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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

On the stump

Persident Obama in Elkhart:

“I can't tell you with a hundred percent certainty that every single item in this plan will work exactly as we hoped,” he said. “But what I can tell you is — I can say with complete confidence that endless delay or paralysis in Washington in the face of this crisis will only bring deepening disaster. I can tell you that doing nothing is not an option.”

Oh, but it is. "Doing nothing" is always an option, and frequently it is the best option, especially when there is a hundred percent certainty that a proposal will not work exactly as it is hoped. But, hell, he's out on the campaign trail again, and people are chanting "Obama, Obama" and "We love you," so he can belittle my delusions and I'll belittle his.


tim zank
Mon, 02/09/2009 - 5:43pm

I watched Urkel's pep session today, and he performed just like he was on the campaign trail. He never said anything definitive but he still got them all whipped up into a "hopey-changey" frenzy.

I thought it an odd choice, going to Elkhart too, as most of the unemployed out there work in the RV biz at $12 to $16 an hour making $60k + motorhomes and trailers. You'd think he'd he'd be better off selling the "stimulus" to the people that can and would actually buy the motorhomes and rv's wouldn't you?

"Course the folks that buy them probably don't vote the same way as the folks that make them, ya think?

Mon, 02/09/2009 - 5:47pm

Get over it already. The man is trying to do what he thinks is right by the country.

Kevin Knuth
Mon, 02/09/2009 - 6:59pm

I heard the managing editor of the Elkhart Truth on the radio today. His viewpoint was opposite that of Mark Souder.

Souder says that there is NOTHING in the stimulus plan that iwll help Elkhart. (A point Pat Whine...i mean White on WOWO made too- following the party line you know).

However, accordind the ME of the Elkhart Truth- Elkhart knows it is losing the RV industry- they are, however, a skilled workforce and are ready to work.

Paraphrasing here "if the US moves into Green Technology, we will make the parts they need to do it- in Elkhart County!"

I agree. Souder is being VERY shortsighted here- and only thinking about today is what got us in this mess.

tim zank
Mon, 02/09/2009 - 6:59pm

Sorry Nellie, hard for me to get over $1,000,000,000,000.

tim zank
Mon, 02/09/2009 - 7:14pm

Kevin, how long you figure it would take to:
A. Invent or redesign a useable "green energy technology"
B. Design the components necessary
C. Build the components necessary to build the product
D. Retrofit or build facilities to manufacture the product
E. Locate, groom, contract, & train suppliers for the product

The list goes on and on, but you get the idea. You've got 2 to 5 years lead time before you ever hired the first production worker hired, much less trained and "on the job".

Admirable goal? Hell yes!

Stimulus to jump start the economy?

Hell no!

Kevin Knuth
Mon, 02/09/2009 - 10:15pm


What is your solution?

Cutting taxes is NOT going to get people to buy RV's. Doing NOTHING is not going to get people to buy RV's. A change is needed.

tim zank
Mon, 02/09/2009 - 11:23pm

I vote for doing nothing, beats the sh%$ out of flushing a trillion dollars down the toilet just to secure congressional seats.

Tue, 02/10/2009 - 9:21am

You don't have to go far to see The News-Sentinel is embracing the "doing nothing" philosophy. It's only the president making his first real community visit to a community just a drive up U.S. 33, and the paper's version of "doing nothing" is not one local reporter, one local photographer up there to cover it, just one AP story buried in the days headlines. Heck, the news isn't even prominently displayed from AP on the Sentinel's web page. Shows how much the paper seems to be mirroring the editorial page's solution of doing nothing.
Gotta go; Obama arrives here in Fort Myers at 11 a.m.; nearly the entire reporting, video, photo staff at the paper here is tied up with continuous coverage, editors included. This is day four for us covering a news event with major implications for SW Florida. Wish the Sentinel would have seen it as the same.

Tue, 02/10/2009 - 3:26pm
Leo Morris
Tue, 02/10/2009 - 3:50pm

"Doing nothing" vs. "Making it worse" seems like an easy call for me. I've been railing against big government and excessive spending for most of my adult life, and now an economic "crisis" is being used as an excuse to make government as big and spending as much as Democrats have always wanted them to be, and I'm supposed to just shut up and watch them feed the bulldog? Fat chance.

Steven T.
Tue, 02/10/2009 - 4:21pm

The stakes are a tad too high to give a new president the benefit of the doubt.

The down home advice on things like this is to listen to your gut. I have, while watching this sitting president making stump speeches for senate cronies.

The spectacle of President Obama, no matter how well meaning, on the road hawking this $800 billion Christmas list written not by his new forward-thinking crisis-treating administration, but by old-guard last-gasp ultra-left senators makes me cringe.

I don't know if there's any real stimulus at all in there, between the chunks of Democrat social giveaways. What I do know is that the new Treasury secretary just announced an entirely separate remedy for the world financial crisis, and it is estimated to cost two trillion dollars over and above the stimulus the senate wants to shove through during the panic.

I need evidence and solemn promises (maybe another American contract?) -- on pain of extreme prejudice to the guilty if necessary -- that Congress' $800 billion is not -- in truth -- just a post-election-orgy, a high-handed liberal embezzlement of an extra trillion in theoretical taxpayer cash we don't have to spare right now, which gets paid out to radical 60s dreamer sects while the Treasury's two trillion is the only REAL stimulus effort in all of current government.

I hope I'm way wrong, but we've laughed at wilder ideas in the last few years that turned out to be well within the realm of human misbehavior.

Tue, 02/10/2009 - 4:21pm

As usual, Leo, you miss the point. Come up with your own misguided plan of action, then, but for God's sake, don't try to sell a bill of goods that doing nothing is the way to go.

Even those on the other side of the aisle from the proponents of the Obama stimulus bill wouldn't support that option.

Or maybe you don't think we have any problems with the economy and it was all taken care of when we adopted Reagonics back in the 80's and ... oh, never mind!

Tue, 02/10/2009 - 4:23pm

Of course, I meant to say "don't have any problems".

Steven T.
Tue, 02/10/2009 - 4:29pm

By the way,

I like RVs, and in this economy I wish I had one in case I need a fall-back place to live down the line.

But let's be fair. Even the RV industry has to admit they serve an industry (honorably and well, I rush to add) powered by recreation. leisure time, and disposable income.

In times like this, we're a little short of those commodities. Probably not buying many pontoon boats either this season, but they always come back. We love our leisure. Hang in there, everyone.

Leo Morris
Tue, 02/10/2009 - 5:18pm

A six-month holiday on federal income taxes and payroll taxes. A one-year holiday on capital gains taxes. But that would put money directly where it can be spent, and I know you prefer the Democrats', er, trickle-down theory. Never mind yourself.

Tue, 02/10/2009 - 5:37pm

Well, at least it is an action plan. And it doesn't sound like doing nothing, even though there are precious few anywhere on the political spectrum who believe tax policy changes would would be the magic bullet you seem to think it would be.

But then, I keep forgetting that you are most comfortable on the fringes of any issue.

Andrew Jarosh
Tue, 02/10/2009 - 6:20pm

The one year holiday on capital gains taxes would have little impact on the mid to lower-income population. it's more of the same elitist tool masquerading as an economic fix that mostly enriches the well off. A capital gains tax holiday will discourage investment, worsen our fiscal woes and pass on large windfalls on those who need them least. Students of economics know this.

tim zank
Tue, 02/10/2009 - 8:13pm

AJ, Ya wanna 'splain to us how not charging a capital gains tax would DISCOURAGE investment? If "students of economics know this" we are truly farked, because that's ass-backwards.

CED, As for your need to just do "something" even if it ain't right is comical. I, for one would like to check my 'chute before I jump off a cliff hand in hand with these economic geniuses. (sarc)

Recessions end on their own, history points this out, the average lasting about 18 months without any social engineering necessary.

AJ, let's say your newspaper is on the brink of bankruptcy, (my guess is that will be soon if you have any editorial control, but I digress) and the only one credit worthy enough to borrow (yes borrow) the money to keep it afloat is you. You need to borrow the money from a bank IN YOUR NAME AS A CO-BORROWER, personally responsible for paying it back in full, for like a MILLION dollars. People will lose jobs, heads will roll, unless you put your personal signature on a substantial loan, and you have NO guaruntee the paper will clim out of bankruptcy, do you do it????

You're asking ME and more specifically my kids to do that very thing on a much longer and grander scale.

Andrew Jarosh
Tue, 02/10/2009 - 8:30pm

Here's the explanation:

A temporary cut in the capital gains tax rate would induce more investors to hurry and sell their stocks now while the lower tax rate applies. The resultant sell-off could cause a larger decline in stock prices and thereby damage consumer confidence even more. Given the fragile nature of consumer confidence and its importance to the economy, endangering that confidence by providing an incentive to sell stocks hardly seems beneficial.

It makes little sense for the government to pursue policies that encourage investors to sell stocks at a time when the economic outlook is clouded and the markets are weak. There is concern funds will flow out of the stock market into safer investments, such as Treasury bonds, money market funds, and even gold.

And by the way, some of this explanation comes courtesy of the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, a 20-year-old organization not necessarily rife with flaming liberals like me.

tim zank
Tue, 02/10/2009 - 8:44pm

You don't own stock do you?

The market is down 40% Einstein, if you're still in it, your not likely to sell now. Well, maybe you would.

Andrew Jarosh
Tue, 02/10/2009 - 9:00pm

All my savings are in two index funds, as they have been for about nearly 20 years. I sell when I have to pay unforeseen bills. I avoid it as much as possible, but sell I do.
Ahh, I look back fondly on some of those Clinton years, when both funds exceeded 25 percent for a stretch and economic life was good.


Andrew Jarosh
Tue, 02/10/2009 - 9:03pm

And if the market wasn't down 40 percent, do you really think we'd be talking capital gains cuts? Sure isn't a tool you use in a robust economy and a healthy Wall Street.


Tue, 02/10/2009 - 10:54pm

Well, Mr.Zank, I'm glad I gave you some amusement.

Unfortunately, none of the opinions you have ever expressed have had the same effect on me.

Nevertheless, I do feel somewhat more confident in mine since you oppose them. That's a sure sign I'm on the right track.

tim zank
Tue, 02/10/2009 - 11:21pm

AJ'sez "Sure isn

Andrew Jarosh
Tue, 02/10/2009 - 11:47pm

I agree with you Tim. And when the market is up, and the system is working - meaning investors are reinvesting and making money, hence being happy - it means they aren't concerned with the capital gains tax. Even with it, they are making money.