Letters to the Editor

Tax precedent

July 2, 2011

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To the editor:

This letter is in reference to the plan by M.D. Management to develop the corner of 27th and Iowa Streets. The plan calls for the city to grant tax abatements through 2020 to attract an Olive Garden restaurant to that location.

This property has been left unattended since the Plum Tree vacated the property in 2008. The Plum Tree revitalized its new location on Sixth Street with no public money. The 27th and Iowa location has become blighted due to a lack of general maintenance. M.D. Management has claimed that the only way to attract an Olive Garden to Lawrence is through city tax incentives. This seems most inappropriate in light of the school district currently closing schools and laying off teachers and the city considering raising the mill levy on homeowners to make its budget.

Small, locally owned restaurants have never been given such tax incentives, and it would seem unfair and unnecessary to give such incentives to an Olive Garden, which is part of the largest full service restaurant company in the world. They need to pay their own way, as everyone else has done.

MD Management claims that the Olive Garden will bring new jobs and tax dollars to the city. However, they will only shift jobs and tax dollars from other established chain and locally owned restaurants, with no net gain to the city. The city needs to carefully evaluate the precedent they will be setting should tax incentives be granted.

Comments

kayehale 4 years, 2 months ago

I just found a place called "Printapon" where I can get my fav. restaurant coupon for 90% off!! all you have to do is just print and take it.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 2 months ago

I loves me the smell of spam in the mornings.

handley 4 years, 2 months ago

It ls not the customers or the tax payers problem that the management company paid too much for the property.

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

This is the problem with this sort of tax incentive.

Developers can just buy something and let it become blighted, then argue they need tax incentives to develop a "blighted" property.

Jimo 4 years, 2 months ago

To take risks? To work hard? To develop a positive society?

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

Are you sure you want to keep talking with me?

On another thread, you seem to think I should stop talking and read instead.

beatrice 4 years, 2 months ago

Social security and medicare are for individuals. Tax incentives for businesses are not. Making sure there is a financially and medically secure society, helping primarily the elderly into which we all pay and all may draw from after a certain age, is far from being the same things as giving tax incentives to multi-billion dollar corporations, as would have happened with the Olive Garden tax breaks. That you would compare the two speaks volumes about your world view.

George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

Actually tax incentives are for individuals - the owners of the business or some aspect of the business (land).

That is why they are so horribly wrong. Tax incentives are essentially the taxpayer providing start up money for a business. That is normally done by investors who expect a return for this investment. A few jobs do not constitute a return. They come at the expense of competing individuals (other business) and the taxpayers.

This whole government selective investment in business is just a disaster. Why we allowed our elected officials to go down this path is beyond me. Having started down that path we have reaped the whirlwind of ever increasing demand by individuals seeking to aggrandize themselves at our expense!!!

It is just as wrong to subsidize Compton (both situations) as it is to subsidize GE for investment in renewable energy leading in part to their no federal corporate tax.

Jimo 4 years, 2 months ago

Indeed, we see a similar problem play out on the national stage with some now pushing for a corporate tax holiday, allowing corporations to bring back to the U.S. earnings sitting overseas "unrecognized." The theory: if there's an incentive, corporations will repatriate these earnings and reinvest them here in new business and jobs. The reality: this was done in the Bush Administration with massive sums moving back to the U.S., generating little tax revenue, and not creating hardly any measurable jobs. The upshot: corporations quickly learned to let money pile up overseas and lobby for "tax holidays" to do what they will do anyway sooner or later anyway. The correct incentive: no holiday.

Brock Masters 4 years, 2 months ago

I am not familiar with Lawrence's ordinances pertaining to blighted buildings, but I know that other cities have ordinances that require owners to maintain their property or face fines or condemnation.

If Lawrence has a similar ordinance they should enforce it instead of rewarding the developer with tax breaks for their poor investment and bad behavior (letting the property deteriorate).

pizzapete 4 years, 1 month ago

Good point Fred. Is there an ordinance in Lawrence regarding blighted commercial property?

John Hamm 4 years, 1 month ago

Oh sorry. You've shown too much intelligence in this comment.

Bob Forer 4 years, 2 months ago

If the deal had worked out I am sure the investors would not have offered to share their profits with the rest of us. So, please, can anyone explain why we should bail them out. It's called free market capitalism. And bailing them out is simply welfare for the wealthy. If I were king, I would tell them to go take a flying __. End of story.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 2 months ago

Had the deal worked out well, yes, they would have shared with the rest of us, through higher taxes. They might not have offered it, the city would have demanded it from them. So yes, you and I would have received some of their hard earned money. Money that we did not earn, risk that we did not take. We would have got some of their money for roads, schools, rec. centers, bike trails, whatever. Yes, they would have been forced to share.
Or are you suggesting that a wildly successful business should be guaranteed a low tax base, the same low tax base that an unsuccessful business would pay?

jhawkinsf 4 years, 2 months ago

Government should be neutral towards business. It should be neither hostile nor should government get too close to business. That doesn't mean that government should ignore business. When business behaves in ways that are contrary to the public interest, they should be discouraged from behaving in that manner. In this case, should the property be allowed to fall into a state of such disrepair, such blight, that it is contrary to the public interest, then government has the right and the duty to intervene and punish the property owner. On the other hand, government should not impede businesses that are successful and behaving in a manner that is generally in the publics best interests. Let's look how several posters are wanting government to behave. Posters want government to fine an irresponsible property owner but they also want to "fine" a responsible business owner with higher taxes. What rationale is there that will government to win if the property succeeds and the government wins if the property loses? The rationale for higher taxes on a successful business is that the government is providing a favorable business environment that allows the business to thrive. Is that the environment we have now? Sure, the developer gambled. But what did they gamble on? They gambled that the government would continue to provide the favorable environment. And if they gambled correctly, both the business and government would reap the rewards. But now that the environment has changed, people want the business to suffer while the government will still win if fines are given. This isn't neutral, it's heads I win, tails you lose.

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

I disagree.

Developers gamble on the "market", not whether government will provide them with incentives (at least they should).

It is a risk/reward situation - they take a risk in order to make money. If they don't want to take the risk, then they should make a different decision, eg. safer investments. Of course, safer investments generally don't provide as much return as risky ones.

You want to take away their risks while continuing to allow them the returns based on a risky investment - hmm.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 2 months ago

There is still substantial risk. They could develop the property and the business could still fail. If Olive Garden does not succeed, say they go bankrupt, then they lose again. Their property taxes will be higher based on the improved valuation with no guarantee of a future tenant. There is still risk. Developers don't gamble on getting government incentives. But like everyone else, they hope the government won't steer the economy into a massive recession. And again, I'm not saying that they should be bailed out. I've said all along that an abatement should be made only if it's in the best interest of the city to do so. I understand your distrust of the city's estimates. That's a valid point. But if it was to be trusted, then simply saying that ideology should rule the decision is cutting off your face to spite your nose. If the abatement helps both the city and the developer, then do it.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

You do understand that the tax break involved allows them not to pay those increased taxes on the increased valuation, right? That's the whole point - they get to continue paying current levels of taxes even after the property has been improved.

I don't trust any predictions of the future - they're inherently unreliable. And, of course, predictions made by businesses that are seeking government assistance may be even more so.

The other problem with these sorts of things is that they create "moral hazard" - ie. the expectation that if you make a bad business decision, the government will step in and help you out.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

Most of these abatements are gradually implemented. Say they pay $1.00 and should pay $2.00 after improvements. They might pay $1.05 the first year, $1.10 the second, etc. Even in the first year, the city gets more in taxes than they would if the property was left as is. The city would be getting less if there were no abatement and the property was improved anyway. Which do you think will happen. I think that without the abatement, the property will remain substantially as it is now, an eyesore but not so bad as to warrant government intervention. So the city will continue to get the lowest possible tax amount.
The economy will change, eventually. At that point, it may become reasonable for the property owner to improve the property without the incentive of a tax abatement. When will that happen? Five years, ten? I don't know. But do think that's it's good to wait?
As to your "moral hazard" claim. Government institutes tax policies all the time that encourage us to behave in one manner or to discourage us to behave in another. The home mortgage deduction encourages home ownership because that is seen as a public benefit. But the individual deduction, when used by an extremely poor single parent that has had multiple children by multiple partners as a way of protecting that person from what most consider a bad decision and might encourage future bad decisions. Maybe. But keeping poor children mired in poverty is not seen as being in the public interest, so we lessen that poverty with the individual deduction. In this case, because of current economic conditions, an abatement would cause an improvement in the property. Yes, it helps the developer. But it is also in the public's interest.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

I wonder why you are so insistent on ignoring my often repeated comments about policies that punish developers by taxing them on properties they let sit and become blighted.

It's more in the public interest to discourage that behavior than to reward it.

And, letting developers experience the downsides of investment decisions will encourage them to make better decisions in the first place.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

I'm not ignoring your suggestion about fining owners of blighted properties. The problem is, what is blighted compared to vacant compared to underdeveloped. I look at the proposed property at 27th. & Iowa. Or the Masonic Temple downtown. Are those properties so blighted that they would warrant government intervention, say in the form of a fine or in the extreme, seizing the property as a hazard to public safety. The clear answer is no. There must be thousands of structures throughout town that would benefit from slapping on a coat of paint. That's the condition of the two buildings that have been discussed recently. An eyesore - yes, underutilized - yes. Blighted - no. At least not yet. But maybe in a decade or two. Then we could force the owner to do something. But that's a long time to live with an eyesore, especially when one considers that the taxes the city receives from an eyesore is at the lowest end of the tax range. An improved property, even with an abatement will generate more in tax revenue to the city that a vacant eyesore. I just feel like when I read these comments we're more intent on punishing a developer that made a bad gamble than we are in helping that developer out when by doing that, we help ourselves also.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

We could easily set up tax policies that discourage commercial property owners from letting their properties sit vacant for years at a time.

It's not necessary for the city to wait until the property becomes a hazard.

Those of us who oppose these sorts of breaks aren't "punishing" the developers - we're simply not "helping" them. The free market is working as it's supposed to work without government intervention.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

In a perfect world, I would love to see local entrepreneurs in locations like 27th. & Iowa or the old Masonic Temple. I would love to see them in there, thriving, having received no tax abatements from the city. But do I think that is a likely outcome given the circumstances we are now in. No. The economy is in stress and I think it will remain so for at least a few more years. Putting aside what I would like to see happen, let me try to predict what I think will happen. If given an abatement, a new Olive Garden or similar business will be built. If no abatement is given, then the property will languish essentially as it is for several years. Any financial loss the developer suffers from this property will be offset against gains made in other company holdings. The net gain to the city will be zero. I'd be interested in hearing about tax policies that would discourage property owners letting their property sit vacant. I can think of some, but none that could be "easily" implemented. And I would worry that you'd be putting your faith in the same city government that you distrust making projections. And you didn't address my concern that many may be so intent on allowing the developer to suffer that they are unwilling to lend a hand when by doing so, the city as a whole benefits.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

Your analysis shows exactly why incentives like the ones I suggest are necessary - without them, developers can simply write off losses (possibly getting some tax write-offs as well). There must be some reason why the Tanger mall outlet has been virtually vacant for years - my best guess is that they get some tax benefits somehow.

The simplest way is to create a tax policy that charges commercial property owners an extra tax if their property remains vacant for a certain period of time.

Your concern is best addressed by the fact that projections of future benefits are inherently unreliable, as I've said numerous times. Thus, the idea that the city as a whole will benefit is based on an unreliable projection.

As I've mentioned the TIF for the Arts Center/parking lot was based on projections which didn't materialize. So the projected benefits didn't occur.

These sorts of things are gambles that private developers may be willing to take in order to receive possible profits - I think the city should not be doing that.

I'd like the city to simply provide basic services like water, sewer, etc. and let the private sector do the gambling.

And, if we want to prevent blight, institute policies that discourage developers from buying property and letting it sit.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

Look at the big picture. Our economy is driven by risk, by innovation. That's exactly how jobs are created and exactly how the government receives the tax base that it thens turns into services for us all. If I own a restaurant in Overland Park, or a retail clothing store and it's doing well, opening a second store in Lawrence is exactly what we should be encouraging. During the stores development, it will hire plumbers, carpenters, etc. It will purchase fixtures. In other words, it will spend a lot of money. Risk. Will it be profitable on day one. Of course not. The loses have to be offset by either future gains or against the profits from the Overland Park store. If you don't allow that then no one will take the risk. I'll just operate my successful Overland Park store and the heck with Lawrence and the plumbers, carpenters, equipment sales stores not to mention the fact I won't be employing anyone. What the government should not do is say that you may take risk and if you succeed, we will tax you and if you fail, we will fine you. Business drives the economy and government needs to at least provide an environment conducive to that specifically because everyone benefits from that.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

The question is one of incentives.

It seems to me that we want to create incentives that are aligned with our goals.

If we want lower vacancy rates, and less turnover, for example, then we need to create incentives that reward/encourage that.

Your version rewards developers who buy property and let it sit vacant for many years, and then claim they need help from the city.

That will increase that behavior, according to basic behavioral psychology, when we want to decrease it.

You've said before that government should be neutral to business - now you want them to provide an atmosphere "conducive" to it. Not the same thing at all.

And, in the big picture, it is not at all clear to me that a new OG in Lawrence will be a net gain, for a variety of reasons.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

The bottom line is this: Look at the property today. It is paying property taxes at the lowest possible valuation. It is ugly and underutilized. But it is not in a state of such disrepair that government intervention is necessary. Tomorrow, it will be the same. The next day, the same. Years from now, again, the same. And this is the situation you are advocating for. Haven't we seen examples of this many times already? Or we can help the developer AND help our tax base. I've said many times that an abatement should be made only if it's in the best interests of the city. The best available information is that it will. I understand your distrust of the numbers, but no one has said these numbers are wrong, just that the city is not good at predicting.
The bottom line is this, no abatement, no improvement and our children can carry on this discussion in a couple of decades. How long has this building been vacant? Or the Masonic Temple? And they continue to pay the lowest possible tax. And let's be real, changes to the tax laws, while good, in all likelihood won't happen.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

That's like saying the state is broke, and it doesn't matter how we got that way. We need to understand how we got into trouble if we want to respond in an intelligent and effective manner.

This situation didn't start today, and it didn't happen in a vacuum. Businesses have been getting a variety of tax abatements, etc. for years in Lawrence. That means that developers know that's a possibility, which undoubtedly factors into their decision making.

Nobody's good at predicting, not just the city. That's how we got the parking garage fiasco, and tax abatements for which companies didn't in fact live up to their end of the bargain, etc.

The business predicts something like 40% extra business - the city says it's less. Who's right? I say it might not even be any extra business at all - maybe I'm right.

Is it possible that it will work out to the benefit of all? Sure. But it's also possible that it'll be another parking garage mess, which I don't want. The economy's bad - people may very well eat out less. Local taxes are going up - people may very well eat out less. Gas prices are up, people may travel less to other cities to eat out. People may very well eat at OG instead of at another restaurant in town, decreasing that business which offsets any gains. Etc.

The city makes policies - you think that policies which discourage this behavior are unlikely, but policies which reward it are likely. Why is that? If true, it's because this "business friendly" rhetoric has taken over, even for you, despite the fact that you previously called for government to be "neutral".

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

Can you define blight? I can't. But go to several neighborhoods in this city there are hundreds of private homes that are in roughly the same shape as this property. It's ugly. It's underutilized. But like the Masonic Temple downtown, it's years away from needing government intervention. So we can let it sit, for years. Or until economic conditions improve and the developer decides that the time is right to improve the property. And during those years, the city gets the minimum amount in taxes.
What I'm suggesting benefits the city, and oh by the way, benefits the developer.
Unless of course you believe that government intervention is necessary. To believe that you would need to trust the same city bureaucrats that make bad projections to decide that private property is worthy of government intervention. I'd be far more skeptical of city bureaucrats deciding that this property owner is worthy of fines, seizure, etc. when there must be hundreds of properties in similar condition. I still get the impression that you're more intent on punishing speculators who gamble and miss than you are in accepting a solution that will benefit the city and happens to benefit the developer as well.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

I think we're just repeating ourselves at this point.

The problem with predicting the future is that it's impossible to do with any accuracy, regardless of who's doing it. You ignore the fact that previous predictions have been wrong, and that projected benefits didn't accrue, and in fact we're currently paying over $750,000 in current taxes for the parking garage payments, when that money was supposed to come from increased sales taxes in the district.

I have no problem at all with city officials, acting as our representatives, deciding on policies which would discourage vacancies, if that's something we want to do.

Are you "neutral" or "business friendly" - you've said both things.

I might be ok with neutral if it meant no public assistance for private projects at all. That alone might discourage letting properties sit and languish, since developers couldn't count on the city "helping out" after a while.

But, if they're getting tax write-offs that provide a benefit from property that sits vacant, then we might need more incentives in the other direction. And, of course, it would be nice if we could remove those write-offs as well.

I think that those who gamble should be willing to accept the losses as well as the winnings, otherwise they shouldn't gamble. And, I think that when you reduce/remove the risk, you encourage bad decision making. Perhaps if they knew they wouldn't get help from the city, they wouldn't overpay for property, for example.

And, we do, in fact, have a number of ordinances involving private homes, including the height to which one can let the grass grow. Other cities do as well - I know somebody in Topeka who had to do some repairs on their home because the city came by and cited them. The idea that neighborhoods and cities have some interest in making sure that homes aren't deteriorating seems reasonable to me. For one thing, if somebody in my neighborhood lets their house fall apart, it affects the property value of my home.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

Just a quick explanation - When I say neutral, I mean there has to be a benefit to the city in order to do something. If it also happens to help a business, that's fine. But the key is that it has to provide a benefit to the citizens. As far as letting businesses write off losses against other gains (gambling, whatever you call it), you must let businesses do that or nobody will take a chance. Without that, you've got no entrepreneurial spirit, and no job creation. And as far as letting a business fail if they speculate and lose, again, I have no problem with that if you're also going to let them succeed. But the government puts many restrictions on businesses and then taxes them at much higher rates when they do succeed. It seems appropriate to me that if the government is going to have it's hand out when a business succeeds, then it's O.K. to lend a hand when a business is in distress (AND if lending that hand helps the city as well). There are many in this forum who complain about our current governor's actions, and say it should be about jobs, jobs, jobs. I'm no fan of Brownback, but I agree that jobs should be a priority at any level of government. The federal government down to local governments should encourage job creation. Tearing down that building, or a major renovation will infuse the local economy with several hundreds of thousands of dollars into the millions when you add the cost of getting a restaurant up and going. Those are jobs. Will it rob local restaurants, maybe, maybe not. The customer will decide that. The customer should decide that. The worst that can happen is a small tax benefit to the city and a small job increase. The best case scenario is that those numbers will increase.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

You can't guarantee that there will be a net gain for the city - you're just speculating. Are you a millionaire from investing in the stock market? If not, why not? Because nobody can predict the future with any degree of certainty.

I've never argued for higher tax rates on successful businesses - the increased taxes that would come about from improvement of the property come from increased property valuation.

So nobody's stopping them from succeeding by not offering tax incentives.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 1 month ago

I remember a number of years ago my son got in trouble in school during the first grade. I had to go to the school to deal with the problem. Ask me what happened the rest of that week, or month, and I'll be less clear. We naturally remember certain things while forgetting others. You may well remember the projections that turned out badly. Do you remember the ones that were correct? Surely, there must be more examples of those than the failures. It's normal human nature to forget the routine success but remember the spectacular failures. I have zero memory of Sept. 10th., 2001. Yet the next day is very clear in my mind. Right, these projections might be wrong, and if confronted with 100 economists stating the model was flawed, I might think differently. But that's not the case here. It is the best information available. Might it still be wrong, sure. But we have to go with the information we have. As to the tax rates, maybe using the word rates was not the best choice of words. Yes, they would have to pay higher property taxes, but then sales taxes, employee payroll taxes, permit fees, and on and on. As a business gains greater success, the government shares in that in a variety of ways.

Jimo 4 years, 2 months ago

I believe this is pithily said as: privatize gains but socialize losses.

Taxes are not "fines."

jhawkinsf 4 years, 2 months ago

No, taxes are not fines. But a thriving business pays more in taxes. A business that is not doing well also pays taxes, just less. So the government wins either way. And the government is you and me. The owner of that eyesore is paying money now, money that he invested and you and I are benefitting from. So you're benefitting from him not matter what. If he never makes a penny from that property, you and I will still get our slice of the pie. He loses, you win. But if he wins, you win bigger.

camper 4 years, 2 months ago

I usually am for tax incentives if it brings in jobs to economically depressed areas. But not so in this case. Writer brings up a good point that small local business has a snowballs chance in heck to get a tax rebate. I also don't agree with these rebates if they are given with a lack of transparency and public input.

Just another example of how the big corporate dogs can muscle their weight around and push the small entrpreneur out. And this will not create many local jobs as their will only be a shift in service. The high paying jobs for the olive garden are wherever their corporate office (Ivory Tower) is.

George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

Compton is not a big corporate dog he is a favored son

George Lippencott 4 years, 2 months ago

Bea and company

Actually tax incentives are for individuals - the owners of the business or some aspect of the business (land).

That is why they are so horribly wrong. Tax incentives are essentially the taxpayer providing start up money for a business. That is normally done by investors who expect a return for this investment. A few jobs do not constitute a return. They come at the expense of competing individuals (other business) and the taxpayers.

This whole government selective investment in business is just a disaster. Why we allowed our elected officials to go down this path is beyond me. Having started down that path we have reaped the whirlwind of ever increasing demand by individuals seeking to aggrandize themselves at our expense!!!

It is just as wrong to subsidize Compton (both situations) as it is to subsidize GE for investment in renewable energy leading in part to their no federal corporate tax.

camper 4 years, 2 months ago

Tax incentives are essentially the taxpayer providing start up money for a business.

Yep ):

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

The people drawing this subsidy are not big buysiness. Olive garden probably did not ask for it. The property owners sold the notion to address their own problem. They are local!

camper 4 years, 1 month ago

Not necessarily, George. Companies almost always seek tax abatements when expanding and plays a part in their decision. This is what corporate tax departments do....in addition to making life miserable for other departments. Tax people are a different breed and they make things way more complicated than they need to....but that is a different topic alltogether.

I have also heard 2nd hand accounts of corruption that surrounds some of these negotiations in Chicago for instance. A lot of money travels under the table when these deals are struck.

George Lippencott 4 years, 1 month ago

I suspect -do not know - that our local people approached Olive Garden with a proposal that included the tax subsidies. Natutrally they went along. The property owners pay the tax. Olive Garden benefits because the cost of using the property is less.

Just reacting to our local predisposition to blame big business.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

Actually, if the reporting is accurate, OG will pay market rent for the space even with the tax break.

It's clearly the developers who benefit.

camper 4 years, 1 month ago

I wonder if big business is much like big government in a way. You drive down 23rd street and mostly what you see are chain stores who sell a lot of Chinese goods, outsource whenever possible, and hire the cheapest labor possible here to watch the cash registers.

In this regard I am now beginning to appreciate micro-economies, where the mom and pop stores play a role. This is the way commerce is meant to be in maybe my idealistic mind.

In a way corporations are becoming monoply like.

jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

Again, it's MD development seeking the tax break, not OG.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

The letter writers have it right on the money.

If MD is unhappy with their reckless purchase go talk to the previous owners and the real estate industry.

OR go to the bank BUT not the taxpayers!!!

Not on the taxpayers dime thank you. Local taxpayers are sick of local big government corporate welfare.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

Why doesn't Olive Garden call off MD, buy the property outright and build it from their wealthy bank accounts? I say they are in it together.

Not on the taxpayers dime thank you. Local taxpayers are sick of local big government corporate welfare.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

Social Security privatization would raise the size of the government’s deficit by another $300 billion per year for the next 20 years.

This does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

  • Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents.

How would the rest of the U.S. economy be affected if the private accounts replaced the current system?

Put simply, moving to a system of private accounts would not only put retirement income at risk—it would likely put the entire economy at risk.

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

"What kind of incentives do programs like social security and medicare make?"

To stay healthy,live long and enjoy the Social Security Insurance that one has paid for. Which makes it nothing like local big government corporate welfare.

It seems MD management and Olive Garden should be better managers of their funds thus being able to stand on their own two feet.

If the all governments would cut corporate welfare and invest this money in IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL :

  1. many of us would be saving thousands of dollars annually

  2. big business and small business could operate for less

  3. all governments and school districts could cut operating expenses substantially

  4. employed blue and white workers would be healthier thus more productive

  5. All humans would have necessary healthcare 24/7

  6. in general OUR cost of living would decrease across the board

  7. New industry,small business and jobs would develop

Thus our tax dollars would be invested in our local communities providing a jump start to economic growth that has been squandered as a result of corp welfare by reckless big governments at city,state and federal levels.

Keep in mind that tax incentives go directly to developers bank accounts. Yes those special sales tax deals puts that money into developer bank accounts forever. Not one cent in the local cookie jars. Talk about a leg up against existing local business = extreme unfriendly atmosphere for existing business aka reckless business decisions.

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