Friday, October 16, 2009

When the State Gets Local

I'd say, for the most part, I'm more of a Hamilton than Jefferson guy when it comes to the relationship between governments in our federal system.  I don't want the states to have a lot of power.  I'm not a states right guy.  But I'm also not a fan of the bigger government telling the governments bellow it what to do and how to write their constitutions or by laws (in policy speak, I like home rule over Dillon's rule).  If Cook County wants to have a four-fifths threshold to override a veto, let them have a four-fifths threshold. It's their law and the state of Illinois shouldn't tell them other wise.  Same goes for the income tax level... I'm not sure a larger government should be telling a lower government what their tax rates should be.  The Tribune disagrees with me, I guess because they don't like the Cook County tax rate and bylaws.  But just because you don't like something doesn't mean it should not be.

As the Capital Fax points out, it sets a horrible precedent and pretty much invites the state to get involved in other local tax issues.  The Tribune is parading a very undemocratic view: if the people don't like the sales tax in Cook County, they'll have a chance to vote the bums out of office in February or November of 2010.  This is how democracy works.  Getting a larger governmental body just because you don't like it is stupid, short sighted, and undemocratic.

Ladies and Gentlemen... the George W. Bush years

Jones, who was employed by a Halliburton subsidiary, KBR, which was fighting oil fires, recounts a pattern of subsequent behaviour by the company, including locking her in a container under armed guard and the loss of crucial forensic evidence, that she says amounts to a cover-up.

Halliburton/KBR used a clause in Jones's contract requiring disputes to be settled by arbitration to block legal action, a policy her lawyer says has encouraged assaults by creating a climate of impunity.

I mean come on, we really needed the Senate to get involved here? Shouldn't these guys been prosecuted without having to go to the U.S. Senate?  Isn't rape rape even if Halliburton is involved?  Why did the US government turn a blinds eye to this?  Disgusting.  Absolutely disgusting.

And to show just how far the banks have to go, Bank of America lost a cool $2.26 billion this quarter.  This shouldn't be a huge shock since we've known that the banks are in a tough spot.  We aren't out of the woods until the banks are fully deleverage (thus screwing you and me over).  It's clear that the government won't let any of the big banks fail, but also won't do anything that will piss off share holders/the market.  Thus the process is going to take longer than anyone would probably like.

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