Posted by StreetWise in Latest News
Dear Ms. Hanney,
I was more than a bit surprised to read Amanda Elliot’s “Sammies award small government” article in the 5/4-10/11 issue. It stood out like a gold Rolex would on the wrist of one of your vendors. If the goal of the awards was “…national recognition for activists who retain the Founding Fathers’ spirit of limited government and no taxation without representation,” then I have some suggestions for next year’s awards.
General Electric deserves an award for achieving representation (through its army of lobbyists) while paying no taxation. GE is one of several corporations who have pushed this to the paradoxical level because they actually received a tax credit last year. British Petroleum deserves an award; they sure had limited government working for them with all of the safety violations which led to the death of the 11 men at the exploding oil rig in the gulf. BP, like other petro giants, are literally beyond the governmental reach of OSHA because the Deepwater Horizon is beyond the 3-mile nautical limit. And OSHA has its hands full on shore anyway; nearly one fifth of its attorney hours at its New York office were devoted to Walmart’s appeal of the $7000 fine it got for violating safety protocols that led to the trampling death of a temporary “associate.” So don’t forget an award for Walmart for staying the hand of the government. All of the “Too Big to Fail” banks deserve a Fearless award too, as they are even bigger now than before, from gobbling up competitors and government bail out funds. This is like gaining weight during a famine. The SEC and Justice Department deserve Foot Dragging awards for keeping the government off the backs of the scam artists who caused the sub-prime loan collapse, as no one has gone to jail yet. Even during the Reagan administration some people did jail time for their parts in the Junk Bond/Savings and Loan debacles.
Perhaps a followup article by Amanda can address some questions I have. While I understand the “limited government/no taxation” that many corporations are for, I just don’t get what this has to do with the Founding Fathers. As I recall they were against creating an American Aristocracy. Perhaps I read text books with a liberal bias. Also, I don’t get what the pro right wing Sammie Awards have to do with the homeless, when America’s poverty rolls increased from 31.6 million people in 2001 to nearly 40 million in 2008 during George W. Bush’s Compassionate Conservatism/Trickle Down Economics.
Dear Mr. Eizik,
Thank you for your witty letter about Amanda Elliott’s coverage of the Sammie Awards.
Given the ongoing recession, it is entirely possible that a downsized person could turn to selling StreetWise – while still wearing a gold Rolex watch. We would welcome him or her.
We chose to cover the Sammies because StreetWise is Chicago-centric and socially conscious. The Sammies are given by the Chicago-based Samuel Adams Alliance, which puts them on our radar screen.
Your points about General Electric, British Petroleum, and Walmart are well-taken, but the Sammies celebrated smaller actions by individual citizens. A Texas woman won a Sammie after she put her congressman’s face on a milk carton as someone who “went missing” when he refused to hold town hall meetings. Another Sammie went to two men who uncovered fake Tea Party members running as Democrats and forced their removal from the ballot.
The only real quarrel we had was the award to Virginia Atty. Gen. Ken Cucinelli, who calls the Obama health care bill unconstitutional.
There were also two Sammies to people who had battled bureaucracy that just makes life more difficult and expensive for individuals. One was a man who had moved wrapped guns from Colorado to New Jersey among household possessions in the trunk of his car. Another went to someone who helped towns in their opposition to red light traffic violation cameras. This winner also passed a Washington state initiative that required a two-thirds majority vote for tax increases.
We favor tax increases to retain human services but we are as wary of big government welfare as you are.
The issue of debt service in the US budget is practical to us as much as philosophical. The U.S. now has a AAA bond rating but the cost of paying interest on this debt will be 18 to 20 percent of federal revenue by 2018, according to Moody’s on Investors Business Daily online. That percentage, in turn, could push the bond rating down, which would mean higher interest rates for any new bond issue.
“The higher this ratio (interest/revenue) the more public debt constrains the formulation and delivery of other policies,” Moody’s analysts wrote, according to IBD.
We want to see smart spending that really helps human infrastructure, not wasteful spending. If conservatives can become activists to help liberals point the way, that would be a good thing.