Mentoring The Next Generation Of Socialists: The Salt Lake Chamber Of Commerce

I read this about a week ago and don’t have much to add (nor the time) so I’m wimping out and just posting a teaser excerpt. Read the piece in full – crony capitalism is the path to socialism and they don’t get it at all.

Salt Lake Chamber – Promoting Socialism by Socializing Costs and Privatizing Profits

Derek Miller, the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber, recently expressed deep concern about “the assault on free enterprise from the far right and the far left, from the halls of government to the sidewalks of Main Street.” He then noted that while “Utah makes free market principles work better than almost anywhere else….We already see anti-growth, anti-job sentiments creeping in.” He concludes by commending Governor Herbert for “calling for financial literacy courses in high schools” in order to “combat fascination with socialism.”

In my opinion, what Miller fails to grasp is that the “fascination with socialism” is fueled, at least in part, by the U.S. and Salt Lake Chambers of Commerce as they go about socializing business costs while privatizing profits. In fact, the Salt Lake Chamber has actively worked to socialize costs while privatizing profits for decades…

Full disclosure: the author is my father.

Edit: Heh, I was in such a rush that I forgot to include a link to the article. I added it above and here for good measure.

Addendum: I just heard about this and it somewhat ties into this subject. Utah offers a Custom Fit Funding program to train a company’s employees in a specific field. Utah covers part of the training cost thus subsidizing “up to 40% of the training costs” per the pamphlet I got. I can see such a program helping entice companies to rural areas that are hurting and experiencing brain drain to the Wasatch Front etc. but the program is offered at SLCC and not limited to struggling areas or small companies. I have trouble subsidizing a big company when it could cover the cost of the training if the employee contracts to stay with a company for a certain amount of time (something that companies have done for a long time). This sure sounds like more corporate welfare to me.

Salt Lake Chamber Of Commerce: Enemy Of Taxpayers, Enemy Of ID Theft Prevention

The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce is, yet again, opposing legislation related to E-Verify and identity theft.

On Tuesday, the Chamber’s public policy director, Wesley Smith, went on the Rod Arquette show and argued against HB253 stating that it costs a lot and doesn’t help with identity theft.   The Chamber knows better.

When pressed on the issue of how it would cost so much more, all he could come up with was that employees would have to go to the website to enter the new hire’s information and need some training.  I assume the Chamber is well aware that the “training” requirement is minor (we’re not talking a day but more like an hour or minutes).  Here is the 12  (more like 10) page document the University Of Florida uses for E-Verify training.  Not a killer, not even close.  The spokesman also admitted that the system does provide a rapid response.

Next, Mr. Arquette asked about identity theft.  The Chamber spokesman quickly played it down saying it wouldn’t really help.  That was a huge farce and the Chamber knows it.  A caller correctly noted that E-Verify eliminates child identities being used…that is , unless the Chamber knows a lot of 30-year-old men who can pass themselves off as 10 year-olds and convince an employer to ignore labor laws.

The spokesman correctly noted that people could steal whole identities (ie assume the social security holder’s name, date of birth etc).  However, the vast majority of identity theft for employment involves social security number only theft), as can be attested to by the Attorney General’s office.  At this time, identity dealers try to steal children’s social security number or just make up a number and put it on a fraudulent document (no age/name/date of birth matching is attempted).  Whole identity theft is vastly more difficult as the victim’s personal information must closely match the thief’s and is far more expensive to engage in.   Will that type of theft increase?  Yes, but due the the difficult nature, it is highly unlikely to increase by leaps and bounds.   Furthermore, depending on the documents used for the I-9, E-Verify also requires photo matching.  Good luck getting around that.

The Chamber then stated how it didn’t like government intruding into the marketplace.  Really? As was also noted on the radio show, the Chamber has supported plenty of tax increases and other forms of corporate welfare (such as stimulus bills) that the government has thrown its way.  They’ve supported enough for ATR to designate them “Enemy of the Taxpayer” in 2006.  Thus far, I think they are the only Chamber in the country to receive the designation:

This is the first time the group, formed in 1985, has chosen a chamber of commerce as its taxpayer enemy, Norquist said. As with its “Friend of the Taxpayer” designation, the enemy is picked largely based on input from taxpayer groups. The Salt Lake Chamber was singled out, and not only by local taxpayer advocates.

The Chamber has consistently tried to block E-Verify legislation while pushing for amnesty legislation.  It is no surprise, then, that they are supporting Rep. Bill Wright’s legislation which he introduced by insulting citizens and legal immigrants.

HB 253, on the other hand, was watered down but remains a step in the right direction of addressing some of the deficiencies in last year’s E-Verify bill – specifically, it will include some penalties for organizations violating verification law.  Feel free to contact your legislator and ask that they support HB253 despite the Chamber’s spin.

Vigilance: Bountiful Streetcar Boondoggle (and kudos to Layton)

The Clipper reports “Don’t expect streetcars to come to Bountiful soon“:

Salt Lake City officials are hopeful the federal government will soon pick up the tab on at least some of their streetcar projects, but Bountiful City officials don’t believe South Davis will see streetcars anytime soon.

Bountiful City planner Aric Jensen said he believes some of the Salt Lake City lines are shovel ready, that is, builders can proceed as soon as funding is available.

That’s not the case in Bountiful or Centerville, where there’s been no engineering or other preparatory work done — and that may be several years out.

That’s a bit of good news BUT the political pet project certainly isn’t dead and watch for surprises on it (especially if the Bountiful City Council has any say as we saw with recycling).  Right now it looks like all the local politicians are hoping that ‘tea party candidates’ will flounder and Federal pork (because people in Kentucky should pay for Bountiful’s streetcars!) can be thrown their way:

As to future streetcar funding in Davis County, “a lot depends on what happens in the (November) elections. Much depends on the political structure.”

All those “hundreds of residents turned out to protest the plan and the proposed route” better keep their guard up, this is by no means over.

Ending on the positive: At least some Layton officials made the right call on forced recycling:

“Traditional recycling is a costly service in terms of curbside pickup,” he said. “It does not pay for itself,” he said, noting “mixed results” in terms of some other cities’ experience with a recycling program.

“The only way to make traditional curbside recycling financially viable is to force everyone to participate and pay,” Curtis said. “City councils in Layton have not wanted to do so because it would force people to pay for something only a limited number would use.”

Amen!

Obama Admin Stalls E-Verify Requirement (Federal Contractors Can Continue To Hire Illegal Workers)

About a year ago, President Bush signed an executive order requiring all Federal Contractors (with $100,000 and above contracts) and subcontractors ($3,000 and above) to use E-Verify.  E-Verify is a free program that allows employers to verify they are hiring legal workers.  It is an effective tool at preventing illegal workers (such as fugitives and illegal immigrants) from obtaining employment by verifying their identity (click here for ICE’s E-Verify page).

The rule was to be implemented in January 2009 (this year).  Thus far, the Obama administration has delayed that implementation four times.  This time, the rule has been delayed until September:

The Obama administration has delayed that requirement four times, and the date for implementing it is now set for Sept. 8. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has filed a lawsuit challenging the requirement, and the case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

The administration continues to use the excuse the it is still “reviewing the rule”.  Some Congressmen have spoken out about the delay as well, but don’t expect much to happen.

This article shows the likely motivation for the delay by the administration (and, certainly for the US Chamber of Commerce):

Employment lawyers, meanwhile, say the longer the government puts off implementing the rule, the better the chances are that it will get wiped out altogether, or emerge in a lighter, more employer-friendly form.

In the meantime, illegal workers can continue to freely compete with legal US workers and job seekers for employment funded with your tax money.  That also includes jobs funded by the multi-billion dollar stimulus bill.

More posts on e-verify and identity theft can be found at the links.

Bountiful City Eyes Stimulus Pork

Bountiful is now interested in getting in at the government pork trough:

He said when the economy “sneezed,” it slowed the fund raising effort, but Tolman said he had contacted Senators Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett to see if some of the stimulus money could be filtered toward the museum. “We just want a little slice, we won’t ask for much,” he said, explaining that “There’s a rich history in Bountiful that needs to be told.”

People in Tennessee, New Hampshire, or Salt Lake City and St. George, for that matter, have no reason to be forced to fund a local museum.  Here’s hoping Hatch and Bennett say no.

More on the museum can be found here.

Self-Interest, The Individual, And Liberty

Below is a superb speech on the necessity of individuality and self-interest for liberty and constant progress while sacrifice by man’s dictates undermines such:

The Smallest Minority on Earth (WMP)
The Smallest Minority on Earth (RealPlayer)

Speaking of sacrifice, here are another couple of interesting reports worth reading:
Watchdogs: Treasury won’t disclose bank bailout details and Financial Rescue Nears GDP as Pledges Top $12.8 Trillion:

===========================================================
                                  --- Amounts (Billions)---
                                   Limit          Current
===========================================================
Total                            $12,798.14     $4,169.71
-----------------------------------------------------------
 Federal Reserve Total            $7,765.64     $1,678.71
  Primary Credit Discount           $110.74        $61.31
  Secondary Credit                    $0.19         $1.00
  Primary dealer and others         $147.00        $20.18
  ABCP Liquidity                    $152.11         $6.85
  AIG Credit                         $60.00        $43.19
  Net Portfolio CP Funding        $1,800.00       $241.31
  Maiden Lane (Bear Stearns)         $29.50        $28.82
  Maiden Lane II  (AIG)              $22.50        $18.54
  Maiden Lane III (AIG)              $30.00        $24.04
  Term Securities Lending           $250.00        $88.55
  Term Auction Facility             $900.00       $468.59
  Securities lending overnight       $10.00         $4.41
  Term Asset-Backed Loan Facility   $900.00         $4.71
  Currency Swaps/Other Assets       $606.00       $377.87
  MMIFF                             $540.00         $0.00
  GSE Debt Purchases                $600.00        $50.39
  GSE Mortgage-Backed Securities  $1,000.00       $236.16
  Citigroup Bailout Fed Portion     $220.40         $0.00
  Bank of America Bailout            $87.20         $0.00
  Commitment to Buy Treasuries      $300.00         $7.50
-----------------------------------------------------------
  FDIC Total                      $2,038.50       $357.50
   Public-Private Investment*       $500.00          0.00
   FDIC Liquidity Guarantees      $1,400.00       $316.50
   GE                               $126.00        $41.00
   Citigroup Bailout FDIC            $10.00         $0.00
   Bank of America Bailout FDIC       $2.50         $0.00
-----------------------------------------------------------
 Treasury Total                   $2,694.00     $1,833.50
  TARP                              $700.00       $599.50
  Tax Break for Banks                $29.00        $29.00
  Stimulus Package (Bush)           $168.00       $168.00
  Stimulus II (Obama)               $787.00       $787.00
  Treasury Exchange Stabilization    $50.00        $50.00
  Student Loan Purchases             $60.00         $0.00
  Support for Fannie/Freddie        $400.00       $200.00
  Line of Credit for FDIC*          $500.00         $0.00
-----------------------------------------------------------
HUD Total                           $300.00       $300.00
  Hope for Homeowners FHA           $300.00       $300.00
-----------------------------------------------------------
[T]he FDIC’s commitment to guarantee lending under the
Legacy Loan Program and the Legacy Asset Program includes a $500
billion line of credit from the U.S. Treasury.

Governor Huntsman’s And The Utah Legislature’s Bank Bailout

Lets all join hands and sing.  Our legislators have saved us and given about $10 Million of your tax money to banks and the real estate industry.  They did so in SB 260 (“Housing Relief Restricted Special Revenue Fund”).

The Utah Legislature authorized a $6,000 grant in “free” money (it does not need to be payed back).  Here are the ‘qualifications’ stipulated in SB260 (click here for the vote record):

(1) Subject to the availability of funds in the Housing Relief Restricted Special Revenue Fund created in Section , the corporation shall approve on behalf of the state a grant of $6,000 to a person who:
(a) purchases [of] a newly constructed, never-occupied residence in Utah using a 30-year fixed interest rate note and mortgage; and 67-4-18
(b) meets the requirements established in Subsections (2) and (3).
(2) A person may not receive a grant under this section if the person’s income, asdetermined by the corporation, exceeds:
(a) $75,000 for a single person; or
(b) $150,000 for a married couple.
(3) The corporation shall establish procedures for determining a person’s eligibility for a grant under this section, including establishing a limit on the time for which the funds for a grant may remain in escrow, which may not exceed 90 days

From my interpretation of the rules for the grant, it looks like I can go buy a vacation home and you will give me $6,000 to do so even if it is my second, third…or whatever home.   After reading the bill, it looks like I could even buy a home as a rental property and still get $6,000 for my venture.  Additionally, the money can be used in addition to the Federal $8,000 tax credit Congress passed.

The bill is, obviously, backed by the real-estate and banking industry.  Take notice of the 30 year mortgage requirement, for example.  Ultimately, this bill is just another way of funneling your money to artificially float an industry.  This time it is at the local, rather than national level but is a supplement to the Federal bailout bill for those sectors – and our local banks (especially Zions Bank) are quite familiar with bailout money.

The only recourse, at this point is to ask Governor Huntsman to veto the bill.  My understanding is that Huntsman is a stong support of the bill, but go ahead and contact his office, anyway (be polite).