The politically incestuous relationship between business and government is now deeply ingrained in our social fabric. Virtually every kind of enterprise has vested interest in government benefits bestowed by the political class in Washington, D.C. Agricultural businesses have leaned heavily on the federal dole since the 1930s; proliferating and expanding with every administration.
News from Pender County illustrates how USDA agents—with their presence in all 3000 counties in America—continue to solicit local agricultural producers to join forces in ferreting out the public’s money for staff, offices, programs and cash handouts. All “stakeholders” benefit. Part of the scheme involves “electing” agricultural producers to USDA Farm Service Agency “(FSA) county committees.”
County officials could opt out of this voluntary relationship. And committee members are presumably independent and make their own decisions, but the enticement of no-cost-to-them manpower and money is irresistible—and let’s not forgot that local prestige and power for a chosen few goes with the perks.
Here’s the propaganda pitch reported in the Wilmington StarNews under “NEWS & NOTES”: (link)
“The election of agricultural producers to FSA county committees is important to all farmers and ranchers. It is crucial that every producer participate in this election because FSA county committees are a link between the agricultural community and the U. S. Department of Agriculture. County committee members provide local input on commodity price support programs, conservation programs, incentive, indemnity and disaster programs, emergency programs and payment eligibility.”
So come on down and get what’s coming to you—compliments of the U. S. taxpayers.Read full article » No Comments »
Between Friday and Sunday there were multiple stories about what will be discussed at tomorrow’s city council meeting in Wilmington. Missing from stories were ANY serious questions that should have been asked and have not.
1) Under what NC General Statute would the city be able to give Flywheel/Trask over $24m for a baseball stadium that they do not own?
2) At what point did you discover the extra $1m in sales tax revenue that the city would have in their 2012/2013 budget? And why is that NOT being used to alleviate the 3-cent tax increase?
3) What is the rationale for charging participants in charitable fund raising, $1/runner per race? That appears to simply redistribute money FROM worthwhile charities to the cities non-profits of choice.
4) Why is the city not seriously concerned that the Braves have changed their timetable after the city had to jump through hoops and pay NSS extra money to complete their study by mid-June? The Braves are now ok with an additional six-months delay from the city?
5) You are claiming that the referendum will cost the city $40k but a cursory call to the board of elections said $1k. Two questions here. a) Why the grossly exaggerated figure? and b) in the letter to WWAY, how is it remotely excusable to have so many typos in the first two sentences of a PUBLIC response? (this sounds picky, but with over $300k in salaries and benefits between the city manager and communications officer, this is outrageous and not acceptable)
Here is what was written: “ in reference to your story that the petition ballot cost included in the related June 19 City Council ordinance is “hughly exaggerated,” here is further clarification:
In an effort to publically identity upfront potential costs associated with a possible ballball-related question on a ballot in the general election, any costs that could be anticipated were included in the ordinance for City Council consideration.”
6) With respect to high unemployment, the city’s expenditures, the tough economy, why is your position not reflective of that reality with respect to the ball stadium? In other words, the city has spent almost $200k on NSS and is considering another $492k on consultants for the stadium/convention center, why isn’t it simply better for the taxpayers to say it is NOT a good time to pursue these luxuries?
These are good questions for council to ask but I won’t hold my breath.
Read full article » 1 Comment »