Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Trillion Dollar Stimulous Package

As I understand it the incoming Congress intends to enact legislation costing as much as a trillion dollars as soon as possible. The only thing I have heard mentioned so far is infrastructure. It appears that there are a number of projects ready to go with only lack of funding to prevent them from being accomplished. I support the idea but whenever funds are thrown at a project on a massive scale like this corruption and waste are sure to follow. It is like believing that the financial leaders could be allowed to operate without oversight since they would obviously exert their own restraint. In you have not been living in a cave, you should realize by now how that turned out.
Does the Congress believe that there are millions of skilled road and bridge workers just waiting for work? How many of those who have lost their jobs in the downturn of the economy, are skilled and capable of functioning efficiently? Are there not winter conditions existing in most of our States that would prohibit construction until Spring rolls around again? Of course they could start in Arizona and the other Southern States. I’m sure the Northern States would be happy to see the funds spent in the South.
Here are my thoughts on how to spend whatever money is appropriated.
1- Immediately raise gasoline taxes by $1.00 or $2.00/ gallon. Use the funds then for infrastructure instead of appropriated funds. Reimburse all owners of vehicles an amount comparable to this increased burden. These owners can than chose to put money into their pockets by purchasing the most gas efficient vehicles on the market. Let the people control the manufacturers. They will get immediate response instead of the song and dance routine of Congress with their CAFÉ standards and Detroit fighting them every step of the way.
2- Immediately cover the total cost of health care that manufacturers and business now must provide. This will remove this costly burden and improve the competitive standing vs. the rest of the world’s businesses who do not pay these horrendous costs. Once this is done, then Congress can finish the job by providing health care to every American citizen.
3- Make funds available to any company in the business of producing energy whether American owned or foreign as long as the production is done in America by American citizens or immigrants in our country legally. Since the sun is the ultimate energy source this is where the emphasis should be placed. The urgency of becoming energy independent is so critical, I would also allow funds to be made available to any other feasible type to help us achieve independence as we move to solar as our final goal.
There are many other places where funds could be spent. I will not enumerate further other than to say that any money available should be shared equally with all Americans rather than enrich those who have brought us to this sorry state of affairs including those who purchased homes they could not afford or went deep into credit card debt to enrich their lifestyles. Try to remember that there are some Americans who have lived within their means. We don’t understand the mentality of rewarding the wanton behavior of these people. We are citizens too. We are the forgotten ones. We do exist and we also vote.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
December 9, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Unemployment Benefits extended-11/21/2008

The US Senate has now approved up to an additional 13 weeks for the unemployed. The House overwhelmingly passed it and President Bush has agreed to sign it into law. It had previously been extended last June. The estimated cost of this latest addition is $5.7 Billion. The average weekly check will be $300/week nationwide. What this means to me is that millions will have received these checks for a year without ever leaving their home. They are not required to work for less than they were making before losing their job.
I have been opposed for a long time. I can’t believe there are not jobs out there needing workers. After a reasonable amount of time they should be required to take any job available. I would go so far as to have their pay checks enhanced with a government check to bring them up to the $300 figure, but not working and receiving these funds is just plain wrong.
Everyone in the news media keeps referring to FDR and the programs he enacted. What they never say is that FDR insisted that the men leave their home and put in 8 hours of work in exchange for financial assistance. He did not want them to lose their work ethic. Americans then worked their way out of it. Today we just give handouts to everyone, business and labor. We cannot continue as a viable country if this is our only solution.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
November 22, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Proposed Bailout for the Big Three Auto Makers

As I take the time to put these thoughts on paper I know full well that even if this handout is not approved by the Congress in session now, that it will be early next year when the new Congress and Administration take control. They will take the feel good position that once again some part of our economy is too big to fail. This is outrageous. Where will it end? The States and cities are lining up for easy money and there are store closings and bankruptcies occurring on an ever increasing frequency.
I will tell you how it will end. It will end when we are no longer able to sell bonds to other countries and become insolvent. I think we are closer than anyone realizes. They keep talking about income tax reductions and no new taxes when we are drowning in debt with interest on the national debt this year approaching $500 billion which is close to what is spent on our military, not including our two wars and space war costs. This is insane. Doesn’t anybody in authority realize the dire predicament we are in? I don’t disagree that it was the financial industry running wild that drove us over the cliff but that is another story for another time. This letter is about the auto industry.
There was an advertisement in the newspaper this week that Ford will be releasing their new “muscle” car in March. It is a supped up Mustang with a 350 hp. engine, with plenty of get up and go. Just what the public wants. One of the auto executives testifying before the Senate committee yesterday said just that. They built and sold cars wanted by the American consumers. The question is why do they want them? Could it be that advertising has been effective? After all, that is the purpose of advertising. If truth be known I would bet that consumers in Europe would also like them but with gas at up to $8 dollars per gallon they are wise enough to buy smaller more fuel efficient vehicles.
With the current cost of oil at $54/ barrel instead of $147 as it was a few months ago, what is to restrain American consumers from buying the large behemoths these companies like to sell? With a” happy days are here again” publicity campaign the big three may yet prove to be correct and those who have invested heavily in fuel efficient cars may find themselves outside, looking in, as happened in the 80’s when oil costs were lowered.
To keep this from happening, the Federal gas tax should be one that lowers and increases depending on the cost of fuel so that costs level out at a high enough level to encourage us to make efficiency serious criteria when buying cars and trucks. That just makes too much sense. Instead billions will be appropriated for infrastructure projects that could and should come from the users. They talk about global warming but when push comes to shove they are out of the office that day. How sad. It is our fault. We demand everything as long as we don’t have to pay for it.
The $25 billion already given to the big three to be used to speed up conversion will not be used for its intended purpose. It and the other $25 billion will just be used to keep them afloat until next year when either they will need more or they do indeed begin once again to sell the cars and trucks they are producing now.
Several years ago, Congress, in its ultimate wisdom gave huge financial incentives to buy large SUV’s and Humvees. Then finally they gave a small incentive a year ago for 60,000 hybrids. This was gone before you knew it. If they were serious then it would have been open ended but since Detroit wasn’t making them, this was used to buy Honda’s, Toyota’s and Nissans. These were all Japanese models. Even if produced in America by American workers, I am sure Congress was lobbied hard to not overdo it. What will Congress be doing for these companies to reward them for their engineering and development. It appears nothing. The same old story, bail out those who have not tried and punish those that have tried.
For decades the big three and the oil companies have done everything they could to keep from raising mileage. When California and other States tried they were successfully taken to court. G.M. in particular knows how. They had great all electric cars leased in California to enthusiastic users. They called them back and crushed them to wipe out any thought that they ever existed. They make models in Europe that sell. They just don’t want to sell them here as their profit margin is so much greater with the larger cars and trucks.
Trust me, this is the old story repeating itself over again and I fear with the same result.
The greatest boon Congress could give, that would help all American producers compete in the world economy, would be enactment of universal health care like our competitor countries enjoy. Don’t hold your breath.
In conclusion, the only answer is to let them sink or swim. Use Chapter 11 as the Airlines did. Most of them survived, some didn’t. That is the way free enterprise works. Some make it, some don’t. Free enterprise includes the right to fail. Under Chapter 11 they would be granted time to delay payments to creditors, re-negotiate contracts, drastically reduce executive compensation, eliminate corpulence such as personal jet aircraft that cost thousands per hour to use, and really get serious about redesign.
There is never any useful purpose for these letters I write except to relieve the pressure I create for myself and to leave a paper trail of what could have been accomplished but never was.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blueprint for Success

If I was wealthy enough I would purchase a copy of three books for every member of Congress. If they would read and then use as a guide it would not be long before our country would emerge from the financial nightmare we are suffering from. The books are; “Free Lunch” & “Perfectly Legal” by David Cay Johnson and “Bad Money” by Kevin Phillips. I urge you at least to read and then take the leadership in putting forth an agenda including the information gleaned from the work already done by these two outstanding patriotic researchers.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
November 12, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

My thoughts on issues to be addressed by the new administration

Representative Gabrielle Giffords
Dear Mrs. Giffords,
Once again I am writing to you since writing to either of our Arizona State Senators is a lost cause. First I want to congratulate you on winning re-election. I believe you have made a great start on your political career. Who knows how far you will go. I wish you the best.
The purpose of this letter is to trigger thinking on your part of things of importance for the next administration to accomplish. You may only have a minor roll to play but on the other hand, you are there, and you are no longer a freshman. You have proven yourself. I would hope you would be bold and assert your thinking into the deliberation process rather than just vote as the leadership demands.
1- Call on the President to immediately release Border Patrol Officers Campion and Ramos from prison. They should be invited to the White House together with their families and be given a public apology for wrongful imprisonment. They were putting their lives at risk apprehending a proven drug smuggler. The morale and effectiveness of other agents would immediately improve and their effectiveness increase with the knowledge that they could pursue their purpose without fear of prosecution.
2- Suggest to the President to remove all political appointments from the agencies that were put there to dictate that the agencies follow the political agenda. With this accomplished then they will be free to discharge their responsibilities per their charter.
3- Suggest that the missile defense systems currently being installed in Poland be quietly dismantled removing this threat to Russia. I am sure he could receive some concession from them such as speeding up the destruction of nuclear weapons or improved accountability of them, anything to make the world a safer place. This has been totally wrong from the start. It is akin to Russia once again placing missiles in Cuba. We wouldn’t allow that. Why would we think that Russia would just acquiesce?
4- Encourage the President to stop all offensive operations in Iraq and accelerate the drawdown of military personnel from that place. The current President is doing all he can to keep this from happening. President Obama contacting the Iraqi Government could keep them from signing the agreement.
5- Request that he demand the Chinese allow their currency to float which would immediately have the effect of removing their built in advantage by 40%. This could begin the return of less labor intensive industries to America. In addition request that he follow thru on his campaign pledge to eliminate the incentives to moving manufacturing off shore. Take action against countries like S. Korea who severely restrict imports of American goods while they are allowed free access to American markets.
6- Bailout- You voted against it, but then after changes, you voted for it. This was done in a panic mentality. Now we find that A.I.G. is asking for additional funds up to nearly $150 billion. We are also informed that some banks are using the windfall to purchase other banks, give bonuses and sponsor expensive outings as a reward for great service. I have also read that since the government now has ownership that we the taxpayers will be paying legal expenses to defend the ones who created this mess to begin with. Once you return you and others must address these problems and make necessary corrections.
7- The cause of the stupidity was the bundling together of home mortgages into salable packages. I don’t know how, but if possible this should be outlawed. When a family purchases a home most need a mortgage. They get that through a local bank. The way it used to be is that bank held the mortgage until such time as it was paid off. It was then redeemed and kept as a keepsake or burned in a party. A mortgage should not be considered an object to sell. It should just be between the family and their bank.
8- Review all of President Bush’s signing statements which allowed him to sign a bill and then ignore it.
9- I care about the environment, wildlife, etc. Return the Forest Service back to protecting the forests not exploiting them for profit. These must be preserved for future generations to enjoy.
10- I realize we must have American auto makers but I am reluctant to give them billions when the leadership of those companies refused to develop fuel efficient vehicles in this country. They know how. The vehicles sold in Europe are fuel efficient and a number of years ago they did have electric cars on the road. A management decision killed them in favor of gas guzzlers. Removing health care costs as part of a universal health care system like the rest of the civilized nations do would greatly reduce their costs and eliminate this unfair cost disadvantage.
There are so many opportunities to repair the damage of the past eight years. I wish you and your compatriots well. Enjoy yourself and revel in your accomplishments.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
November 12, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Long term occupation of Iraq

Representative Gabrielle Giffords
Dear Mrs. Giffords,
As the end of the Bush years is finally approaching, you need to be alert to the damage he can still inflict on America before he finally heads back to his ranch. The issue of paramount importance to me is the treaty he is desperate to sign with Iraq which would give legal status to keep American troops in that country until 2012, if the articles in the paper are correct.
There is a daily report in the Star showing that he is giving in on all of the provisions demanded by Iraq except the one about them prosecuting our soldiers for alleged offences. Even this, in the end he will sacrifice to achieve his purpose which is decades of occupation as we still do to Germany, Japan and Korea. Your speaker has refused to consider impeachment so far. Should he do this, it alone should be an impeachable offence?
He will agree as I have stated. Your job will be to demand that he not be allowed to sign a treaty without the consent of Congress. I believe it is the Senate not the House. I could be wrong. I will not be asking Senator’s Kyl or McCain as they will support Bush, as they always do. Whether Obama is elected or McCain, I still insist your duty as our elected official, is to pressure the Senate to study and then vote hopefully against this outrageous treaty. What that means is that our troops would cease offensive operations at the end of this year and return to their bases and start a systematic withdrawal of troops and equipment.
Please give this issue your urgent attention whether you are re-elected or not.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
November 3, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Surge didn't stop Purge of non-Muslims

Re: the Oct.12 article “Attacks force terrified Christians to flee Iraq’s third largest city.”
The Star included an article on the persecution of Christians in Iraq’s third largest city, Mosul. There have been threats, murders and bombings.
Christians have lived there for 1,800 years according to the article. An estimated 800,000 lived there before our invasion. In Mosul over half of the 20,000 who had lived there have fled.
The point I want to make is that before the invasion Christians and Jews had been living in relative peace. As bad as Saddam Hussein might have been, this was a fact. After nearly six years, not only is the oil not flowing as it should but a purge of all non-Muslims has accelerated. The “surge” didn’t help them.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
October 21, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Recession 1973 vs. 2008

There is a difference.
The recession of 1973 was the direct result of OPEC raising their price for a barrel of oil from $4 to $40. This threw all of the developed nations into turmoil. This was due to the fact that America and other countries made the decision to preserve our own natural resources in favor of using cheap Arabian oil. You would think that leaders of these countries might anticipate that something like this could occur and develop backup plans to counter but alas that did not happen. I said at the time that by simply reversing the previous decision and instead of taxing local production to immediately heavily tax foreign crude. This would have added to the misery but within a short period of time positive results would have occurred. In the meantime short term relief could have been given to drivers, airlines, etc to ease the pain. Had we done this by now all nations would be free of dependency on OPEC. Their price would have dropped and all would be well. The difference I am trying to make is that a physical event triggered the recession.
The recession of 2008 is altogether different. This is the direct result of our government removing all controls from the financial markets and letting them go wild. Is there a week that goes by without you receiving another application for a credit card with spending limits in the thousands? After 9/11 we were urged to do our patriotic duty and rush to the mall to keep the Chinese factories in full gear. Where in my day a 20% down payment and a good paying job were required, now houses were given away assuming that ever increasing value would keep the ship afloat. Again, prudent government leaders should have anticipated that a downturn was possible and put stronger provisions into the buying process as a safeguard.
During this deregulation process multi millionaires were created. Good for them but not the rest of us since their gains were at the expense of common sense. They didn’t care. Why should they, after all we are all one world aren’t we? All our illustrious leaders need to do is restore sanity back into the system. Return to the rules that kept commercial separate from investment and insurance. The companies would need a grace period so they could divest without penalty and they should not be allowed to be swallowed up by foreign entities including countries like China who hold trillions of US dollars. Reverse the trend of huge companies buying up competitors and getting bigger, too big to fail as the current trillion dollar bailout attests to. Reform the tax system so that these huge corporations return to paying their fair share of taxes like we little people do. These are just random thoughts. The list is endless. The solutions are well known to economists. Bring them into the process. In order to remove temptation to fool with it create a commission to pull ideas together and present to the Congress with their only choice to vote yes or no like they do now when reviewing closing military bases.
Wouldn’t it be great if one or both of the presidential candidates proposed solutions such as the above instead of stressing great and wonderful new programs as if the current crisis had never happened?

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
October 12, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bad Money- a book report

Bad Money
Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism
By Kevin Phillips

Once again I have ventured forth in my ongoing search for answers. I have broken my word before, but I hope I can keep it this time. I’m not going to purchase and read any more books like this. There are many on the market available but after reading this, I cannot conceive that other books could enlighten me more than this one did. The others I wrote book reports about. Some are in my “The Last Angry Man’ book. Other more recent you can find by entering my web site at http://jackbwalters.blogspot.com
There is little to be gained by cramming more info into my brain since I am not in a position to do anything about it anyway. It doesn’t take that long to read. Wouldn’t you think that at least some elected officials would be curious enough to either read themselves or ask staff to read and then report or even call the author in for consultation? This and the other authors present blueprints to follow. Putting the various authors’ ideas into practice could start the healing process.
Mr. Phillips has enormous knowledge of the financial system and describes in great detail the names of the many types. I will not repeat them since I couldn’t interpret them with any semblance of authority. Perhaps you can. I know many of you are very knowledgeable about the industry. You are the ones who should read to add to your understanding.
The main theme that he points to is the emergence of finance as the major industry in our Gross Domestic Product (page 31). He shows a chart that plots from 1950 to 2005.
Manufacturing 29.3% 12.0%
Financial Services 10.9% 20.4%
Since the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 dissolved old legal separations and constraints, commercial banking, insurance, securities, and mortgage lending have intertwined… They are for all purposes indivisible. (Page 32) is another chart from 1950 to 2005. It shows dramatic increases beginning in the 90’s of mortgage backed securities.
For those in the stock market the years from 1982 to 2000 were heady. The Dow increased from 775 to 11,700. Most of this gain is due to unleashing the financial markets and loosening home purchasing requirements which created exaggerated increases in the value of property. The same house tripled or more in value creating the huge bubble which just had to burst at some point. That point as we all know is now.
He makes a strong point that since the 80’s investment in physical assets like plant and equipment has diminished while the growth has been in debt. He blames debt for three setbacks. The first was the S&L mess in the 80’s (cost 200 billion). The second was the rescue by the Fed of Citibank in 1989. This included a bailout of one billion provided by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Tawal. The third was the 1990’s bailout of junk bonds by the Fed.
What all of this proved was that the reckless behavior of the CEO’s could continue, realizing that the Fed’s would bail them out when the boat started tipping over.
On page 41 he has a chart that shows the increase in debt from 1974 to 2006. The numbers are billions.
Domestic $258/$14,184
Total household $680/$12,873
Federal Government $358/$4,885
Total U.S. financial and nonfinancial debt $2,407/$44/744
Another chart on page 45 shows domestic financial debt as a percentage of U.S. GDP. It grew from 12% in 1969 to 107% in 2006.
The crash in 2002/2003 of Enron, WorldCom and Global Crossing were the direct result of President Reagan’s deregulation of utilities. They were given free license to do as they pleased.
I have to add his comment on page 47 comparing WWII and Bush’s recession that he inherited as he took office. “In a caricature of the U.S. government’s WWII advice to the public to purchase war bonds, after 9/11 Americans were told to spend, charge away on their credit cards, or travel to help keep the private economy in a growth mode.” What a charade.
Mortgage debt increased 102% from 2001 to 2007, which amounted to $5 trillion. This was the equivalent of 40% of U.S. GDP. He describes this as a lot of soap and air enough to create a huge bubble.
He claims that somewhere around 1988 the Federal Government chose finance as the most important part of our economy, to the detriment of manufacturing.
Stunning charts beginning on page 65 show the unbelievable growth in wealth by the top tier, staggering sums of as much as $85 billion in 1999. You can guess how they have increased in the next decade.
In his chapter entitled Bullnomics he proves that the CPI is continually understated by about 2%. This is done deliberately and of course has an impact on any compensation tied to the CPI including Social Security. I don’t know about you but I have felt for a long time that the numbers being reported could not be true, another deceptive practice by your government.
I need to point out that this book was published in 2008 so it is not ancient history but an up to date analysis of current happenings. He predicted a drop in housing value of 15% to 20% this year. He refers to Hedge funds as “The Wild West”, for their reckless behavior and the results thereof.
He devotes a whole chapter to oil. Nothing new here, if you don’t understand what is happening then there is no sense in repeating.
Just two quotes from his chapter entitled The Politics of Evasion, “ the entrenchment in Washington of a staggering array of interest groups, which has engendered a soulless political dynamic of perpetually raising and dispersing campaign funds; and the further, bipartisan trend toward what can only be called a politics of inheritance and dynasty”. Sounds like something I wrote recently. He concludes this chapter with the following comment;
“That minimalist description certainly applies to the eight Republican years ending in 2008, during which global warming was denied, market forces and utopias were exalted, sober energy realpolitik was ignored, weapons of mass destruction and nuclear threats in Iraq and Iran were grossly exaggerated to support actual or possible energy-related invasions, and world opinion was offended. Over the last few decades, however, political ineptitude and misjudgment have been bipartisan phenomena. Energy, debt, and currency realpolitik has been missing among Democrats too, lost in their fund raising prowess and heavy petting with hedge funds; naiveté about pseudo- greening of Chinese, Indian, and Brazilian economic growth, and troubling faith in their own parties brand of job growth, and utopianomics”:
In comparing our current status to the rise and fall of other dynasties like Spain, Holland and England, he finds similarities in that finance became dominant over real production, advances in science and arts. We don’t have much time to put our house in order and at the present time I see a government putting out fires but not tackling the fundamentals that brought us to where we are today.
This is not a difficult book to read if you are willing to study as you go. How to get elected officials to read is the challenge.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

I wrote an article on September 25, 2003 with the above as the title. If you look you can find it in my Last Angry Man book. I concluded it by stating as of that date, I had sold all remaining shares of stock and placed what little I had left in Government Bonds and Money Market Funds. From that date my returns have not been sufficient enough to cover inflation but in spite of this I persevered. In light of today’s reality check perhaps I wasn’t so stupid after all.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
October 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Webster’s definition is:
An exclusive trading privilege; the sole right or power of selling something; or full command over the sale of it; ---the possession or assumption of anything to the exclusion of others; ---
I started this letter with the dictionary definition to put my comments in the context of its content. It is my opinion that a true democratic society must have safeguards to protect the citizens from some monolithic entity with sole power over some segment of services whether it is banking, energy, transportation, utilities or other. Our government used to protect us but now it seems nothing is too big for them to be concerned. For example the current financial crisis which has created three super banks; Citigroup, Bank of America Corp. and J.P. Morgan Chase &Co. Wachovia and Washington Mutual Inc. were themselves huge entities who both had been absorbing others until they purchased one poison pill too many and self destructed in the process.
The first order of business for the next Administration and Congress should be to start breaking up these monopolies into smaller and smaller segments at the same time assuring protection from takeover by foreign entities. It will do no good to downsize if the result is a takeover by an overseas entity. The last thing we should allow is foreign ownership of major business any more than has already occurred. As this process unfolds then protections must be installed to keep these companies honest. Excessive CEO pay and benefits should not be accepted as legitimate business expenses which reduce their tax liability. If the Boards want to grant excessive compensation, then so be it, but let them pay the taxes due. Regulations should be established and the agency enforcing them should be adequately funded and not interfered with by politics.
I can envision a final grouping of three or less energy companies controlling everything in the energy field. Make no mistake when alternative sources really start to make a difference they will be ready to buy in and profit from them as they have for decades now with oil.
If the American people don’t wake up and demand change, and by that I am not parroting Obama’s campaign slogan, I mean real change. If we go back to sleep, the status quo will remain in effect. Only the people can change things for the better. The millions who called or wrote killed the bailout bill. Nothing else did it, only the rage of the people. The same thing happened with the Amnesty Bill last year. It also was sailing through until the people spoke. We do have the power. We can come together and put pressure on them whether we are Democrats, Republicans, Independents or other political persuasion. What I am asking for transcends your political persuasion. Give it a try. Be part of the solution. Don’t just sit at home crying, “Woe is me”.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 30, 2008

White Knight to the Rescue

With great dramatic flare our esteemed Senator flew into Washington to save the nation, disregarding his campaign. This is the one who would rather lose a campaign than lose a war. This bailout was on a par with Iraq.He must have taken Arizona Representatives for granted as they voted as a bloc to defeat the legislation. Republicans and Democrats alike turned it down, perhaps for different reasons, but vote it down they did. They heard from their constituents. I guess John is to busy to listen. In the interest of fairness Barak doesn't get it either.
Jack B. Walters

3961 N. Hillwood Circle

Tucson, AZ 85750

(520) 722-2958

September 30, 2008


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Words to live by

Trying to make sense out of the current meltdown of our financial system is very difficult for those of us not directly involved. There are many theories and enough blame to share, which is enough for me to put that aside in my attempt to state what to date, I at least have not read or seen on a news report. I am referring to who is getting bailed out and the forgotten who are off on the sidelines wondering if in fact we were stupid or not savvy enough to get on the gravy train or just plain gullible.
Let’s start with who will be blessed by the bailout and other legislation hurriedly being enacted as Congress prepares to resume campaigning.
1- American auto makers; Ford and G.M. They get 25 billion to retool. These companies did all they could to delay the inevitable. They built and pushed the least fuel efficient vehicles they could. G.M built electric cars a decade ago then pulled them back and crushed them to remove all traces that they ever existed. Both companies build fuel efficient cars in Europe. If they can do it there, why not here? Lastly is this not unfair to companies like Honda and Toyota who have spent billions on factories in America and as of now are the leaders in fuel efficiency?
2- The CEO’s, their Corporate staffs and Board of Directors who are so highly paid and in my opinion realized that the government would have to bail them out. They get to keep all of their ill-gotten gains and for the most part will remain except for those who chose to take their marbles and go play somewhere else.
3- Those people who will claim to be duped but none the less should have realized that the homes and goodies being acquired could not possibly be kept without retaining a safety net to cover adverse circumstances. Interest only mortgages, credit cards maxed out. They acted totally irresponsible and in my view should just suffer the consequences and start over. No, no. They will stand in line and be saved.
Now let’s get to the purpose of this letter. I want to talk about those who will not receive handouts except in a peripheral way, meaning that perhaps their assets will not be harmed anymore than they already have. These people in their naivete' have tried to live their lives using religious principles such as;
Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
Neither a lender nor a borrower be.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Don’t covet your neighbor’s possessions.
Live frugally within your means.
Don’t be a financial burden to your parents or your children.
As parents, sacrifice as necessary to provide for the children in your household.
Support the charities and your house of worship as best you can.
Prepare yourself and your family in such a way as to be protected in case of emergency including health issues.
Have sufficient life insurance to cover the loss of the breadwinner’s wages while your children are still of need.
These are the people who live in abodes that are within their financial capacity. They maintain a zero credit card balance. Should for any reason this not be possible, then they cut back on unnecessary expenditures until they can once again pay off their debts. They may go to Goodwill or other used clothing stores rather than shop the mall.
They don’t succumb to the need to have everything their neighbor has.
They don’t gamble or buy lottery tickets excessively trying to strike it rich. They don’t play with the stock market. They instead look for stable investments which can provide gain with the least amount of risk.
These are the forgotten Americans who have lived by a moral code. All that they will receive is the self satisfaction that comes when you live responsibly.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 28, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A History Lesson

As the politicians and media gurus debate ways to salvage our financial system, I believe it might be of some interest to show how it all came about. In the interest of brevity, I will of necessity not elaborate too deeply into each item but rather give this the broad brush treatment. I will leave it to you to fill in the voids.
Let us start during the depression. This followed closely on the heels of the flapper years where everyone had fun. Prosperity was here for all. Let the good times roll. The problem was that everyone thought they were betting on a sure thing. They bought stocks with high leverage, similar to today, with the idea that someone else would pay for bad guesses. It didn’t work out that way. When the market started down, there was nothing to stop it and everyone lost, even those not in the market, as credit dried up banks defaulted with ordinary people losing their life savings. The government policy under President Hoover was to just sit back and wait, assuming it would correct itself. It didn’t and couldn’t because there was nothing to stop the downward cycle. Desperate times for our citizens.
The people overwhelmingly turned to F.D.R. and the recovery began. He was ready on day one and sent a flurry of bills to the majority Democratic Congress. In my book review of his life I enumerated many of them. I will not repeat except to state that his philosophy was to try something, anything, to kick start the recovery. Most programs worked, but some didn’t. These he discarded. His overriding thought was that as people received a boost that they not be idle as they received it. He did not want a welfare state just a temporary fix until order could be restored. All of his programs were resisted fiercely by big business but he rejected their advice. Many of his programs clamped tight control on the big money men to keep them from taking control and repeating the cycle.
As the “New Deal” was winding down, along came WWII. This created a boost to industry that provided full employment. As the men became soldiers the women filled in admirably doing work that previously had been considered for men only.
After the war President Roosevelt in his continuing wisdom created the GI Bill of Rights which was made available to all veterans. There were loose guidelines. They could go to college, a trade school, take flying lessons or whatever. In my case tuition and books were paid for. I was also given
$75/ month in living expenses. When I graduated I had a minimal debt to pay. While this was going on, the need to find immediate employment for the millions of veterans was reduced, and an orderly restart ensued. For the next 16 years during the Presidencies of Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy prosperity was enjoyed by all. As a government, there were surpluses created all the while great programs of assistance were enacted such as The Marshall Plan which saved Europe from going communist and planning the trip to the moon.
All of this stable progress was under Democratic controlled government. Eisenhower was not a true Republican, as were those that followed later, In fact he was courted by the Democratic Party to be on their ticket. He kept things under control. He was called a do nothing president. Sometimes, in my opinion, just letting the process work is the best course of action. We do, of course have him to thank for the interstate highway system. Also, he kept the military industrial types under control.
Lyndon Johnson the successor to Kennedy, with the Vietnam War and his Great Society Programs took the country deep in debt from which we have never recovered.
The Republican Party has done everything it could over the decades to wipe out all vestiges of New Deal programs, particularly those that kept controls on Corporations. They finally succeeded. The only programs left are federal deposit insurance and Social Security. If they are successful in privatizing Social Security, then this too will be gone for future generations.
In the interest of fairness I need to discuss government under President Carter. How it happened or why has always been a mystery to me. Unions were powerful and they were pushing their agendas. Regardless, this was the beginning of the downward cycle of manufacturing in America. We were treated as enemies of the people and many programs were enacted which made life intolerable for those of us on the line. We could no longer devote our full attention to making quality products at a price acceptable to the consumer. Unnecessary cost burdens were added all the while the resurgence of products from the new Europe were being unloaded on the docks at an ever increasing rate. Then came OPEC and the bottom fell out.
If you have read my political journey you can follow my flip flopping from one party to another. During these times I was as stanch a Republican as anyone could be as I resisted a government seemingly dedicated to destroying manufacturing in America.
This was when Reagan came to power with my full support and vote. He told us government was the problem and we agreed. What we didn’t know was how swiftly he dismantled financial controls starting the trend to bigger and bigger companies with their strong influence on the market. I guess we didn’t care as the Soviet Union was brought down and prosperity was abundant. There used to be programs to keep companies from having monopoly power. The definition, I guess, kept changing, as they have grown exponentially.
All of the administrations to follow both Republican and Democrat kept following this same course in effect allowing markets to operate as they saw fit without oversight. In addition American markets were opened to many other nations, which continued the demise of industry here at home. Legislation was enacted that provided incentive to ship jobs overseas without regard to American workers. Retail giants like Wal-Mart put pressure on industry to relocate in China or other low cost countries.
I want to pause to make a statement. The two decades after WWII were times of unparalled prosperity. I use Firestone as the litmus test. All through those years we expanded on a fast tract basis. This was the reason someone like me could advance as quickly as I did. It seemed to start about the time I joined Firestone in 1954. Prior to then the plants had been monolific, solid unchanging, stable. The plant managers all had grey hair and had 30 or more years of service. Wages and benefits improved steadily. Factory workers owned their homes. Some had fishing boats and lake cabins or travel trailers. Nothing fancy, but satisfactory. A good life for them and a solid future for their children were possible. Farmers still lived on their land and worked their acreage. Those who were not of the white race were pulled along with high paying jobs becoming available. Under union contracts there was equal pay for equal work. They were still discriminated against and so were denied other of life’s pleasures. That didn’t start to change until passage of civil rights legislation in the 60’s.
Without unions’ health insurance, life insurance, pensions, good wages and vacation time would never have been possible. Even as a plant manager much of the benefits I received were built on the success of union bargaining. The problem of union demands starting in the mid 70’s was that they could not or would not accept the reality that our cozy little club had been upset by boatloads of tires being shipped from Europe and Japan and sold in retail stores all across America. By the time they did it was too late. OPEC had already devastated the tire industry worldwide forcing all manufacturers to cut and cut deep. Chaos resulted. In the end American tire manufacturing was reduced by over 50%.
I find myself digressing. The point I want to make is that before the 70’s life was good for working people on or off the farm. We were living in nice homes. We as men earned enough to allow mothers to stay at home providing solid support for our children. We were entering a phase that should have kept improving our life style with every passing decade. It didn’t continue. Wages and salaries stagnated. Women were forced into the workforce not because they wanted to but because their income was required to maintain the life style we had come to enjoy. For decades now income for average Americans has stagnated. Consumer debt has been relied upon to fill the void that even working mothers could no longer fill. In desperation lottery tickets and gambling of other kinds were tried to provide instant relief, to no avail. Money spent this way only aggravated the situation. Gambling with stocks placed in 401K accounts proved disastrous when severe corrections have occurred including the current crisis. If the money is needed at those times then it was just tough luck.
Our government worships at the altar of bigness. Tax policies encourage huge farms driving average farmers off of their land. Deregulation has created huge conglomerates which lose touch with the basic premise of their mission with profit the only measure of success.
Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. I am a pessimist. The money to be made is just more than patriotism can counter. Because of the outrageous request for a trillion dollar payout, the people responsible for creating this mess will still be in control being rescued by taxpayers when justice would have them behind bars after paying full restitution.
F.D.R. would be starting employment programs getting money directly into hands of people willing to work. I guess that is just too simple a concept in today’s mega buck world. The fact that his programs worked is just not clear enough for Congress to understand.
I conclude this letter with the title of Lee Iacocca’s latest book,” Where have all the Leaders gone”.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 23, 2008

A Bridge to Nowhere

On a CNN program last night there was a feature on this subject. Sarah Palin got applause when she stated at the convention that she had said “thanks but no thanks” to the Federal Government request for 25 million dollars to build the bridge. I take her at her word for this; however what she didn’t say is that 28 million of federal dollars had already been spent on a road from the airport to where the bridge would connect. To be fair this had been granted before she took office. The design was complete and bidding awarded to construct. The program showed aerial views and on the ground of the finished highway that she allowed to proceed. There is no traffic on it. There are fewer than 100 people on the island. Most are there to support the airstrip. The city of Ketchikan is on the coast next to mountains. The island I assume was the easiest flat land available. It takes a ten minute ferry boat ride to reach the airport. I have to assume most users are tourists or fisher people who are not on a tight time schedule. Even when the bridge is finished a car ride could not be less than ten minutes.
I visit Alaska at least twice per year. They still allow studs in snow tires which causes severe grooving. There are many gravel roads in this Wilderness State. My point being that a prudent caretaker of the public’s funds could put the 50 million dollars for needed road repair or paving.
I said I will take her at her word. She cannot now ask for federal dollars but with the windfall the State has enjoyed from the spike in oil revenues she will build the bridge with oil revenue.
Do you believe that this person should be given control over billions with this as an example of stewardship?

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 22, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Are there any politicians who care

McCain, Obama and Biden continue giving speeches about the economy all over the country. If they really cared wouldn't they be in Washington adding their voices and ideas to resolve the meltdown of our financial institutions. Kind of reminds me of a time long ago when a ruler fiddled while his capitol city was in flames. The Congress people still in Washington are rushing through the deliberations so they can all get out of Dodge City and resume their own campaigning. Why was our political system allowed to deteriorate to this mediocre status where we are given platitudes without substance?

Financial Bailout

The Congress will relieve these financial barons of the burden of bad debt. Of that I am sure.
The only way it should be given is if all the executives in the top tier of management and their Boards of Directors be forced to return to their company all compensation including salary and bonuses received for the past decade, the time in which their outrageous, greedy pursuit of profit occurred. I want their corporate jets, penthouse apartments, golf club memberships, box tickets for professional sports and everything else that I have not mentioned. From what I have read some CEOs have already walked away with twenty or more million dollars. Others are protected with their golden parachutes worth millions more. How can we as a government or as citizens allow these predators to continue their fabulous life styles while the carnage goes on?
I continue to see AIG television adds nightly while this is going on. You would think they would have the decency to hold off while they are crawling on their bellies pleading, save me, save me.
On a previous occasion I wrote an article comparing the depression of 1928 to 2008. I concluded that the chips be allowed to fall and that in the end it would sort itself out and people would be able once again to afford purchasing a home. The costs had reached astronomical levels that any fool should realize could not be sustained. I guess that means that all those involved in my opinion were fools in spite of their huge obscene compensation.
How dare anyone compare this to the Chrysler loan given many years ago? Lee Iacocca paid back every cent borrowed plus interest. All the while the loan was in effect he received one dollar per year in salary. At the end an important segment of production was saved. What will we have with these robber barons; they will gobble up any entity weaker than themselves and create another monster that will have to be saved when it happens again.
Is anyone concerned about the other financial institutions that are not included in this bailout? While they struggle day by day to survive shouldn’t they also be granted relief?
President Clinton was in office when banks, investment and insurance were allowed to merge. This is when it all became so confusing and uncontrollable. The Republican Party as a whole has been crusading for decades now to eliminate all vestiges of FDR’s programs which were enacted to protect the little guys. Even during this crisis, McCain is touting privatizing Social Security, should that happen, this lifeline will disappear, while Wall Street gorges on the goodies placed at their disposal. Company pensions which people like me still live on are no longer available. People are forced into 401K’s. How many billions have they lost this week? How many college funds have been ravaged? People like me dutifully put money aside to aid grandchildren as well as parents who put off things they might like to own or do for the sake of their children’s futures.
What should really concern us is that this trillion dollar bailout is just the tip of the ice burg. Hedge funds that leverage one dollar against one hundred could tank at any time if they bet the wrong way. Bet is the proper term. These money making entities add nothing to the health of our country. They just suck the life blood out of the economy.
I really feel sorry for McCain, Obama and all the other people running for office. They have lofty goals. There will be nothing left to pay for their programs. The next administration will have its hands full trying to keep America solvent. When I think of the trillions in bonds owned by China and OPEC countries I shudder to think if we will not just be taken over as they purchase our assets at bargain basement costs.
Why do we as Americans allow this to happen? Are we so shallow that all we need is a can of beer and a football game to amuse us? My writing efforts have been a dismal effort. They have accomplished nothing of tangible benefit. That will not stop me from trying to make a difference. I am past the age of getting into the arena and taking them on but believe me I would enjoy it if I could.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 20, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Most Noble Adventure- a book review

The Marshall Plan and the Time
When America Helped Save Europe

By Greg Behrman

We are all creatures of our own past. I admit I am continually drawn back to my youth and the momentous happenings that occurred during that time. I found this book at Bookman’s in Phoenix before my annual visit to Lockport, N.Y. to visit family and friends. For my 80th birthday I received gifts of books. They were all worthy of reading. I finally got around to this one. It was like saving the best for last. For those of you born after the war it might interest you if you are a student of history as I am, but unless you were alive it could not be as meaningful to you as it was to me.
In actual fact it filled in voids in my knowledge as the events described mainly occurred while I was serving in the army of occupation of Japan from 1947 to 1949. As a serviceman there were other things to occupy my mind and Europe was light years away from Japan. I witnessed the remarkable rebuilding of Japan. I was not aware of a massive infusion of funds from America. There may have been but other than basic food stuff right after the war it was my impression that it was the Japanese people who got the job done. At any rate little is said about Asia in this book. President Truman and George Marshall believed that if Europe could not be saved as a capitalistic nation that America would be cut off from trade with the continent and our growth stifled as a result. Europe was in ruins. The bombing and ground combat had destroyed most of the infrastructure: roads, bridges, rail roads, airports, utilities and housing. The people were starving and destitute. They were accepting communism as the way out of their misery and countries were on the verge of becoming communist.
Mr. Marshall gave a speech at Harvard University, June 5, 1947. In it after stating the dire condition of Europe, he proposed an aid plan of massive proportions to save it. This was like a shot heard around the world. On April 3, 1948 President Truman put his signature to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948. He said, “This measure is Americas answer to the free world” and it was, “perhaps the greatest venture in constructive statesmanship that any nation has undertaken”. It was forever referred to as The Marshall Plan in honor of this great man who conceived the idea and did what was needed to persuade the Congress to enact the legislation. It was a hard sell. America was in turmoil itself with millions of returning veterans and industry in a massive restructuring from military to civilian goods.
Most of the book describes the many problems encountered and gives praise to a number of men whose skill and devotion shepherded it through. What made it more difficult was that European leaders were called upon to work together as they had never done before. Marshall and the rest were determined that this not be run by Americans country by country but that Europeans had to do the hard work of building a structure which was within reason as far as our funds were concerned. To accomplish this, each country was forced to accept projects for the good of all, not just their own. The ultimate goal was to create a union of countries like America without trade barriers, with free flow of goods and people. Great progress was made but it was many years later that full unification took place. In 1992 the European Union was finally established. It is generally accepted that it would never have been accomplished had there not been a Marshall Plan.
This was a four year program. During that time over 13 billion dollars in goods and services were given to Europe. The author estimates that in today’s dollars it would be equivalent to 100 billion dollars. It is important to take this into account so that the enormity of this transfer from Americans to Europeans can be appreciated. Never before or since has there been anything to compare with the generosity of our people.
At the beginning Russia and the satellite states under their control were invited to participate. Marshall Stalin would not allow it. It is stated in the book that Russia took from these countries as much as we gave.
Other interesting facts are
The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) was created by the passage of The National Security Act of 1947 to counter communist propaganda.
The Berlin airlift began June 27, 1948, when Stalin closed all land access to Berlin. His goal was to drive us out by starving the 2.4 million Germans living there. He gave in on May 12, 1949 which was the first day trucks began to roll. On the same day the new German Federated Republic was formed. The occupied zones by America, Britain and France were combined into a complete country. Since everyone was wary about Germany rising again as a threat the allies retained veto power should that be necessary. It was never used.
Towards the end of the program on April 4, 1949, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was created for the mutual defense of the European nations. This began to drain funds from the economic program but the threat of Russian intervention was so grave there wasn’t any other choice.
In June, 1950 North Korea invaded the South which by necessity diverted attention from Europe. President Truman directed General Macarthur to send troops to counter. Macarthur was successful but when the Chinese crossed the border our forces retreated and a stalemate ensued. Macarthur was relieved of command after a fundamental disagreement with his boss, President Truman. Macarthur felt we were fighting Europe’s war in Asia but Truman and the European allies did not agree, neither wanted to squander the progress made by getting mired down in Asia. I guess we will never know who was right. I agreed with Macarthur but then my position and 10 cents at the time would buy a cup of coffee.
I want to conclude with President Truman’s inaugural address January 20, 1949. He was so happy with the results of the Marshall Plan that he proposed a new one. He said, “More than half the people of the world are living in conditions approaching misery.” Beset by starvation and disease, “for the first time in history, humanity possesses the knowledge and skill to relieve the suffering of these people.’ He proposed a “bold new program” of investment and technological transfer to provide resources, opportunity and hope to all the world’s peoples. It was called The Point Four Program. It was an inspired speech but unfortunately was never enacted by Congress.
I feel I cannot finish this review without further reflecting on the contribution made for world peace by President Truman. It was recommended that the plan be called the Truman Plan instead of the Marshall Plan. He rejected the thought knowing that with his name attached partisan politics being what it was, that the plan would never be approved. From reading this book I must conclude that he was correct.
Others may disagree but there is no doubt in my mind that his decision to drop atomic bombs brought the war with Japan to an end. The deaths of thousands of our American troops and countless millions of Japanese would have ensued had the invasion been initiated. Having been there after the war I was convinced and other servicemen there agreed on this point.
When you add up all that occurred during his presidency I am amazed at what he accomplished. Very few other presidents have contributed as much. He has never been credited as he should have been. People liked to belittle him since he was not an elitist from Harvard or Yale and did not have lineage tracing back to the beginning of our country.
A friend recently shared little known tidbits of information, which I will add to wrap this up. After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove themselves home to Missouri without Secret Service protection. He had a military pension of $13,507.72 per year. Congress discovered that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them. They granted him an allowance, and a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year. The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence, Missouri. The house was inherited from Bess’s mother.
Corporations offered high paying positions which he rejected, stating, “You don’t want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it’s not for sale.”
On May17, 1971, Congress was prepared to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday. He refused to accept it, writing, “I don’t consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any such award, Congressional or otherwise.”
I rest my case.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 17, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

John McCain-Ready to Serve

The United States Senate has voted on issues 180 times so far this year. McCain voted 24 times for a percentage of 13%. Most of those occurred on two dates 2/12 & 3/13. He must have been campaigning nearby and stopped in to chat. Just Google John McCain voting record, it will show every vote he ever cast.
He likes to refer to his military service. If he was still in, his performance would be categorized as AWOL (absence without leave), a court martial offense usually punishable by prison time. I guess the good old boy’s club does not have any rules like this.
I may be wrong but I have believed we were living in critical times requiring vigilance and leadership. I must be wrong or else John would have stayed on the job and exerted his will to resolve.
Our current President has taken more vacation time than any other in history so I guess the pattern is set. I am sure that after winning the election John will take a much deserved rest until sworn in next January.
Doesn’t anyone but me detest the American election process?

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 14, 2008

John McCain article

I heard John McCain state that his favorite president was Teddy Roosevelt. Hard to disagree. He was a great president. He loved wilderness and wildlife. Because of him we still enjoy the beauty of the areas he set aside for posterity. McCain has also expressed his concern about global warming even if the current president doesn't. I find it strange that he chose as his running mate a Governor who has sued the EPA to keep that department from taking steps to protect polar bears from extinction. She also has promoted aerial hunting of wolves and offers a bounty of $150 for wolf feet. She does not accept that humans have any responsibility in regard to global warming. Sorry John, you can't have it both ways. You could not have picked someone whose beliefs are more diametrically opposed to Teddy Roosevelt. Just a heartbeat away. What damage could she inflict upon an already fragile environment.
Jack B. Walters

3961 N. Hillwood Circle

Tucson, AZ 85750

(520) 722-2958

September 13, 2008


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Election Primary System Must Be Changed

I am writing this as a follow up article to the first entitled, “There is no other way”, the theme of that one was to remove corporate money from politics. This one deals with the process itself which must be simplified.
We are nearly finished with this season’s election process which began early last year and now has 60 days left, after which the process will start over again. It is like a perpetual motion machine; once you start it spinning it just keeps going, as if it had a life of its own.
A number of political entities jockeyed for position in the primary process realizing that their States voting citizens would be also ran votes while the real decisions were made earlier in the process. Michigan and Florida went against the Democratic Parties edict and moved their primaries forward only to find that their votes when finally recognized had been diminished so that they had no effect on the outcome.
I live in Arizona which is one of the last to vote. By that time the field has been winnowed down to two viable choices whereas when it all started there were eight Democrats and eight Republicans. The Democrats were; Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson, Mike Gravel, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. On the Republican side were, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and John McCain.
It all starts in Iowa. I lived in Iowa from 1971 to 1993. I was active politically and did attend the Caucasus which chooses the candidates. I never felt good about it. To participate you go to a school or church auditorium and after preliminary instructions, head to an area assigned to a candidate. The total number attending dictates how many votes are needed to get a point count. Once settled in with those you can count on then you roam the place trying to get someone to change their vote and go for your candidate. Once it is concluded then it announced which candidates received points. When these are added together with the other 99 counties then the results are reported. Why I did not respect the system is because it is usually held on what is usually a very cold February evening. This year it was moved forward to January 3rd. Who wants to be away from home for four hours and drive home on slippery streets and then try for a little sleep before heading to work the next day? The percentage of potential voters actually participating is very small, as I recall less than 10%. When I lived there it was a nearly lily white farm state with a large insurance industry, government and little else. No state could be less representative of America than Iowa. The candidates knowing how important it is to win the first state spend inordinate amounts of time traveling the state. Many, including I recall, John McCain visiting all 99 counties. They must grovel for votes by extolling the virtues of ethanol or they are dead meat.
Next comes New Hampshire, another must win state. Again, it is rural and mostly white, not at all representative of America as a whole. This is where it paid off for John McCain. He had lost in Iowa and was counted out but his town hall meeting process garnered affection for him. He won and the process continued, next to South Carolina and on and on until all states votes have been tallied.
My objection to the process is that these first states essentially decide who the finalists will be. A candidate who I might admire will have dropped out before my turn to vote and it angers me that I am not given the same opportunity as the states mentioned above.
How this cane to be, I do not know. I do know that Iowa became the first state in the primary season in 1972. Party officials seem to think that it is cast in stone. If it began in 1972 then it could be changed for the next election. I haven’t tried to research what the schedule was before 1972 but whatever it was it could not be more unfair than the current system. This is certainly a windfall for the state, millions of dollars are spent there and considerable media attention is focused on a state that most people could care less about. The same is true for the others. In fact dragging it out for such an extended length of time causes expenditures of billions before it is concluded.
Other countries have limits on campaigning time. In Canada all Provinces vote at the same time so in effect there is no primary just an election with the highest point count the winner of each district. They are not voting for a President. They vote for their representative. The party with the most votes then selects their leader. To illustrate this point, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that on Sunday, September 7, 2008, he plans to dissolve Parliament and call for early elections in hopes of strengthening his minorities hold on power. Voting will be done on October 14, 2008. Just imagine a voting process lasting five weeks whereas ours is an ongoing process seemingly without end.
If the process started in January of the election year I suppose we could live with it but it doesn’t. I started seriously in 2007. If truth be told it started years before as candidates who lost before sometimes re-appear. This is a boon to all areas of news reporting; particularly television with their talking heads arguing in defense or opposition to candidates. Every word used by a candidate is dissected to search for its true meaning. I can’t begin to imagine the revenues they receive from advertisers as well as the parties and candidates, probably in the billions. It certainly represents full time employment for correspondents traveling with the candidates. The states and communities also receive revenue as people flock to these locations whenever any action is occurring. I, of course believe all of this to be wasted funds which if available could certainly be put to better use. You can’t turn on your set without your program being disrupted by a commercial most of which are negative in nature.
Here is my suggestion to limit the time and increase fairness. Compress the time. Instead of January, let the voting begin in June of election year with all states voting at the same time. Allow the candidates to travel the country visiting all states if they wish to put out their message asking for support. A clear winner may not be produced so let the delegates to the conventions work it out as they used to do and select their candidate during their convention. There are probably many good reasons why this is a bad idea but using it as a starting point for discussion I am asking that dramatic changes be made for the good of us all.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 8, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

There is only one answer

I have been struggling for a number of years now trying to find the answer to return our country to an election process that removes Corporations from contributing to candidates and political parties. I have read many books and articles including the two books written by David Cay Johnston entitled, Perfectly Legal and Free Lunch. I am firmly convinced that only by taking out of the election process the enormous funds required can sanity be restored. Billions are spent each election cycle and while more and more small givers have entered the process, big money is still what greases the wheels of Congress to enact legislation for their benefit. Not only are the politicians of all parties beholden to the rich, the lack of time to address major issues is just not there. The time spent raising money detracts from their ability to study, discuss, read and meet with others to find solutions for the many and sundry items on the agenda. How many times have we heard that massive pieces of legislation are voted on based on the advice of subordinates with the elected officials never reading what they are voting for? This is outrageous.
Congress recessed (8/1/08) for five weeks without agreement on legislation to resolve the energy crisis. Both presidential candidates were not there. Perhaps had they been, consensus might have been reached. Why must everything important to our country, be put on hold waiting for the next election, after which it starts all over again with candidates competing for the next election without staying on the job and finding compromise solutions to our many problems. In my lifetime it was not always like this, FDR in particular stayed in Washington on the job. He didn’t even campaign after his first two terms. He was needed to lead us to victory over the Axis powers. I am not even sure when it started to change. It was probably when television became so important with sets in every household.
There have always been lobbyists. I myself lobbied for my company, usually to prevent State government officials from enacting legislation detrimental to the well being of my factory in Des Moines. Prior to working in Des Moines it never occurred to me that this was something I should be concerned about. My full attention was in the factory. This all started to change, at least for me in the 70’s as government started interfering with the manufacturing process. Year by year new laws and regulations were enacted, all of which detracted from our mission of making quality products the public would purchase. I did actually visit Washington on one occasion with other Iowa manufacturers. We were summarily kicked out of a Senator’s office. I remember him stating that he had no time for us since we didn’t support him in his re-election contest. He was a Democrat and we were all Republicans at the time. During that visit and others to State officials it never occurred to me that money should be handed over. I believed our message was logical and should be accepted on its merits alone. Perhaps that was true before but certainly not today. Those with the most to give have their ear, not the rest of us peons who are just concerned and are only making input because we care. We ask for consideration not for our personal benefit but for the good of all.
I have no illusions that writing this paper will have any influence on those in power. The most I can hope for is that others reading might discuss or share with others and in this way begin the thinking process on ways to resolve. To this end I have searched the internet asking how other countries conduct elections. I will share findings from several for comparison.


I received a very detailed response from Canada. The complete report can be found by using the web and going to;
Canada has a parliamentary system. There are numerous parties. While the Conservative and Liberal parties are the largest, after most elections the party that wins the most districts usually doesn’t have a clear majority, which means that the smaller parties are needed to pass legislation which gives them opportunities to add items from their agenda. The election cycle is 5 years but if a no confidence vote occurs then the government must dissolve. A new election is called usually 36 days after the election committee is ready.
Another aspect I like is that a candidate of the winning party with the most votes is declared the Prime Minister. Whereas in our country the candidates for President has in my opinion deteriorated into a very expensive beauty contest. We vote for a person instead of our own personal conviction.
I will now list pertinent items I gleaned from the report;
Contributions are tightly controlled.
Third party expenses are limited to $3,866/district and a total of $183,300 for all districts. This is in effect between April 1, 2008 & March 31, 2009. These numbers are usually revised upward based on inflation.
The limit for nomination expense is between $14,000 and $21,000 depending on the size of the district with an average of about $16,000.
Personal contribution limits are:
$1,100/year for a political party
$1,100/year for a district association, nominating contestants & party endorsed candidates
$1,100/year for independent candidates
$1,100/year for leadership contestants
I know all of these are confusing. In looking thru the list of donors I noticed that some people gave money to more than one candidate. The amounts are indexed to inflation.
The government encourages contributions and provides a tax credit of a max of $750 for contributions over $1,275.01, again indexed to inflation.
Candidates cannot receive gifts except from relatives or as a nominal expression of courtesy or protocol. This statement looked like a loophole to me. I tried for clarification but none was forthcoming.
As of 6/12/2007 all gifts over $500 must be reported while a candidate. Parties cannot transfer funds to candidates.
During the 39th election, which was the most recent, the expense limits for political parties ranged from $68,158 endorsing one candidate to $18,278,279 for all 308 districts. Limits for candidates ranged from $62,210 to $106,290, again based on the size of the district.
I found it interesting that the process has evolved over the life of the country I assume to keep it within reasonable control.

Of the following countries I will be reporting on, they are democracies with executive, legislative and judicial branches. In the interest of brevity I will only write about their election process. To check on other countries, you just google the name of the country and ask about their government. This will lead you to various web sites to find what you need.


When I started on this country I was excited. They have enjoyed being as close to a pure democracy as any country. The citizens with a petition drive can challenge a law passed by the parliament and overturn it or have it modified. They are governed by a seven member executive council called The Swiss Federal Council. The leadership changes each year selected from the council membership. The members are selected based upon the largest percentage of votes received by a major party. It had included two each from the Free Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Christian Democratic People’s Party plus one member from the Swiss People’s Party. In the 2003 election the People’s Party took one seat away from the Christian Democratic Party which normally would be OK except for the fact that there are no restrictions on financing elections and Peoples raised $17 million while the second largest raised $1.7 million. I realize that $17 million is chump change in America, but once it starts where will it end. There is consideration to control but as of now this is the way it is, which means to me that they are deteriorating. following our example with the party with the most income to invest increasing their control as they persuade the electoric to vote as the money dictates. I certainly hope this will be curtailed.


I was disappointed to learn that Corporations and Unions are allowed to contribute large sums to candidates and parties. In 2004-2005, the Labor Party raised $64.8 million from the corporate sector, while the Liberal Party contributed over $66 million. While again this pales to the huge amounts contributed in America, it is a disturbing trend. Hopefully they will adopt Canada’s policy which prohibits corporations and unions from giving funds.

New Zealand

In this country there is an Electoral Commission which allocates funds and time for broadcast election advertising. In 2006 they made an allocation of $3.2 million which parties can use for radio or television advertising, along with 72 minutes for opening addresses and 30 minutes for closing addresses. This was the same as the previous year.
Parties cannot use their own funds although candidates are allowed $20,000. Further, broadcast advertising can only be used five weeks before Election Day.
Wow, can you imagine what a blessing this would be instead of the constant year round haranguing we put up with in America.


There is little reason for me to keep checking other countries. What I have gleaned above is that there are problems everywhere with corporate type gifts. Most of the countries listed control it to various degrees. Canada and New Zealand have the best systems as far as I am concerned. The others appear to be heading in the wrong direction. The one saving grace for them is the quickness of the election process.
America cannot continue spending billions each year with the debilitating effect it has on the efficiency of elected officials. Perhaps in a small way this effort of mine may prompt discussion leading to legislation to curb this obscene process and restore sanity. The campaign finance legislation pushed and passed through the effort of Senator McCain did not accomplish the objective. Another effort must be initiated, hopefully by the next Congress, whoever is in control. I will not be holding my breath as they will not considered it critical as I do.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 5, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns- a book review

A Thousand Splendid Suns
By; Khaled Hosseini

I purchased this book because on the cover it stated that it was a novel by the author of “The Kite Runner”. That was a very powerful book describing life in Afghanistan the past 40 years. This new book parallels the same time period only from a different perspective. This was every bit as powerful as the other. I have also read, “Three Cups of Tea”, which takes place in Pakistan. This is a true story whereas the others are fiction. I am willing to grant Mr. Hosseini that what he writes describing life during those decades reflects what actually happened.
Life in this country was relatively peaceful until the communists came to power followed by the invasion by Russia. A Muslim country but strict enforcement of Sharia law was not enforced. Some women wore burkas but not all. Some men had beards but not all. Some men had one wife, others had more than one. Men were the authority figures but cruelty was not rampant. Over one million Afghans were killed during the war. When the Soviets withdrew, factions vied for supremacy. This is when barbarous treatment of Afghans began. They had been united against the Soviets but not now. In September, 1996 the Taliban became the ruling party. That is when darkness descended on the land. Their strict interpretation of Muslim law was harshly administered. Page 248 lists the rules all were to obey. Pray five times per day, singing and dancing prohibited, men to have beards, girls forbidden from attending schools, women forbidden from working outside of their homes and to be attended at all times by a male family member, etc.
By 2002 the Taliban had been defeated by the coalition forces and some semblance of normalcy descended upon the land.
The book chronicles the story of two women and their lives during these years. Sometimes they enjoyed happiness but mostly sorrow. It is not a nice story. For me they were just the vehicle required to put people into these years so the reader could sense what it would have been like.
I do recommend reading particularly by people like me who try to make sense out of the world we live in today.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
September 2, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

General Motors demand for a low interest loan from Congress

It is hard to accept the brazen request of the corporate heads of this company to demand a bailout to be given by taxpayers so that they can more easily convert from the behemoths they have been producing and promoting for so many years now for sale to Americans.
This is the company that only a few years ago had designed and built an all electric car that was leased to several thousand Californians. They loved the car. Public officials started placing plug in facilities to assist. It was well designed and attractive. The battery life was not long but for commutes around the cities it was acceptable. It of course had no emissions which was extremely important to reduce the smog problem which is so severe in California. All that was needed was further research on extending battery life. General Motors was ahead of all other companies.
There was a documentary produced entitled, “Who Killed the Electric Car”. It is quite evident that the executives in charge of the company at that time realized the impact on profit if these were mass produced. The drop in sales at auto parts stores alone would drastically decrease profit as there were few operating parts to drive this vehicle. General Motors corporate leaders together with the petroleum industry with the continuing aid of our federal government ended this program. The leases were revoked and all the cars were crushed to destroy all evidence that they had ever been produced.
Now they entice us with their new car to be released in a few years called the Volt. They proclaim it will go for 40 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in. It, of course, would be a gigantic step forward. In order to speed up development they want billions from the federal government in low interest loans.
While recognizing the importance of General Motors to our economy and the importance of providing well paying jobs to Americans in development and in the factories, I do not favor granting this bailout. This is not the same as when Lee Iacocca asked for a loan to save Chrysler. He was not responsible for their dilemma at the time. To his credit he paid back every penny loaned to his company and resurrected Chrysler to a profit making entity once more.
General Motors did not emulate foreign manufacturers with hybrid designs; instead they pushed the Humvee, huge pickup trucks and SUV’s. Now they have been exposed for their deliberate delaying of the inevitable need to reduce dependence on foreign oil and the need to reduce emissions.
The rapid rise in the cost of oil caught them flatfooted. Americans have responded out of necessity by purchasing the most energy efficient transportation available. I have always believed that demanding increases in CAFÉ standards would not be necessary if the cost of fuel escalated. I am alone in believing that this wake up call, as devastating as it has been was necessary. What the Congress should do now is set a floor price and increase gasoline tax to keep it at a level price so that we don’t return to craving the largest and most powerful autos as we did in the 80’s. We cannot keep repeating this cycle which only benefits OPEC, Russia and Venezuela.
Either of the Presidential candidates and Congress will of course grant General Motors request regardless of what I may think. They bail out hedge funds, Bear Sterns, Freddie Mae and Fannie Mae, so why wouldn’t they continue the trend. After all it is only we long suffering tax payers who are stuck with the bill while the corporate heads continue receiving gigantic salaries and benefits.
What I would support is making grants available to speed up research into battery research, the results of which to be made available to all producers here and abroad. After all, the whole world needs to reduce emissions. Just doing it here will not suffice.

Just another lost cause.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
August 25, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tucson Electronic Surveillance Cameras

I have been a proponent of using cameras to catch those who deliberately speed through an intersection when the yellow light is on and they are still not at the intersection or what is worse when the light has turned red before they even reach the intersection. I have stated that a large number of drivers in Tucson have little or no respect for driving speeds or lights which makes a drive in the city a potentially dangerous event.
What disturbs me is that the lights are catching people who are responsible citizens. I am aware of three incidents where friends received large fines and a day in class for being in the intersection while the light turns red. There are many reasons why this can happen. Just this week, while crossing Speedway on Wilmot Rd., there were two cars ahead of us. They stopped abruptly as the first car was turning into the lot for Bookman’s and two young boys were walking in the drive. We were still on Speedway as the light turned. Don’t know if there is a camera there but if there is, a ticket probably will be forthcoming.
It is my opinion that innocent, responsible drivers are being fined because the system is too finely tuned. An auto standing in the intersection for whatever reason does not present a risk to others. I believe this has become easy money for the city, just another “tax” on our people for the purpose of making money not improving safety, and that is just plain wrong.
Return to the job of catching those I described in my first paragraph which will make our roads safer. Quit solving the cities funding shortfall by this devious program.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
August 24, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The River of Doubt- book review

The River of Doubt
Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey
By: Candice Millard

What a man. His whole life he was fearless. He was a strong leader who was one of the most popular presidents in the nation’s history. When President McKinley was assassinated early in his first term, Roosevelt became president. He was re-elected for a second term then retired. He became disenchanted with President Taft and ran against him as a third party candidate. He called his new party Bull Moose. While campaigning in Wisconsin he was shot in the chest. His eye glass case and manuscript in his pocked slowed the bullet but it lodged five inches in his chest. He insisted on giving his speech while exclaiming “It takes more than that to kill a bull moose”. He did collect more votes than Taft but by splitting the Republican vote he gave the win to Woodrow Wilson.
This book is the story of a former President of the United States who after being defeated in 1912, did what he always did after suffering a defeat of any nature by going on an adventure that would tax him physically and included a measure of danger. This trip surpassed anything previously tried. He went on an expedition to discover and chart a river that had never been traveled before. It was called “The River of Doubt”. After his return many so-called experts wrote critical reports questioning his accomplishment of discovering and charting an unknown river in the Amazon jungle of South America. Further expeditions to this area substantiated his claim.
There has never been another President to place himself in such a perilous situation. When we think of how our President’s today are protected by the Secret Service it is inconceivable to think of this man placing himself, his son and the other members of the group in such danger in an area unexplored and without means of communication of any kind.
The author describes in great detail the many dangers including passing through territory populated by Indian tribes who had never encountered people other than similar tribes. Why they allowed the group to pass was never understood. Years later as more groups entered the area warfare resulted with many deaths on all sides. There were fish, snakes, reptiles and insects of all kinds that they encountered. There were deaths. Roosevelt himself came very close near the end and contemplated taking his own life to save the others as they were nearly out of food and any delay could have been fatal to them all. He didn’t and pushed himself to the limit of his strength to keep going.
There were many rapids and waterfalls to portage around cutting through the dense underbrush which continually delayed progress and required incredible feats of strength. Near the end they were living on less than half rations. The author provides infinite detail of the jungle so that the reader can understand the rigorous demands on the participants. Details of the trip were from the diaries of Roosevelt and his son Kermit and the log of the commander of the expedition, Candido Mariana da Silva Rondon. The river trip was preceded by an overland journey from 12/12/1913 to 2/25/1914 which was difficult in and of itself. The river trip lasted two months from Feb.27, 1914 to April 26, 1914 when they reached a settlement. He had lost over fifty five lbs. and had a puncture wound in a leg that festered and had to be opened and drained without any pain medication.
Having completed this book I am in awe that President Roosevelt put himself in such a dangerous situation. It is well worth reading.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
August 18, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My response to the growing Federal deficit

Between the Administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve, billions are being given away almost daily to everyone and everything. Failing banks are propped up, Freddie and Fannie Mae also, the stimulus package, mortgage bailout, plans to deplete the petroleum reserve or stop collecting gas taxes and on and on. Both parties are fighting to see which can give the most and persuade us to vote for them. It is beyond ridiculous. It is easier to send the bill to our grandchildren than to face up to reality. These artificial props will all fail. The simple truth is we are bankrupt financially and morally. We have no where to go except down the tube and we are all guilty of not caring enough to demand better from our elected officials. I say vote against all incumbents. Perhaps if enough lose their cushy jobs the rest will get the message.

Jack B. Walters

3961 N. Hillwood Circle

Tucson, AZ 85750

(520) 722-2958

July 29, 2008


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Perfectly Legal-a book report

Perfectly Legal
By David Cay Johnston

This is the first book written by Mr. Johnston. His second entitled “Free Lunch” I read first. It was so powerful I just had to read this one as well. To tell you the truth, I am almost sorry I did. As much as the other book depressed me this one is even worse as far as exposing the myriad of giveaways authorized by our Federal Government. Both parties are responsible. He calls them the money parties since the money Congressmen receive from the rich is the life blood they need to continue in office.
Not all of the schemes used by the rich are authorized but they might as well be since for decades now the IRS has been crippled to where they do not have the resources to do their job allowing fabulous sums of money to escape taxation. Even those unfortunate to be caught are let off with a fine instead of jail time which they deserve. I will share a few of the most outrageous stories. He tells about a man named Nick Jesson. He founded a successful business in Southern California and became wealthy. A large portion of that wealth is due to his refusal to pay income tax for his company or his employees. He cites section 861 in the tax code which he claims that salaries paid by American owned companies are not taxable. Mr. Jesson was bold enough to taunt the IRS by publishing an article in The New York Times 11/19/2000 stating what he was doing and why. He even boasted that the IRS sent him a refund of $217,000 including interest for payments he had made for the years 1997 thru 1999, the years before he stopped paying altogether. Other business men are mentioned including Dick Celata who owns Kristi Tool Co. He boasts that since inception of his company in 1979 he has never paid income tax. In spite of the public announcement up to the time of publishing this book the IRS has quietly acquiesced to this charade.
Registering a company in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda or other Caribbean Islands has made it possible for billions of taxable income to not be collected. Tax shelter schemes are too numerous to list in this review but they exist and save their clients billions in taxes not paid. Companies have found ways to use the foreign tax credit to shift funds and assets around to minimize US taxes.
There are tax loopholes that allow executives to have their pensions guaranteed while the rank and file employees have seen theirs disappear. All of this legal because of laws passed by our elected officials.
Most of us don’t even know about the earned income credit provision in the tax code. It applies to those making less than the minimum wage. For a family with two children making between $11,550 and $13,350 the maximum credit is $4,140. Certain Congressional leaders were so concerned about these poor people cheating that they insisted the IRS audit as many as possible. In 2001 there were eight times as many audits of these families as compared to those making over $100,000.
The alternative minimum tax was enacted many years ago to force the very rich to have to pay at least some tax. This was accomplished by taking away personal and other deductions. The problem for many non rich families today is that it was not indexed to inflation so as each year goes by more and more are forced into this alternate tax system. In 1995 about 414,000 paid this tax. By the year 2000 it was 1.3 million. It is estimated that by 2010 about 17 million families will pay. The problem is that it brings in so much money that Congress doesn’t want to give it back. What it means to these families is that the Bush tax cuts are not available to them in spite of the rhetoric to the contrary.
Once again Mr. Johnston has exposed the hypocrisy of Congress and by naming names exposed those deeply involved with promoting processes that deprive our government of the money needed to support it. I know many of you will say whoopee and so do I with the wasteful easy ways they throw money around but the issue here is that those of us still honest and paying our taxes should not carry the burden while others escape tax free. This is a book all elected officials should read and then take the needed steps to correct.
I always feel the need to put my two cents into any discussion on topics such as this. Filing my income tax is fairly simple as it only consists of pension, social security, interest and withdrawals from my IRA plus small amounts of the like from my seven years working in Canada. Even so I resent the lengthy process of calculating how much social security should be taxed and I can’t help noting the many deductions that other people are able to make either legally or otherwise. My point is that there is far too much written into the tax code. While I lived in Canada their form if I remember correctly consisted of four pages. Deductions were limited to yourself and family. No home mortgages or interest, furthermore thru an agreement with their Federal Government no Province tax form was required. All it consisted of was a line where your Federal tax was multiplied by a decimal number which meant that that portion of your taxes paid would be paid to the Province. Assuming that is still the case there is not much chance of cheating in Canada.
Read the book and discuss with like minded friends.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
July 26, 2008