Taking Stock Of Ourselves And Economy

Rather than pontificate on a specific issue, the GUARDIAN offers here some observations that range from profound to inflammatory, but they should serve to stimulate lively discussion of issues facing the city, state, and nation.

With the likes of Micron laying off 1,500, MPC a couple hundred, the demise of nearly a dozen Boise Restaurants, retailers leaving the mall, Tamarack crumbling, and state road building projects unable to get funding, it is obvious to GROWTHOPHOBES that current and past policies based on growth are a dismal failure.



–We should STOP giving concessions to businesses, financial institutions and borrowers. If you can’t afford to buy it without inflating the value your assets, income, sales, and value of the item purchased, it is probably better to forget about it. We don’t want businesses that can’t make it without a handout.

–Government NEVER makes a profit. If a company comes to town any taxes they may pay are consumed in like amount of services. The people the company employs consume as much in services as THEY pay. Any tax breaks are made up by those of us who pay our bills.

–Employees are viewed by most big business just like electricity, water, and raw materials. You only need them and pay for them when you use them to make a profit. When sales decline, so do employees. Their value is in making a profit.

–Roads are somewhat like schools–we all benefit from having good ones. Even if we don’t own a vehicle, we use the roads for everything from food supply to ambulance service.

–There isn’t enough money in all of Idaho to pay for local fixed rail mass transit. We need an effective bus system in Boise and the lack of same is the fault of politicos.

–Regional planning is a tool for business and the Chamber of Commerce to increase the population so they have more consumers and worker bees. We should demand each of our local governments to provide the services we need within the ability to pay. Meridian waiting on Eagle or Boise waiting on Nampa is downright silly. People live in Meridian to get away from Boise politicos.

–Seems like a taboo subject, but whatever happened to ZPG–zero population growth? The idea of replacing yourself, but not overpopulating the world was popular, especially among liberals 20 years ago. Used to be it was fear of starving the planet, now it is cause for global warming, health care concerns, and energy woes–all caused in part by too many people.

–We noticed in the CWI community college board profiles there were 22 children among three candidates…two had 8 kids each.

–Propping up the economy with bailouts of non-existing cash, “protecting homeowners,” only serves to keep phony values artificially inflated. We need some failed banks, businesses, and homeowners to get prices back down.

–A few years ago when interest rates declined, Congress talked about mandating lower credit card rates. The card companies said if rates were lowered, they would have to recall nearly half the cards because of bad credit risks–too much debt. Those that screamed the most and loudest were the MERCHANTS…claiming if people have to pay for goods and services they wouldn’t buy. That’s where we are today and the solution, wrong in the eyes of the GUARDIAN and many others, is to simply raise the maximum borrowing level.

–CEOs are lower than attorneys and politicians on the integrity scale. They will be the new “William Calleys” of the next decade. (Lt. William Calley was blamed for the My Lai massacre in Vietnam which became the symbol for everything wrong with U.S. policy…not unlike the Iraq prison scandal).

–We hold our warriors out as “heroes” in Iraq and some people even think the cause is noble. Yet those same soldiers and supporters would never attend a city council meeting or inform themselves about local and state government actions, much less fight to defend the constitution against domestic abuse.

We need to look at everything in life differently. If the bath water is too warm, turn down the HOT, don’t add COLD. If your belt is too tight, cut back on the food, don’t buy a new belt.

Same is true when it comes to consuming. We just left a quick oil change chain after 20 years because they now charge 30% more than the local guy down the street for the same product and quality of service.

Coffee in a paper cup is still coffee in a paper cup, regardless of how fancy the blend or the name affixed to it. The big difference is price.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. “With the likes of Micron laying off 1,500, MPC a couple hundred, the demise of nearly a dozen Boise Restaurants, retailers leaving the mall, Tamarack crumbling, and state road building projects unable to get funding, it is obvious to GROWTHOPHOBES that current and past policies based on growth are a dismal failure.”

    I have to disagree with this. After over a decade of serious and important growth, income improvements and rising tax revenue, we now see a cyclical recession. That is not reason to return to the glorious days of yester year before such growth, as in almost every economic standard, life was harer then, not better. Despite poor prioritization of our budget today, our roads were worse then. Employment was less and the state was more rural and poor. For most, the last decade, even with todays problems, has been good

  2. This:

    “Propping up the economy with bailouts of non-existing cash, “protecting homeowners,” only serves to keep phony values artificially inflated. We need some failed banks, businesses, and homeowners to get prices back down.”

    I agree with. Capitalism does not work when the ability to fail is removed and if, after removing that possibility as in the bribeout, capitalism does fail, one cannot blame the result on capitalism but on government intervention.

  3. “We hold our warriors out as “heroes” in Iraq and some people even think the cause is noble. Yet those same soldiers and supporters would never attend a city council meeting or inform themselves about local and state government actions, much less fight to defend the constitution against domestic abuse.”

    You are making an apples and oranges comparison. I have been to too many city council meetings in too many places to confuse them with anything like democracy. Most public comment periods simply serve to meet legal requirements but have little effect on the decisions already made before anyone opens their mouth. Also, I have found that most folk who hollar about Constitutional abuse have not read the document and have no idea of the case law that exists surrounding any particular issue. Respectfully, equating risking ones life in a war as a warrior to participating in the petty intrigues of local government is not an analogy I would care or dare to make.

  4. Elected officials at all levels of government have become addicted to the “easy pay plan” and how they can adapt it to everything. They continue to abuse the concept of leverage and credit and call it progress.

    Government and most members of our society have forgotten how to live within their means. They will do anything to make one more purchase or deal.

    Property taxes continue to go up and up even in a down econcomy. The big spenders know they will get their property taxes sooner or later all property will have a title holder. Title holders get to pay property taxes no matter what. They know this and continue to spend with abandon.

    Time to throw the rascals out!

  5. “JIMV–
    You certainly make the G-Man’s case for him when you refer to “petty intrigues of local government.”

    I can only assume that it is no longer a “petty intrigue” when a local government bans firearms.
    THAT is be a full blown constitutional abuse for you. Your argument is simply not…LOGICAL!”

    If you think anything any citizen does in local government that in any way is not IAW with what that government wants will have any effect, you do not know local government. As to guns, that is what we have lawyers, the courts and a constitution for, not local government.

    The biggest tyrants in government are at the local level as is the biggest impact on our freedom. Once effects local government by basically creating a stronger force then what already exists and taking over, not by public comment periods or letter writing campaigns. To win one needs money, a leader and a BIG organization.

    Case in point…if you asked the entire voting population of Idaho if they want increased taxes, the anser would be overwhelmingly NO, BUT, we will see such increases regardless. What the public wants is of less importance than what the political elites and the money folk who run them want. It is how the system works.

  6. Your observation that the candidates for CWI have 22 children among them made me laugh. I had the voter’s guide on my kitchen table while I cast my absentee ballot. When I saw all those kids in the resumes that was all it took for me.

    When a neighbor asked me if I would vote for Sarah Palin, my response was “anybody who has four kids already and is 44 years old but has not heard of birth control, will not get my vote.”

  7. Local government should garner the majority of our attention! JimV is correct in that local government make decisions that most affect our lives, but also, our pocket books! When 20%of the citizens take the time to vote,that 30% advantage an incumbant enjoys takes on a whole new meaning. All it takes is to notice the number of “For Lease” signs that are in front of most commercial buildings for the realization to set in that we have seriously “over built” our infrastructure. We may not be able to get to the city politicians this go around, but maybe when we look at the county commishioners and state legislators in a couple of weeks, we will remember who got us in this mess! And, hopefully, more than 1 out of 5 of us will make the effort to vote!

  8. AlphaDogReporter
    Oct 19, 2008, 7:36 pm

    We need to keep things ion perspective. The news media wants to keep us whipped up in a frenzy and panic, even when things are not that bad. FOR EXAMPLE, last week it was reported that approximately 97% of all existing mortgages in the U.S. are still being paid every month. Of that 97% almost 95% are being paid every month on time. In Idaho the foreclosure rate is LESS THAN 1/2 of ONE PERCENT of the total number of houses in the state. Retail sales nationwide last month were down 1.2%. Cmon, people, 1.2% isn’t that much in the big scheme of things and especially for one month. Also, historically around 2% of the unemployment figures are people that NEVER work. These are what economists call ‘structurally unemployed’ but they are still counted. This means that – guess what? – about 96% of everyone that CAN work nationwide HAS A JOB.

    Converve? Sure, why not. Live within our means? You bet. But the reality is, things could be a lot worse. I remember the 80’s when Carter was president and nearly every contractor in Idaho had to take out bankruptcy because of the interest rates on loans.

    What we all REALLY should be focusing on for the next decade is making sure our politicians are held MORE ACCOUNTABLE from the city level on up. That is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place-giving elected officials free rein. When you have 100% corrupt people in Congress like Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Richard Shelby, Michael Oxley, Paul Sarbanes – who ALL knew about Fanny/Freddy anywhere from two to five years ago, THESE ARE PEOPLE THAT SHOULD BE FORCED OUT. When you have Nancy Pelosi funneling money out of her PAC and earmarking bills to benefit her husbands leasing and real estate firms, that is the kind of corruption that we the people can no longer stand for. When you have a mayor wanting to put an unwanted, unneeded, electric train set in downtown Boise just to build a monument to HIMSELF, he needs to be called out for it and in no uncertain terms be held accountable. I have spent countless hours contacting every elected official including Bieter, Otter, his nitwit pal Gwartney, my state house reps and senators, our state senators and reps on every single issue that I feel is wasting taxpayers time and money. YOU SHOULD BE DOING THE SAME. Otherwise, we are just going to get what they give us. If you don’t take the time to try and right the wrongs of our elected officials, DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT WHAT THEY DO.

  9. On the subject of world population…

    I agree that parts of the world are over-populated. Yet I firmly believe the earth could support 100 times the current population if people were more self-sufficient and if resources were managed better. Corrupt governments are to blame for most of the world poverty, not the population.

    Of course if we eliminate inefficient government welfare and medicare programs, perhaps we would increase the mortality rate and thus reduce the population A little thinning of the weakest among us…Darwin would approve!

  10. Roberto, we may pontificate about the world’s problems forever! They are truly noble thoughts and are worthy causes. Currently, we will be much better able to deal with them if WE are healthy here at home!

    When elected officials “throw us a bone” at election time, we must say “not good enough”! Whether it is Kempthorne touting the multi-million dollar Tamarack and all it will do for Idaho, or Simpson announcing the 400 jobs he is bring to INEL, or Bieter going from one neighborhood to another and “giving” them a new entrance to a park, or a wider sidewalk, we need to realize that we are being treated no different than a $20.00 hooker on the street!

    When CCDC aggressively courts “bistro” type restaurants in the downtown core, even though the population couldn’t possibly support the numbers, and the mayor’s response is “restaurants come and go”, that should be unacceptable to the citizens! When the “hole in the ground” looks like it will fail for the 4th. time in 20 years, and the mayor’s response is “that’s Ok, because we have 2 or 3 other developers ready to step in”. We must say to him, OK hotshot, just where are those developers you spoke about. When we call, and the mayor agreed, for an audit of the CCDC within 90 days, and nearly 18 MONTHS later, we have zero, zip, nada! That is unacceptable!

    But as long as they throw us that little bone once in awhile, we are OK and continue to get the shaft!

    As long as we can’t get more than 40%of the citizens to even get off their butts to vote, we will continue to get screwed! My Lord, they have a 75% voter turn out in Iraq and they SHOOT people for voting over there!

    I can’t, with any level of logical thought, actually think things will be better in the short term. I just wish we, as citizens of Treasure Valley, would start thinking of ourselves as
    “penthouse call-girls” instead of street hookers. Let’s look at thinking of ouselves as being better than the politician’s believe we are! If most citizens realized how the vast majority of politician’s talk about us during “inside” conversations, we would be looking for a stout tree and a thick rope!

  11. The Boise Picayune
    Oct 20, 2008, 10:01 am


    Uninspiring Leadership “elected” by a complacent bourgeoisie.

  12. I was amused by the cover story today in the paper – Homes in Foothills will Need Access – ACHD says 150 miles of new road needed.

    Now let’s see. We have a $441 or $449 million backlog in Ada County, we need $100 million to build a new bridge, we have to maintain over 2000 miles of roads and now we need to build 150 miles more of new arterials. Ha – like any of this is realistic even before the economy tanked. But if we pass the registration fee, we’ll get $4million more to spend!

    Here’s a thought. Let’s have both government and people live within their means. Maybe we can’t have all these new projects. Maybe we can’t have all these far flung new housing developments. Maybe we should try some new things like toll roads or here’s an even better idea for those new far flung development – Have the developers build the arterials to their property instead of the taxpayers. Don’t collect impact fees on the houses, that won’t create any new roads for decades. But if developers knew they were on the hook for the roads to get to their far flung developments one of two things would happen. 1- they’d build the roads and the public wouldn’t have to or 2 – they wouldn’t build their developments and the public still wouldn’t have to build the roads.

    ACHD definitely needs new thinking, as does all government. The same old ideas will beget the same old problems.

  13. By reading this screed, I think FREE abortions,vasectomies and birth control regardless of income, would solve a whole bunch of problems.

    Why don’t the morons out there screaming about socialisim, demand an end to FDIC, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, Federal farm and industry subsidies, local government tax subsidies, the military( the most socialist part of our government), basic human rights, environmental laws?

  14. Guardian, I love how you can inject your railophobia into almost anything.
    In this one, you say, ”
    “There isn’t enough money in all of Idaho to pay for local fixed rail mass transit.”
    That’s true, of course. There also isn’t enough money in all of Idaho to pay for roads, airports, seaports (yep, Idaho has ’em — sort of) or enough soldiers to keep the Russians or North Koreans or whomever we’re gonna have to fear next out of the Gem State, etc.

    So, the feds provide the soldiers (plus “borrowing” the state National Guard) to stop the bad guys. The feds build the Interstates and other U.S. highways, and heavily subsidize state highways. The feds subsidize airports and airlines.

    Of course you’re right that we need good buses. But saying that by itself is like saying we need more dams to provide electricity.

    Just as we need a combination of hydro, solar, wind, fuel-fired etc. electrical plants (until perhaps someday some total panacea is invented or discovered), we need a mixture of buses, trains, planes, cars, trucks, etc. to keep us moving the way we want to go.

    Thanks for the compliment. I can usually work in GROWTHOPHOBIA or GROWTHOPHOBE too! By the way, you left out NUKE in the electricity mix.

  15. Dean Gunderson
    Oct 25, 2008, 4:03 pm

    I’m all for enacting a federal Usury Law.

    Most states had some such law on the books that capped the interest rates banks could charge on loans and credit cards, but in 1981 South Dakota completely eliminated its Usury Law — with CitiBank being the first credit card company to relocate its operations to that state. The stage was set for out-of-this-world interest rates when the Supreme Court ruled in 1978 (Marquette vs. First Omaha Service Corp.) that financial institutions could export the interest rates they established in their home state to other states. Ever wonder why so many credit card companies are based in South Dakota?

    As a consequence, much of the Fed’s lowering of the Prime Lending rate, to bolster the economy, never trickled down to individual borrowers. The only state that keeps interest rates low for all banks based in its territory is Arkansas, which has a 128-year old constitutional cap on interest rates; which in 1982 was set at 5% above the federal discount lending rate. Ever wonder why there aren’t any credit card companies based out of Arkansas?

    But in 1999, a federal law was passed that permitted banks in any state (Arkansas included) to match the rates charged by any other bank doing business in that state (regardless of which state that other bank is based). This trumped Arkansas’ constitution, but few Arkansas banks have taken advantage of the opportunity — they just feel it would be bad for the local economy.

    Guess who wrote and sponsored that federal law… Phil Gramm.

    Yes, the same genius who is now advising John McCain on the nation’s economy. This federal law is called the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act, which struck down the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 — put into place by FDR as a safety measure to prohibit competition between banks and forbid banks from consolidating with insurance companies, commercial lenders and brokerage services. Not surprisingly, we now find ourselves on the verge of another Great Depression.

    Now, John McCain will be the first to say that he never voted for the GLB Act — which is technically correct, he didn’t vote on it at all (no ‘abstain’, no ‘present’ — just, no vote). I wonder how his fellow Arizonan’s feel about his Senatorial leadership today.

    For a hoot, Congress asked the Congressional Research Service to compile reasons for & against banking deregulation — here’s a list of reason’s why it wasn’t considered a good idea:

    1. Conflicts of interest characterize the granting of credit (lending) and the use of credit (investing) by the same entity, which led to abuses that originally produced the Glass-Steagall Act

    2. Depository institutions possess enormous financial power, by virtue of their control of other people’s money; its extent must be limited to ensure soundness and competition in the market for funds, whether loans or investments.

    3. Securities activities can be risky, leading to enormous losses. Such losses could threaten the integrity of deposits. In turn, the Government insures deposits and could be required to pay large sums if depository institutions were to collapse as the result of securities losses.

    4. Depository institutions are supposed to be managed to limit risk. Their managers thus may not be conditioned to operate prudently in more speculative securities businesses. An example is the crash of real estate investment trusts sponsored by bank holding companies (in the 1970s and 1980s).

    Looks like most of these concerns have come to fruition. Yet, John McCain appears not to have an opinion on the matter (though his economic advisor sure does).

    – Dean

    P.S. I have so little patience for debates over subjects like gay marriage or abortion (based off of supposed concerns about quality of life), when actual families today are faced with the loss of their ability to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves due to the inept cronyism of elected leaders like Phil Gramm, John McCain, and their ilk. What will it matter to anyone if a candidate is Pro-Life and for a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage, if his leadership will directly lead most Americans to the poor house — how’s that for a quality of life argument.

    P.P.S. “It’s the economy, stupid” Bill Clinton, 1992

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