Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · The Downward Spiral
. . . .

The Downward Spiral

Robert Downes - August 15th, 2002
Down and down and down it goes and where it stops? Nobody knows.
That seems to be the mantra on the financial news these days as the stock market does its herky-jerky dance of 300 points down here and a bounce back there. Lou Dobbs‘ Moneyline says investors are switching to real estate (my suggestion over a year ago, by the way), and a panicked family tells CNN that they‘ve lost $800,000 of their savings in what‘s become “a very frightening situation.“
Few of us have the luxury of $800,000 to lose; in fact, only an estimated 1-in-20 investors actually “play the market.“ These are apparently the people who buy low on Monday after the stock market slides off a cliff on the preceding Friday... and thus the sea-sick sense of up-and-down.
But still, enough of us have 401K plans, IRAs and mutual funds in this great age of Social Insecurity and the past year has gone down like a long streak of gambler‘s bad luck. Eighty million baby boomers are looking at retirement with the promises of the ‘90s evaporating like the fizz in Gordon “greed is good“ Gekko‘s martini. I‘ve given up opening the periodic statements in the mail describing the downward spiral of my own retirement plan -- it‘s down something like 30% and approaching the realm of fantasy. I just don‘t want to know anymore.
The stock market fell a similar percentage on Black Thursday, Oct. 17, 1987, which was the biggest one-day loss in the history of the 106-year-old Dow Jones Industrial Average. Is it any comfort that millions of people have at least temporarily lost much of their retirement income over the space of a year rather than a single day? Perhaps that depends on your age and how much you had in the kitty.
At any rate, the stock market rebounded to its former level within a year-and-a-half after ‘87, and as the Bard said, “all‘s well that end‘s well.“
So come on, lucky dice...
It will be interesting to see if President Bush & Co. weather the storm if the market keeps falling along with the nest eggs of America‘s retirees. Like sailors chained to dead men, the Bush administration is ineluctably bound to the corporate pirates of Enron, Halliburton, Arthur Andersen, et. al., who sparked this crisis in confidence.
Consider, for instance, Black Friday on Sept. 24, 1869, when a small group of unscrupulous investors, including Jay Gould and James Fisk, attempted to use their leverage in the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant to corner the nation‘s gold market. Their tinkering led to the financial ruin of thousands of Americans, and the resulting wrath made Grant a one-termer.
But that was a few thousand Americans. We‘re talking about millions, tens of millions.
For what it‘s worth, my wrath is up. How ‘bout yours?
Finally, here‘s a funny notion from a letter writer in the Sonoma County Independent: This would be a great time to ditch Social Security and pour all of our payroll deductions into the stock market. The fresh infusions of hot cash would revive the market, and every citizen‘s ownership of Corporate America would fulfill a Marxist dream of the masses owning the means of production. Thus, we stockholders could demand sweeping reforms of corporate criminality or heads would roll.
Any takers?
Didn‘t think so.
 
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