Gary A. Hofmeister: Fundamental change

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— So, how do you like the "change" so far? To those with little appreciation of the genius of our republic and the free enterprise system, I direct the question as you likely voted for Obama and change. Is this what you wanted? Let's take a look:

- Is it your opinion that we can borrow or print trillions of dollars without a day of reckoning? Is a nation really all that different from an individual or company that spends massive amounts more than it takes in? Will the Chinese, Saudis and Japanese continue to buy our essentially worthless paper? If not, ever heard of runaway inflation that wipes out 100 percent of everyone's assets and savings?

- Does anyone really think that the financial downtown was caused by allowing citizens to keep more of their own money? Has anyone heard of the Wall Street Journal editorials for at least the past 12 years warning about the quasi-governmental agencies Fannie and Freddie's threat to the entire economy? Have you seen the clips of Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and other Democrats proclaiming these were solid institutions, and thus, we should be doing more subprime mortgages, not less?

- Is it wise for the government to take ownership in private companies? Can you picture ongoing necessary business decisions being made by Congress that wouldn't be sources of endless bickering and inaction? Further, is it not obvious how little business background most members of Congress have?

- Does taxing the "rich" seem a bit more personal now? Regardless of one's income, just what percentage should the government be allowed to confiscate? Ten percent, 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent? The fact is that with the new increases proposed, if you add all the local, state and federal ones together, some people surely will be close to that 75 percent figure. We also tend to forget that with each increment of income we give up, we also surrender an equal amount of freedom. Further, does anyone recognize the difference between Equality of Opportunity vs. Forced Equality?

- We're all environmentalists in the sense of wanting clean air and water. But some of us also understand that taking an enormously expensive flier on unproven global warming in exchange for millions in lost jobs is close to insanity. One thing the envirowackos have been successful at is obfuscating the incredible costs of their plans. The bottom line is they actually want gasoline and other energy prices to increase : a lot. Question: Does this qualify as "higher taxes?"

- Have you looked at these trillions Democrats want to "invest" in simply more and better ways to make their party a majority for the foreseeable future? Does this have anything to do with creating private jobs, which is the only method to rebuild the economy? Is it not obvious that "make work" projects may provide a little short-term relief for a few workers but do nothing to create real wealth as the private sector does?

The fact is this "transformation" of our country means a vision of more and more and more big government, which means less and less liberty and freedom. If that's what you voted for and really want, you should be very happy. If, on the other hand, you just thought that our charismatic president had some magic to solve our problems, better take another look. These all are shopworn socialistic ideas that have failed time and again because they are antithetical to human nature. The power should be with the people, not the government. That works; the other never has and never will.

Hofmeister is the owner and operator of Hofmeister Personal Jewelers in downtown Steamboat, a company he founded in 1973. He is a director of the Conservative Leadership Council of Northwest Colorado and a former Republican nominee for Congress in the 10th District of Indiana. He made 18 trips to the former USSR to teach democratic-capitalism during the 1990s.

Comments

housepoor 5 years, 1 month ago

The thing that bothers me about Gary's comments is not his opinion but the tone and spirit from which they come. He is obviously very fearful and is hoping to inspire fear in others. Just like all the people who ran out and bought guns in fear of Obama taking away their rights away. They acted like it was going to happen the moment he was sworn in? One individual I know even went as far as stocking up on hunting ammo because they heard Obama was going to take away those also? Do reasonable people actually buy into this propaganda?

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JustSomeJoe 5 years, 1 month ago

Same old, same old Gary. Attacking without substance, without ideas, just attack. Right out of the Rove 2000 and 2004 playbook. It would be nice to see the GOP recognize that the majority of America sees that strategy for what it's worth. Snowbow is right, what is your suggestion? Just one.

Perhaps it's more tax cuts for the upper five percent in the country? More deregulation in our Financial and Energy sectors? Both of those "conservative" ideas have worked so well for the country over the past 20 years, is it we just haven't done enough tax cutting and deregulation? As a quick aside, yes, I'm including Clinton in there. That's where we missed a huge opportunity to being regulalation of derivative financial instruments. Regulations are needed to check the greed and stupidity factor when striving for short term profits.

Come on Gary, surely the director of the Conservative Leadership Council of Northwest Colorado and a former Republican nominee for Congress in the 10th District of Indiana has some fresh ideas on how to get our economy going? Something other than carping? Maybe start with some bullet points to get a meaningful dialogue going, perhaps just the opposite of your letter's bullet points. Stop printing money, let the biggest banks fail, lower taxes more? Let's hear it Gary.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

When the government and everybody else also runs out of money, those who voted for change "just because" are going to find out that the change occurred many years ago when our government set out to change human nature. Well, they failed. People who need a handout will keep coming back for another one until there's no more left, and then they will sit down and bemoan their fate. It's a lot easier than getting up and doing the hard work necessary to support yourself.

Rush Limbaugh is, indeed, an idiot. Unfortunately, he doesn't have to hope that Obama fails; Obama cannot succeed. Why? Because the people who voted for change expect HIM to make it happen.

People incapable of meeting their monthly debts were allowed to accumulate debt en masse until they were unable to repay what they have borrowed. And who were they borrowing from? Why, the people who saved and invested, of course, who have now lost their money in the deal. Those who had nothing and borrowed to own what they possessed will just go back to having nothing. That's what had to happen.

Our legislative branches of government failed us miserably over the past twenty years. They are the problem, and they bear responsibility. Why? Because they are primarily composed of attorneys who don't know what it's like to live off their own labor. They just skim at the margin from everybody else.

And what did Mr. Obama do before he was a Senator. Oh, yeah, he was a lawyer. He only knows how to take money from people, not how to produce wealth. It's an abstract concept to him. He never worked 60 hours a week doing the books after business hours while trying to keep his new small business afloat. He sympathizes with the people who have lost their jobs, but doesn't understand how to create a job except by -- guess what -- taking money away from people who have it to fund government jobs for people who don't.

There are going to be a bunch of people scrabbling in the dirt for a turnip, Scarlet O'Hara style, before this crisis is over. We're going to see people driven to crime by hunger, and they're going to end up in labor camps working on government farms to supply soup kitchens. Will we see people living in abandoned, foreclosed houses that can't be sold, without running water or electricity? Guess what; it's already happening. We're just not hearing about it in the national media. Appalachia and pre-1950s Mississippi are coming back, but this time they'll be easy for everyone to see.

Our hope is that the military dictator who takes control under martial law will be a patriot and will seek the support of law-abiding, productive citizens. Somebody like Obama may be in the Oval Office, but he'll be a puppet held up by the Constitution, and that's all. It will turn out that the skills built by our military in the reconstruction of Iraq will come in very handy right here at home. The insurgents from Mexico will be easy to deal with compared to Al Qaeda.

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Troutguy 5 years, 1 month ago

aichempty, Wind turbines out there to spoil the view??!! Really?? Ever been the the Santa Barbara/Ventura coast before. All those lovely oil rigs right off the coast sure do make for a beautiful view. Or take a drive on 70 thru the west slope. All those drilling rigs sure are picturesque, aren't they? Let me get my camera.

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 1 month ago

LFTO, You won, it's time to get to work, the Republicans don't have enough votes, you can pretty much do whatever you want. O doesn't seem to have a grasp of the situation, he is escaping, by extending his campaign, that he enjoyed so much. When is he minding the store? He's too busy playing with AF1 and the HELI1 to tend to business. I suspect that a more accurate title might be "campaigner in chief". Are we being governed by a committee? His main energy policies include solar ( the sun does'nt shine at night) and wind ( the wind doesn't always blow). No nuclear, too practical, no hydropower, we might offend someone. Let's put a big tax on carbon fuels, that will solve everything. I did'nt criticize him immediately but the picture seems to be coming clearer, I hope that I am wrong, we are desparate for leadership. Liberals do many wonderful things, but taking a community organizer and dumping him into this hotseat is pure folly, especially with the liberals running the whole show. Politicians should have an option. 1 Earmarks and term limits 2 No earmarks and no term limits Now that would be uncivilized.

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ybul 5 years, 1 month ago

=( the wind doesn't always blow)-

The wind is always blowing somewhere. With an overhauled grid so the 9 individual ones can talk to one another, the wind resources from North Dakota would provide a very consistent base load all year as if it is not blowing in Texas it is up north.

LTFO - If one disagrees with you that does not mean they are against you. That type of talk belongs in China where you can not dissent.

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ybul 5 years, 1 month ago

Here is a real world example of a country with problems that we are facing today and how they overcame their problems.

http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=2004&month=04

The finger pointing goes to both parties. A mess this big was not created in 8 years, Clinton passed legislation to exempt Credit Default Swaps from regulation. That is a major part of todays mess, as most purchasers were simply gambling on a systemic failure and did not own the bonds being insured. Why are we bailing them out vis-a-vi AIG.

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Lou Coggia 5 years, 1 month ago

Gary, you really ought to be ashamed of yourself on at least 3 points.

One you loose all credibility by asserting that some people pay 75% of their income in taxes. Show me one!!!

Second, where were your rants when the Bush administration allowed the Wall Street crowd to run amok by totally turning away from any regulation. There are many culprits to this economic mess but Wall Street, the rating agencies and the government watchdogs agencies deserve the most blame. Primarily because they put greed and profits above transparency and accountability.

Third you obviously have some short term memory issues. It was Bush that inherited a budget surplus and turned it into a trillion dollar deficit - mostly through his war in Iraq which it pushed through with lies and deceit.

Instead of ranting and raving come up with some constructive ideas.

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4genlocal 5 years, 1 month ago

The Republican Party should be embarrassed. They all were in such a hurry to bail out on GW Bush that they forgot to help educate the public. The Clinton admin was where most of our current situation started. GW should have seen it and changed it but he did not. Now for O his presidency will not be too far from Clintons. Lets face it they have many of the same advisors. O even has Hillary.

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MDSand 5 years, 1 month ago

I don't say this as a personal attack. I once bought a ring for my wife at Gary Hofmeister's store, but, with all the civility I can muster, I surely won't ever buy anything else there. It may be brave of him to express his deep-seated opinions, or it may just be bad business. I grew up hearing every conservative argument for every situation and am glad to see that nothing has changed, which, I guess, is part of the meaning of being conservative. Let the haves keep having and the have-nots stay poor, let the white people rule over all people of color. I'm glad that Gary is secure in his opinions, his employment, and his position in this American life. I believe that the strongest political statement I can make in refutation is to not do business with him.

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untamedShrewd 5 years, 1 month ago

The pessimist and the optimist: story to live by

A pessimistic kid was put into a room full of toys for the day and an optimistic kid was put into a room full of crap. At the end of the day, the pessimistic kid was crying in the corner, not a single toy was touched. When ask why so sad when surrounded with all the toys a kid could dream of. The pessimistic kid whinned "I knew I have to give them back".

In the next room, the optimistic kid was laughing while digging through the crap. When asked what could possible be so exciting in a room full of crap. The optimistic kid responded "With all this crap there must be a horse in here somewhere."

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housepoor 5 years, 1 month ago

Big Government? Do your homework Gary http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2003/Bush-Government-Grows4sep03.htm and "unproven global warming " even dimwit Bushy saw the light

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ybul 5 years, 1 month ago

MDSand,

 If you dig a little deeper into the story, the haves are those with the first opportunity at newly created money and debt.  The bankers, and those that are exposed to the new money/debt last tend to fair worse.

 Inflation has been the killer of the middle class and making fewer haves.
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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

@ housepoor ---

Your point is well made but it is made finer by identifying the party which simultaneously held Congress during that same time period. The best of times --- Clinton 1 & Newton Gingrich's Republican Congress. When Newton ran Congress, spending increased at a rate less than GDP growth, hence surpluses.

It is really not that hard to balance the Federal budget. Eisenhyower balanced 8 budgets in a row while building the US nuclear arsenal.

@untamed ---

And your point is exactly what?

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MrTaiChi 5 years, 1 month ago

@ LTFO

curious- LTFO: LT for Obama?

Taliban? - in what respect?

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flotilla 5 years, 1 month ago

Seriously Brett Boyer, the mere fact you continue to print this CRAP is infuriating. In the midst of a crisis, maybe printing articles about saving money, energy, relationships, etc. and how to move forward might be more appreciative and well-received.
I think there are plenty of Americans that screwed up but now understand it is time for a change. A change they have to make in their daily lives. Let us change our daily paper and start our Sunday off with a little substance. I am sure there is someone you could pay other than had-his-day-ex-investigator Rob Douglas to bring some change to your paper. And don't forget, you don't have to print every ultra conservative's spewing when they send it in. Your printing articles that still dispute the reality of global warming and claims of "envirowackos" is an insult to each one of us that works to protect our enviroment- regardless of the scale. Because clean air and water means more than just that. Gonna be tough to have the water around when it is all in California with the democrats. It means REGULATIONS. I know that word isn't in the republican conservation dictionary.

Maybe the price of diamonds has hurt your feelings, Gary, giving you a reason to lash out. What, no one has 3-5 months salary for your engagement rings? Have to pay off their 29.9% interest rate credit cards? YES it is time for a change.

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untamedShrewd 5 years, 1 month ago

point is...stop whining. The pessimist will always expect the worst and has a negative outlook on life. "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -Oscar Wilde more words to live by: "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportuinty in every difficulty." Winston Churchill

"An optimist laughs to forget, a pessimist forgets to laugh."

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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

I am an unabashed optimist and I am even certain this mess will ultimately be resolved though I doubt it will be resolved in any manner remotely resembling what it looks like today.

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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

The origins of this mess are really not difficult to identify and track:

  1. Politically motivated ignorance of basic financial underwriting of mortgage loans (no income doc, liar loans, teaser rates) with the objective of dramatically increasing home ownership as a social objective.

  2. The securitization of these mortgages into derivative securities which cannot be undone upon failure.

  3. The absurd subdivision of subprime mortgages into tranches which attempt to float the "quality" to the top tranche and thereby make an investment grade security from a piece of crap.

  4. The grossly overleveraging of the balance sheets of the mortgage companies, GSEs and investment banks which originated, created, structured and sold these suspect instruments.

  5. The issuance of credit default swaps which fictitiously alleged to "insure" against default while concentrating gargantuan amounts of risks in the issuers of the credit default swaps.

  6. The lack of regulation of the original securitizations, derivative securities, balance sheets, phoney insurance and accounting for the entire process by the SEC, PCAOB, FDIC and Fed.

  7. The repeal of the uptick rule pertaining to short selling, widespread naked shortselling and shortselling itself.

  8. The ineffective leadership of the Democratic Congress in allowing such legislation to pass.

  9. The ineffective leaderhip of the Bush administration in failing to prevent the legislation and the inadequate oversight of the SEC, PCAOB, FDIC and the Fed.

The Republican Congress' drunken spending binge and the failure of Pres Bush to veto -- anything!

  1. The failure of the financial community to heed Greenspan's warnings as to "irrational exuberance" in real time.
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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

  1. The unfortunate timing of coinciding w/ a Presidential election creating a huge audience for hyperbolic carping and blamesmanship making the problem infinetely greater than even its own enormous reality.

  2. The ineptitude of the new administration in being unable to focus on THE problem and to appoint competent folks to run the Treasury to deal with it.

  3. The craven opportunism of the new administration in using the pain of the recession to advance a litany of liberal spending problems. [Hint: you do not break ground on the new bedroom and bathroom addition when the fire department is still trying to put out the house fire. Small point.]

  4. The President's inexperience in talking America down off the ledge. You have to speak from the heart not from a teleprompter, Mr. President. Didn't you used to be a community organizer?

  5. The President's wholesale abandonment of any and all promises pertaining to fiscal responsibility. While earmarks are not the end of the world, your failure to keep your word is, in fact, the end of your credibility.

  6. The absurd notion that "everybody" is going to be OK. The American auto companies are dead --- nobody is willing to order the damn autopsy. Darwin is a guy you are going to have to meet, America!

  7. The idea that if you take 100% of everything owned and earned by the top 2% in America, it will be enough to solve the problem. It will not and they are also the smartest 2% in America. You can't make the problem go away by penalizing the investor, entrepreneurial, ownership element in society -- not if you want a job.

If you have been following the UBS Swiss bank tax evasion issue wherein 52,000 wealthy Americans have secret bank accounts in Switzerland and UBS refuses to turn the names over to the IRS --- who do you think these folks are anyway?

  1. Paperless healthcare delivery systems, cap & trade carbon and wind power are not going to provide new jobs any time soon.

Wind, solar, bio are 3-6 x as expensive as their alternative energy sources.

Nuclear is cheaper and the construction of 100 nuclear power plants would be provide power and instant jobs.

Put the damn waste in W Texas or N Mexico and get moving.

  1. The TARP, the Porkulus, the Ears of Pork (the 1000 Points of Park) and the HASP are not really job creation mechanisms. Sorry.

  2. Slapping the SBA loan program with a checkbook will create jobs because it is a direct infusion of capital into the hands of employers.

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trump_suit 5 years, 1 month ago

Don't you just love the way the Republican party has managed to blame the Democrats for the terrible economic problems that started on their watch????

Kind of like when Mom comes home and finds chocolate syrup all over the kitchen. When Mom asks the two chocolate covered boys who did this, they both respond "I dunno" or point at the other one.

I do not pretend to know the right or wrong answers to our current economic dilemmas but I do know one or two things.

1. President Obama and his policies are NOT responsible. These issues started long before his administration.

2. Both parties are to blame for the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac clusterf&%.

3. Constant bitching and whining is not going to resolve anything. Sit down and work together for the common good.

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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

@trump ---

When Mom came home and found chocolate syrup all over the place, Mom went ugly quick and out came the strap. Mom never asked obvious questions and she never, ever gave a Miranda warning. Mom knew something about accountability and if you didn't understand what Mom was thinking, you better speak up lickety split cause Mom was all about "change"!

And believe me when Mom said something had to change, it was a change you could believe in.

Who really cares how we got into this mess as it relates to the President?

The Presidency is like a baseball game and there has been a pitching change. The new President comes in and the old President hands over the ball and goes back to the bench.

The real question is does the new Prez have any "stuff"?

It doesn't even matter what the score of the game currently is.

Does the President's stuff --- TARP, Porkulus, Ears of Pork (1000 Points of Pork), HASP --- work? Does it?

A bit early to tell but I gotta think that nobody and I mean nobody in Washington really knows whether a lurch to the left is going to accomplish anything.

So the real question is can a President Barack Obama throw strikes and can a bunch of tax cheats hit, field and run the bases. The initial reviews are not very good. But again, it's early.

I can assure you that paperless healthcare, wind power, education did not create the problem and they are not going to lead the parade of job creation. Nor are they the solution.

Let's conduct a bit of triage --- stabilize the patient, stop the bleeding, get some fluids into him and then we can start pondering the Boston Marathon.

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popcan 5 years, 1 month ago

I think Gary wrote a very good article about our upcoming changes that we need to be concerned about. Since the Liberals think we as Americans are no longer capable of bettering ourselves, we must have Barack and Company do it for us. So much for hard work : Let's be panhandlers! Thinking about saving some money to buy something : NOT! First you must be willing to sacrifice more! --Middle Class Working Folks: Going to get the living daylights taxed out of them to pay for all the nice programs for free-loaders. Open up your checkbook and get ready. --No need to hang on to your job: Taxing employers may give them more incentive to go-out-of-business. Why work when Barack is going to penalize you. --Barack Obama-Ted Kennedy Health Insurance Plan: You too can now pay extremely high premiums for your family and five other families ... Congratulations, I know you wanted to help somebody. --Is it possible to get government paid automobile insurance? Since health insurance is a requirement and not a privilege. After all insurance is insurance have the government pay for it all. Then we the middle class can really pay taxes. --Raise the automotive registrations. Thank you Bill Ritter. I thought maybe Referendum D and C along with our current tax system was paying for roads and bridges. Guess not, someone else must be getting a better part of that revenue. --Global warming and the Carbon Tax. I guess nowadays the greenies can't prove that global warming is occurring ... So now they call it climate change. Geez, if I get to pay Carbon Tax, who's pocket am I going to line with all those funds. I feel so guilty for hurting the environment, and others should feel miserable too. Get rid of those toys that burn fossil fuels. --Really looking forward to the mileage tax to help produce more revenue for the government. Keep up the good job Billy! We shouldn't drive without being punished. Personally, I myself would rather pay for my own health insurance and be part of the Free Enterprise System : not the Socialist States of America. Our country offers opportunities to everyone. Get off your butt and get a job, go to school or get a career. Put some money in the bank. I think you'll find that hard work is going to pay more than asking the government for a hand-out : You panhandler you!

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

ybul,

You need to check the wind maps, friend.

Also, learn something about line loss in electrical power transmission.

Finally, check to see what a single commercial wind generator can put out under average conditions and figure out how many of them operating continuously across the grid would be required to replace coal-fired plants.

I used to live in the California desert close to wind, solar and geothermal generation plants. We had the option of selecting the source of our power, and paid the cost of generation by that source. Wind was one of the highest because of the number of generators required, the cost of maintaining them, and the unreliable nature of wind power as weather conditions change.

Any time you have to duplicate infrastructure, you increase the associated costs. Having wind, solar and coal fired plants in place to serve the same number of customers under varying weather conditions only increases the cost of power to the customer. It's like having a Suburban, a Subaru and a Suziki in your garage, and paying for taxes and insurance and making payments on all of them so that you can drive the one that best suits your needs on any particular day.

A few well-placed coal, nuclear and hydro plants can serve the grid efficiently because the infrastructure and people required to maintain it don't have to be duplicated. If you try to use wind and solar as primary sources with hydro, nuclear and coal as backups, you pay the costs of maintaining all of them while the total capacity far exceeds the continuous demand. You're paying a fixed operating cost for stuff you don't use so that it will be ready to bring on line when the wind dies and the sun goes down.

I think the more reasonable approach is to require all new housing to be equipped with LED lighting, solar panels, batteries and synchronous inverters. If the "wind zone" is right, then all new developments should be required to install and maintain a wind turbine as a cooperative venture among the homeowners. This will double the cost of housing in a lot of places, but hey, "they" can afford it, right?

Just imagine the new Steamboat 700 development with solar panels that have to be swept clear of snow and a couple of big ol' wind turbines out there to spoil the view. But think how GREEN it would be!

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ybul 5 years, 1 month ago

Yep they would have to be distributed to provide a base load, and yes there are problems with transmission loss. However, they are working on compressed air as a storage method for the wind in the midwest.

Yes Led lights would be good. Never said a thing about solar, just that the wind is always blowing somewhere and that as it is always blowing somewhere it could provide a base load and not require all the duplication of service you are talking about.

What is left out in the conventional energy production methods is the trampling of private property rights, to clean air and water, in the firing of a coal fired plant. The inability to eat fish in many reservoirs because of mercury toxicity is a cost born by all no matter wether you use no electricity or drive an electric humvee.

So there are trade offs and without taking into account all the costs which are externalized in conventional energy production, we end up individually paying those costs, wether in additional medical expense or ??.

There are many challenges and without viewing the whole we are going to go to heck in a hand basket. Given that twenty mile is expected to run out of coal in 2013, where do we get the coal for the power plant (forever). Conservation only extends the time frame but there is not inexhaustable oil/coal.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

Fishy,

Sure I have, all those places. If I close my eyes, I can smell the oil fields of Bakersfield, CA. If the people who live on the beach in Santa Barbara don't want to see the oil rigs, they should sell out and move. Fair enough, right? I mean, why should Babs Streisand get to have a view in return for me paying extra for gasoline. What makes her so special compared to, oh, I don't know, maybe 10,000 people living in Routt County?

If you don't want to see that stuff, just don't look at it. I own a little place in another state where I'd be thrilled to lease ground for a wind turbine, except the wind zone is wrong and it wouldn't pay off. Sun, on the other hand, is something I plan to exploit with enough solar cells to run my house and bring me back a profit. If fact, it just struck me that I can supplement my eventual retirement income by selling solar power back to the grid.

There are people living under the power lines in Sacramento, CA who have lost their jobs in construction, sales, etc. There was a story about them on NBC Today on Monday morning. Would you rather see hard-working Americans living in tents in squatters camps or oil rigs and windmills? I vote for the latter.

Canada and Alaska are just FULL of empty space. Go live there, far away from having to see anything. It's your choice. By the way, if you come inland a few miles from Santa Barbara, you can't see the ocean at all. Oh, and when it's hazy (usually) you can't see the rigs. I am particularly offended by the irregular shapes of the Channel Islands near Point Mugu, and not seeing them is fairly easy to accomplish with very little effort.

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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

The simple truth of the matter is that much of what Obama has enacted will not work and much of what he plans is totally untested.

What is known is that when Pres Bush cut taxes, the economy grew for the longest continuous period of time since WWII. The longest expansion of the economy in our lives! Over 5 years of continuous growth. Unfortunately, the Republican controlled Congress spent all of that growth.

Now Obama intends to try untested means and to make war on the investor/entrepreneur/small business/wealthy segment of America.

He intends to:

  1. Increase income taxes;
  2. Marginalize and reduce the value of itemized deductions (property/income/sales taxes, charitable contributions, professional education, etc.) --- thereby increasing taxes again.
  3. Increase the capital gains rate of taxation.
  4. Increase the applicable limit ($106,000) for payroll taxes --- thereby increasing taxes again.
  5. Not provide any mortgage relief to anybody making more than $200K or whose mortgage is currently under water.
  6. Spend huge amounts of money supporting unions --- "card check", Project Labor Agreements, UAW bailout of automakers --- thereby increaing the costs of good and services. [Pay particular attention to the Exec Order pertaining to PLAs which will increase the cost of all public projects by mandating the use of union labor and "prevailing" wage rates --- union rates, mind you. Thereby stifling price competition and job creation at a critical instant in time when both are possible.]

Meanwhile in China, car sales have increased beyond those of the US --- did you ever think you would see such a day? Why did they increase? Because the Chinese reduced taxes. Reduced taxes and left the average Chinaman with more money in his pocket with which he apparently bought a car.

Largest car maker in China? GM --- General Freakin' Motors! GM!

In China --- record sales. In the USA --- a huge bailout. Could it be the politics of the situation? The policies? Somebody has to be right and somebody has to be wrong cause the outcomes are different!

You can't make this stuff up, folks. Oh, well, maybe Obama is ready to deal with ........................ gays in the military! LOL

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trump_suit 5 years, 1 month ago

JLM, This first sentence of yours sums up my concerns with the "Republican/Conservative" platform right now.

"The simple truth of the matter is that much of what Obama has enacted will not work and much of what he plans is totally untested."

How can you possibly tell us in the same sentence that what is being proposed cannot work and has never been tested. You cannot have it both ways!

I have always considered myself a fiscal conservative when it comes to financial matters. I am very concerned about the direction that we are taking with these huge bailouts and deficeit spending. By the same token there are many economists that believe this is the right course of action.

George Bush did reduce taxes, but he also ran up large deficeits and forced us to fund a war that was not necessary. This economy went bad long before Obama was elected and the "Bush tax cuts" did not seem to stop it now did they?

I know that most of my friends that own small companies with incomes from 50K to 300K did not do as well during the Bush years as they did during the Clinton years. The people screaming about social engineering are the ones that benefited from those changes. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. Don't you think it is possible that the pendulum swung too far?

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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

@trump ---

I am no apologist for Pres Bush and the Congressional Republicans and I am not a defender of any of their actions. I am however a firm believer in the facts --- Bush had the longest economic expansion of any President since WWII. Five and a half years! Driven by tax cuts. Created an enormous amount of wealth.

We all get our own opinions but we all have to deal with the same facts!

The time line shows that he inherited a mild recession, lorded over a huge expansion (granted the R Congress spent it all) and then has handed Obama a big recession.

The economy is always doing something --- either expanding or contracting. It doesn't stay still.

The policies which have led to the recession were arguably enacted during the Clinton years. They did not impact the economy fully until the end of the Bush presidency and now Obama has inherited them.

Kinda like a guy who jumps off a 50-story building, falls 40 stories and says: "Hmmm, so far, so good!" It's the landing that really hurts. The bad Clinton era policies --- a chicken (house) in every pot --- did not land until the end of the Bush presidency.

When Cisneros was the head of HUD, he increased traditionally unqualified home ownership at the GSEs (Fanny, Freddie, HUD) to 42% and Cuomo, his successor, then increased it to 50%. These are discreetly identifiable policies which are not open to wild speculation --- sure it took guys like Dodd and Frank to help these policies wind their way through the Congress but the facts are what they are!

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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

@trump ---

Some of Obama's policies will not work; and, some of Obama's policies are totally untested. No conflict there!

The predicament we are in was not created by the lack of paperless health records, the absence of wind power or a shortage of college graduates --- so throwing money at those issues is not going to solve the problem.

Everybody knows in their hearts that all of the banks cannot survive and that the American car companies will not make it without being able to shed expensive union contracts. Throwing money --- absent a bit of Darwinian financial survival of the fittest --- is not going to solve the problem.

The idea that wind and solar power --- which cost 3-5 x as much as carbon based power --- is a viable option to solve unemployment problems is not going to work and much of the technology is totally untested while nuclear power generation is less expensive than carbon based power and has been safely generating power for 50 years.

The US Navy has been using nuclear power since 1954, has over 80 ships with onboard nuclear reactors and has over 5500 nuclear years of safe operation. Remember, other navies have been unable to use nuclear power safely. We can and do.

The construction of 100 nuclear power plants in the US would make a huge contribution to employment, energy independence and energy issues --- arguably the largest problems with which we are confronted.

The French have 60 nuclear power plants, generate 80% of their own power by nuclear and export power to other countries. They are net exporters of power!

Think how good this could be for the environment, power cost, energy and jobs! Sustainable jobs because power plants require operating staffs while a highway overpass does not.

So, yes, some of Obama's plans are unworkable; and, some are totally untested. More importantly you don't have to be very smart to understand this point which makes even Democrats able to get it!

Do you get it! LOL --- just kidding!

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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

@trump ---

You are absolutely right about your comments as it relates to the Clinton years --- when Newt Gingrich controlled the Congressional spending. These were the best economic years in some recent time. I would take them back in a second.

Clinton did not really have much to do with it --- he was otherwise occupied with a fat faced little intern named Monica. It was the Republican Congress which at that time acted like they were really Republicans.

BTW, do you remember what a great job the Democarats did on health care that time around? LOL

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trump_suit 5 years, 1 month ago

You are absolutely correct about Nuclear Power. We should also be drilling, exploiting Natural Gas, and installing as much wind/solar as can be made. Sending that much money overseas for oil is simply nuts.

We should let most or all of these corporations go bankrupt and find a way to deal with the consequences.

I support a cap on Capital Gains taxes in the 15-20% range.

Balance the (*^%&^$%( Budget.

Find a way to fix Healthcare. My suggestion is this:

  1. If you have a social security number, you are in the "GROUP". There is only one. All Americans are covered the same there is no difference between unemployed, GM employee, or self-employed. All get the same rates and coverage options.

  2. Pre-existing conditions no longer exist. If your premiums are paid, you are covered................................................

Finally, we should do something about that Santa Claus guy. He didn't bring me enough last year.

Seriously, over time the pendulum that supports the rich vs. the middle class has swung back and forth several times. The unions have been completely powerful to invisible or completely gone. Tax policy has shifted widely over the decades. I truly believe that we may have gone a little too far in pursuit of the almighty profit dollar and need to craft a regulatory policy that rewards hard work, good jobs and renewable energy. This includes protection for the environment and a tax policy that rewards American corporations for building American factories and jobs.

If the Gov't structures the rules properly, private industry will take care of the rest. The devil is in the details and those darn unintended consequences.

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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

@ the Donald ---

Solar and wind --- really cool ideas, keen ideas, fun ideas, hot ideas, ideas that you just want to hug until they smile --- are affirmative action programs because they can't be made to work financially without a huge boost and an unfair assist.

You cannot create energy/financial independence by investing in technologies that cost 3-6 x what they are intended to replace.

Are you willing to pay 3-6 x more for your electricity? Why?

Nuclear works like a champ and is cheaper. You can build nuclear where you need it. Nuclear never asks for the day off because the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining.

Nuclear provides great follow on technology jobs.

Let's try the stuff that works and is cheaper first! That's called common sense where I come from.

Why tax capital at all? Most other countries do not tax capital. Isn't capital already "after tax" money anyway? You work hard, pay your taxes --- invest your "after tax" $$$ and then the gov't wants to tax it all again?

How many times does the government get to tax the same money? Isn't once enough?

Oh, yeah, they will want to tax it again when you die!

Unions --- UAW, teachers, AFSCME, construction --- are only 16% of the work force in America and yet Obama just signed an Exec Order mandating that all Fed $$$ for infrastructure greater than $25MM have a PLA (project labor agreement) mandating union work forces and "prevailing wages" (inflated union wages with union dues attached). This will create fewer jobs and will favor union workers --- 16% of the American work force and not likely to be the folks actually looking for a job.

Jimmy Hoffa, Jr thinks it's a great idea. Pretty much anything JH is "for", I can bet I am "against". JH is not looking out for America, he's pimping his union boys.

Oh, yeah, the unions rallied hard and helped get Obama elected --- payback, baby!

"Card check"? Oh, yeah!

A policy that "...rewards hard work..."? We already have one --- it's called the "free market" and it keeps score with wealth. The reward for hard work is you make more money and you get to spend it, contribute it, invest it, bequeth it and keep it.

The problem with socialism? Pretty soon you run out of OPM to "redistribute".

Obama is proving himself to be a very, very ordinary man who is way over his head in a hard lurch to the left.

Transparency, 48-72 hour posting of bills before action, lobbyists in government, freakin' earmarks, gun control, taxes? Not so much, huh?

Very ordinary politician!

Worst thing? This crap is not going to work and we will have spent the grocery money!

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MrTaiChi 5 years, 1 month ago

@ MDsand

Since your post I have been thinking about boycotts. In a democratic society it seems normal for people to express their displeasure of actions and ideas with a personal act of refutation or reprisal. You might say that a boycott is something like an economic death wish for the entity or person against whom it is intended. Show me a person who hasn't shunned a person or product with whom they disagree, and I'll show you a liar. It's well enough for liberals to boycott Welsh's jellies because he was a supporter of the John Birch Society, or to boycott Japanese tuna products because they kill whales. Don't we all feel better afterward! Let's not forget the more contemporary example of homosexuals obtaining lists of Prop. 8 contributors and retaliating economically against them. But what about conservative boycotts? We all learned in school that the Hollywood blacklisted communists were victims of intolerance and the suppression of free expression and association. Yet it was a brave gesture of defiance for the actors Ed Harris, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins to stand and face backwards at the stage when at the acadamy awards a life achievement award was given posthumously to Elia Kazan. He shouldn't have ratted out members of the illegal communist party to the government. When the Dixie Chicks' music was largely shunned by country music fans, the media reported it as if it was small and mean spirited. The point is that economic reprisals in retaliation for expressions of opinion are human enough responses. What bothers me is the whiff of ignorant arrogance when the boycott is noble and just because it complys with your life view, but mean and ugly when it doesn't. Jefferson said in his second inaugural that we should not fear speech, even if we find it repugnant, because in the contest of ideas it will be judged by the public and receive the weight it deserves. Put me down in the "brave" column for Hoffmeister. He has stuck his head up from the masses, the place most likely to get it cut off.

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JustSomeJoe 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm going back to my original point. What good is Gary's column when all it does is complain about the problem and not offer any solutions? I'd love to see Gary chime in here and tell us what he thinks would solve the problem, or perhaps tell us when his next letter to the editor with the solution will be. Let's see the NW CO conservative leader flex some leadership skills rather than his naysaying skills.

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MDSand 5 years, 1 month ago

Mr. TC- Interesting points you make. I would argue that I am not calling for a pro-active boycott of Gary's store, only saying that, as an individual, I will choose to shop somewhere else. I wouldn't try to take away someone's livelihood because I disagree with their politics. In the case of the Dixe Chicks that's exactly what happened. It wasn't the country music fans who "fanned" the flames of that controversy, rather it was the media conglomerates who own hundreds of stations and saw the opportunity to galvanize their audience by appealing on a "them vs. us" level, essentially making country music radio a bastion of Republicanism, much to the chagrin of those in the audience and in the business who held other views. The Dixie Chicks both presented the opportunity and became the collateral damage.

I really don't think there's anything "brave" about Gary Hofmeister"s comments. If he were being brave he would say something like "Yes, we lost the election and we need to give the President some time to see if his approach is going to work." That to me is not only brave but mature. Instead what we got was a knee-jerk conservative response some fifty days after eight years of conservative governance. My point was that I've heard that knee-jerk response all my life, that it never changes, and that I will choose to go somewhere else when I need to buy some bangles.

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JLM 5 years, 1 month ago

Huh?

"...making country music radio a bastion of Republicanism..."

Hmmm, let me check that with Willie when he's not stoned. Not so much, maybe? LOL

The Dixie Chicks gratuitously insulted OUR President in a foreign country. They were being flippant and pandering to the crowd. At the end of the day, they are entertainers and the American public --- any many of their peer group entertainers --- did not find their comments entertaining.

I may not agree with President Obama on policy issues, but he is still MY President and I would not stand for another American insulting him in front of a foreign audience. I respect him because he represents us and I respect US. And I respect you.

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ybul 5 years, 1 month ago

JLM,

So have you pondered the hidden, social costs of nuclear power (who is going to store the spent waste, I have heard of ways to reuse it and reduce its lifespan, but there is still a little leftover which europe ships to Africa if I am not mistaken)? The long term costs of Coal? The long term benefits of solar, coupled with either compression technologies or cracking water to make hydrogen and transporting that for storage issues.

Wind is the least expensive form of energy when you factor in the externalized costs that are born by society as a whole not internalized in the production process.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

ybul,

Yeah, well, society as a whole doesn't pay my power bill. Society as a whole demands more electricity.

The Navy certainly does have a great record of nuclear reactor safety. One reason for that is that there are multiple checks and balances on the ships to ensure that watch-standers are not drunk, drugged or distracted. They are not driving home every night in traffic, dealing with the kids and spouses the instant they cross the threshold, and all that mess on an "acute" basis. Oh, plus, the watch is either 2 or 4 hours. Not 8. Oh, also, the naval reactors are tiny compared to what's required for commercial power generation. If we could have two reactors for every 5000 people (like on the more modern aircraft carriers) and enforce all those other practices, then it would be a great idea.

Now as for waste disposal, I'm going to give you an idea that's as viable as wind power. We go ahead and construct those space elevators with 22,500 miles of Kevlar cable running from the surface out to the satellite station on the other end, and use them to haul the nucular waste into orbit. From there, we use giant solar powered oppositional trebuchets (to compensate for torque in the weightless environment -- I just invented them right here) to fling the stuff into the sun, Jupiter, Saturn, or some other place where it won't amount to a drop in a swimming pool worth of waste compared to what's already there.

So, the nuclear waste problem is solved. All we need now is for society to fund it.

Next?

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MrTaiChi 5 years, 1 month ago

@ MDsand

You are a gentleman, or gentle..., dare I say it- 'lady.'

I appereciate your consciously keeping the debate civil. There are too many examples of the opposite use of this public forum to engage in snarky sarcasm. I am chargeable with some of that in my earliest postings because it was fun but came to realize that yielding to that temptation does nothing but demonstrate my own narcissism.

I used the word, 'brave', because you did in your original posting. You querried whether Hofmeister invited reprisals such as yours against his business by being outspoken.

Your life experience with conservative philosophy is that it offers nothing more than trickle-down crumbs to Americans on the lower end of the economic scale. Stripped to its barest essentials you have a good argument. Capitalism, based on conservative philosphy, however, has brought the poorest of Americans to a position of wealth that our grandparents would have envied. It is the disparity of wealth that liberals can't stand. For conservatives, stripping liberal philosphy to its barest essentials reveals politics driven by envy, class warfare, racial and group identity politics antithetical to the public good, and foolish belief that human nature can be perfected with governmental controls. Even if Hofmeister doesn't have answers, He's within the bounds of fair comment to draw on his life experience to shout that Pelosi's two major spending bills are a rehash of liberal initiatives under several Democratic administrations.

Its still a free country. You can buy your bangles and beads in New Orleans if that is what you want. Conservatives can admit that they don't know the answers, but know the questions.

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ybul 5 years, 1 month ago

aich,

Yep society does not pay your electric bill. The nuke issue will solve itself and the waste will have to be dealt with. On coal the waste is dealt with by the fact pregnant moms are not supposed to eat fish from certain areas as it could harm brain development in their babies. What is the economic cost of that my friend? Yep, as long as I get what I want the world is great, no matter who else my actions harm.

 That is why the constitution has property rights defended as an individual right.  So that one individual can not steal from another.  That is what pollution is, the theft from one group by another group.  The problem with pollution is determining its value.  It is unfortunate that only CO2 gets discussed as a problem, where as Mercury is a much bigger cost in my opinion.
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