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Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Public v Private Sector War


I enjoy the Bill Maher show because it is about people sitting around, and speaking truthfully about what's on their mind. Christopher Hayes the editor of a liberal magazine called the Nation was one guest and the other guest was a known liberal hater Ann Coulter. As expected it started off with a bang by Ann Coulter saying that anyone working in the public sector was a leech on society. Christopher Hayes said his mother worked as a schoolteacher for 37 years, and she certainly was not a leech. Ann Coulter did not back down, saying anyone that does not contribute to the production of a product is a leech. I guess she doesn't consider molding young minds a worthwhile product. Therein lies the problem, it's about fundamentalism, ideology, and terminology. "It depends on what the meaning of the words 'is' is." –Bill Clinton

I remember during our  own Victoria County cutbacks people were applauding the decision to lay off county workers and reduce their health care benefits. That laid off employee is no longer a productive person who will now be on public assistance. I don't have the county budget in front of me but I don't think it's unreasonable to think that they could've saved those jobs by cutting something else. I used to work for a company that retained its employees doing hard times because they had a lot invested in us, so the cost to retrain new employees would be counterproductive. There was no guarantee that we would come back to the same job when the economy improved. In 1974 I had to do some work that was normally done by contract labor but I retained my job. That works both ways.The public and private sector employee are both human beings that pay taxes. People in the private sector do not pay the salaries of public employees,they pay for the service that employee provides.

I just saw where someone repeated the old Reagan line” were from the government and we are here to help you" along with " government is not the solution it's the problem" but those are words to make the average person think that government is the enemy. Clearly we have a bloated government and at times the bureaucracy slows things so much that it makes it ineffective. I remember an old line we had when I was in the military and it went like this  “yes I know, make everything in triplicate" and what do we do with that third piece of paper?” If you said " you put it in file 13 (trash can)" you can go to the head of the class.It's the same way in the private sector. Having said all that, I can't imagine a country without an environmental protection agency. A food and drug agency or public education, libraries, law enforcement and fire fighters. We need agencies that will not cut services to remain profitable.

Bill Maher ends his show with a segment called "New Rules" where he goes through a litany of stupid things we do. I am paraphrasing so it will not come out as funny. He said" when did the CEOs get so sensitive, that we can't say anything that might make them unstable because it might scare them, and they won't be able to lay their golden eggs with the jobs in them. He went onto say "we tried that in 2004, but the corporations took the taxpayers' money and still shipped the jobs overseas."

I just got a response on my blog from a poster named neighbor who was trying to make Texas the model state because we starve our people, don't educate them or give them health care but we are business friendly because we don't have a corporate tax rate. That is  straight from the “trickle down" manual. I don't think it would be presumptuous of me to think that he  hates lawyers,poor people,unions,taxes,government people,unions,taxes,government,liberals,environmentalists ACLU,gays,Muslims,regulations and lot more he thinks is un-american. It's like Jon Stewart said one time “conservatives are patriotic Americans but they hate 50% of the country."...:-)


Mike said...

I don't know if neighbor went home to reload or what ,but he deleted his comment after I responded on my VA blog....Makes my response look foolish all by its lonesome.

Mike said...

neighbor must have been a banned poster because he is not listed in a comment history search.

Edith Ann said...

I guess contributing lies, distortions and hate is better than no contribution at all, right? I cannot stan Ann Coulter! She probably outranks Sarah Palin on my short list!

Don't get me started ont he county lay-offs! Gary Dunnam is a leech on the County budget. He is duplicating services, to the tune of something like 52K plus benefits, that are already being provided AT NO COST TO THE COUNTY by another entity.

Love the Jon Stewart quote!

Mike said...


I noticed when you mentioned that several times but I hoping you would get a rebuttal to see if the other side had any merit....Nada.nilch, nothing ,it was as if you never brought it up....Unless I missed it.

Hate to bring up old memories but did you ever get a justification?...I could have saved a couple county jobs but like I said I don't have the county budget in front of me.

Mike said...

What Legion is reporting is common practice. Several companies pay a foreign tax and deduct  it on their U.S. Tax big difference is companies get a direct benefit because the foreign country will build them a bridge,highway,ferry,and ease their environmental  requirements in return....It's a win win..In fact several years ago I provided a source where a big company wanted foreign country to tax for that very reason but it was not believed.

Legion said...

"attributed at least $5.6 billion in profits from sales through an Illinois-based warehouse to its unit in Switzerland."

Sure they can deduct over seas taxes paid, but to claim that sales made in Illinois were sales made in Switzerland?

Come on, if every company claimed sales in the US where actually made at a overseas location with a lower tax rate federal revenues would be way lower.

That would be like Halliburton claiming that all its drilling fluids were actually sold by KBR in Iraq, so they paid Iraq taxes, not US taxes.

Switzerland will build them a bridge, ferry, or lower environmental concerns? I don't see Switzerland doing any of those things.

Maybe Caterpillar received a excellent interest rate on their Swiss accounts or a favorable interest rate on a Swiss bank loan.

Mike said...


I was describing the tax situation in general...more later in post.

The Caterpillar lawsuit originated in December and was brought forth by a former manager alleging that the corp. avoided paying $2 billion in U. S. income tax from 2000-2009.
Caterpillar denies it and it remains unsolved....Where is the IRS on this? They have had ample time to investigate....It is currently a civil case in the District of Peroria,Ill.
How will the jury rule in the home place of Caterpillar?...:-)

In the 1920s The House of Saud raised royalty fees to the oil companies which made them squawk but then treasury secretary Mellon convinced the Arabs to tax the oil companies and then he persuaded Congress to give all companies earning profit overseas a dollar-for-dollar credit against their U. S. taxes....

Speaking of Halliburton & KBR ,they went a step further by taking their contract money and setting their Cayman Isle headquarters to avoid paying payroll tax.  

It just reminds me of what of these corporations do to avoid paying taxes.

Mike said...

That was Dec 2009 when the suit was filed...I forgot to mention that.

Edith Ann said...

I have explained the Gary Dunnam thing every which way I can.

The direct question was asked of Pozzi, and flat out said Dunnam's services were not a duplication of other serices. They are.

Pozzi has not a clue. Helen Walker made the deal for Gary to have that job forever--he hooked her up with free house plans from the restoration architect on the Courthouse project, among other things. His job was a thank you gift.

But, surely you've noticed that Gary Dunnam is the go-to guy for all things historical with the Advocate and the CVB. Do you know who the County Historian is? Charles Spurlin.

Edith Ann said...


On the CAT thing--I am thrilled it is moving along. It is a good thing for the employment of folks in this area.

All of these abatements might be completely kosher, but I still think folks have been very generous, generous to a fault, with the freebies. And I am still not convinced we had to be.

Mike said...

I agree, Mr. Spurlin Is the best historian and you're not so bad yourself.
I believe we have several of them...Wasn't Hauschild one at one time & Dr. Hardin also.

I don't know how we can have a permanent job when each regime gets to vote for their own rules..I think...Am I wrong?

Time wll tell on the CAT abatements...It's always iffy.

Legion said...

Mike, IF the IRS treats individual taxpayers the same as corporate taxpayers three years is the minimum amount of time it takes to spot errors and catch them, and years more to figure out what really happened. I think I mentioned that on a VicAd thread at one time, all the fault of the check encoder at the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas.

Mike said...

I don't know about that 3 yr. minimum but I've read of major cases where it only takes months to uncover a fraudulent tax case...I presume the IRS still have some good accountants and to catch a big fish like CAT.It would make an agent's career and serve notice to others. 

In this case all they have to do is  subpoena the evidence the accuser has of the $2 billion,examine it and decide whether it's worth pursuing...I don't know why the accuser never became a whistleblower, so he could get the 10% of the tax the IRS collects.

All I am saying,is that all the IRS has to do is attend the court hearings or subpoena the plaintiffs records. The IRS could match invoices,purchase orders,employee records, and the CPAs who prepared the tax returns for CAT...At that point the CPAs has to cooperate...remember Enron.World Corp.,etc.

Edith Ann said...

Charles Spurlin IS the designated County Historian. Gary Dunnam is just the guy employed by the county to handle the county archives. Isn't that Robert Cortez' job?

The state of Texas has designated the Victoria College/UHV library as the REGIONAL respository for this area. A bona fide historical librarian, Sharen Barnes, takes care of the archives. At no charge to the county. The contents of her collection are catalogued, indexed and organized. The items are readily accessible and there is staff available to assist you in what you are looking for.

In Gary Dunnam's office in the old Bell Tel. ofice, he has boxes stacked, contents largely unknown. If you walk in and ask to peruse the collection, you must first pass the Spanish Inquisition to get much past the front door. It's a joke, and unfortunately there are significant items that folks will never get to view and use in research. I often wonder how many make their way to his 'personal' collection...

I am not a good historian. I am lucky enough to have a vast collection of resource books, and amazing friends who are expert researchers. They do the hard work for me!

As to the permanency of the job, I think it is like so many other things in Victoria--no one was ever supposed to question.

Mike said...

Jim Williams probably wants one of those open city council seats. He would be a disaster, worse than what we have because of comments like he made about whether to fund a new community center. Mr. Williams it just worried that his property tax might go up $1.25,but he could care less about the future of Victoria.
He said "No new debt!
From 2008 to (projected) 2018 debt service will have increased 35% (around $5million per year). During the same time population will increase less then 5%. How can any government entity justify debt raising at 6 to 7 times the level of population growth?
If private investors see the need for a convention center let private dollars fund it, not taxpayers."........................

He throws up scary numbers, that he pulls out the air and thinks that private investors will build a community center. This is not the first time, he's always pulling up magic numbers to make his point.

You should remember Jim Williams, he is the one that was backed by a $5000 campaign contribution from the most hated businessman in Victoria, James Wayne.

That's as political as I get about local matters.....I know what I don't like.

Mike said...

That's Jeff Williams not Jim Williams

Legion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Legion said...

Don't get me wrong, if things need to be done they should, like the road repairs and the sewer plant.Interest rates, and yes material costs are great right now. It's the non necessary projects that bug me.

But Muni bonds are a great investment, especially the ones we owned that matured last year in Chicago and DC. ;)

Edith Ann said...

I disagree with you about Jeff Williams. I know he's got a beef about the taxes, but not all of his vision is iffy. I was very impressed with him UNTIL he took the money from James Wayne!!!

But, that's just me. If he had been running against Halepaska, I would have voted for him, despite the donation. Maybe we would have given away a parking lot.

Edith Ann said...



Mike said...


I cannot answer your first statement if you erase it, so I will try from memory but at my age, I'm working with a high handicap..:-)

My main concern was a combination of comments by Jeff Williams and his tendency to present slanted versions of the facts. This is July of 2011, and he presented a PROJECTED growth of 35% against a population growth of 5%. That's known in politics as muddying the waters, because I think he just got that number off his office calculator....Projections in the hands of amateurs are not worth the wasted paper. Mr. Williams said we should delay the Sam Houston project because of our current economic situation.

Our community center has more than served its purpose, but now it's in the need of extensive repair or replacement. I just want people to come to the table and have initial talks after they hear from a reputable cost analyst report. We may not be able to afford it right now because some projects would have to paid for,but there may also be some windfalls coming in.

I don't believe anyone wants to bankrupt the city because we will all feel that effect but the answer to everything should not be "NO." I think we need to look ahead because Eagle Ford Shale and others will want a modern business meeting facility and I would like Victoria to be considered. I don't want us to be like Edna and Goliad where they may keep a low tax base but that's as big as they will ever be.

Perhaps, I can sum it up like this. I have an old truck that I seldom drive but since I am already 65 years, I'm not going to put any extensive repair in it and I'm certainly not going to buy a new truck..... What do we want from Victoria? Do we want it to make needed repairs while keeping the taxpayer base low or do we want to go after the industries that will make as grow... Hey, that rhymes.

Mike said...


That's OK, a lot of people disagree with me, but as I continue to say if you're running for public office, you probably shouldn't be commenting in a public forum. Jeff Williams is an ideologue, so dealing with him would be darn near impossible. I know James Wayne. He is an ideologue who doesn't do a thing that doesn't benefit James Wayne.

This is just my hunch. I think Jeff Williams is a member of a clique that wants to replace city and county government with like minded individuals. If that were to happen, growth would go by the wayside but our taxes would not go up. When that regime is replaced, the incoming government will have to take all the gripes because they will have to use money that wasn't used to repair the neglected infrastructure. Taxes will go back to where they should have been.

My disagreement is not an endorsement of the people currently serving on our City Council because I'm just reacting to comments made in our forum.

I don't know the players so I don't have a personal vendetta but I know what I don't like.

Edith Ann said...

I can't disagree with your philosophy, Mike. I am just glad that you do think. What is going to harm us more, here and everywhere else, if folks who are not informed when they make a voting decision.

I may not agree with their ultimate choice, but I would be a whole lot happier with their *wrong* choice, if I knew they, at least, tried to make an informed choice.

I have often said that one of the problems with this town is it's size. We're just a little ol' one horse town in our thinking, but we want to act like we're Houston. We're not.

We get all excited over something, some demand that it happen at once, then nothing! We do need a beeter representation of this community making the decisions. What's good for Woodway and Country Club is not always good for Tanglewood.

But, hey, what would I gripe about if it were all good! 8^)

Mike said...

I tend to present the other side in this conservative area we live in. I don't pretend to speak for the liberals, democrats, or progressives but it's obvious that I'm not a conservative or a moderate. I'll answer to just about any label that's put on me, if we can just get to the issues.

I agree, we need to accept the fact that we will grow at 2% for now and unless Cuero,Edna,Goliad another surrounding cities start growing we have limitations. Look at Plano, Round Rock, and their growth spurts and it's relation to Austin, Dallas and Houston. I like your idea of incorporating other cities and in any kind of tourism deal. I hope you and find a way to present your ideas....

Edith Ann said...

I agree! Sometimes folks spend way too much time being bowed up with each other because they 'think' they are on oppositie sides.

I feel that is often the case here in Victoria. How many times have I been told on the Advocate forum that I am anti-Victoria, etc., because I question someone.

As Juanita Jean says--some folks are so narrow minded they can look through a key hole with both eyes!

Yeah, I don't care what flavor one is, just get to the issues!

Mike said...

Lol....I love that "some folks are so narrow minded they can look through a key hole with both eyes!"