may have made some people think that this hard medicine was needed to get our economy back in order.  For example, he admitted that anyone under 60 years old would be subject to his voucher insurance program that would go into effect when they would have otherwise received Medicare insurance.  He was in favor of repealing the Dodd-Frank bill that put controls on the banking industry and Wall Street brokers as a result of our financial meltdown.  But even with that he shook his etch-a-sketch and said he would only repeal parts of the bill that he didn't like.  (This is in spite of his own website calling for complete repeal of all Obama era legislation.)  He admitted that he would repeal ObamaCare, and right after that discontinue government support to the Arts and Humanities and PBS.  Good-bye Sesame Street.

Big Bird of Sesame St. fame
Given a chance to describe how they would work across partisan lines, President Obama told of only the positive interactions that he had with Congress (of which there were a lot) and decided not to implicate the Republican obstructionists for the legislation they have blocked.  Mentioning this may have worked against him and since this was not Romney's fault, I think he made a wise choice.  

On the same question, Romney may have gained points by saying that when he was sworn in as Governor of Massachusetts he had a mostly Democratic legislature and that he learned early on how to work along bi-partisan lines.

Overall, Romney attacked more, appeared more enthusiastic and appeared more prepared.  It was Romney's etch-a-sketch moments that appears to have really caught President Obama off-guard though.  The President just doesn't seem to know how to react to a flim-flam man and showing disgust seems to be how he handled it.  Unfortunately for him and for Obama supporters everywhere, this may ultimately be how he lost this debate.

An approval rating meter was displayed on the TV screen so that we could judge how Independent voters in the audience were reacting to each of the men.  That was interesting to watch, but a suggestion for the next debates which may have more significance to viewers would be to have the two men wear lie-detectors.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fed promises unlimited mortgage security purchases...should we be worried?

Ben Bernanke
The Federal Reserve Board today, indicated that in attempts to restore jobs to the economy, they will be purchasing upwards of $40 Billion per month in mortgage securities.  Should we be worried?

While it seems that the short term goal of reducing interest rates for banks and business will most probably work, is the longer term goal of increasing jobs going to be guaranteed from this strategy?  I seriously doubt it.  And here's why.

If you follow the demand side theories of job creation, then you would expect increase in demand to be the major factor in creating new jobs.  This demand theory is supported by President Obama.  Consumers are the source of new demand for business.  Consumer spending is dictated by the amount of cash available to them after necessities spending.  The primary source of this cash for most middle-class workers is take-home pay from a job.

If you follow supply side theories of job creation, then you would expect anything that reduces the expenditures of business should automatically allow them to spend on new hiring.  The new demand part of the equation is not really important in this theory.

While some middle-class workers have 401K's the increase in the value of these accounts due to the Fed's actions will not give them any immediate spending capacity since the cash in the 401K can only be accessed after retirement without significant financial penalties.

Those elderly retired persons who have 401K's may see some immediate benefit to their cash available, but these people are already retired and are not looking for jobs.  It is also doubtful that this extra cash would be a new source of demand for businesses as most retirees would probably need the extra cash for necessities and not luxury items.

It does not appear that the Feds actions today will do anything to help spur significant new demand.  So the only hope of creating new jobs would be based on the Feds belief in supply-side economics.

The main recipients of the benefit of reduced interest rates and increased stock market prices are wealthy investors, banks and businesses.

One might think that with this cash, business will be motivated to grow and at the same time hire.  But we know that most US Corporations are already sitting on the largest cash reserves they have had in decades.  They are not using these funds to grow or hire, although some are buying up competitors businesses and consolidating the workforce by layoffs of excess personnel.  This is the reverse of what the Fed is shooting for.

We also know from the history of Corporate America for the last 30 years or so, supply side economics does not work for creating new jobs.  When American Corporations were allowed to have significant tax breaks, American jobs were not increased, they were actually decreased.  Over the last twelve years or so, we have lost close to ten million American jobs to outsourcing to foreign countries.

One hope for creating new jobs using supply-side arguments is new small business start-ups.  With low interest loans, new small business start-ups might increase, but with interest rates already extremely low, and small business start-ups not currently saving our economy or producing significant jobs, this option does not look promising.

The Feds approach to creating new jobs supports supply-side economics and from my observations at least, has little chance of creating new jobs.  Millionaires and billionaires will be happy with their new cash inflow, but are very unlikely to use the opportunity to hire without demand requiring it.

In order for jobs to be created, we also need a significant increase in demand across all industries.  If new technologies or new products are not being developed, then we need to support the middle-class with increased wages, federally funded jobs, returning jobs to America and other work supports to give them the ability to increase demand until government and business research brings new products to market.

President Obama's American Jobs Act meets all of these requirements.  We need the Republican Congress to stop filibustering the Act and do the job that Americans want them to do.  They need to approve the American Jobs Act.  We Americans need to re-elect President Obama.

Monday, September 10, 2012

From Romney's Official Web Site - His Tax Plan explained

Romney and Ryan
While on the Campaign trail we hear a lot of platitudes and rhetoric from Romney and Ryan but very little factual information on how they plan to improve our economic condition.  The Romney tax plan has been one of these kinds of issues.  

So for this session, I will review the actual facts as presented by Romney on his official web site,  When I am done, I think you'll understand why he is so quiet about it on the campaign trail.  Those lines that are in quotes are extracted from Romney's web site.  Those lines that follow the quoted lines are my explanatory comments.

To repair the nation’s tax code, marginal rates must be brought down to stimulate entrepreneurship, job creation, and investment, while still raising the revenue needed to fund a smaller, smarter, simpler government. The principle of fairness must be preserved in federal tax and spending policy.”

Lower marginal tax rates secure for all Americans the economic gains from tax reform.”

The following paragraphs cite the various steps in Romney's plan.

Romney's Tax Plan For Individuals:

Make permanent, across-the-board 20 percent cut in marginal rates"

Marginal rates have the greatest effect on the wealthiest of taxpayers. A twenty percent rate cut is a huge amount but only makes a real difference to the wealthiest among us.   Add to that the tax loop-holes that are only available to the wealthy and soon middle class America will not only be paying a higher tax percentage than the wealthy, but some may even pay more in absolute tax dollars than the rich.

Maintain current tax rates on interest, dividends, and capital gains”

The categories of income included in interest, dividends and capital gains are used almost exclusively by the wealthy. The current tax rates for these are very low with capital gains as low as 15%. With the many tax loop-holes available to the ultra-rich, this tax rate is already lower than that for most wealthy taxpayers. The point is that this tax favoritism is again directed toward the rich. Most of the middle-class will have almost no tax savings at all because they do not have income from investments.

“Eliminate taxes for taxpayers with AGI below $200,000 on interest, dividends, and capital gains”

Again, these categories are already non-existent for most middle-class Americans. The estimated AGI income of the Middle class Americans is around $50,000. About 94% of America has AGI less than $100,000.  Ask yourself how much of your taxable income (not 401K investments) comes from cash stock trades done throughout the year.  Do you understand that Romney's plan is targeting benefits for the wealthy?

Eliminate the Death Tax”

This tax is already non-existent for middle class Americans unless an individual has over $5,000,000 in assets.  And who do you think would benefit from such a tax elimination? Let me give you a clue.  It is estimated that the heirs of the each of Koch brothers would benefit by nearly $8 billion dollars if this tax was eliminated

Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)”

The AMT is paid only if the regular tax amount would be less than the AMT amount. It is not used in addition to the regular tax rate, but as the name implies, as an alternative to the regular rate. It is normally required by individuals and Corporations with incomes over $200,000. Since Romney is proposing to make the regular tax rates for the wealthiest individuals much less, he must repeal the AMT, or his favoritism to the wealthy would be over-ridden by the AMT. So this strategy is not to benefit the middle-class, but instead to ensure that his tax favoritism for the wealthy stays in tact.

Romney's Corporate Tax Plan:

Cut the corporate rate to 25 percent”

Romney's tax plan for Corporations calls for a 10% reduction in tax rates. Similar to the plan for wealthy individuals it goes without saying that Corporate Tax initiatives would favor the wealthiest in America. It has very little benefit on the middle class. No jobs will be created because Corporations have their taxes cut unless demand increases. The American worker is the source of nearly 75% of the demand in America. Reducing taxes for the rich will only benefit the rich as it has for the last thirty years with very little improvement in jobs or take-home pay for workers. When more workers are employed and wages are improved, demand will increase. This starts from the middle-class out and not from the top down.

Strengthen and make permanent the R&D tax credit”

This tax advantage is intended to increase spending on Corporate Research. It is difficult to know how much of an impact that this tax credit has had on the economy but it is known what kind of tax advantages are had by Corporations because of it. A study by Ernst and Young in 2005 reported that 17,700 Corporations claimed $6.6 Billion in R&D Tax credits.

Switch to a territorial tax system”

This is Romney's way of allowing American Corporations to escape paying taxes on any business carried out in foreign countries. A territorial Tax system is one that only taxes income earned in the United States. This would be a huge loop-hole for Corporate America to escape paying their fair share of taxes. It is difficult to estimate how much revenue would be lost since it would likely change Corporate practices to take advantage to the greatest extent possible.  It is easy to say that the reduction in Corporate tax revenue would be extremely high and outsourcing of plants and jobs would likely be increased to the max.

Repeal the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)”

For the same reason as the individual AMT repeal, this would be necessary if Romney's other reductions in taxes are to be effective in reducing taxes for the wealthy.

Ultimately, Romney's tax plan would favor the wealthiest of Americans and do little for the middle class.  With a territorial tax it may even hurt the middle class by taking more jobs out of the country.  And who do you think will get stuck paying the taxes that are being lifted from the rich?  You guessed it...Middle-class America.

If you hear Romney and Ryan proclaim that they are for the middle class during their campaign tour, now you'll know that they are both compulsive liars who will say anything to get your vote.  

Like sheep to the slaughter, millions of our middle class American Republicans are being led astray by the slick double-talk of their so-called concerned Republican leaders.  

Save your vote and your job.  Vote a total Democratic ticket this November.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Time for Republicans to put up or shut up on jobs, jobs, jobs

One year ago today, on September 8, 2011, President Obama submitted to Congress his American Jobs Act.  The bill is intended to facilitate the economic recovery in a number of ways.  It was supported by over 62% of Americans at the time.  Economists supported the Act, saying that it would prevent recession in 2012, increase GDP by 2% and return two million workers to the work force.

However, in the midst of the economic crisis, the bill got no support from Republican Congressmen, was filibustered and died.  The obstructionists were very proud of themselves for voting against this bill and the economic recovery act as well.  A true back-handed lesson to all of us if we think that Republicans in Congress want to represent the middle class as they claim.

Well, President Obama is going to give them another chance to put up or shut up about jobs and helping the middle class.

On the Campaign trail, one day after the Democratic Convention, President Obama is again asking Congress to fulfill their common goal of improving the economy in what has so far been an empty Republican pledge to work on "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" by approving the American Jobs Act.

The highlights of the American Jobs Act are:


  • Cutting the payroll tax in half for 98 percent of businesses: The President’s plan will cut in half the taxes paid by businesses on their first $5 million in payroll, targeting the benefit to the 98 percent of firms that have payroll below this threshold.
  • A complete payroll tax holiday for added workers or increased wages: The President’s plan will completely eliminate payroll taxes for firms that increase their payroll by adding new workers or increasing the wages of their current worker (the benefit is capped at the first $50 million in payroll increases).
  • Extending 100% expensing into 2012: This continues an effective incentive for new investment. 
  • Reforms and regulatory reductions to help entrepreneurs and small businesses access capital.

  • A “Returning Heroes” hiring tax credit for veterans: This provides tax credits from $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage the hiring of unemployed veterans.
  • Preventing up to 280,000 teacher layoffs, while keeping cops and firefighters on the job.
  • Modernizing at least 35,000 public schools across the country, supporting new science labs, Internet- ready classrooms and renovations at schools across the country, in rural and urban areas.
  • Immediate investments in infrastructure and a bipartisan National Infrastructure Bank, modernizing our roads, rail, airports and waterways while putting hundreds of thousands of workers back on the job.
  • A New “Project Rebuild”, which will put people to work rehabilitating homes, businesses and communities, leveraging private capital and scaling land banks and other public-private collaborations.
  • Expanding access to high-speed wireless as part of a plan for freeing up the nation’s spectrum.    


  • The most innovative reform to the unemployment insurance program in 40 years: As part of an extension of unemployment insurance to prevent 5 million Americans looking for work from losing their benefits, the President’s plan includes innovative work-based reforms to prevent layoffs and give states greater flexibility to use UI funds to best support job-seekers, including:

             › Work-Sharing: UI for workers whose employers choose work-sharing over layoffs.
             › A new “Bridge to Work” program: The plan builds on and improves innovative state programs where those displaced take temporary, voluntary work or pursue on-the-job training.
             › Innovative entrepreneurship and wage insurance programs: 
States will also be empowered to implement wage insurance to help reemploy older workers and programs that make it easier for unemployed workers to start their own businesses.
  • A $4,000 tax credit to employers for hiring long-term unemployed workers. 
  • Prohibiting employers from discriminating against unemployed workers when hiring.
  • Expanding job opportunities for low-income youth and adults through a fund for successful approaches for subsidized employment, innovative training programs and summer/year-round jobs for youth.
  • Cutting payroll taxes in half for 160 million workers next year: The President’s plan will expand the payroll tax cut passed last year to cut workers payroll taxes in half in 2012 – providing a $1,500 tax cut to the typical American family, without negatively impacting the Social Security Trust Fund.
  • Allowing more Americans to refinance their mortgages at today’s near 4 percent interest rates, which can put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocket.

  • To ensure that the American Jobs Act is fully paid for, the President will call on the Joint Committee to come up with additional deficit reduction necessary to pay for the Act and still meet its deficit target. 
Below is the original presentation to Congress on September 8, 2011.


Thursday, September 06, 2012

As anxious as I am for the release of the iPhone 5, I'm even more anxious for the release of Rmoney tax records on September 28th.

Today, CNN reported that Price Waterhouse Cooper's (PWC) Franklin, TN, the Republican Campaign and the Democratic Campaign offices received a package from an anonymous person who claims that Mitt and Ann Romney's tax records were stolen from the PWC office and will be released to the Public on September 28th.  PWC is an accounting firm that is often used for complex tax returns.

Some of the details of this break-in are reported by the group or person who claims responsibility on the website called "" which you can find here. 

Although CNN claims that the group is holding the data ransom for $1,000,000, there is no mention of this in the letter posted to the paste bin site.  Perhaps this info was included in the package left with PWC, or perhaps was just made up.  This was not clear as of this writing.

The Secret Service is reportedly involved in an investigation.

It was not certain if this was a scam or a real incident, but the Republican and Democratic Campaign offices both did report receiving the package which they purport to not have opened.

I guess time will tell.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Republican optimism is so refreshing it's like drinking soured milk

Mean old white men taking their football and walking off the playing field.  That's how I'm seeing the Republican Party lately.  It doesn't matter to them that the economy is in the dumps and that the American people who they are sworn to represent are suffering.  They will obstruct progress on economic improvement by simply refusing to play.

Many authors have written about this do-nothing Congress that we have been saddled with during this administration's term but writing about it doesn't help.  President Obama, in giving them the benefit of the doubt said that he believed Republican obstruction would end if he were re-elected.  His reasoning included the assumption that there would be no longer any reason to block legislation in his last term because there would be nothing for the Republicans to gain by it.  Now the Republicans, by way of Mitch McConnell have said they won't cooperate with Obama even if he wins the upcoming election.

America should be outraged.  Once again they are throwing America out the window for their own selfish reasons.  This Party does not represent you America.  They are a bunch of angry old white men who think that they are above the Americans they represent.  How many of you voted for your Republican leaders so that they could do nothing but obstruct progress and prevent resolution of problems?  These fools say that if a coach doesn't have any wins in three years, you'd boot him out.  So it follows that if the players all sat down on the playing field during every game in spite of their coach, you should be looking for better players.  

These worthless idiots are showing you how little they care about you.  They are all nice and cozy with their high paying government sponsored jobs with terrific insurance plans and excellent retirement plans.  They are already taken care of.  They do not care about you.

Republican leaders have proven that they are liars.  They have proven that they are obstructionists.  They have proven that they do not represent you.  What are they still doing in office?  

Your vote is the key.  Don't waste it.  Vote Democratic in all elections and let's get this country back on the right path.

Stark comparison between RNC and DNC conventions

The first day of the Democratic convention was inspiring.  It was a stark contrast to the first night of the Republican Convention.  Unlike the Republicans, the Democratic speakers were excellent.  The messages were right on.  And no one lied.

If you recall, the Republicans used that first Convention night to allow their Republican Governors to boast about the great job they had done in their states.  None of them really had much to say about Romney and seemed to be selling their Party instead of their Presidential candidate.  Each of them were sure to continue the lies about Obama's out of context words, his supposed $716 Billion medicare theft and their belief that he is taking the work requirement out of welfare.  One was left with the impression that Republicans are pessimistic, boastful liars.

This night the Democrats showed they are the intelligent, honest and in-touch Party.  Each speaker had positive messages and all focused on the capabilities, experience and accomplishments of President  Barack Obama.

They personalized Obama-Care, showing how much it meant to a real person whose child needed multiple operations on her heart.  The operations were so expensive that at six months old, the child would have used nearly half of her lifetime insurance cap if it weren't for Obama-Care eliminating the lifetime cap limitation.  With another heart operation due in the months after the election she worried because if Romney repealed Obama-Care, she didn't know what she would do.

Democrats fought back against the lies that the Republicans have been telling and attacked Romney's business affairs for having off-shore accounts, not investing in America and for not being transparent with his taxes.

All of the speakers did an excellent job. Two in particular were especially inspiring.  

Deval Patrick has been the Governor of Massachusetts since Mitt Romney left the office.  Patrick brought out the failures of Mitt Romney as a Governor of his state and energized the base with emotionally charged language that supported President Obama and emphasized his accomplishments.  It was the most powerful speech of the night.

President and daughters watching convention
Michele Obama gave a very touching explanation of her history and life with President Obama.  Her story showed the close connection that she and President Obama have with the middle-class.  She explained how his life experiences are what motivate him to help the middle-class.  You could see from the audience reaction that she really had an emotional connection with them.

Judging from this first night, the Democratic Convention should give President Obama a big boost in the public opinion polls.  I think I just witnessed the beginning of the end of Mitt Romney's political career.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Deciding factors that create jobs

Republicans advocate reducing taxes on the job creators as a viable means to grow jobs.  They claim that burdening job creators with additional costs will reduce the likelihood that they will hire.  I like to call this the "job creator lie" because it is nothing more than a Republican empty threat.  Greed is the source of the lie.  It is intended to prevent government taxes on the wealthy, ruling class who apparently are teetering between great wealth and possible financial ruin and taxes would make all the difference.

Are taxes really the major determining factor preventing job creation?  Certainly not.  Studies have shown that there is absolutely no correlation between taxes and job creation.  In fact, some have reported that in times where the rich have had to pay higher taxes, more jobs have been created.  You can rest assured that taxes are not the reason that Republicans spread this job creator lie.

So let's assume that greed is the main reason for the lie.  What then are the factors that really play a part in job creation?  Some factors like supply and demand appear obvious.  There are many theories behind how these two factors interact.  But which is most important?  And are there any other factors like cost of labor or business owner's wealth?

When a business is started, it is assumed that markets have been evaluated and the product or service is something of value which consumers will purchase.  Some estimate of the demand and the profits are made in a business plan and start-up funding is found.  Eventually people are hired to operate the business and the first jobs are created.  In some large businesses there is a choice of hiring from an American workforce or a foreign workforce.  Because patriotism is not a belief of many profit motivated businessmen, where it is possible it is an easy choice to hire cheaper labor from foreign sources.  So even when a new business is started, American job growth is not guaranteed.  In that way, business owner's wealth and cost of labor is an important factor determining where jobs will be created.

Simply stated, job growth usually happens when a business has a product or service which has demand that exceeds the supply or when the demand for a greater number of products or services offered exceed the capacity of the existing workforce.  The important word is "demand."

When we talk about demand sources, we are talking about the consumers who mainly are also the workers in America.  The major factor which affects consumer demand is consumer pay.  Pay comes from jobs.  When Americans do not have jobs or when those that have jobs are not paid well, American demand for products will decrease.  This decrease in demand cannot be overcome by making more products.  It cannot be overcome by reducing taxes of the wealthy business owners.  It cannot be overcome by producing cheaper products in a foreign country or by foreign workers in America.  It can only be overcome by finding new markets or sources of demand.

For many businesses this is not an option.  As demand decreases, so do the profits of that business.  Without new sources of demand, the business is forced to take drastic actions.  Perhaps first trying to increase demand by reducing the price of products and then by reducing the workforce to be more in line with the decrease in demand.  Eventually it may mean the business is sold off to a venture capitalist or becomes bankrupt and fails.

Businesses need consumers.  The loss of demand is a bigger threat to them than any increase in taxes.

There should be a synergy between the executives and the workers in a business where both parties are aware of the importance each has for the other.  In recent years workers wages have stayed stagnant while executives wages have increased 300 percent.  The greed that is implied in these statistics is as much a cause for the loss of demand and resultant loss of jobs than anything else unscrupulous business owners have done.

It is time that American workers have been made whole again and received the importance they deserve  in this relationship with business.  President Obama's policies are the greatest hope we have to restore jobs to Americans, revitalize the economy and return demand to businesses.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

If Romney's speech is all it takes to convince America that he should be President, then America isn't listening

After three days of self indulgent speeches by Republican Governors and repeated lies about the out of context words 'you didn't build that' and false statements about Obama's hidden agenda to screw the elderly by stealing from medicare,  I was actually looking forward to Romney's speech.  I wanted to hear for myself how this potential President of the United States would explain how he plans to make things better for the people of this great country.

But, if you're someone who is not easily impressed, a thinker, or use to dealing with facts, then you were probably disappointed by Romney's address to the Republican National Convention.

After getting by all the fakery about being concerned that Obama was unsuccessful and that America deserved better, Romney started getting into the complaints about the current administration.

Romney's explanation of Obama's failure is based on the fact that he does not have business experience.  It may seem reasonable to ordinary Americans that a CEO would be a good person to fix our struggling economy, but is this necessarily true?

The most important thing driving the actions of a Corporate businessman like Romney is to make a profit through the sale of goods or services.  A government not only does not sell goods or services, it also does not have a profit motive.  A government is driven by concern for all members of it citizenry.  Sometimes that concern is in the form of social programs to help Americans through times of hardship.  Sometimes it means building an infrastructure of roads, bridges and technology that benefit society and provide citizens and businesses a means to accomplish more.  In Corporate America, times of economic difficulty usually mean that a Corporate CEO takes actions to reduce those elements of cost that he believes are not indispensable.  Interpreting this into a CEO-President Romney terms, this means cutting those social programs that the government provides.  As expected Romney was short on explanations of how his business experience at Bain Capital would help him be a better President than Obama.  How much he believes the importance of business experience may have been exposed today when he mis-spoke and called America a "Company" instead of a "Country."

Romney dismisses the idea that the economic problems we have been experiencing were the result of the Bush Presidency.  He simply states that Obama should just accept the blame for it because he hasn't gotten us out of it yet.  This is as anti-intellectual as stating that the person sent in to help fix a mess confess that he created the mess because he wasn't done cleaning up yet.  People have to realize that the  recession we are in is the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.  That disaster took nearly fifteen years to get resolved.  Instead, Romney would return to Bush era practices that caused our present economic situation.  Additionally, Romney would not mention that there are many signs that the economy is improving and has been since Obama came into office.  Obama's policies are working despite all the obstruction that Republicans in Congress have caused in order to prevent him from being successful.  As they have stated themselves, Republicans in Congress had a most important objective to obstruct everything Obama proposed in order to make him appear to be impotent and unsuccessful.  They did this in the midst of the economic disaster and they did it to the detriment of the American people they are sworn to represent.
Jobs under Bush (red) vs Obama (blue)

Romney claims that Obama crushed the middle class because there are no jobs.  He does not admit that since Obama has been in office new jobs have shifted their negative trend from the Bush era and have been on a constant increasing trend.

Romney says that Obama hates small business and intends to increase taxes on small business.  He does not admit that Obama has only reduced taxes on small business since he has been in office.  Obama's newest proposal for taxes does not increase tax on small business.  Government programs such as the Small Business Administration are strong and helping small businessmen and women everyday.

In his speech Romney continues the lie about Obama stealing 716 Billion dollars from medicare to fund Obama-Care.  I hope everyone knows that this lie which has been disproved by numerous independent sources will not become true simply because the Republican leadership re-states it over and over again.

His speech took on a very militaristic character at one point.  I thought for sure he was against cutting the military budget because he has plans to start a war with Iran if he was elected.

Romney concluded his speech with promises to the American people.  Romney gave no detailed explanation of how these promises will be accomplished so I guess he just wants us to trust him.  He promised:

1. Twelve million new jobs.  It has been estimated that we are currently on a path to accomplish this without any new Romney actions within four years, so I guess this one is possible, but still an empty promise.

2. Energy independence by 2020. This claim is made even though Romney is critical of Obama's interest in  funding research on new forms of energy.  Romney has signed onto the Oil and Coal coalition as well, so I guess he intends to drill and dig more in America.  We have been told many times by the oil companies when they increase gas prices, that oil is in limited supply.  So over the long term how does Romney expect to become energy independent?

3. Create new trade agreements and punish any country that cheats.  Which countries and how punishment would be carried out was left to our imagination.

4. Assure that the "job creators" investments won't vanish.  Romney will also cut the deficit and balance the budget.  None of this is explained, but protecting the wealthy  investors sounds like tax law reform and Wall Street regulation is not high on Romney's agenda.

5. Reduce taxes on business.  I guess this is to support the job creator lie or maybe to give more credence to the possibility that the job creators really will turn away from American workers as an effective threat against having their taxes raised.

6. Repeal (and now replace) Obama-Care.  I can't believe Romney thinks taking health insurance away from the American people will be seen as a good thing to anyone except die-hard (and healthy) Republicans.  Again Romney gives no explanation on any of this.

In concluding his speech, Romney's additional unexplained rhetoric included statements that seemed intended as a band-aid to cover what has recently become controversial about Republicans.  He vows to care for the sick, statements apparently made to soften the view that he intends to repeal Obama-Care.  He claims that he will respect the elderly, seemingly trying to change the popular view that Republicans like he and Ryan have plans to change Medicare into a voucher program.

Empty promises claiming certainty of success may sound good but without details give us no factual information to evaluate whether they will ever be achievable.  I guess we'll need to listen closely to Romney's explanations if they exist in future appearances.

I'm so looking forward to the Presidential debates in October.  Perhaps by then Romney will have better explanations for his promises.  If not, President Obama will walk all over him.

Romney's head will be spinning and he'll probably have to admit that his Party really was not only responsible for the current  economic disaster, but also responsible for blocking  progress on resolving it.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Governor Chris Christie: Romney would make a good babysitter

Governor Chris Christie has been marked to be the keynote speaker at this week's Republican Convention.  In this role he has the immense responsibility of making Mitt Romney appear to the American people to be Presidential and capable of the huge responsibility required by that office.

So in a recent interview, Christie tells of a visit that Romney had at his home and the outstanding, most important thing that impressed him about Romney was how good a babysitter he was.  He knew how to talk to Christie's daughter and Christie was impressed with how he interacted with his daughter.

"You need to know what the heart is of the person running for office and I think you can tell a lot about a person by how he treats children", said Christie.

So knowing about Romney's nature as a lying, dishonest shape-shifter in adult circles, did he expect Romney to hurt his daughter somehow?  Did he think his daughter might be in danger from the likes of Romney?  What did he expect?  And what does that prove about his character?  Even a pedophile would have been nice to the little girl.  All I got out of it was that Christie would allow Romney to babysit his daughter.

If we think about Romney's character, we see he has no problem changing his beliefs in order to get votes.  We see he takes the President's words out of context and creates a central theme of his campaign around it.  We see he tells the American people lies about the President's intention for medicare and medicaid and repeats the lie over and over again.  These are character flaws.

Maybe your daughters are safe from Romney and Ryan while they are young, but their policies do not defend her in adulthood.  And on the chance that they are not part of the 1% when they do grow up, Romney's policies will not win much favor with them either.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Little did I know that my layoff in 1995 from Dupont Medical Products was a God-send that saved my Dupont pension from the Bain Capital boogey-men

New England Nuclear logo
After college, I started working for a little medical diagnostics company in Worcester, Massachusetts known as New England Nuclear in 1974.  We occupied two converted former residential houses on Harvard Street, which was a newly zoned business district.  Our specialty was manufacturing medical diagnostic kits that utilized a radioactive "tracer" component.

When I began working there, the company had sites in Worcester, Boston and Westwood, Massachusetts.  We didn't make much money then, but it seemed the owners were satisfied with their share of small profits, which still allowed them to live well.  Executive salaries in the tens of millions of dollars was not common and really could never have been accommodated given our tiny profits at the time.  It was a different time then.  The profit motive was not the only consideration to businessmen at that time.  Employees made the difference and executives realized that and honored them for it.  We all could feel the warm concern that our employers had for us.  Many of us worked for them for a long time.  We were a small "family" that grew with each other.  We considered ourselves scientifically trained intellectuals and all had respect for each other.   We had fun doing our jobs and fun socializing with each other.

Investment in research helped us rapidly develop a number of new diagnostics kits and our product line and profits began to increase.  In about a year after I started, the business  expanded and moved from Worcester to a nice new facility in Billerica.  And that is where I worked for the next 20 years.

In 1982, Dupont Company became interested in our little company and purchased us.  It was really a good thing for our company.  Dupont management was very knowledgeable and taught us much about managing a company.  But this huge Corporation was very different than anything we knew before.  The corporate culture was very structured and inflexible.   The environment became somewhat more uneasy and competitions between departments began to arise.  As Dupont began to bring in their own people some of the original members of our New England Nuclear team lost out on promotions.  We played second fiddle to Dupont's own talented organization.

Around 1992, the newest thing to managing a business was Manufacturing Requirements Planning (MRP). The essence of MRP was to implement a computer tracked transactional system that allowed management and business users to have much better understanding of their sales, production capacity, inventory, purchases and financials.  We began an implementation of MRP in 1992.  We did a good job of implementing that computer system and became a "Class A" manufacturing company within two years of implementing it.  It gave management a better understanding of our business activities, future potential and financial situation.

In anticipation of undisclosed future actions, Dupont management moved the people from the Billerica diagnostics operations to the Boston site.   Perhaps because the MRP system was providing such good information, or perhaps because Dupont expected more profits than we could produce, in 1995 Dupont management decided to have a reduction in force of a good percentage in all divisions.  Many of us who were with New England Nuclear from the early days were let go.  I was one of them.  Maybe they were trying to save the greatest costs or perhaps they thought our severance package would get us further along to finding a new job, but we were all surprised by the selection of experienced people who were laid off.

For those of us who were terminated, it was a stressful time.  Jobs were not easy to find.  One of our young colleagues was found dead in his apartment.  I never knew why he died.  It may have been due to some other cause or due to some other reason, but I tended to believe it was suicide.

Because of my longevity with Dupont I was one of the lucky ones.  I had enough time in to have earned a Dupont pension.  I was given eleven and a half months severance pay and eleven months later I finally found a lower paying job.  Not my best choice in jobs, but my only choice since I had come up empty on any other offers.  At the time I thought this was terrible, but I did not know that my lay-off in 1995 was going to save me from a fate worse than the lay-off I had just experienced.

Dupont management's undisclosed plan was to divest entirely of the medical diagnostics division.   Dupont's main reason for the move from Billerica to Boston was to move the medical diagnostic personnel into a common location with the other medical site that they also planned to sell off.  Some commonly refer to this as putting all the crap into one sock.  The year after I was laid off, in 1996 Dupont found a buyer in Bain Capital.

Mitt Romney and Bain Capital team
Bain had already purchased another medical diagnostic company called Dade International in 1994 using mostly borrowed money.  Right away Bain paid themselves nearly $100 million in fees for buying the company and managing it. This amount was over three times Bain's original investment.

In 1996 Bain included my former colleagues into the Dade organization.   During Bain's reign over Dade International, more than 1700 US workers were laid off.  Some of my colleagues were the first with a layoff in 1997.  At first Bain's approach to cost cutting included reducing salaries and not paying overtime to existing employees.  Then they revoked their pensions.  Finally they laid them off.

In 1998, Bain wanted to sell Dade and were given a generous offer by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Company, but Romney wasn't happy with the offer.  By the next year Bain used creative financing to find a way out.  Romney had Dade take out hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to buy out half of Bain's shares and half of those of its investment partners.  As a result, Bain extracted $242 million from Dade and Goldman Sachs got $121 million.  Top Dade executives got $55 million.  Total payout was $420 million.

In 2002 Dade's liabilities reached nearly $2 billion.  By leveraging the company so badly in order to pay themselves, Bain put the company into bankruptcy.  In the bankruptcy, Romney was accused of "unjust enrichment" and Bain had to relinquish its remaining ownership of Dade.  Romney and Bain kept the $342 million.  The other creditors didn't fair so well.

After bankruptcy, Dade's revenue and share price rapidly increased and it was bought by Siemens in 2007.

Here's hoping that many of my former colleagues survived Romney and Bain Capital.  My bet is that they will not  be voting for Romney for President, even if they're Republicans.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Why Mitt Romney appears to be a spineless, dishonest shape-shifter

This may be the most sympathetic blog I have ever written about Mitt Romney.

The video below shows the record on the extreme flip flop nature of Mitt Romney.  It seems strange that Mitt Romney's position on so many issues could be reversed so thoroughly since he has begun his Presidential Campaign.  What could be happening that could make him such an etch-a-sketch man? 

Postulating causes of that metamorphosis may not take us in a direction that most of us would find familiar.  Mitt Romney is not like most of us.  His life has been blessed with riches that we will never know.  He has experienced the leadership power of being a Corporate CEO and the political power of a Governor of Massachusetts.  This is the second time he has attempted a run for the Presidency of the United States.  In order to have accomplished all that in his lifetime, he must be knowledgable, capable and at one time must have been likeable.  

Although Romney has not made it part of his political campaign, he was a Mormon Bishop in Boston for many years.  He was a generous contributor to the Mormon religion.  Although many consider Mormonism a cult, Romney did get positive life experiences by being a member.

Tony Kimball, a long-time Romney colleague, said he was "shocked" by Mr Romney's "end justifies the means" approach to trying to win the White House.

Tony Kimball
"There is no way that I can square what Mitt is doing and saying on the campaign trail with the Mitt I have know for 40 years and I don't know how he can square it either," said Mr Kimball, a retired university politics professor who served as another Boston area Mormon bishop and then spent seven years as Mr Romney's executive secretary.
Boston Mormon Temple
"I am dismayed by the things he feels the need to do as a political candidate.  This is foreign to the way he spoke and presided in the church.  It is not the same person."

"The sharp-edged individualism, the turning his back on the poor, the arguing that the rich deserve more tax breaks, that is all counter to what Mormonism teaches about compassion and collective care."

"Mitt seems to create a caricature of Obama and the Democrats and then attacks that creation.  I think he lacks the antennae that a good politician needs and I have serious misgivings about how he would manage the White House."

So what has thrown him off his game?  Why does he appear to be so wishy-washy, aloof and incapable of being President?  Why would he deny the exceptional health care plan he provided as Governor of Massachusetts?  Why would he change his opinions on almost every major issue he stood for since he has been a Presidential contender? 

Which is Mitt?
One reason is that he is a man who is being molded by a new Republican Party.  A Party that must reward their billionaire donors.  A Party whose policies violate Romney's own standards and personal values.  As such he is a man out of touch with his own sensibilities.  A man so unlike his own Party's thinking that his actions, his speech and his body language appear off to us.  He is a man who has given up on his own confidence.  Like a fish out of water, he is trying to survive in a world where everything is different than he knows.  By his flip-flops and lies we know he has given in to his "owners" and now his mind is theirs.  He is spine-less in that way.

Honesty is not his forte.   He is devilishly clever enough to realize when his policies are unpopular with voters and dishonest enough to change his policies on a dime to capture votes, even when it conflicts with his real beliefs.  He seems to have no problem with lying to the public about Obama and Democratic policies.  He truly does create lies about Obama and then blames him for them.  He is dishonest and a shape-shifter in that way.

Somehow in the excitement of this campaign he has forgotten his religious teachings.  His charity now begins with his wealthy supporters at the expense of those who struggle to make ends meet.  Thy shalt not lie is an easy commandment for him to break.

This is not a man that we can trust as President.  We can reasonably expect that this is a man who will deliver favors to those billionaires who are buying the Presidency.  He will forego his own thinking on all kinds of decisions to be led by his masters.  His dishonesty with the American people is sure to continue in office if he were elected.  When crisis is upon us, we do not want a dishonest puppet leading us to his master's commands. 

I strongly recommend viewing the following video.