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Letter to my elected officials March 24, 2011

Posted by shwaldman in Politics, Society.
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To my Elected-Officials,
I am a resident of Milford, MI. I moved to Michigan in 2001 having grown up in Pennsylvania and living for a while in Virgina. I truly love living in Michigan for all the natural resources. But now that I have two young children, I am more concerned about protecting the educational and economic environment of our state.

I am gravely concerned that the actions being taken to reconcile the budgetary issues are going to cause more problems than fix. I completely agree that in order to get out from under the problems we face requires a shared sacrifice. But what is being proposed is not equal or fair sharing. The need to draw new businesses and industries seems to be taking a precedence over helping the people of Michigan who elected you to office. But reducing funding to schools, we are destroying the future opportunities of all children in the state. By reducing taxes to businesses we are giving back more profits to people who are already successful. Let me be very clear, tax give backs DO NOT CREATE JOBS. They only create more profits. Sure, the business owners have the OPTION to hire more people. But why would they hire more if their consumers can not afford their products or services? Or who are they selling to if the people who live here have to move to find new jobs that pay enough for them to afford these products? Or who are they going to hire if the people are not educated enough to fill their roles?

The first priority of the state needs to be to educate it’s children, not cater to businesses. Please consider this message as you approach the budget deadlines in the coming months. I hope that the great state of Michigan can recover from this low place to become great again. I am afraid I am part of one family that might have to move out of state to find work and find educational opportunities for my children. I really hope it does not come to that.

Thank you for your service and time.

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Healthcare Plan in the News September 8, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Society, Technology.
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I am not sure if you have heard, but there is talk in the US of health care reform. Yes, a little sarcasm, but look what this article has to say about how well the INFORMATION is being report…. 8% – that is pathetic. We should be having town hall meetings to discuss how poorly the news media is serving us. Unfortunately, it is all about the ratings and sensationalism and very little to do with the facts.

Quality News Reporting,… NOT!

Equally disturbing to how this debate is unfolding is how little concern some people have for the well being of others. I really do not understand how people think the whole “death panel” was a real thing. Some people are either too gullible or just plain ill-informed. We watched a moving real-life story about Nathenial Ayers last night. The movie is called “The Soloist” and starts Robert Downey Jr and Jamie Foxx… two of today’s best actors, for sure. Anyway, Ayers life was spent mostly as a homeless man in Los Angeles. Watching this film really brought home the problems we have in our society. Seeing the living conditions of the people on the streets – and they were lucky, living in such a mild climate like LA – shows our society can be so inhumane. Because we don’t know what to do, we do nothing. That is unacceptable and that seems to be where this debate on healthcare reform is going.

Bailout or Rescue Plan? October 8, 2008

Posted by shwaldman in Politics, Society.
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The banks are going down, the stock market is crashing and Congress is caught off guard. Their attempts to bailout (not rescue) the banks is not helping ease the selling on all the world stock markets. So, now they are working on have all the world markets cut interest rates to help businesses (and individuals) get credit. Isn’t that what got us into this mess in the first place? I would like to see a list of the expertise of Congress – how many of them truly understand economics? They seem to be just throwing out ideas until they see the stock markets stabilize….”Let’s see if this works….”

Now, back to the BAILOUT plan. It is a bailout because the plan in intending to save the industry based on their excesses and lack of regulation, no one seems to be disputing that. This plan is bailing out companies and executives, not rescuing people from uncontrolled circumstances…. And it only got passed because of all the “sweetners.” I think most people who watched the congressional members reacting to the passing of this bill – negatively… Not to sound too cynical, but I am guessing because they didn’t feel good about the plan because they didn’t get sweetners that they can take back to their constituents that will help them get re-elected and knew it wasn’t truly resolving the bigger problem. Here are some examples totaling $23.5 Billion (apparently there is over $100 Billion in provisions like these) (taken from Taxpayers for Common Sense bailout summary) :

Not all the provisions are per se outrageous, but collectively are intended to help Congressional leadership get final passage of the 2008 Emergency Economic Stabilization Act and have nothing to do with rescuing the banks.

Here’s the list:

1. Sec. 503. Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children. (Page 263) The estimated cost of the proposal is $2 million over ten years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

2. Sec. 317. Seven-year cost recovery period for motorsports racing track facility. Page 262) The provision would be extend 2 years till the end of 2009 and would cost 100 million.

3. Sec. 308. Increase in limit on cover over of rum excise tax to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. (Page 262) The most recent extension of the $13.50 rebate expired January 1, 2008. Cost is $192 million.

4. Sec. 301. Extension and modification of research credit.(Page 262) The two-year extension is estimate to cost $19 billion.

5. Sec. 504. Income averaging for amounts received in connection with the Exxon Valdez litigation.(Page 263) Cost is estimated at $49 million dollars.

6. Sec. 601. Secure rural schools and community self-determination program. … bringing the total cost to $3.3 billion.

7. Sec. 201. Deduction for state and local sales taxes (Page 261) The bailout bill extends this provision for 2 years at a cost of $3.3 billion.

8. Sec 502. Provisions related to film and television productions (Page 263) The cost is estimated at $478 million over 10 years.

9. Sec. 325. Extension and modification of duty suspension on wool products; wool research fund; wool duty refunds. The 2010 to 2015 cost is estimated to be $148 million.

10. Sec. 309. Extension of economic development credit for American Samoa. Page 262) The cost is $33 million, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Sec. 201. Inclusion of cellulosic biofuel in bonus depreciation for biomass ethanol plant property.(Page 114) Current law allows taxpayers to write off 50% of the cost of any facility placed in service before January 1, 2013 that produces cellulosic ethanol.

Sec. 211. Transportation fringe benefit to bicycle commuters. (Page 114) This provision is estimated to cost $10 million.

Sec. 323. Enhanced charitable deductions for contributions of food inventory. Page 262) The cost is $149 million, according to Joint Committee on Taxation.

Sec. 324. Extension of enhanced charitable deduction for contributions of book inventory. (Page 262) The provision is worth $49 million.

Sec. 602. Transfer to abandoned mine reclamation fund. This provision extends existing law to include a $9 million transfer for 2010.