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Sweet Home, Oregon
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October 3, 2012     The New Era Paper
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October 3, 2012
 

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- October 3, 2012 COMMUNITV L[TT[RS tO tn[ iToR OPINION/NEws Page 5 More info needed would be $5,000 to guarantee no. other vendor would offer compe- on local festivals tition. I do not know of a service club, non-profit - or even a busi- Editor: ness! - in town that can afford to As reported in The New Era gamble that much money. Even (Sept. 12), the Jamboree is looking the $2,500 is out ofreach for most to expand the festival to an addi- organizations. So here's my ques- tional weekend with a completely tion: Is this a ploy to use only large different musical experience. It commercial vendors who might be appears to me that some questions able and willing to pay this money? should be asked and answered be- If so, how is this helping the com- fore SHEDG, the school district, munity? This is an idea that needs and the community agree to this to go by the wayside. plan. Finally: I would like to see First: While a 2001 economic the Jamboree be more open with impact study reported the Jamboree the public, more engaged with the brings in- $1.2 million to the local community and more in touch with economy, what has happened since its mission statement. This needs then? It is all well and good to say to be done BEFORE we are asked "you can figure that has gone up to contribute more time; energy, since then" (Albany D-H 9/i3/12) and resources to ideas based on but there seems to be very little in- "demographic studies of two rock formation given to the community radio stations in the Portland area" to verify just how much money is (Albany D-H 9/13/12). It has to be taken in, what are the costs, and about more than just money. whether or not the event stays Diane E. Gerson within its budget. Sweet Home Second: The vendors have re- ceived an email (9/20/12) explain- ing the possibility of a new plan .... t_orporate pronts exclusive rights to sell a food item ortwo. Each exclusive item would up in bad times cost the vendor $2,500 up front in. Editor: addition to the $750 rental for the Corporate profit margins just space and 25 percent of the profits, hit an all-time high. Companies So if a service club wants to serve are making more per dollar of sales chili dogs and curly fries, the fee than they ever have before. (And still some people rant that compa- nies are suffering from "too much regulation" and "too many taxes." Pure bunk, that). Yet fewer Americans are work- ing than at any time in the past three decades. One reason corpora- tions are so profitable is that they don't employ as many Americans as they used to. They are laying off people and pushing the workload onto the remaining employees without raising their pay.., all work and no pay.. Technology is taking its toll as well. Globalization. And wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low. Another reason companies are so profitable is that they're paying employees less than they ever have. And that, in turn, is one reason the economy is so weak: People lack money to buy. They get rid of full timers so they don't have to provide retirement benefits, health insurance. They fight unions tooth and nail. Read your history to learn of all the nas- ty things big business has done to its employees. Don't forget child labor. It's American business at work as per usual. Screw the employee by making it impossible for them to organize. Divide and conquer. Those at the very top of the eco- nomic ladder have developed and used political muscle to dramati- to keep outside of America. cally cut their taxes, deregulate the Another interesting fact: Apple financial industry, keep corporate is now one of the most profitable governance lax and labor unions companies in the world. Last year hamstrung, each employee brought in on av- Read "Winner-Take-All Poll- erage $473,000.00 worth of sales, tics: How Washington Made the yet themselves only made $11.91 Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back per hour. on the Middle Class," a book by When that went over the air political scientists Jacob S. Hacker waves Apple finally gave- some- a and Paul Pierson. raise. Just $2 to $4 per hour, though. The authors argue that, con- Republicans boo-hoo-ing Over big trary to conventional wisdom, the biz needing more tax cuts and more dramatic increase in inequality of deregulation (i.e., no accountabil- income in the United States since ity/responsibility) etc. etc. to "sur- 1978 -- the richest 1 percent gain- vive" is BS. Big biz is back in the ing 256 percent after inflation while catbird seat. Or will be 100 percent the income of the lower 80 percent if you vote for Romney/Ryan. grew only 20 percent -- is not the And instead of Romney sing- natural/inevitableresultofincreased ing "America the Beautiful," he competition from globalization, and Ryan will be harmonizing but of the work of political forces. "America the greedy, May God Is this what America is supposed to thy gold refine, Till all success be be about.., a land of serfs? nobleness, And ev'ry gain divine.". Even the father of the free mar- The original poem, by the way, ket, Adam Smith, warned "Whet- from whence the song "America ever there is great property, there is the Beautiful" came said nothing great inequality. Civil government, about gold, success as nobleness so far as it is instituted for the se- or ev'ry gain divine (ie the making curity of property, is in reality in- and accumulating of money). stituted for the defense of the rich It said: against the poor, or of those who "America! America! have some property against those God shed His grace on thee who have none at all." Till selfish gain no longer About two-thirds of Ap- stain, ple's $97.6 billion cash pile is The banner of the free !" offshore. That's a lot of mort- Diane Dainty ey for an American company Sweet Home gressional :andidate Robinson focuses freedom By Scan C. Morgan Of The New Era Invoking Thomas Paine's "Common Sense," Art Robinson knocked on doors in Sweet Home Saturday and then met support- ers at the Jim Riggs Community Center. Robinson, a Republican, is challenging incumbent Peter De- Fazio, a Democrat, for the Fourth Congressional District, which in- cludes Sweet Home. "It is not common sense that a country that has been free for 250 years would give up its freedom to a gaggle of career politicians," Robinson said to a crowd of about 30 in the meeting. Those career politicians have used regulation to to suppress prosperity. Two decades ago, they brought it home to the Fourth Dis- trict and closed the forests, taking away 30 percent of' the district's industry, Robinson said. They created a bureaucracy to stand between the citizens and the re- sources. "Our congressman could've fixed it," Robinson said. "He didn't." Robinson painted a picture of career politicians, with the Con- stitution on one side of their desks and their careers on the other7 He said such individuals make deci- sions to ensure contributions from various interests that will keep them elected, and he counted De- Fazio among them. The founders wrote the Con- stitution and kept it small to pro- tect liberty, Robinson said. It au- thorized a small number of powers for the federal government and left everything else to the people and the states. Now the federal government is involved in schools, the envi- ronment, energy, the economy and much more, Robinson said. It's not constitutional. Congress is the most power- ful branch of the government, he said. It can change things, but not the way it is now. "One of the things we have to do is replace Congress." Robinson said. Congress needs to return to the way it operated when the na- tion was founded, when congress- men served two or three years then returned to businesses that needed their attention. That's the way it was for a hundred years, but now. the average congressman serves 12 years. The Fourth District's has been there for 25, he noted. They make thousands of un- constitutional decisions, and that has eroded American freedom, he said, estimating the loss in fide- dom at up to 50 percent. Speaking of the inter-relation- ship between big business and the government, he said a corporate president's job is to provide a bet- ter product at a lower price. But heads of companies may find it easier to go to Washington, D.C., and ask congressmen for help, regulations that they can handle but competitors and startups can- not - along with a big contract from the federal government. The congressman should say, "I'~/e got this constitution, and I don't see you in it," Robinson said. Instead, the congressmen see the $50,000 campaign contribu- tion coming from the corporation, the special interest. "If you say, 'I don't see you in the Constitution,' they stop coming." Asked about unions and their impact on politics, Robinson said he supports unions, which are just like other special interests. "It's completely within our rights to join together an.d bargain with our employer," Robinson said. What goes wrong is when unions or employers are given spe- cial powers by Congress. Unions are special interests just like any other, corporations and banks. They have money and power just like corporations. The answer they should hear from congressmen is, "I don't see you in the Constitution." Robinson said. Whether it's corporations or unions, the problem is "misuse of government power." One of these decisions doesn't really hurt Americans. Robinson said, but thousands of such deci- sions do. The tax code is more than 70,000-pages, he said. It doesn't take 70,000 pages to explain how to calculate taxes. It takes 70,000 pages to explain the special deals these guys have with their con- gressmen. It doesn't change because simplifying the tax code would make all of the congressional perks and campaign cash go away, he said. Beyond overt taxes, the federal government also uses an inflationary tax, and regulatory costs inhibit prosperity. Since 1970, regulations in the United States have increased 20- fold, Robinson said. "It's just add- ed up to the point we're watching our prosperity disappear along with our careers." Communist China can out- compete the United States, he said. There, as long as someone stays out of politics, it costs about 20 percent of his or her income to get by. By contrast, Americans give up 50 percent of what they earn to the government. As a consequence, the United States cannot even compete with a communist country, he said. The United States used to make most of the world's steel. Now it makes Photo by Scan C. Morgan Art Robinson, right, talks with Jack Hankins, left, of Sweet Home as Vern and Fay Tunnell listen following a town hall meeting at the Jim Riggs Community Center Saturday evening. 6 percent of it. because the only prosperity most All of this is what he is run- congressmen care about is their ning to correct, he said. own and their donors and.collabo- "Obviously, I can't fix the rators, he said. country by myself, but I can make One of the problems in Con- a lot of trouble," Robinson said. gress is ignorance, Robinson said. He can do his job, abiding by the He can help fight that by staff- Constitution and representing his ing his office with "real people," district. The Fourth District still experts in various areas, such as has a suppressed industry that, he timber. The position would rotate said, he can help free. among experts who actually work Congress is overspending by in the woods. They would be able $1 trillion per year, Robinson said. to educate other congressmen. Cutting that deficit and the federal He also Can propose bills, government's ability }o regulate finding out what it may be pos- would relieve the regulatory bur- sible to pass, and fight to get corn- den that is causing unemployment mittees to vote on them, he said. today. It would allow the United Asked about President States to keep promises it has al- Obama's healthcare reform, Rob- ready made, such as Social Secu- inson said that repeal would prob- rity, Medicare and the Veterans ably be difficult, but the House Administration. of Representatives could simply By contrast, it does not have choose not to fund it. Congress an obligation or a promise to keep can also use its budgetary power when it comes to the energy in- to fight presidential abuse of ex- dustry, for example, ecutive orders. , Congress needs to clean up Congress can control the its finances and keep its promises, president because it controls the he said. money used by the president, he Congress doesn't do it today said.