Tag Archives: economy

It just gets better: Incentives for businesses touted to be “good” for economy

The Silicon Business Journal has reported that Ebay will add 450 more jobs to its global operations on Utah. Good for Utah? It’s certainly good for Ebay.
Get this: Ebay will receive $30 million from Utah in tax incentives to add these 450 jobs. Make sense? Do the math:
450 jobs =If each new hire pays $10,000 a year in state income tax (a hypothetically optimistic scenario), that would generate $4.5 million. That’s quite a bit less than the tax incentives Ebay will reap from its expansion.
And more people will be laid off soon from how many state budget cuts? And this will help the economy how?

“Happy” New Year?

(I have been out of town for the past 2 weeks, so posting has been non-existent.)

I am having difficulty wishing people a “happy” new year with everything that is going in in our world: A failing economy resulting in job losses, a housing market crash, budget shortfalls; A broken health care system that continues to prevent families from receiving adequate health care; War-ridden countries and recent escalation of conflict in Gaza; the continuation of planetary destruction with not only the effects of war, but also the sale of land for oil drilling, lack of adequate regulation for pollution generating machinery and equipment and practices, lack of appropriate measures to address global warming, the demise of local businesses due to increasing invasion of large corporate giants, to name a few.

There is so much negative occurring at this time that it is difficult to focus on the positive. Nonetheless, I have generated this list of positive things in my life:

I am thankful that I have a job with health benefits.
I am thankful that I have the skill and knowledge to be able to grow my own food and be self sustaining.
I am thankful that I have resources to help my children and grandchildren right now in the current economic crisis.
I am thankful that I can gain and share knowledge about world events and actually have the ability to do something about some things to effect change.
I am thankful that I am able to provide an education for a little girl in Ethiopia, my small postivie contribution to one life which otherwise is affected by negative circumstances.
I am thankful for my husband who is a constant daily source of friendship and inspiration in my life.
I am thankful for my family and friends here in Utah and across the country.

My hopes for the new year?

That I am able to maintain my health and attitude to continue to work on peace, justice and sustainability issues in my community and beyond.
That at least one person I know who isn’t as convinced that big change needs to occur to improve our world will come to the realization that some of the things I mention here do need to be addressed and so they make changes towards that end for themselves and in their community.
That the new administration begins to make moves in the direction towards a more peace and just society and world without war.
That family and friends I know who are without jobs and health care will find improvements in those areas in their lives.

So “happy” new year with these things in mind. Peace on earth. Good will toward all life on our planet.



Yes it is socialism at last. America, the great free enterprise, every man for himself, empire has at last gone and dumped capitalism. Socialism has now taken hold in the USA!

At least for the rich it has. Yes we now have socialism for the rich in America – and capitalism for everyone else.

The old saw that business has to make it on its own is now history. Start a bank and if it is nearing collapse, no problem. The government will bail you out.

Lost you job because the corporation is closing the plant and moving overseas where cheaper labor can be found? Tough luck Jack – you are on your own.

It’s called a revolution! You wanted revolution, well you got it. Revolution for the rich.

Aye, it’s a return of feudalism. Back to the days of the lords and masters. And the serfs in their crumbling villages at the bottom of the hill.

Feudalism, the 21st century variety. But this time every peasant gets a car and a TV. That’s if you can afford to put the gas in it or pay the cable bill.

So just keep your mouth shut and get in line.

Remember, if we don’t treat the rich with respect they won’t invest their money and create jobs for us.

All hail the lords of Wall Street.

Bow to the masters of diaster.

On your knees you!!!!!
Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)

Utah vs. Axis of Evil: A Utah bill would ban investment in companies doing business in Iran

Tom is quoted in this article:

From last week’s City Weekly:
Utah vs. Axis of Evil: A Utah bill would ban investment in companies doing business in Iran

By Eric S. Peterson
Posted 12/27/2007

One Utah legislator has decided the state is ready to get off the sidelines and join the rumble against global terror by prohibiting the Utah Retirement System (URS) from investing in companies doing business in Iran.

While the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Julia Fisher, R-Fruit Heights, thinks it’s time for Utah to flex its muscle with Iran, some experts think Utah doesn’t have muscle worth flexing on the issue and shouldn’t try even if it did.

“The bill is intended to help undermine the economy of Iran, which has provided weapons to insurgents and al Qaeda operatives in Iraq and Afghanistan for use against our forces,” Fisher says of the proposed bill, which recently passed a legislative interim committee.

News broke earlier this month of a national intelligence report that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program four years ago. The findings directly contradicted President George W. Bush’s repeated statements that Iran was ramping up its nuclear capabilities and ignoring U.S. warnings to stop. But Fisher still agrees with the Bush administration that Iran supports terrorist organizations.

At the November interim meeting, Fisher invited Utah Highway Patrolman Chamberlain Neff to describe his service in Afghanistan. Neff, then a U.S. soldier, described routinely encountering Iranian weaponry in the hands of al Qaeda combatants during his tour of duty. “My friend Dustin Allison was five days in country when he got IED’d [injured by an improvised explosive device],” Neff said.

The bomb was made in Iran, Neff said, and not only injured his friend but killed the soldier who was training Allison to be his replacement. The trainer had been in Afghanistan for two years and, had he lived, would have returned home the following week.

By having URS divest from any foreign companies with Iranian connections, Fisher hopes to strike an economic blow to Iran. Some fear, however, that the legislation will merely contribute to the Bush administration’s bellicose posturing against Iran.

“It’s disturbing that people in our Legislature are focusing on questionable ‘outside’ enemies,” says Tom King, of Utah’s People for Peace and Justice. King worries this bill just puts Utah in lockstep with national war hawks readying for conflict with Iran.

Fisher doesn’t see it that way. In fact, she sees her legislation as a peaceful means of influencing Iran to change its policies. “Putting pressure on the government of Iran through economic pressure makes military conflict less likely, not more,” Fisher says.

While it seems a stretch to imagine Utah forcefully becoming a power player in the international diplomatic showdown between the United States and Iran, Fisher argues Utah’s role is crucial as part of a larger multistate campaign. Last October, California passed a similar divestment bill.

“As a smaller state alone, we cannot make a huge impact. However, we can contribute to a unified effort with the other states,” Fisher says.

Still, some experts doubt Utah will have much impact on Iran even as part of a larger coalition.

“In many cases all over the world, such economic boycotts have not produced any definitive results,” says Ibrahim Karawan, director of the University of Utah’s Middle East studies program. “I doubt the punitive actions of Utah will make Iran tremble.”

This concern was echoed by Dan Andersen, counsel for URS. “There’s just a question of this being pragmatically effective,” Andersen says. “If there is money to be made in Iran, then there is an endless reserve of global capital out there. If we pull our investments out, there will be plenty of willing investors who will buy up those interests.”

The fact that other foreign interests will pick up the slack of any investments Utah yanks out of Iran applies equally whether Utah acts alone or with larger states like California, Andersen says. He notes that implementing the bill would also be too costly for URS in trying to determine which companies invest in Iran.

Andersen says the exact cost of implementation hasn’t been determined. But he doubts the costs of implementation are worthwhile. “Of course, no one wants to promote terrorism, but if you’re not accomplishing anything, why are you spending so much?”

Judge’s Salaries

Utah Supreme Court Justices are requesting more money. Apparently there is a vacancy in the 7th district that has attracted on five applicants, short four from the state’s mandate of nine applications being received before proceeding in the hiring process.

In today’s Deseret News:

In her annual State of the Judiciary address to the Utah Legislature, Chief Justice Christine M. Durham said more and more of Utah’s attorneys seem disinterested in becoming judges, mainly because the pay is so much less than what they can make in the private sector and even less than legal positions within Utah’s government. “I know that no one becomes a judge to get rich,” Durham said, “… but I am concerned about trends and morale.” Some 11 percent of district judgeships have turned over in the past two years and 35 percent of all Utah judges are eligible to retire in the next four years. Currently, district court judges make $114,004 while Court of Appeals judges are paid $120,100 and the five Supreme Court justices make $125,800 annually.
Historically, lawmakers have been reluctant to grant the raises asked by the courts. Last year, the Utah courts asked for a 7 percent increase and got 3 percent. The year before that, judges received a 1 percent boost.
This year, Durham said the courts are asking for an 11 percent raise.

This might not be an issue if the entire system were overhauled so that judges wouldn’t be working so much, inclusive of changing laws for non-violent crimes. Additionally – 11 percent???? Compared to the average workers pay in Utah, the current judge’s salary is wonderful! I can’t beleive that Utah would raise the salaries of government employees so much while, at the same time, arguing over what minimum wages should be for the average employee that keeps our economy going.

Priorities, people, priorities.

U.S. reaches 300 million

The population of the U.S. will reach 300 million this week. Here are some astonishing facts:
Supersize nation: How America is eating the world

  • 300m Expected population of the United States by the end of this week
  • 75 Life expectancy for men in the US. Women are expected to live until 80
  • 63 Life expectancy for men in the developing world. Women are expected to live until 67
  • 395m Projected population of the US by 2050
  • 1,682m3 US annual water consumption per capita
  • 633m3 The world’s annual water consumption per capita
  • 545m3 The developing world’s annual water withdrawals per capita
  • 5lbs Amount of waste each US resident produces per day. That compares with about 3lbs per person per day in Europe, and about 0.9-1.3lbs per person a day in the developing world
  • $39,710 US Gross National Income per head, 2004
  • $8,540 World’s GNI per head
  • $4,450 Developing world’s GNI per head
  • 19.8 US carbon dioxide emissions per capita, in metric tons
  • 3.9 World’s carbon dioxide emissions per head, in tons
  • 1.8 Developing world’s carbon dioxide emissions per head, in tons
  • 58bn Number of burgers consumed by Americans every year
  • 54m Number of Americans who are obese
  • 300,000 Deaths per year related to obesity
  • 678lbs US annual paper consumption per head
  • 115lbs The corresponding figure for the world
  • 44lbs The figure for the developing world
  • 204m number of vehicles on US roads
  • 37% Percentage of the total cars in the world on America’s roads
  • 1 in 7 Barrels of world oil supply used by US drivers
  • 24m Number of Americans who drive SUVs
  • 7,921 US energy consumption per capita, 2001, expressed in kilograms of oil
  • 1,631 World’s energy consumption per capita, in kilograms of oil
  • 828 Corresponding figure for the developing world
  • World Fair Trade Day

    Today is World Fair Trade Day
    Here are links to info on WFTD:

    Global Exchange
    Fair Trade Resource Network
    Transfair USA
    Lutheran World Relief
    International Fair Trade Organization

    It is good to buy Fair Trade every day and the above links are to sources that provide a lot of information about that.

    World Fair Trade Day

    I heard today that it was Fair Trade Day by some people that attended a Fair Trade event in Salt Lake. I thought that WFTD was the second Saturday in May, so I looked that up and discovered that World Fair Trade Day is actually May 13, so I didn’t miss it!
    Here are links to info on WFTD:

    Global Exchange
    Fair Trade Resource Network
    Transfair USA
    Lutheran World Relief
    International Fair Trade Organization

    At any rate, it’s good to buy Fair Trade every day and the above links are to sources that provide a lot of information about that.

    Homelessness in Utah

    Today’s Deseret News has published an article on homelessness in the town of Vernal, a small northeast Utah town of less than 10,000. The focus is on families who are forced out of their homes due to rising rents and heating costs.

    Delta Airlines

    Rocky Anderson has publicly recognized Delta Airlines as an asset to Utah. Delta announced today an expansion in its service. The airline provides extraordinary air service and is a major factor in the health of Utah’s economy. It is gratifying to see Delta continually deepen its commitment to this area and offer our residents and visitors even more access to destinations around the globe.
    Continue reading