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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- October 23, 2011

NC Lawmaker Gets Big Pay while Loaning Friends Federal Money - NC Policy Watch Investigates - Sarah Ovaska - August 3, 2011 - As N.C. Rep. Stephen LaRoque tells it on the campaign trail, both state and federal government are too big, wasteful of taxpayers’ money and in the way of private business. Government can’t be all things to all people,” said LaRoque, a conservative Republican from Kinston, in a televised debate before his 2010 re-election. “We need more self-reliance and accountability.” But LaRoque, who returned in January to the N.C. General Assembly after a four-year hiatus, takes aim at government waste while quietly accepting generous six-figure paychecks for running two public charities funded with $8 million in federal dollars since 1997. He’s earned up to $195,000 a year heading the two small economic development organizations—the East Carolina Development Company and Piedmont Development Company—and used the non-profits to loan some of the public funds to his close associates and political allies. Past board members say they were kept in the dark about his pay...... USDA RECORDS also show LaRoque also used his non-profit to lend helping hands to fellow GOP legislators and the law firm he uses for political spats. (Pages 6-7) State Sen. Debbie Clary and state Rep. Mark Hilton, both received loans from LaRoque’s Piedmont Development Company of over $100,000 to help their private businesses, according to USDA records. The loans were two of just a handful approved at Piedmont Development Company, the non-profit he set up in 2003 to serve the western part of the state.The non-profit hasn’t made any loans in recent years, and risks losing some of its federal money because of inactivity, according to a letter USDA staff sent to the non-profit...... Hilton received a $150,000 loan in 2007 for “Hilton Ventures,” a rental property management company he owns along with his wife, brother and sister-in-law in Conover, according to USDA and N.C. Secretary of State records. Hilton was in the legislature at the time, but LaRoque was not. Attempts to reach Clary were unsuccessful, and Hilton did not respond to phone and email requests seeking comment.

The Hound: Let's here about Mark Hilton's stand on BIG GUB MINT when he is receiving at least a $100,000 low interest loan to help their personal "BIDNESS." This maney was earmarked for use of USDA projects. Let Mr. Hilton explain to us where his farm is and why he would use the Federal Tax dollars he constantly rails against.

USDA documents listing loan amount to Susan LaRoque’s former carpet business, State Sen. Debbie Clary, State Rep. Mark Hilton, Diener Law Firm, and board member Ricky Lanier’s Global Construction business:

$1 million gift to help spur next generation of North Carolina entrepreneurs - ASU News - October 22, 2011 - Appalachian State University has announced the naming of the new Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship in its Walker College of Business. The center will expand resources and tools, so that emerging entrepreneurs can develop the skills they need to start their own businesses and drive the economy. Top state leaders, including N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue, say entrepreneurship is a crucial economic development tool for sustained growth. “Entrepreneurship will continue to play an important role in job creation in North Carolina,” Perdue said. “Nurturing budding entrepreneurs with support through programs and activities, such as those that will be provided students through the Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship at Appalachian, will help ensure a prosperous future in our state.” With a desire to mentor and foster entrepreneurial spirit, Transportation Insight, hopes the new center will enhance Appalachian’s reputation as a premier institution for entrepreneurship. Transportation Insight has been nationally recognized by Inc. Magazine for its entrepreneurial excellence. Referring to the logistics industry as one of the country’s main economic engines, Inc. Magazine has ranked the Hickory-based third-party logistics provider as one of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the United States for the last four years in a row. Founded in 1998, Transportation Insight is among an elite group of Inc. 5000 companies experiencing significant and continuous expansion in years 10 and beyond of doing business. That positive trend reflects the company’s entrepreneurial commitment to quality continuous improvement, the creation of long-term business value and the development of sustained competitive advantage for its clients.

Shareholders Say 'Bye, Bye' To Bank Of Granite
- WFAE News - Julie Rose - October 18, 2011 - Shareholders of one of North Carolina's oldest and most well-respected community banks met for the last time Tuesday and approved a merger they hope will save the bank from collapse. Granite Falls-based Bank of Granite is 105 years old. It's on the verge of being acquired by the parent company of another long-time North Carolina bank: CommunityONE. Early next year, the "Bank of Granite" name will disappear from its branches if the merger is approved. Many of the people who've invested in Bank of Granite over the years are the same people who've deposited their money with the bank and played on the community sports leagues it sponsored over the decades...... He invested in 1985 - during Bank of Granite's heyday. Each dividend he collected from the stock went toward buying more. "At that time it was touted to be one of the best run banks in the country," says Patterson, referring to a praise for Bank of Granite from legendary investor Warren Buffett in the 1990s. But the collapse of the housing market proved too much for Bank of Granite and by 2009 it was under orders from federal regulators to improve its bottom line or risk being taken over. While long-time shareholders now hope to minimize their losses through a merger, new investors see an opportunity. If the merger is approved by CommunityONE's shareholders on Wednesday, it's expected to close by the end of this month. The combined bank will be based in Asheboro. (The Hound: Another major loss for the Hickory Region. We need a local Financial Institution that will look out for local interests.)

Why Peter Schiff and Arthur Laffer Are Wrong about Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Tax Plan - Economic Policy Journal - October 20, 2011 - Bottom line, the part of Cain's proposal that has Schiff most excited, the consumption tax, will ultimately not fall on consumers, but on the incomes of labor and landowners, exactly where Schiff doesn't want it to fall! Schiff should be commended for pointing out that there is a fourth hidden 9% tax in Cain's proposal. But, there is a lot more that is wrong with Cain's plan. It first and foremost, through shell game antics, cuts down the hissing relative to the tax burden. It creates a new pipeline by which taxes can be raised, which Michelle Bachmann has correctly warned can easily lead to tax increases down the road. And, further, approval of elements of the plan (the consumer tax) in the fashion that Schiff gives approval, in addition to being wrong, lead to a grander endorsement of government micro-management of the economy. "Well, we cut this tax and increase that tax and it will really boost the economy." The problem is not the direction from which the taxes come, but the massive amount of government spending that goes on. Yes, Schiff does call for a cut in spending to eliminate the problem of the fourth 9 tax, but this is about micromanagement and fails to discuss the horrors of overall government spending in the economy. Cain's 9-9-9 proposal does nothing to address that. It is designed to stop the hissing. It's understandable why Laffer is for the plan. He is all about stopping the hissing and keeping taxes revenues high. It is much more difficult to understand how Schiff can say anything positive about this Cain move of tricks to con the masses.

Quote from Bob Chapman's International Forecaster - October 22, 2011 - The two-year recession supposedly almost ended 2-1/2 years ago. That is the official position - ask the permanently unemployed who’s job has been shipped to China, whether the so-called recession is over? Since June of 2009 median household income has fallen by 6.7%. That is some recovery, as unemployment rose to 22.6%. Those who
lost jobs and found new ones made 17.5% less in income. Those out of work remained jobless from 16.6 to 24.1 weeks. This year that number was 40.5 weeks, the lowest in 60 years. In addition the real median self-employed income has fallen 12.9%. That condition is prevalent worldwide. Whether governments and their handlers like it or not since February 2009 the US has been in an inflationary depression, which is worsening every day, with no end in sight. (The Hound: The Recession ended for the big wigs at the top of the food chain paid for by the bailouts. Some of them may not realize that the bailouts saved their equity (stock) investments. These are the same people telling you that things aren't so bad. They are in complete denial, because in the end they are seeing the marketplace shrivel, but it hasn't completely affected them. They may have had to cut back on that third vacation or wait to buy that next Mercedes, but they look at that as a reduction from the exuberance of the boom we went through in the late 1990s. The rest of us are scraping by, hanging on, and praying to God that we can continue to make ends meet and not end up out on the street).

Law Bans Cash for Second Hand Transactions - KLFY - Layayette, Louisiana - October 18, 2011 - Cold hard cash. It's good everywhere you go, right? You can use it to pay for anything. But that's not the case here in Louisiana now. It's a law that was passed during this year's busy legislative session. House bill 195 basically says those who buy and sell second hand goods cannot use cash to make those transactions, and it flew so far under the radar most businesses don't even know about it. "We're gonna lose a lot of business," says Danny Guidry, who owns the Pioneer Trading Post in Lafayette. He deals in buying and selling unique second hand items. "We don't want this cash transaction to be taken away from us. It's an everyday transaction," Guidry explains.... Besides non-profit resellers like Goodwill, and garage sales, the language of the bill encompasses stores like the Pioneer Trading Post and flea markets. Lawyer Thad Ackel Jr. feels the passage of this bill begins a slippery slope for economic freedom in the state. "The government is placing a significant restriction on individuals transacting in their own private property," says Ackel. Pawn shops have been forced to keep records of their clients for years. However under this bill they are still allowed to deal in cash.The Hound: It's all about Big Gubment, control, and taxes folks and big business trying to force people to buy from them. They are trying to move us towards a cashless society.

OCCUPY Wall Street: NYC - Real, Informed, Justifiably Angry Americans

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