The State And Local Crisis

The pandemic has caused so many problems for state and local governments…..the  biggest problem is yet to come.

The budgets and and revenues will be a insurmountable problem that needs a solution that will benefit everyone and crap on none.

US local and state governments are reopening the economy as the pandemic continues to spread, although mass testing for COVID-19 and contact tracing programs are absent. At the same time, new state and local budget projections for the coming fiscal year paint an even grimmer picture than what was expected at the beginning of the month.

The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities (CBPP) has reported a 25 percent decline in revenues for some states in April alone. The CBPP now predicts that US state budget shortfalls will reach $765 billion over the next three years due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report points out the strong relationship between unemployment rates and shortfalls in state budgets, which are critical for providing health care, housing, education, infrastructure and social welfare programs.

According to CBPP, several states have already predicted major reductions in revenue for 2020, including Massachusetts ($4.5 billion, or 15 percent of the state budget); Michigan ($3.2 billion, or 13 percent); and Utah ($1.4 billion, or 18 percent). For the next two years, some states are projecting even steeper drops, such as California ($32 billion in 2021, or 21 percent of its state budget); New York state ($12 billion in 2021 and $16 billion in 2022, or 14 and 17 percent of its annual budget); and Colorado ($3.2 billion in 2021 and $4 billion in 2022, 24 and 17 percent of its annual budgets, respectively).

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/05/27/budg-m27.html

There is a solution that has been around for over 100 years…..it is called Land Value Tax….

Land Value Taxation is a method of raising public revenue by means of an annual charge on the rental value of land. If you do not want to read through this text, you can watch this ten minute video by Dominic Frisby.

The below advantages are  from http://www.landvaluetax.org/

  • A NATURAL SOURCE OF PUBLIC REVENUE. All land makes its full contribution to the Exchequer, allowing reductions in existing taxes on labour and enterprise.
  • A STRONGER ECONOMY. If we tax labour, buildings or machinery and plant, we discourage people from constructive and beneficial activities and penalise enterprise and efficiency. The reverse is the case with a tax on land values, which is payable regardless of whether or how well the land is actually used. It is a payment, based on current market value, for the exclusive occupation of a piece of land. In the longer term, this fundamentally new and different approach to revenue raising will stimulate new business and new employment, reducing the need for costly government welfare.
  • MARGINAL AREAS REVITALISED. Economic actitivities are handicapped by distance from the major centres of population. Conventional taxes such as VAT and those on transport fuels cause particular damage to the remoter areas of the country. Land Value Tax, by definition, bears lightly or not at all where land has little or no value, thereby stimulating economic activity away from the centre – it creates what are in effect tax havens exactly where they are most needed.
  • A MORE EFFICIENT LAND MARKET. The necessity to pay the tax obliges landowners to develop vacant and under-used land properly or to make way for others who will.
  • LESS URBAN SPRAWL. Land Value Taxation deters speculative land holding. Thus dilapidated inner-city areas are returned to good use, reducing the pressure for building on green-field sites.
  • LESS BUREAUCRACY. The complexities of Income Tax, Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and VAT are well known. By contrast, Land Value Tax is straightforward. Once the system has settled down, landholders will not be faced with complicated forms and demands for information. Revaluation will become relatively simple.
  • NO AVOIDANCE OR EVASION. Land cannot be hidden, removed to a tax haven or concealed in an electronic data system.
  • AN END TO BOOM-SLUMP CYCLES. Speculation in land value – frequently misrepresented and disguised as “property” or “asset” speculation – is the root cause of unsustainable booms which result periodically in damaging corrective slumps. Land Value Taxation, fully and properly applied, knocks the speculative element out of land pricing.
  • IMPOSSIBLE TO PASS ON IN HIGHER PRICES, LOWER WAGES OR HIGHER RENTS. Competition makes it impossible for a business producing goods on a valuable site to charge more per item than one producing similar goods on less valuable land – after all, producers and traders at different locations are paying different rents to landlords now, yet like goods generally sell for much the same price and employers pay their workers comparable wages. The tax cannot be passed on to a tenant who is already paying the full market rent.

I wrote about this here on GSFP……https://gulfsouthfreepress.wordpress.com/land-value-taxation/

This will be hard to convince the politicians of this….but as they struggle to balance the budgets this will be a good solution ….but will legal bribes prevent a solution?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Isratine

The term will be defined shortly…but first…

Since Tulsi Gabbard has left the campaign trail I have been in search of a candidate to support…..Biden ain’t it…….he is the proof of what you get when you settle for what is offered.

I went to a familiar party from my past…the Green Party now that Stein is not on their agenda…..

After reading over their platform and policy support I found something that would scratch them off my list of possibles…..

Here is their stand…..

Our Green values oblige us to support popular movements for peace and demilitarization in Israel-Palestine, especially those that reach across the lines of conflict to engage both Palestinians and Israelis of good will.

We support the implementation of boycott and divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era, which includes pressuring our government to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel; and we support maintaining these nonviolent punitive measures until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by

  • Ending its occupation and colonization of all Palestinian lands and dismantling the Wall in the West Bank
  • Recognizing the fundamental rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  • Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

We support a U.S. foreign policy that promotes the creation of one secular, democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan as the national home of both peoples, with Jerusalem as its capital.

https://www.gp.org/platform

One nation…secular and equal……This idea is an idea put forth by Qaddafi……you remember him right?

From 2002…..

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Tuesday said Israel should be replaced by a democracy called “Isratine” where unarmed Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace.

“If the Jews want peace they should accept to live in peace and drop arms with their Palestinian brethren,” Gaddafi said in a televised interview with al-Jazeera satellite television.

Gaddafi, who has rejected a Saudi Middle East peace bid, said it was “impossible” to create an independent Palestinian state along with Israel because “the Israelis would not accept to live within (the range) of Palestinian guns”.

Gaddafi put forward his own Middle East peace plan at an Arab summit last year. It included demands for dismantling weapons of mass destruction in the region and the return of seven million Palestinian refugees.

“The initiatives that have been imposed on Arabs… resulted in the blood that is being shed,” said Gaddafi, referring to the 18-month-old Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.

The Saudi initiative, the top issue on the agenda of the upcoming Arab summit, envisages Arab normalisation with the Jewish state in return for full Israeli withdrawal from Arab land occupied during the 1967 Middle East war.

Gaddafi said Israel should also dismantle its mass destruction weapons and withdraw from occupied Syrian land if it wanted peace with non-Palestinian Arabs.

Even the Palestine Authority has sided with the possibility of a one state solution……

Palestinian negotiators are more frequently threatening to abandon the goal of a two-state solution in their conflict with Israel and are pushing for a one-state option instead.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is very well aware that a one-state solution constitutes a threat to Israel, and has used the threat during half a dozen meetings documented in The Palestine Papers.

The two-state solution remains the conceptual basis for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. However, as it has failed to accomplish a final agreement, Palestinian interest in a one-state solution has seemingly grown.

The one-state solution is generally presented as a nightmare scenario for Israel. The likelihood that Palestinians might one day constitute an electoral majority in a bi-national state – which is seen as inevitable – is viewed by many Israeli Jews as a threat to the ‘Jewish character’ of the country.

https://www.aljazeera.com/palestinepapers/2011/01/201112612953672648.html

I am against the idea as well…..time for their to be two states in this regions…..Palestine being defined by the treaty of 1967…a treaty that Israel has seldom upheld their agreement to the provisions

I gave my thoughts with this post…..

https://gulfsouthfreepress.wordpress.com/2020/02/15/define-palestine/

The plan to annex West Bank territory is against international law and now that have Trump in their pocket they will violate the law as they, Israel, did in 1947…..

Some further thoughts on this proposal ofm One state solution…….

This new phase may play out over a generation. But it is already clear that the central dividing line will be the fight against apartheid and the demand for equal rights for Palestinians within a binational state.

In such a scenario Israelis will face an almost impossible choice from their perspective: either enforcing apartheid through military rule to safeguard Israel’s Jewish characteristics or promote democracy through the extension of full rights to all Palestinians, including those in Gaza.

Arguably, the shift towards a one-state paradigm has been underway for some time. The senior Palestinian PLO leadership remains wedded to the concept of two states. But many other Palestinians – particularly amongst younger generations – have long ago reached the conclusion that a viable and truly sovereign Palestinian state has slipped through their grasp.

All, however, agree that Israel’s unrelenting drive to settle the occupied West Bank, combined with international timidity, has led to the unravelling of the two-state project over the past years.

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/indepth/2020/5/5/israeli-annexation-cements-a-one-state-reality-in-palestine

Since its inception Israel has NEVER obeyed the laws of humanity…..and the world overlooked because of the suffering that was foisted upon them during WW2….that was 75 years ago….all debts have been paid…..Israel needs to act like the civilized nation they pretend to be.

Why should Palestinians be satisfied with being part of a nation that stole their land with the good wishes of the Western world?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Those Term Limits

In these days of Covid-19 news many issues get pushed from the minds of the electorate….so Gulf South Free Press is here to help us remember those issues that need to be addressed…… Many people including myself have been calling for term limits for our ‘elected’ (I use the term sparingly) officials…..my idea is to make it 12 years for the House (that is 6 terms) and 12 years for the Senate (that is two terms) and make it unlawful for any ex-rep to go into a lobbying firm for 10 years.

This idea was brought up by Steyer before he took it on the lam…..at the last debate he was in he brought this up (something none of the others would do)….

Of course there are pros and cons to term limits….the most recent was in Vox and was a con article….

Steyer pressed his proposal to impose term limits on lawmakers. “I am for term limits of 12 years for every congressperson and senator,” Steyer said, pointing out that term limits would “get rid of Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz.” One problem with Steyer’s proposal is that it is unconstitutional. In US Term Limits, Inc v. Thornton (1995), the Supreme Court struck down an Arkansas state constitutional amendment that sought to term limit members of Congress. As the Court explained, the “fundamental principle of our representative democracy” is that “the people should choose whom they please to govern them.” That means they can choose someone with many years of experience in office.

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/policy-and-politics/2020/2/25/21063741/tom-steyer-term-limits-debate

I would like to hear your thoughts on this issue…..but first there should be a minor educational portion of this post….

The idea of imposing term limits for Congress, or a mandatory restriction on how long members of the House and Senate can serve in office, has been debated by the public for centuries. There are pros and cons and strong opinions on both sides of the issue, perhaps a surprise, given the electorate’s less-than-flattering opinion of their representatives in modern history.
Here are some questions and answers about term limits and the ongoing debate surrounding the idea, as well as a look at the pros and cons of term limits for Congress.

https://www.thoughtco.com/debate-over-term-limits-for-congress-3367505

Limits would hopefully force Congress people to grow spine and do what is needed for the country…..

1. Term limits could encourage politicians to have courage. One of the primary reasons why legislation happens at a snail’s pace in the United States is because most elected officials start concerning themselves about their next election once they start in office. President Trump began his re-election campaign the moment after his inauguration in 2016, and similar examples of behavior exist all the way down the ladder in Washington. If our Representatives and Senators know that they can make a meaningful change
2. It would limit the potential for corruption in the government. Politicians have less time to get “dirty” when there are term limits in place. Although someone could be elected while under the influence of special interests, most would start from the very beginning, not knowing how to influence the governing body for their personal gain. Most newly elected officials are skeptical of lobbying groups and undue pressure for specific legislation, which would give American society an extra level of resilience against unwanted rules and regulations.
…read on……

17 Key Pros and Cons of Term Limits for Congress

Now that I have done my part on this issue….I would like to get my readers thoughts on this issue…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

What Is It About The Middle East?

My area of interest is the Middle East…I was schooled in its history, culture and situation…..plus I worked in the region for many years and learned to love the customs and the people.

But over the years and the US foreign policy of the Middle East has come full circle…..

“We are opening a Pandora’s Box,” Dwight Eisenhower warned when he ordered the first U.S. combat mission in the region. Little did he know how right he would be.

In 1958, U.S. leaders stood at the threshold of an American era in the Middle East, conflicted about whether it was worth the trouble to usher in.

A year earlier, in the context of the emergent Cold War and fading British and French power in the region, Dwight Eisenhower had articulated and received congressional approval for what became known as the Eisenhower doctrine. The United States had for the first time staked out national interests in the Middle East—oil, U.S. bases and allies, Soviet containment—and declared that it was prepared to defend them with military force.

Sixty-two years before President Donald Trump dispatched a drone to Baghdad to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, this is how American combat missions in the post–World War II Middle East began.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2020/01/america-has-come-full-circle-middle-east/162655/

Our Middle East policies of today were born in World War 2 and Operation Torch……

In a radical rethinking of the origins of U.S. Middle East policy, Robert Satloff suggests that two key ideas guiding Washington’s actions in the region for the past three-quarters of a century were born in the bargain U.S. leaders made with Vichy French officers after Allied troops landed in North Africa during World War II.

This was Operation Torch, America’s first offensive operation in the European theater of war and, until Operation Overlord’s Normandy landings, the greatest amphibious attack in history. Today, it is all but forgotten. And yet, aside from rivaling Overlord in terms of its enormity, complexity, and peril, Torch was also vastly consequential, for it helped to determine the future course and ultimately successful conclusion of the war. If that weren’t significant enough, Torch also deserves to be remembered for the critical role it played in setting the terms of America’s long-term relationship with the rulers and peoples of the Middle East.

https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/operation-torch-and-the-birth-of-american-middle-east-policy-75-years-on

Even with a raging pandemic the Middle East is as dangerous as it ever was…..or will be…..

The Middle East is, arguably, in as dangerous a condition as it has been in its modern history. A single incident could spark an escalation, which – uncontrolled – could set off a chain reaction of violent confrontations, involving local, regional and extra-regional powers. Established mechanisms for bringing individual conflicts, such as the wars in Syria and Yemen, to a peaceful resolution are making only halting, if any, progress. When a crisis of this magnitude crests, but before it erupts into full-blown war, the attention it attracts can create new opportunities for preventive action. The notion of a collective and inclusive security dialogue that aims to diminish tensions has been around for many years, focused on the Gulf sub-region. The time to launch one is overdue. The first step is to produce concrete ideas and international support for such a dialogue, which can open new channels of communication. To maximise chances of success, the effort should start modestly, possibly initiated by smaller Gulf states with the active diplomatic backing of a group of European and other governments.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/212-middle-east-between-collective-security-and-collective-breakdown

The UN has called for an international ceasefire during the pandemic…..and yet NO major power has signed on….apparently using ordinance is more important than fighting the disease.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The True Meaning Of The 2nd

I have written numerous times about the US Constitution especially the 2nd amendment…..and what it means…..https://lobotero.com/2013/01/30/why-the-2nd/  Please read my thoughts before you continue on……

Before we go any further…..I am a gun owner, actually own several, and I do not want guns removed from our society….all I ask is that a debate occur that does not descend into name calling and ranting……my thought is that we do not need assault weapons for civilians….there are many types of firearms that can be used for hunting and home security without these.

My thoughts are if you need an assault weapon for hunting then maybe going hunting at Krogers or Whole Foods would be better for you or if you need a multi bullet weapon for house security then a shotgun would be a better choice.

All that said is just my thoughts.

Now a few articles that have some good and informative points.

Part of the miserable ritual that follows American mass shootings is the lament that nothing can be done unless we get rid of the Second Amendment. New York Times columnist Bret Stephens reasoned thus:
There’s a good case to be made for owning a handgun for self-defense, or a rifle for hunting. There is no remotely sane case for being allowed to purchase, as [Las Vegas mass murderer] Paddock did, 33 firearms in the space of a year. But that change can’t happen without a constitutional fix. Anything less does little more than treat the symptoms of the disease.
The pro-gun side echoes this claim of textual determinism. My colleague James Fallows, writing on Monday, quoted a correspondent who is a “famous novelist” as saying, “the Constitution trumps (if you’ll pardon the expression) all prudential or policy considerations. It makes them utterly irrelevant.” Justice Clarence Thomas, as I recently wrote, makes the same claim—that the text of the amendment and the Supreme Court’s case law create a “fundamental right” that is violated by a ban on assault weapons, a waiting period for gun purchases, or limits on high-capacity magazines

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/second-amendment-text-context/555101/

There were a series of articles about gun rights and the second amendment……for further reading…… https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/02/big-data-second-amendment/607186/

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/10/constitutional-case-gun-control/600694/

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/08/congress-pass-gun-laws/595534/

After reading those links….then I have another one for the gun nuts on the Left…..

The Socialist Rifle Association is an educational organization dedicated to providing the working class with the information they need to be effectively armed for self and community defense. This includes all manner of community defense, from the right of the working class to possess firearms to the ability to be well versed in the fields of medicine, disaster relief, logistics, agriculture, and survival skills. Our goal is to provide an alternate to the mainstream, toxic, right-wing, and non-inclusive gun culture that has dominated the firearms community for decades. We seek to provide a safe, inclusive, and left-leaning platform for talking about gun rights and self defense, free from racist and reactionary prejudices, while providing a platform for the working class to obtain the skills necessary for all aspects of community defense.

https://socialistra.org/about/

Your thoughts?

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”