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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Republican Study Committee Economic Rescue Alternative Plan


The Republican Study Committee Economic Rescue Alternative Plan

Economic Rescue Alternative Plan

(9/29/08)

Today, as the House considers Treasury's financial rescue plan, the RSC has released alternative legislation to provide relief in the financial markets while protecting free-market principles. The bill includes the original Repbulican alternative legislation as well as the provisions the RSC unveiled earlier in the week (capital gains relief, GSE privatization, suspending mark-to-market regulations, etc.). The RSC has distributed this summary of the bill, which provides a detailed outline of the alternative.

RSC Legislative Bulletin: The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (9/29/08)The RSC has analyzed the text of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act and distibuted this Legislative Bulletin, containing a summary of the bill's highlights.

Conservatives Question Bailout Plan (9/19/08)

Leading conservatives in the House have publicly questioned the soundness of Treasury Secretary Paulson’s plan for a taxpayer bailout of the financial markets.

Read the letter from 31 House conservatives to Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke here.

Read the statement from RSC Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) here.

Read the statement from former RSC Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) here.

ECONOMIC RESCUE ALTERNATIVE PLAN

September 29, 2008

We believe that policymakers must act decisively and correctly.

We believe that we can help Wall Street “workout” of this crisis, not force the taxpayers into a “bailout.”

We believe that voluntary private capital, not involuntary taxpayer capital, will help the system recover.

A Work-Out—Not a Bail-Out

Stabilizing Financial Markets: Require the Treasury Department to guarantee losses up to 100%, resulting from the failure of timely payment and interest from mortgage-backed securities (MBS) originated prior to the date of enactment. Such insurance would provide immediate value to the MBS and a foundation for which they could then be sold.

Risk-Based Premiums: Direct the Treasury Department to assess a premium on outstanding MBS to finance this insurance. Participation in the program would be mandatory for all holders of such MBS in order to guard against adverse selection where only the holders of troubled assets participate. A risk-based premium would be assessed on those with troubled MBS. The premium would expire when the Treasury Secretary determines the fund has sufficient resources to meet any projected losses.

Private-Capital Off the Sidelines by Empowering Private Investors

Net Operating Losses: Allow companies to carry-back losses arising in tax years ending in 2007, 2008, or 2009 back 5 years, generating a tax refund and immediate capital. Despite the presence of willing buyers, many firms with MBS are not willing to sell at such a huge loss. Such a carry-back provides a cushion for any such loss, making firms more willing sellers.

Repatriation Infusion: Allow a repatriation window for profits earned by U.S. firms overseas. Such repatriation amounts would be taxed at 0% if invested in distressed debt (as defined by Treasury) for at least one year.

Bank Losses on GSE Stock: Allow banks to treat losses on shares of preferred stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as ordinary losses, not as capital losses.

Two-Year Suspension of the Capital Gains: Immediately suspend the capital gains rate from 15% for individuals and 35% for corporations. By encouraging corporations to sell unwanted assets, this provision would unleash funds and materials with which to create jobs and grow the economy. After the two-year suspension, capital gains rates would return to present levels but assets would be indexed permanently for any inflationary gains.

Reforming a Failure in Government Institutions

Limit Federal Backing for High Risk Loans: Mandate that GSEs no longer securitize any unsound mortgage that is: (1) not fully documented to meet minimum requirements for work, assets, and income; (2) written to comply with any law or regulation that would otherwise violate a firm’s lending rules.

Schedule the GSEs for Privatization: Transition Fannie and Freddie over a reasonable time period to truly private companies without special government privileges and open them up to real market competition. This reform would 1) establish commonsense limits for their capital requirements and portfolio holdings relative their size, 2) focus their mission on affordable housing only, not profit making, 3) require them to pay an appropriate risk-based amount for the government guarantee they enjoy, 4) subject them to state and local taxes and accurate SEC filings like every other private for-profit corporation, and 5) ultimately provide for the phase out their GSE charters once their conservatorship has ended.

Suspend “Mark to Market” Accounting: Direct the SEC to suspend the mark-to-market regulatory rules until the agency can issue new guidelines that will allow firms to mark these assets to their true economic value. The current rules contribute to a downward spiral as firms have to evaluate their assets not on the basis of their long-term investment but rather on a short-term mania.

Stabilize the Dollar: Repeal the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act which diverts the Federal Reserve’s attention from long-term price stability to short-term economic growth. In an effort to fuel the economy, this additional mandate has encouraged the Fed to keep rates artificially low, fueling economic boom and busts, and now a strong up-tick in inflation and the decline of the dollar (as investors free dollars for hard assets). This reform would require the Fed to establish a numerical definition for price stability and maintain a policy that promotes it over the long-term.

Oversight and Corporate Accountability

Executive Compensation Limits: Require the Treasury to write rules prohibiting excessive compensation or golden parachutes to executives of failed companies at the expense of taxpayers.

Strict Enforcement of Laws Designed to Protect Investors: Task the SEC with reviewing the annual audit reports of entities the federal government has brought under conservatorship or now owns, and determine if those annual audit reports from years 2005 to present accurately reflected the financial health of those businesses.

Staff Contact: Russ Vought, 202-226-8581, russ.vought@mail.house.gov

Related:

The Pelosi Charm

Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s Floor Statement on the partisan Financial Rescue Legislation moments before it was voted down

Doug Ross: Any Questions

Doug Ross The Fannie Mae testimony that will make you scream in anger

20080928 The Republican Study Committee Economic Rescue Alternative Plan

http://www.house.gov/hensarling/rsc/

The Pelosi Charm

The Pelosi Charm

Monday, September 29, 2008

Democrat Speaker of the House left no doubt that she skipped the class in charm school that taught that it is to one’s advantage to be nice to folks when you want something from them.
“Reps. Boehner, Blunt, and Cantor said they had at least a dozen more votes for the bill until Nancy Pelosi came to the floor just after 12:20 eastern time and gave an exceedingly partisan speech that effectively killed the bill.” (GOP: Pelosi Killed Bill With Partisan Speech Posted by TOM BEVAN on the Real Clear Politics blog)

This speech was incomprehensible reprehensible revisionist history in which, what may very well be the most galling moral relativism, she praises Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) whose fingerprints are over the causes of current financial meltdown.

Representative Frank said in 2003: “I think it is clear that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are sufficiently secure so they are in no great danger... I don't think we face a crisis; I don't think that we have an impending disaster. ...Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do very good work, and they are not endangering the fiscal health of this country.” (Doug Ross The Fannie Mae testimony that will make you scream in anger)

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) said in 2003: “I have sat through nearly a dozen hearings where, frankly, we were trying to fix something that wasn't broke. [sic] ...These GSEs have more than adequate capital for the business they are in: providing affordable housing. As I mentioned, we should not be making radical or fundamental change... If there is anything to fix or improve, it is the [regulators].” (Doug Ross The Fannie Mae testimony that will make you scream in anger)

“Five years ago, Republicans proposed ‘the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry [in a decade].’ (Source: New York Times) Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee blocked efforts at fixing Fannie and Freddie. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said, ‘Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac... are not facing any kind of financial crisis,’” (Doug Ross: Any Questions)

Speaker Pelosi says that the current meltdown is all the fault of President George W. Bush and free market capitalism. Yet this is inconsistent with: Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice: “[Clinton appointee] Andrew Cuomo... made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country's current crisis. He took actions that... helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration...into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded "kickbacks" to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why.” (Doug Ross The Fannie Mae testimony that will make you scream in anger)

Hat Tip for AP photo: Don Surber – “A confident Democrat Barney Frank promises solvency in our time as he announces the breakthrough bailout. Voting is only a formality…”

Related:

Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s Floor Statement on the partisan Financial Rescue Legislation moments before it was voted down

Doug Ross: Any Questions

Doug Ross The Fannie Mae testimony that will make you scream in anger

Don Surber

20080928 The Pelosi Charm

Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s Floor Statement on the partisan Financial Rescue Legislation moments before it was voted down


Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s Floor Statement on the partisan Financial Rescue Legislation moments before it was voted down

September 29, 2008


Madam speaker, when was the last time anyone ever asked you for $700 billion? It’s a staggering figure. And many questions have arisen from that request. And we have been hearing, I think, a very informed debate on all sides — of — of this issue here today. I’m proud of the debate.

$700 billion. A staggering number. But only a part of the cost of the failed Bush economic policies to our country. Policies that were built on budget recklessness. When President Bush took office, he inherited President Clinton’s surpluses — four years in a row, budget surpluses, on a trajectory of $5.6 trillion in surplus. And with his reckless economic policies, within two years, he had turned that around.

And now eight years later, the foundation of that fiscal irresponsibility, combined with an anything goes economic policy, has taken us to where we are today. They claim to be free market advocates, when it’s really an anything goes mentality. No regulation, no supervision, no discipline. And if you fail, you will have a golden parachute, and the taxpayer will bail you out.

Those days are over. The party is over in that respect. Democrats believe in a free market. We know that it can create jobs, it can create wealth, it can create many good things in our economy. But in this case, in its unbridled form, as encouraged, supported, by the Republicans — some in the Republican Party, not all — it has created not jobs, not capital, it has created chaos.

And it is that chaos that the secretary of the Treasury and the chairman of the Fed came to see us just about a week and a half ago — seems like an eternity, doesn’t it, so much has happened, the news was so bad. They described a very, very dismal situation. A dismal situation describing the state of our economy, the fragility of our financial institutions and the instability of our markets, our equity markets, our credit markets, our bond market.

And here we were listening to people who knew of what they spoke. Secretary of the Treasury brings long credentials and knowledge of the markets. More fearful, though, to me, more scary, was the statement — were the statements of Chairman Bernanke [Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve], because Chairman Bernanke is probably one of the foremost authorities in America on the subject of the Great Depression. I don’t know what was so great about the Depression, but that’s the name they give it. And we heard the secretary and the chairman tell us that this was a once in a hundred year phenomenon, this fiscal crisis was so drastic. Certainly once in 50 years, probably once in a hundred years.

And how did it sneak up on us? So silently, almost on little cat feet. That they would come in on that day — and they didn’t actually ask for the money, that much money that night. It took two days until we saw the legislation that they were proposing to help calm the markets. And it was on that day that we learned of a $700 billion request.

But it wasn’t just the money that was alarming. It was the nature of the legislation. It gave the secretary of the Treasury czar-like powers, unlimited powers, latitude to do all kinds of things and specifically prohibited judicial review or review of any other federal administrative agency to review their actions.

Another aspect of it that was alarming is it gave the secretary the power to use any money that came back from these infusions of cash to be used at the discretion of the secretary. Not to reduce the deficit, not to go into the general funds so that we could afford other priorities. To be used at the discretion of the secretary. It was shocking. Working together in a bipartisan way, we were able to make major improvements on that proposal, even though its fundamental basis was almost arrogant and insulting.

The American people responded almost immediately. Overwhelmingly, they said they know that something needs to be done. Say 78 percent of the American people said Congress must act. Fifty-eight-some percent said, but not to accept the Bush proposal. And so here we are today, a week later and a couple of days later, coming to the floor with a product — not a bill that I would have written, one that has major disappointments with me, beginning with the fact that it does not have bankruptcy in this bill — and we will continue to persist and work to achieve that.

It’s interesting, though, to me that when they describe this, the magnitude of the challenge and the precipice that we were on and how we had to act quickly and we had to act boldly and we had to act now, that it never occurred to them that the consequences of this market were being felt well in advance by the American people. And unemployment is up, and therefore we need unemployment insurance. That jobs are lacking, and therefore we need a stimulus package. So how can on the one hand could this be so urgent at the moment, and yet so unnecessary for us to address the effects of this poor economy in the households of America across our country?

We’ll come back to that in a moment. Working together, we put together some standards — and I am really proud of what Barney Frank did in this regard. The first night, that night, that Thursday night, when we got the very, very dismal news, he immediately said, if we’re going to do this — and Spencer Bachus was a part of this as well — in terms of if we’re going to do this, we must have equity for the American people. We’re putting up $700 billion, we want the American people to get some of the upside. So equity, fairness for the American people.

Secondly, if they were describing the root of the problem as the mortgage-backed securities, Barney insisted that we would have forbearance on foreclosure. If we’re now going to own that paper, that we would then have forbearance to help responsible homeowners stay in their home.

In addition to that, we have to have strong, strong oversight. We didn’t even have to see the $700 billion or the full extent of their bill to know that we needed equity and upside for the taxpayer, forbearance for the homeowner, oversight of the government on what they were doing, and something that the American people understand full well, an end to the golden parachutes and the — a — review and reform of the compensation for C.E.O.’s.

Let’s get this straight. We have a situation where on Wall Street people are flying high, they are making unconscionable amounts of money. They make a lot of money, they privatize the gain, the minute things go tough, they nationalize the risk. They get a golden parachute as they drive their firm into the ground, and the American people have to pick up the tab. Something is very, very wrong with this picture.

So just on first blush, that Thursday night, we made it clear, meeting much resistance on the part of the administration, that those four things, equity, forbearance, oversight, and reform of compensation. Overriding all of this is a protection of the taxpayer. We need to stabilize the markets. In doing so, we need to protect the taxpayers.

And that’s why I’m so glad that this bill contains a suggestion made by Mr. Tanner [Representative John Tanner, Democrat of Tennessee] that if at the end of the day, say in five years, when we can take a review of the success or whatever of this initiative, that if there is a shortfall and we don’t get our whole $700 billion back that we have invested, that there will be an initiative to have the financial institutions that benefited from this program to make up that shortfall.

But not one penny of this should be carried by the American people. People asked, and Mr. Spratt [Representative John M. Spratt Jr., Democrat of South Carolina] spoke with great knowledge and eloquence on the budget and aspects of the budget. $700 billion, what is the impact, what is the opportunity cost for our country of the investments that we would want to make?

O.K., now we have it in place where the taxpayer is going to be made whole and that was very important for us. But why on the drop of a hat can they ask us for $700 billion, and we couldn’t get any support from the administration on a stimulus package that would also help grow the economy?

People tell me all over the world that the biggest emerging market, economic market in the world, is rebuilding the infrastructure of America. Roads, bridges, waterways, water systems in addition to waterways. The grid, broadband, schools, housing, certain schools. We are trillions of dollars in deficit there.

We know what we need to do to do it in a fiscally sound way, in a fiscally sound way that creates good-paying jobs in America immediately. Brings money into the treasury by doing so, and again does all of this in an all-American way. Good-paying jobs here in America.

We can’t get the time of day for 25, $35 billion for that, which we know guarantees jobs, et cetera, but $700 billion. So make no mistake, when this Congress adjourns today to observe Rosh Hashanah and have members go home for a bit, we are doing so at the call of the chair. Because this subject is not over, this discussion about how we save our economy.

And we must insulate Main Street from Wall Street. And as Congresswoman Waters [Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California] said, Martin Luther King Drive, in my district Martin Luther King Drive, and Cedar Chavez Road and all of the manifestations of community and small businesses in our community. We must insulate them from that. And so we have difficult choices, and so many of the things that were said on both sides of this issue in terms of its criticisms of the bill we have and the bill that we had at first, and the very size of this, I share. You want to go home, so I’m not going to list all of my concerns that I have with it.

But it just comes down to one simple thing. They have described a precipice. We are on the brink of doing something that might pull us back from that precipice. I think we have a responsibility. We have worked in a bipartisan way. I want to acknowledge Mr. Blunt and Mr. Boehner, the work that we have done together, trying to find as much common ground as possible on this.

But we insisted the taxpayer be covered. We all insisted that we have a party-is-over message to Wall Street. And we insisted that, that taxpayers at risk must recover — that any risk must be recovered. I told you that already. So, my colleagues, let’s recognize that this Congressional — this legislation is not the end of the line.

Mr. Waxman [Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California] will be having vigorous oversight this week, hearings this week on regulatory reform and other aspects of it. I hope you will pursue fraud and mismanagement and the rest. Mr. Frank and his committee will continue to pursue other avenues that we can stabilize the markets and protect the taxpayer. For too long, this government, in eight years, has followed a right-wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation.

Again, all of us are believers in free markets, but we have to do it right. Now, let me again acknowledge the extraordinary leadership of Mr. Frank. He has been an exceptional leader in the Congress, but never has his knowledge and his experience and his judgment been more needed than now. And I thank you, Mr. Frank, for your exceptional leadership, Mr. Chairman.

I also — so many people worked on this, but I also want to acknowledge the distinguished chair of our caucus, Mr. Emanuel. His knowledge of the markets, the respect he commands on those subjects, and his boundless energy on the subjects served us well in these negotiations. But this, this is a bipartisan initiative that we are bringing to the floor. We have to have a bipartisan vote on this. That is the only message that will send a message of confidence to the markets.

So I hope that — I know that we will be able to live up to our side of the bargain. I hope the Republicans will, too.

But my colleagues, as you go home and see your families and observe the holiday and the rest, don’t get settled in too far, because as long as the American — this challenge is there for the American people, the threat of losing their jobs, the credit, their credit, their jobs, their savings, their retirement, the opportunity for them to send their children to college.

As long as in the households of America, this crisis is being felt very immediately and being addressed at a different level, we must come back, and we will come back as soon and as often as it is necessary to make the change that is necessary. And before long we will have a new Congress, a new president of the United States, and we will be able to take our country in a new direction.


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20080929 Pelosi Fl St on Bipartisan Fin Rescue Leg

20080929 Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s Floor Statement on the partisan Financial Rescue Legislation moments before it was voted down

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pelosi Floor Statement on Bipartisan Financial Rescue Legislation


Pelosi Floor Statement on Bipartisan Financial Rescue Legislation

For Immediate Release 09/29/2008

Contact: Brendan Daly/Nadeam Elshami

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon in support the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. Below are her remarks, as prepared:

“Madam Speaker, when was the last time someone asked you for $700 billion?

“It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies—policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.

“Democrats believe in the free market, which can and does create jobs, wealth, and capital, but left to its own devices it has created chaos.

“That chaos is the dismal picture painted by Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke a week and a half ago in the Capitol. As they pointed out, we confront a crisis of historic magnitude that has the ability to do serious injury not simply to our economy, but to the American people: not just to Wall Street, but to everyday Americans on Main Street.

“It is our responsibility today, to help avert that catastrophic outcome.

“Let us be clear: This is a crisis caused on Wall Street. But it is a crisis that reaches to Main Street in every city and town of the United States.

“It is a crisis that freezes credit, causes families to lose their homes, cripples small businesses, and makes it harder to find jobs.

“It is a crisis that never had to happen. It is now the duty of every Member of this body to recognize that the failure to act responsibly, with full protections for the American taxpayer, would compound the damage already done to the financial security of millions of American families.

“Over the past several days, we have worked with our Republican colleagues to fashion an alternative to the original plan of the Bush Administration.

“I must recognize the outstanding leadership provided by Chairman Barney Frank, whose enormous intellectual and strategic abilities have never before been so urgently needed, or so widely admired.

“I also want to recognize Rahm Emanuel, who combined his deep knowledge of financial institutions with his pragmatic policy experience, to resolve key disagreements.

“Secretary Paulson deserves credit for working day and night to help reach an agreement and for his flexibility in negotiating changes to his original proposal.

“Democrats insisted that legislation responding to this crisis must protect the American people and Main Street from the meltdown on Wall Street.

“The American people did not decide to dangerously weaken our regulatory and oversight policies. They did not make unwise and risky financial deals. They did not jeopardize the economic security of the nation. And they must not pay the cost of this emergency recovery and stabilization bill.

“So we insisted that this bill contain several key provisions:

“This legislation must contain independent and ongoing oversight to ensure that the recovery program is managed with full transparency and strict accountability.

“The legislation must do everything possible to allow as many people to stay in their homes rather than face foreclosure.

“The corporate CEOs whose companies will benefit from the public’s participation in this recovery must not benefit by exorbitant salaries and golden parachute retirement bonuses.

“Our message to Wall Street is this: the party is over. The era of golden parachutes for high-flying Wall Street operators is over. No longer will the U.S. taxpayer bailout the recklessness of Wall Street.

“The taxpayers who bear the risk in this recovery must share in the upside as the economy recovers.

“And should this program not pay for itself, the financial institutions that benefited, not the taxpayers, must bear responsibility for making up the difference.
“These were the Democratic demands to safeguard the American taxpayer, to help the economy recover, and to impose tough accountability as a central component of this recovery effort.

“This legislation is not the end of congressional activity on this crisis. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will continue to hold investigative and oversight hearings to find out how the crisis developed, where mistakes were made, and how the recovery must be managed to protect the middle class and the American taxpayer.

“With passage of this legislation today, we can begin the difficult job of turning our economy around, of helping those who depend on a growing economy and stable financial institutions for a secure retirement, for the education of their children, for jobs and small business credit.

“Today we must act for those Americans, for Main Street, and we must act now, with the bipartisan spirit of cooperation which allowed us to fashion this legislation.

“This not enough. We are also working to restore our nation’s economic strength by passing a new economic recovery stimulus package—a robust, job creating bill—that will help Americans struggling with high prices, get our economy back on track, and renew the American Dream.

“Today, we will act to avert this crisis, but informed by our experience of the past eight years with the failed economic leadership that has left us left capable of meeting the challenges of the future.

“We choose a different path. In the new year, with a new Congress and a new president, we will break free with a failed past and take America in a New Direction to a better future.”

http://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/pressreleases?id=0848

20080929 Pelosi Floor Statement on Bipartisan Financial Rescue Legislation

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Washington Examiner: Politicians never learn they can't change the facts by Bill Wilson

Washington Examiner: Politicians never learn they can't change the facts by Bill Wilson

9/28/08

All the back and forth over the proposed $700 billion bailout of New York financial firms has degenerated into gibberish, incomprehensible to most voters.

[…]

While a few elected officials try to figure out a way to deal with the crisis, many on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in the partisan salons are busy doing what they do best - playing the blame-game and looking to escape exposure of their culpability.

House Banking Committee chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA, led off the spin effort by stating, “The private sector got us into this mess. The government has to get us out of it.”

Notice that Frank doesn’t say “Wall Street” got us in to this mess. For him and all too many of his allies, it is the “private sector” that is evil. A chorus of lesser voices have been dutifully parroting Frank ever since.

What Frank, Senate Banking Committee chairman Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CN, and others of their ilk are afraid of is that the public will learn the facts of this debacle. And the facts are clear.

The crisis we face is not a failure of the private sector. This crisis was conceived, manufactured, nurtured and defended by government and the horde of apologists who feed off of it.

As Deep Throat admonished a generation ago, let’s follow the money. In 1995, the Clinton Administration issued rules that required banks and lending institutions to give loans to people who could not afford them. The lending standards were essentially gutted. This was an overt act of government.

The banks complied and gave the loans. They got the money to lend by selling the bad mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These semi-government entities “bought” the bad mortgages from the banks. But where did Fannie and Freddie get the money to buy the bad debt?

[…]

Read Mr. Wilson’s entire opinion here: Washington Examiner: Politicians never learn they can't change the facts by Bill Wilson

http://www.dcexaminer.com/opinion/Politicians_never_learn_they_cant_change_the_facts.html

20080928 Washington Examiner: Politicians never learn they cant change the facts by Bill Wilson

Tapscott's Copy Desk: Comparison of original Paulson bailout to compromise proposal

Tapscott's Copy Desk: Comparison of original Paulson bailout to compromise proposal



More from Tapscott's Copy Desk RSS Feed



POSTED September 28, 2008



House Republican Whip Roy Blunt's office provides this side-by-side comparison of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's original Wall Street bailout proposal with the final compromise agreed to over the weekend by congressional and Treasury negotiators:



Click here: Side-by-Side Comparison of Rescue Legislation on Tapscott's Copy Desk



http://www.dcexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/TapscottsCopyDesk/Comparison_of_original_Paulson_bailout_to_compromise_proposal.html

20080928 Tapscott: Comparison original Paulson bailout to compromise prop

Saturday, September 27, 2008

President's Radio Address

For Immediate ReleaseOffice of the Press SecretarySeptember 27, 2008

President's Radio Address

In Focus: Economy
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This is an extraordinary period for America's economy. Many Americans are anxious about their finances and their future. On Wednesday, I spoke to the Nation, and thanked Congress for working with my Administration to address the instability in our financial system. On Thursday, I hosted Senator McCain, Senator Obama, and congressional leaders from both parties at the White House to discuss the urgency of passing a bipartisan rescue package for our economy.

The problems in our economy are extremely complex, but at their core is uncertainty over "mortgage-backed securities." Many of these financial assets relate to home mortgages that have lost value during the housing decline. In turn, the banks holding these assets have restricted credit, and businesses and consumers have found it more difficult to obtain affordable loans. As a result, our entire economy is in danger. So I proposed that the Federal government reduce the risk posed by these troubled assets, and supply urgently needed money to help banks and other financial institutions avoid collapse and resume lending.

I know many of you listening this morning are frustrated with the situation. You make sacrifices every day to meet your mortgage payments and keep up with your bills. When the government asks you to pay for mistakes on Wall Street, it does not seem fair. And I understand that. And if it were possible to let every irresponsible firm on Wall Street fail without affecting you and your family, I would do it. But that is not possible. The failure of the financial system would mean financial hardship for many of you.

The failure of the financial system would cause banks to stop lending money to one another and to businesses and consumers. That would make it harder for you to take out a loan or borrow money to expand a business. The result would be less economic growth and more American jobs lost. And that would put our economy on the path toward a deep and painful recession.

The rescue effort we're negotiating is not aimed at Wall Street -- it is aimed at your street. And there is now widespread agreement on the major principles. We must free up the flow of credit to consumers and businesses by reducing the risk posed by troubled assets. We must ensure that taxpayers are protected, that failed executives do not receive a windfall from your tax dollars, and that there is a bipartisan board to oversee these efforts.

Under the proposal my Administration sent to Congress, the government would spend up to $700 billion to buy troubled assets from banks and other financial institutions. I know many Americans understand the urgency of this action, but are concerned about such a high price tag. Well, let me address this directly:

The final cost of this plan will be far less than $700 billion. And here's why: As fear and uncertainty have gripped the market for mortgage-related assets, their price has dropped sharply. Yet many of these assets still have significant underlying value, because the vast majority of people will eventually pay off their mortgages. In other words, many of the assets the government would buy are likely to go up in price over time. This means that the government will be able to recoup much, if not all, of the original expenditure.

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have contributed constructive proposals that have improved this plan. I appreciate the efforts of House and Senate Democratic and Republican leaders to bring a spirit of bipartisan cooperation to these discussions. Our Nation's economic well-being is an issue that transcends partisanship. Republicans and Democrats must continue to address it together. And I am confident that we will pass a bill to protect the financial security of every American very soon.

Thank you for listening.

# # #

20080927 President’s Radio Address

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/09/20080927.html

Friday, September 26, 2008

City's fiscal woes extend to previous officials by Dr Wack



City's fiscal woes extend to previous officials by Dr Wack

Letters Posted 9/24/08
http://explorecarroll.com/opinion/1084/letters/

Perhaps Kevin Dayhoff is still working in landscaping. Regardless, Westminster residents deserve better than the manure he shoveled in his column in The Westminster Eagle ("Be critical of spending, but MML has been worthwhile"), Sept 17.


[KED note: For more on the picture of me shoveling manure, please see: January 21st, 2001 - 20031008 KED Mucking Out Stalls.JPG http://tinyurl.com/o4yrwc ]

Perpetuating the lie about the city paying for a dinner for elected officials, staff and family members is bad enough. The city hasn't paid for that dinner since Dayhoff lost his reelection bid for mayor in 2005. Before that, Dayhoff never seemed to mind ordering drinks and food on the city tab.

His reservations about the creation of new positions which include the new city administrator are puzzling as well. Before he was against it, ex-Mayor Dayhoff was a vocal advocate for hiring a city administrator.

Most importantly, Dayhoff seems to have forgotten that all the financial problems the city now struggles with were all present the first day he became mayor in 2001, and yet for his entire term, no progress was made solving them. He also neglected to mention his attempts to have the city pay for a laptop computer to use at home, as well as reimburse his mileage for trips to Annapolis and outside the state on business that the council, at that time, didn't deem to be beneficial to the city.

One other assertion he must be challenged on is that the current administration "campaigned on the need for increased spending, taxes, etc." No current city official ever made those statements, and Dayhoff knows it.

Robert Wack, council member, Westminster Common Council

Westminster


http://explorecarroll.com/opinion/1084/letters/

20080924 Citys fiscal woes extend to previous officials by Dr Wack

Related:

http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2008/09/westminster-eagle-westminster-mayor.html

and

http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2008/09/westminster-eagle-be-critical-of.html

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 Westminster Eagle: “Westminster mayor says MML convention spending was worth it” By Katie V. Jones Westminster Eagle: “Westminster mayor says MML convention spending was worth it” By Katie V. Jones Posted on http://www.explorecarroll.com/ 9/17/08 http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2008/09/westminster-eagle-westminster-mayor.html

Recent Westminster Eagle and Sunday Carroll Eagle columns by Kevin Dayhoff: Be critical of spending, but MML has been worthwhile Published September 17, 2008 by Westminster Eagle There has been a fair amount of discussion of late regarding published accounts of the June trip by 15 appointed and elected officials from Westminster... http://kevindayhoffwestgov-net.blogspot.com/2008/09/recent-westminster-eagle-and-sunday_23.html 20080923 Recent Westminster Eagle and Sunday Carroll Eagle columns NBH: http://kbetrue.livejournal.com/60014.html 20080917 Westminster mayor says convention spending worth it KJones

Westminster Eagle: Be critical of spending, but MML has been worthwhile by Kevin Dayhoff Posted on http://www.explorecarroll.com/opinion-talk/ 9/17/08 http://www.explorecarroll.com/opinion/1005/be-critical-spending-but-mml-has-been-worthwhile/ Posted on “Soundtrack” on Monday, September 22, 2008: http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2008/09/westminster-eagle-be-critical-of.html

Kevin Dayhoff Soundtrack: http://www.kevindayhoff.net/ http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/
Kevin Dayhoff Art: http://www.kevindayhoff.com/
Kevin Dayhoff Westminster: http://www.westgov.net/

Thursday, September 25, 2008

John McCain’s Remarks on the Economy


John McCain’s Remarks on the Economy

September 24, 2008

"It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem. We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night's debates until we have taken action to address this crisis."

Watch the Speech







John McCain’s remarks on the economy

September 24, 2008

America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, every corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.

Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns. This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward. I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.

It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration’s proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.

Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.

I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.

We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night’s debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.

Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.


20080924 John McCain’s remarks on the economy

www.kevindayhoff.net

economy mortgage Wall Main Street legislation McCain Palin financial Congress credit derivatives traunch bipartisan Dayhoff jobs small business

Joint Statement Of Senator John McCain And Senator Barack Obama

Joint Statement Of Senator John McCain And Senator Barack Obama

For Immediate Release

September 24, 2008

ARLINGTON, VA -- Today, U.S. Senators John McCain and Barack Obama issued the following statement:

"The American people are facing a moment of economic crisis. No matter how this began, we all have a responsibility to work through it and restore confidence in our economy. The jobs, savings, and prosperity of the American people are at stake.

"Now is a time to come together -- Democrats and Republicans -- in a spirit of cooperation for the sake of the American people. The plan that has been submitted to Congress by the Bush Administration is flawed, but the effort to protect the American economy must not fail.

"This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country."

http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/News/PressReleases/7663d12d-048a-4279-9a82-8ef6f96acdb3.htm

20080924 Jt St Of Senators McCain Obama

President Bush’s address to the nation on the economic crisis


President Bush’s address to the nation on the economic crisis

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 24, 2008
President's Address to the Nation
State Floor

Video (Windows) /news/releases/2008/09/20080924-10.wm.v.html

Presidential Remarks
Audio
In Focus: Economy

9:01 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. This is an extraordinary period for America's economy. Over the past few weeks, many Americans have felt anxiety about their finances and their future. I understand their worry and their frustration. We've seen triple-digit swings in the stock market. Major financial institutions have teetered on the edge of collapse, and some have failed. As uncertainty has grown, many banks have restricted lending. Credit markets have frozen. And families and businesses have found it harder to borrow money.

We're in the midst of a serious financial crisis, and the federal government is responding with decisive action. We've boosted confidence in money market mutual funds, and acted to prevent major investors from intentionally driving down stocks for their own personal gain.

Most importantly, my administration is working with Congress to address the root cause behind much of the instability in our markets. Financial assets related to home mortgages have lost value during the housing decline. And the banks holding these assets have restricted credit. As a result, our entire economy is in danger. So I've proposed that the federal government reduce the risk posed by these troubled assets, and supply urgently-needed money so banks and other financial institutions can avoid collapse and resume lending.

This rescue effort is not aimed at preserving any individual company or industry -- it is aimed at preserving America's overall economy. It will help American consumers and businesses get credit to meet their daily needs and create jobs. And it will help send a signal to markets around the world that America's financial system is back on track.

I know many Americans have questions tonight: How did we reach this point in our economy? How will the solution I've proposed work? And what does this mean for your financial future? These are good questions, and they deserve clear answers.

First, how did our economy reach this point?

Well, most economists agree that the problems we are witnessing today developed over a long period of time. For more than a decade, a massive amount of money flowed into the United States from investors abroad, because our country is an attractive and secure place to do business. This large influx of money to U.S. banks and financial institutions -- along with low interest rates -- made it easier for Americans to get credit. These developments allowed more families to borrow money for cars and homes and college tuition -- some for the first time. They allowed more entrepreneurs to get loans to start new businesses and create jobs.

Unfortunately, there were also some serious negative consequences, particularly in the housing market. Easy credit -- combined with the faulty assumption that home values would continue to rise -- led to excesses and bad decisions. Many mortgage lenders approved loans for borrowers without carefully examining their ability to pay. Many borrowers took out loans larger than they could afford, assuming that they could sell or refinance their homes at a higher price later on.

Optimism about housing values also led to a boom in home construction. Eventually the number of new houses exceeded the number of people willing to buy them. And with supply exceeding demand, housing prices fell. And this created a problem: Borrowers with adjustable rate mortgages who had been planning to sell or refinance their homes at a higher price were stuck with homes worth less than expected -- along with mortgage payments they could not afford. As a result, many mortgage holders began to default.

These widespread defaults had effects far beyond the housing market. See, in today's mortgage industry, home loans are often packaged together, and converted into financial products called "mortgage-backed securities." These securities were sold to investors around the world. Many investors assumed these securities were trustworthy, and asked few questions about their actual value. Two of the leading purchasers of mortgage-backed securities were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because these companies were chartered by Congress, many believed they were guaranteed by the federal government. This allowed them to borrow enormous sums of money, fuel the market for questionable investments, and put our financial system at risk.

The decline in the housing market set off a domino effect across our economy. When home values declined, borrowers defaulted on their mortgages, and investors holding mortgage-backed securities began to incur serious losses. Before long, these securities became so unreliable that they were not being bought or sold. Investment banks such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers found themselves saddled with large amounts of assets they could not sell. They ran out of the money needed to meet their immediate obligations. And they faced imminent collapse. Other banks found themselves in severe financial trouble. These banks began holding on to their money, and lending dried up, and the gears of the American financial system began grinding to a halt.

With the situation becoming more precarious by the day, I faced a choice: To step in with dramatic government action, or to stand back and allow the irresponsible actions of some to undermine the financial security of all.

I'm a strong believer in free enterprise. So my natural instinct is to oppose government intervention. I believe companies that make bad decisions should be allowed to go out of business. Under normal circumstances, I would have followed this course. But these are not normal circumstances. The market is not functioning properly. There's been a widespread loss of confidence. And major sectors of America's financial system are at risk of shutting down.

The government's top economic experts warn that without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic, and a distressing scenario would unfold:

More banks could fail, including some in your community. The stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet. Foreclosures would rise dramatically. And if you own a business or a farm, you would find it harder and more expensive to get credit. More businesses would close their doors, and millions of Americans could lose their jobs. Even if you have good credit history, it would be more difficult for you to get the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college. And ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession.

Fellow citizens: We must not let this happen. I appreciate the work of leaders from both parties in both houses of Congress to address this problem -- and to make improvements to the proposal my administration sent to them. There is a spirit of cooperation between Democrats and Republicans, and between Congress and this administration. In that spirit, I've invited Senators McCain and Obama to join congressional leaders of both parties at the White House tomorrow to help speed our discussions toward a bipartisan bill.

I know that an economic rescue package will present a tough vote for many members of Congress. It is difficult to pass a bill that commits so much of the taxpayers' hard-earned money. I also understand the frustration of responsible Americans who pay their mortgages on time, file their tax returns every April 15th, and are reluctant to pay the cost of excesses on Wall Street. But given the situation we are facing, not passing a bill now would cost these Americans much more later.

Many Americans are asking: How would a rescue plan work?

After much discussion, there is now widespread agreement on the principles such a plan would include. It would remove the risk posed by the troubled assets -- including mortgage-backed securities -- now clogging the financial system. This would free banks to resume the flow of credit to American families and businesses. Any rescue plan should also be designed to ensure that taxpayers are protected. It should welcome the participation of financial institutions large and small. It should make certain that failed executives do not receive a windfall from your tax dollars. It should establish a bipartisan board to oversee the plan's implementation. And it should be enacted as soon as possible.

In close consultation with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and SEC Chairman Chris Cox, I announced a plan on Friday. First, the plan is big enough to solve a serious problem. Under our proposal, the federal government would put up to $700 billion taxpayer dollars on the line to purchase troubled assets that are clogging the financial system. In the short term, this will free up banks to resume the flow of credit to American families and businesses. And this will help our economy grow.

Second, as markets have lost confidence in mortgage-backed securities, their prices have dropped sharply. Yet the value of many of these assets will likely be higher than their current price, because the vast majority of Americans will ultimately pay off their mortgages. The government is the one institution with the patience and resources to buy these assets at their current low prices and hold them until markets return to normal. And when that happens, money will flow back to the Treasury as these assets are sold. And we expect that much, if not all, of the tax dollars we invest will be paid back.

A final question is: What does this mean for your economic future?

The primary steps -- purpose of the steps I have outlined tonight is to safeguard the financial security of American workers and families and small businesses. The federal government also continues to enforce laws and regulations protecting your money. The Treasury Department recently offered government insurance for money market mutual funds. And through the FDIC, every savings account, checking account, and certificate of deposit is insured by the federal government for up to $100,000. The FDIC has been in existence for 75 years, and no one has ever lost a penny on an insured deposit -- and this will not change.

Once this crisis is resolved, there will be time to update our financial regulatory structures. Our 21st century global economy remains regulated largely by outdated 20th century laws. Recently, we've seen how one company can grow so large that its failure jeopardizes the entire financial system.

Earlier this year, Secretary Paulson proposed a blueprint that would modernize our financial regulations. For example, the Federal Reserve would be authorized to take a closer look at the operations of companies across the financial spectrum and ensure that their practices do not threaten overall financial stability. There are other good ideas, and members of Congress should consider them. As they do, they must ensure that efforts to regulate Wall Street do not end up hampering our economy's ability to grow.

In the long run, Americans have good reason to be confident in our economic strength. Despite corrections in the marketplace and instances of abuse, democratic capitalism is the best system ever devised. It has unleashed the talents and the productivity, and entrepreneurial spirit of our citizens. It has made this country the best place in the world to invest and do business. And it gives our economy the flexibility and resilience to absorb shocks, adjust, and bounce back.

Our economy is facing a moment of great challenge. But we've overcome tough challenges before -- and we will overcome this one. I know that Americans sometimes get discouraged by the tone in Washington, and the seemingly endless partisan struggles. Yet history has shown that in times of real trial, elected officials rise to the occasion. And together, we will show the world once again what kind of country America is -- a nation that tackles problems head on, where leaders come together to meet great tests, and where people of every background can work hard, develop their talents, and realize their dreams.

Thank you for listening. May God bless you.

END 9:14 P.M. EDT



20080924 President Bush’s address to the nation on the economic crisis

McCain Discusses Financial Crisis, Rescue Plan by Steve Holland for Reuters

McCain Discusses Financial Crisis, Rescue Plan

By Steve Holland, Reuters September 24, 2008

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Republican presidential nominee John McCain got an update on the Wall Street financial crisis from several economic experts on Wednesday and was cautious on whether he would vote for a $700 billion bailout.

The Arizona senator said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, was wrong to say on Tuesday that McCain planned to vote for the hotly debated rescue plan.

"I did not say that," McCain told reporters…

McCain's comment came as he met with several economic experts and current and former corporate executives, such as Cisco CEO John Chambers, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain…

"Most Americans feel very strongly that this isn't their fault but it's Wall Street and Washington and the cozy insider relationships that have caused a great part of the problems," McCain said.

He said any package must have "transparency, accountability, CEO responsibility and obviously be in the best interest of the people (of) this country who are going to pay $10,000 per household in order to take the necessary measures to restore our confidence."

While Obama was in Florida getting prepared for his first debate with McCain on Friday in Mississippi, McCain was engaged in a round of meetings with foreign leaders in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

The list included a joint session with the presidents of Georgia and Ukraine, both of whom are concerned about Russia after Moscow's invasion of Georgia last month. He was also to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Read the entire article here.

http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE48N4TR20080924?sp=true

20080924 McCain Discusses Financial Crisis Rescue Plan

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

David S. Babylon Jr. Memorial Community Building Groundbreaking


Westminster Mayor and Common Council
P.O. Box 710, 1838 Emerald Hill Lane,
Westminster, Maryland 21158-0710 410-848-9000

Westminster Fallfest, Inc.,
P.O.B. 805, Westminster, Maryland, 21158 (410) 848-9000

David S. Babylon Jr. Memorial Community Building Groundbreaking
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 3:30 p.m.
Westminster Playground, Westminster, Maryland

Westminster Dir. of Recreation & Parks Ron Schroers
Westminster Mayor Thomas K. Ferguson
Delegate Tanya T. Shewell District 5A, Carroll County
County Commissioner Dean Minnich
Fallfest Treasurer & Building Chair Marshall Green
Evelyn Fluck Babylon
Closing Ron Schroers
Cake


The building is being named in honor of David S. Babylon, Jr., who served the citizens of Westminster for twenty-five years as a distinguished member and President of the Westminster Common Council, was a life member of the Westminster Fire Department, and was a well-respected and successful Westminster businessman.

This new two-story building will replace the current outdated structure and is designed to continue to function as a snack shack and storage facility, but will also include a community meeting room and office facilities for Westminster Fallfest Inc.

The building will be owned by The City of Westminster and will be operated and maintained through a partnership with The City of Westminster, Westminster Fallfest, Inc., and The Westminster Optimist Club.

Funding for this exciting project was made possible by a lead private sector gift of $50,000.00 from the family of David Babylon, along with A State of Maryland Project Open Space grant of $59,470 and matching grants from Carroll County Government and The City of Westminster of $3,304.00 each.

Councilwoman Suzanne Albert and the Westminster based architectural firm of Dean Camlin & Associates, the Westminster based engineering firm of CLSI, and the Board of Directors of Westminster Fallfest, Inc. each have made important contributions to this endeavor.


If you’d like to contribute, checks can be made out to:
Westminster Fallfest “Paving the Road,”
Westminster Fallfest, Inc.,
P.O.B. 805, Westminster, Maryland, 21158
(410) 848-9000

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Recent Westminster Eagle and Sunday Carroll Eagle columns by Kevin Dayhoff


Recent Westminster Eagle and Sunday Carroll Eagle columns by Kevin Dayhoff

Be critical of spending, but MML has been worthwhile
Published September 17, 2008 by Westminster Eagle
There has been a fair amount of discussion of late regarding published accounts of the June trip by 15 appointed and elected officials from Westminster...

League of extraordinary gentlemen (and women) serving Maryland
Published September 14, 2008 by Sunday Carroll Eagle
Between scholarships, the cost of conferences and its plan to create geocache sites in local municipalities, the Maryland Municipal League has been the...

Appreciating the composed chaos of the GOP Convention
Published September 10, 2008 by Westminster Eagle
I spent last week at the Republican National Convention at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. The Xcel Center is a hockey arena...

For many years, the convention 'party' came to Baltimore
Published September 5, 2008 by Sunday Carroll Eagle
This past week I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel with the Maryland Delegation to the 2008 Republican National Convention at...

Power of art contributes to a community's vibrancy
Published September 3, 2008 by Westminster Eagle
This week's column is a bit of a travel log, but one that relates to life here in Westminster. Recently I had an opportunity to...

A town divided found purpose and prosperity as a unified Westminster
Published August 31, 2008 by Sunday Carroll Eagle
EAGLE ARCHIVE Last Sunday we looked at the early history of the western end of Westminster. It was a little more than 80 years ago...

Economic development will revitalize Pennsylvania Avenue
Published August 27, 2008 by Westminster Eagle
At a recent meeting of the Westminster Common Council, it was announced that Councilman Greg Pecoraro will chair another Pennsylvania Avenue initiative, and that Councilwoman...

Years ago, folks celebrated sticking The Forks in Westminster
Published August 24, 2008 by Sunday Carroll Eagle
The City of Westminster has recently been working to form a group to study the Pennsylvania Avenue of town. In that context, it's interesting that back...

I speak today in favor of adventures in 'behindular zone'
Published August 20, 2008 by Westminster Eagle
Well, I did it. Come a little closer, and I'll tell you all about it. All right, maybe not all about it. After all, this...

20080923 Recent Westminster Eagle and Sunday Carroll Eagle columns

NBH: http://kbetrue.livejournal.com/60014.html


Art Econ Benefits of Art, Dayhoff Media Sun Carroll Eagle, History Westminster, Medicine Health colonoscopy, MML Municipal League, MML Municipal League Dayhoff articles, People Pecoraro-Greg, Westminster Council Pecoraro G, Westminster File PA Ave


Monday, September 22, 2008

The secret to a long life?


The secret to a long life?

Hat Tip: JCM

The 100 year-old and the cigarette.

20080922 The secret to a long life

Groundbreaking for the Babylon Community Building slated for Wednesday September 24, 2008 at 3:30 PM


Groundbreaking for the Babylon Community Building on the Westminster Playground slated for Wednesday September 24, 2008 at 3:30 PM

The Mayor and Common Council of Westminster cordially invite you to attend the Groundbreaking ceremony for the David S. Babylon Memorial Community Building to be held at 3:30 p.m. on September 24, 2008 on the grounds of the historic Westminster City Park.

The building is being named in honor of David S. Babylon who served the citizens of Westminster for twenty-five years as a distinguished member and President of the Westminster Common Council, was a life member of the Westminster Fire Department, and was a well-respected and successful Westminster businessman.

This new two-story building will replace the current outdated structure and is designed to continue to function as a snack shack and storage facility, but will also include a community meeting room and office facilities for Westminster Fallfest Inc.

The building will be owned by The City of Westminster and will be operated and maintained through a partnership with The City of Westminster, Westminster Fallfest, Inc., and The Westminster Optimist Club.

Funding for this exciting project was made possible by a lead private sector gift of $50,000.00 from the family of David Babylon, along with A State of Maryland Project Open Space grant of $59,470 and matching grants from Carroll County Government and The City of Westminster of $3,304.00 each.

Councilwoman Suzanne Albert and the Westminster based architectural firm of Dean Camlin & Associates, the Westminster based engineering firm of CLSI, and the Board of Directors of Westminster Fallfest, Inc. each have made important contributions to this endeavor.

Please contact Mr. Ron Schroers, Director of Recreation and Parks, at 410 848-6962 by September 15th to confirm your attendance.


For more information go to: 20080414 A History and overview of The David S. Babylon Jr. Community Building project

Babylon Fam Babylon Bldg Playground

http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/search/label/Babylon%20Fam%20Babylon%20Bldg%20Playground

20080924 Groundbreaking for the Babylon Community Building

Eyesore slated to house civic groups by Bryan Schutt

Eyesore slated to house civic groups by Bryan Schutt

By Bryan Schutt, Carroll County Times Staff Writer Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Westminster Playground Community Building will be demolished in the coming months and a new building will be built that’ll serve as the headquarters for two community organizations.

The new building will become the joint headquarters for the Optimist Club of Westminster and Westminster Fallfest Inc., according to Ron Schroers, Westminster’s director of parks and recreation. He said the project should be done by next year’s Fallfest and it will allow both groups to have a central location amid the heart of activity in the city.

Schroers said the majority of the $149,000 needed to pay for the project will come from Maryland Project Open Space grant money and fundraising by Fallfest. The ongoing electric costs will be covered by the Optimist Club.

A face-lift for the fixture wouldn’t have been practical, according to Schroers, so the building, which is located between the basketball court and baseball field at the city park, will be torn down and a new two-story structure will be erected.

The first floor will be the home of the Optimist Club. It will have a meeting room and a new concession area so the Optimist Club can operate a snack shack again during events. The current concession stand is inoperable, so the club abandoned the use of it.

The second floor will be the home to Fallfest, and it’ll have an office and multipurpose room. The building will also have a basement, which will serve as storage rooms for both groups.

Schroers said the fundraising took off after a donation from the Babylon family. The family donated $50,000 during the Fallfest Gala last April. Because of that, the new playground building will be renamed the David S. Babylon Memorial Community Building, in honor of Babylon and his contributions to the city.

Babylon, a lifelong Westminster activist, passed away in August 2006. He served as a councilman in Westminster for 25 years, was a volunteer in the Westminster fire company and was involved with several other community organizations.

Darlene Dorsey, president of the Optimist Club of Westminster, said she was floored when the idea was floated to her, and she still gets energized when she thinks about the project.

“That building now is an eyesore and needed so many repairs … we haven’t really used that shack for years,” Dorsey said. “It’s going to be useful again and that, in itself, is wonderful.

“I’m really excited. This is a great thing and the area will look much nicer, too.”

The Optimist Club used the building for years, but it’s mainly used as a storage shed now because it is so run down, she said.

Dorsey said that with all the club does, operating a good-looking building in the park will serve as a reminder to the community of their services and they hope it will further their outreach to the community’s children. Tom Canon, board member for Fallfest in charge of the capital campaign for the project, said he believes in the project’s practicality.

He said the groundbreaking will take place Sept. 24, the day of the Fallfest parade, and people will be able to see the redesign concept then.

“Making it bigger will enhance its service to the community,” Canon said. “Certainly, city [officials] and citizens take great pride in the facilities and [the area]. That’s what’s getting this done and it’ll be a nice thing to finish.”


Reach staff writer Bryan Schutt at 410-857-7886 or

bryan.schutt@carrollcountytimes.com.

20080913 Eyesore slated to house civic groups by Bryan Schutt

Westminster Eagle: Be critical of spending, but MML has been worthwhile by Kevin Dayhoff


Westminster Eagle: Be critical of spending, but MML has been worthwhile by Kevin Dayhoff

Posted on http://www.explorecarroll.com/opinion-talk/ 9/17/08

There has been a fair amount of discussion of late regarding published accounts of the June trip by 15 appointed and elected officials from Westminster to attend the annual Maryland Municipal League summer convention -- which city officials acknowledge cost approximately $19,000 in taxpayer money.

The reaction on the street and in the grocery store checkout line was, to be polite, outrage. "Where were their heads when they made this harebrained decision?" asked an acquaintance while I was munching on fries and a roast beef sandwich at Baugher's.

Well, have a seat and take a deep breath. For you see, I can't entirely go along with the populist rabble on this one.

Yes, I enjoy my reputation as a tightwad penny pincher, for which I have endured eloquent criticism in the past -- criticism that comes from those who believe tax and spend big government is the answer to all the challenges in our community.

At a time when city officials are, to the best of my knowledge, for the first time in Westminster history laying off employees due to budget constraints, raising taxes and actively discussing curtailing city services; was it really wise to spend $19,000 on a convention -- which included a $1,500 "team-building dinner?"

Probably not. As one person said to me, it doesn't meet the smell test.

City officials have defended the expense of attending the MML convention, as well they should, by saying in affect that the conference is cost effective.

However, by all accounts, they missed the big picture in defense of the expenditure in that the real challenge facing Westminster is a community conversation over the growth of city government and the spending priorities and policies of the current administration.

The cost of the MML convention served as a lightning rod for the frustration of many folks in the community concerning the past several years when conflicting messages have been telegraphed to the public about city finances. For example, in the last several years the city has added new administrative positions at a cost of more than $200,000 a year -- all the while pleading poverty.

If you want to be upset over the spending priorities and the lack of fiscal discipline of the current administration; have at it.

However, I would leave the MML out of it. For my money, MML is actually part of the solution.

To be fair, the current administration campaigned on the need for increased spending, taxes, bureaucracy and larger government. To now be angry because they've been true to their word is disingenuous at best.

When I was an elected official with the city, I attended six conferences in Ocean City and I continue to keep in touch with MML officials and stay current with MML initiatives, programs, conferences and seminars.

The annual summer convention has grown over the years into a must-attend event for statewide elected leaders as well as municipal officials. Even though it's held in Ocean City, it is a far cry from a vacation at the beach. It's a great deal of work crammed into too few days.

What city officials ought to have done is give a "show me the money" report on what an invaluable service the MML and the summer convention provides our community. There really is bang for that buck, but it's hard to hear that bang over the sound of public protest.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. E-mail him at kdayhoff@carr.org.

http://www.explorecarroll.com/opinion/1005/be-critical-spending-but-mml-has-been-worthwhile/

20080917 WE Be critical of spending but MML has been worthwhile

(564 words)

Carroll County Board of Commissioners agenda for the week of September 22 2008

Carroll County Board of Commissioners agenda for the week of September 22 2008

Board of County Commissioners
Julia W. Gouge, President
Dean L. Minnich, Vice President
Michael D. Zimmer, Secretary
Carroll County Government
225 North Center Street
Westminster, Maryland 21157
410-386-2043; 1-888-302-8978
fax 410-386-2485; TT 410-848-9747

Agenda for the Week of September 22, 2008

Please Note: This weekly agenda is subject to change. Please call 410-386-2043 to confirm a meeting you plan to attend. All meetings will be held at the Carroll County Office Building Room 311. (Unless otherwise noted)

Indicates Outside Activities

Monday September 22, 2008

10:00 a.m.
Marada Industries, Inc. Tour
Westminster, Maryland
Commissioners Gouge & Zimmer

7:00 p.m.
Union Bridge Community Meeting
Union Bridge, Maryland
Commissioners Gouge, Minnich & Zimmer

Tuesday September 23, 2008

9:00 a.m.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Old New Windsor School
County Government Offices & Presentation of Proclamation
for the Carroll County Public Library’s 50th Anniversary
New Windsor, Maryland
Commissioners Gouge, Minnich & Zimmer

11:00 a.m.

Board of County Commissioners Open Session

County Office Building Room 311
2009/2010 Budget Challenges
County Commissioners Office Mr. Steve Powell/
Department of Management & Budget Mr. Ted Zaleski

FOLLOWED BY:

Board of County Commissioners Administrative Session Closed
Westminster, Maryland

1:00 p.m.
Board of Education Meeting
Westminster, Maryland
Commissioner Zimmer

4:00 p.m.
Maryland Association of Boards of Education Conference
Ocean City, Maryland
Commissioner Zimmer

Wednesday September 24, 2008

8:00 a.m.
Maryland Association of Boards of Education Conference
Ocean City, Maryland
Commissioner Zimmer

10:00 a.m.
Issues & Insights with Mayor McCarron
Taneytown, Maryland
Commissioner Gouge

3:30 p.m.
Groundbreaking Ceremony for David Babylon Community
Building @ Westminster City Playground
Westminster, Maryland
Commissioners Gouge & Minnich

Thursday September 25, 2008

8:00 a.m.
Maryland Association of Boards of Education Conference
Ocean City, Maryland
Commissioner Zimmer

8:30 a.m.
Economic Development Commission Meeting
County Office Building Room 105
Commissioner Minnich

10:00 a.m.
Board of County Commissioners Roundtable Discussion
County Office Building Room 003
Commissioners Gouge & Minnich

11:00 a.m.
Board of County Commissioners Open Session
County Office Building Room 311
Commissioners Gouge & Minnich

Request Approval Town/County Agreements
Towns of Sykesville & Mt. Airy
Department of Management & Budget Mr. Ted Zaleski

Exercise Option to Purchase Daniel Shaffer Property
Greenwood Campus Option -
Department of Public Works Mr. J. Michael Evans
Department of General Services Mr. Tom Rio

Update on Carroll County Food Sunday -
Carroll County Food Sunday Mr. David Taylor

BCC signing of Bond documents for Issuance of Economic
Development Revenue Bonds for Fairhaven, Inc. and
Copper Ridge, Inc. -
County Attorney's Office Kim Millender, County Attorney

Request Approval of the Carroll County Sheriff's Department
FY 2009 Violence Again Women Act (VAWA) Award and
Operating Budget Resolution O-03 to Transfer Funds -
Carroll County Sheriff's Department Sheriff Tregoning/
Department of Management & Budget Mr. Ted Zaleski

Chief of Staff Time Mr. Steve Powell

Administrative Session Closed

Friday September 26, 2008
8:00 a.m.
Maryland Association of Boards of Education Conference
Ocean City, Maryland
Commissioner Zimmer

7:00 p.m.
Induction of Filipino Americans of Carroll County
Westminster, Maryland
Commissioner Minnich

Saturday September 27, 2008

Sunday September 28, 2008
8:05 a.m.
“The Commissioners’ Report” – WTTR
Commissioner Gouge

20080922 CCBOC agenda