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By The Staff

A new stimulus package,

and a $1 trillion in debt

As the top consumers of the world’s products, we, the American shoppers, have become the most studied animals on the planet. Product manufacturers and their retail sales agents have us sorted and classified by sex, age, education, religion, race, housing, income and many other traits. They use all types of data in their computer models to predict what we want, when we want it and how much we will pay for it.

Continuous advertisements in all mass media remind us of unlimited opportunities to save, save, save during a never-ending series of sales events. Easy credit and low monthly payments are always readily available.

Buy what you want now and pay for it later. It’s the great American consumer model that began when the IBM machines moved into market place analysis – and it’s based on personal debt.

But a strange thing happened to the model when we received our Economic Stimulus Payments from the IRS in May and June of this year. A large portion of the recipients didn’t rush out to spend, but used the funds to pay down their personal debt.

In the just completed Christmas season an even larger numbers of shoppers kept their credit cards in their pockets and refused to further increase their debt. No doubt influenced by the meltdown of the stock market’s financial sector, this first ever attempts by American consumers to control and reduce their debts captured the attention of the world’s industrial and political leaders. Their best customers were showing signs of fiscal restraint after years of a massive credit binge.

Were these two events indicators of a change toward pay as we go purchasing or were they just minor up-tics in our credit time line that will soon return to its normal downward spiral to bankruptcy?

Governor Crist and our state legislators are currently meeting in a special session in Tallahassee to adjust our taxes and the state’s spending to achieve their required balanced budget. President-elect Obama and his financial advisers are meeting in Washington to formulate an economic recovery – stimulus package that’s predicted to contain $1 trillion per year in over-budget spending for the next several years.

Like the majority of American shoppers, our state government is adjusting to the economic realities of the times and showing fiscal responsibility. The federal government is planning to spend tax revenues from taxpayers that are yet to be born.

The crafty CEOs of the mortgage banks, investment banks and mortgage guarantee agencies, who created derivative investments from the overpriced sales of dream homes to average American buyers built such a vast get-rich-quick scheme that it defies belief. The hedge funds managers who sold these derivatives to millions of investors around the world were the snake oil salesmen who perpetrated this fraud.

They should all be going to jail. And their cellmates should be the conniving D. C. politicians whose record-breaking campaign contributions and lobbyist perks insured no congressional oversights or restraining regulations would interfere with these bunco artists.

There is no indication that Obama and the self-serving Congress intend to refine this consumer model by adding protection for the small investors whose savings and retirement accounts were ravaged by this fraud. Instead they are forgiving these criminals, repaying their losses with our future generations’ taxes, and creating more opportunities for them to pass the buck to we the taxpayers, yet again.

Bill Farthing

Ocala

Waste assessment

has a foul smell

Baseline Landfill will be filled to capacity in six years according to the commissioners. But on the other hand the commissioners want to clean out Davis Landfill in Summerfield and take it to Baseline; take contaminated soil from one place to another. People who live around the Davis Landfill have to have portable water at the County’s expense.

The county had $30 million for a new landfill, then they had an idea like a light bulb going on. Let’s make a transfer station and ship the garbage out of state. Well that idea went out within a year at a loss of $30 million.

Let’s look at the assessment part of this. The commissioners have raised the assessment fee for the last two years with less service at recycling centers and you make payments at the landfill to take in old furniture.

Last year,  the commissioners decided to overlook State Statute 197.3632 which states “20 days prior to a public hearing Local Government shall notice the hearing by first class United States mail and by publication in newspaper.” This saved $50,000. This keeps you in the dark.

Also last year,  the commissioners enacted an ordinance that states “residential property may have been vacant during all or any part of a year shall not be grounds for an adjustment of the solid waste assessment.” This means the snowbirds and foreclosed homes.

Now they want to raise your assessment for the next six years for when the landfill is at capacity. With less garbage going to the landfill, will the life of the landfill be longer?

Keep in mind cities of Marion County don’t pay this assessment. What’s the bottom line on assessments?

Waste to energy plant, a waste to citizens. Commissioners cannot guarantee the flow of garbage. How much electricity has the gas to energy plant generated since the button was pushed at the Baseline Landfill?

Why are waste assessments being used for Marion County Utilities when they don’t have Marion County “utility?”

Erving Raymond

Ocala Hamas is not a

nice neighbor

“Will there be peace in Gaza before Jan. 20?” Well, there was peace, or at least some form of peace.

The Israelis have been out of Gaza since August of 2005. Since then the Palestinians have sent over 3,000 rockets and a like number of mortars smashing into southern Israel.

Some people just make lousy neighbors.

I don’t know about you, but if some of my neighbors, say OTOW or Oak Run, decided to pull that little tactic, I for one would be quite ticked off.

Yes, the people of Gaza are getting a lousy deal, but the odd fact is that it is because of their own people. Presently it is Hamas who is playing to the world media for political purposes. It is Hamas who is willing to sacrifice their very own in order to pursue their diabolical agenda to drive Israel from the Middle East.

So if the world really wants peace before or after Jan. 20, stop the rockets from coming out of Gaza, stop the weapons from getting into Gaza, and stop Hamas from using their people as throw away pawns.

As I was saying: My, how peaceful it could be.

Rich Morrison

Pine Run

Bigger government

breeds bigger scams

Fraud to the left of us. Fraud to the right of us. Fraud on the top. Fraud on the bottom. Fraud in the front. Fraud in the back. Fraud all around. What is going on?

Just think of all the money involved. That money belongs to all of us, and think how much better our lives would be if we had that money instead of those fiscal rapists.

Think about it. We would all be millionaires. No more middle class. They are swindling that much.

Since the mortgage mess, and the Madoff mess, two more frauds have been publicized. A Medicare clinic scam; people solicited to sell their Medicare numbers to phony clinics, to the tune of billions.

And another ponzi scheme; a Haitian immigrant scamming his fellow immigrants to the tune of millions. What more good news will tomorrow bring?

How can a country survive in a financial climate such as this? What is wrong with our financial community?

What kind of government allows this to continue? Are we going to voice our opinions loud enough to be heard, or are the financial rapists going to be allowed to go their merry way?

Why aren’t funny (phony) money schemes illegal? The government looks very much like an enabler of these schemes.

Looks like we need to find a self-defense mechanism for ourselves. Some kind of “do it ourselves” financing. Credit unions were a good mechanism, but they, too, are straying.

For years we used nothing but our credit union, but had to leave when it became less productive than banks. Perhaps we should try to reform and refocus the credit union concept. Credit unions run by employees. They have been co-opted by professionals, and gone into decline. At least ours did.

Anyone calling for more government is calling for even more fraud. There are enough funds in our programs for everyone to get a fair share, but the money is being siphoned off by fiscal rapists in the form of fraud of every kind.

Are you happy supporting financial rapists, just so you can receive your pitiful pittance? Can’t you see what needs to be done to cut off their money supply? Smaller (much smaller) government. And legislators with gumption and ethics.

What is showing is just the tip of the iceberg. Fraud permeates every nook and cranny of government.

We taxpayers are being taken for a royal ride, only we are not on the coach. We are running behind, with all our money riding up front with the fraudsters. Isn’t that just a pretty picture?

I am fed up. Anyone else care to join the “fed up club”?

D. I. Larson

Ocala