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Monday, December 25, 2017

2017 Sign of the times

You can be sure that 2017 ended having mistletoe at the office party!

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Friday, December 22, 2017

New York Times article on Columbia and the new tax legislation

      Yesterday the New York Times had an article that featured Columbia residents talking about the tax implications of the recently passed Republican tax "reform" bill.  Republicans have a way of branding their legislation in a way that masks the real intent of the legislation.  The only "reform" in the recent legislation was to shift income distribution to wealthier Americans and take away healthcare to millions of average Americans.  Providing healthcare to Americans has always been a target of Republicans who see this effort as creeping socialism.  While they have decided that businesses that are doing very well these days need more tax relief they will take away healthcare from a projected 13 million Americans and have left uncertainty of future funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  My feeling has always been that the supporters of the CHIP program should just rename it the Children and Fetus Health Insurance Program to pick up support from those Republicans who only support health care for fetuses.   Providing healthcare after birth is too much socialism for these Republicans.
       The target of the Republican tax legislation is really a two step process.  The first step is to lower taxes so much that you create large deficits (in spite of their claims of the cuts paying for themselves) so that they can move to their real objective which is to cut social spending.  That second part is something that is already being talked about by Republicans and once the deficits happen they will claim that as the solution.  Watch how our bloated Defense budget will never be seen as a part of that deficit solution.

     Republican philosophy of low taxes as the way to prosperity has a interesting overlooked fact that 97 out of 100 poorest counties are located in red states and that 22 of the top 25 wealthiest counties in the country are in blue states.  And that includes good old Howard County at number 3.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Police respond to 219 overdoses so far this year

  Last Friday night Howard County Police responded to 3 overdose cases. That brought to 219 cases for 2017. The Baltimore Sun reported this a few months ago:

"The number of opioid-related deaths in Howard County between January and June this year spiked by over 50 percent compared to the same time frame in 2016, according to state data released this week. The death toll rose from 18 deaths in the first six months of 2016 to 28 in 2017.

Twenty-one of those deaths are the result of fentanyl-related causes, compared to 12 deaths in the first half of last year. Fentanyl, which has become an increasing concern to law enforcement, is a much more potent drug used to cut heroin that can lead to more frequent fatal overdoses, according to Howard County Health Officer Maura Rossman.

The county is on track to blow past its total number of opioid-related deaths for the year compared to 2016, when 40 people died from opioid-related causes. In the first half of 2017, already 28 died from opioid-related causes, with the numbers still climbing."

    Somehow the epidemic seemed more of a story in states with economic hardships but prosperous Howard County shows that the problem truly is one that impacts all areas of our country.   There are around 60,000 deaths a year from drug overdoses, a 10 fold increase since 1980


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Will Costco gas soon have competition in Columbia?


   I heard a rumor that the gas station at Dobbin Center is being renovated into a BJ's gas station.  Anyone know if that is true?  The renovations look like there will be a larger station opening.  When BJ's came to Snowden Square they couldn't put in a gas station because of the existing gas station.


Friday, December 15, 2017

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Let's get real on taxes

      The Republican tax legislation is being sold as an individual and business tax cut to stimulate the economy.  Tax cuts may make sense to the economy during recessionary times but that is far from where we are now with low unemployment, stocks at record highs and business sitting on record cash reserves.   Republicans have long pushed a false narrative that lower taxes to businesses stimulates the economy.  Since 70% of the US economy is driven by consumer spending giving more tax relief to lower and middle income tax payers can create more consumer demand to create more jobs and grow an economy.  Will businesses use the money from a tax cut to grow jobs?  What is more likely is that they will do more stock by backs to increase the value of their stock and increase executive compensation which many times is tied to value of their stock. 
      While you can probably find examples of the impact of tax cuts as being a stimulus, one thing is almost always a result of tax cuts---budget deficits.  Kansas is only the latest example of this reality.  The Republican's real agenda is two pronged.  First to reward their wealthy business contributors under the cover of stimulating the economy.  Second is even more sinister which is to create a budget deficit to slash government social programs.
      Any discussion of taxes and its impact on an economy has to acknowledge that there is a income redistribution impact of any change in our tax structure.  Lower taxes are usually disproportionately directed to wealthier individuals and higher taxes provide the basis to fund services that redistribute income to lower income individuals.  Maybe that is why the happiest countries in the world are also some of the highest taxed countries.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Who knew??

Who knew that when Trump used to boast "You will get so tired of winning" he was referring to the Democrats!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Shake Shack coming to the Columbia Mall December 20th and Aldi's opening at Gateway Overlook Shopping Center December 14th

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From the Columbia Patch:

"What's shakin' Columbia?! Shake Shack is thrilled to announce it will open on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 11 a.m. at The Mall in Columbia, the open-air shopping, dining and entertainment destination. The Mall in Columbia Shack will be located at 10300 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD.

In addition to the Shack classics, The Columbia Shack will be spinning up a selection of local frozen custard concretes: Shack Attack (chocolate custard, fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough, Mast Brothers Shake Shack dark chocolate chunks, topped with chocolate sprinkles), Cookie Butter Blender (vanilla custard, cookie butter, chocolate toffee and chocolate sprinkles) and Pie Oh My (vanilla custard and slice of seasonal pie from Renata's Tasty Bites).

What's sweeter? The first 100 people in line on opening day when doors open will receive a Pie Oh My concrete, on us!

Guests can wash their burgers down with local seasonal brews from Jailbreak Brewing Company, Flying Dog Brewery, Devils Backbone Brewing Company and Full Tilt Brewing Company, plus Shake Shack's exclusive Brooklyn Brewery ShackMeister® Ale. Wine lovers can enjoy a glass of Shack RedTM and Shack WhiteTM wine from Napa-based Frog's Leap Winery.

As part of Shake Shack's mission to Stand For Something Good®, The Mall in Columbia Shack will donate 5% of sales from its Pie Oh My concrete to Grassroots, the county's only emergency shelter and crisis intervention center providing 24-hour crisis intervention services, emergency shelter, and community education. "


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Saturday funny

Now this was a plan our financial advisor overlooked!

Thursday, December 7, 2017's "Word of the Year"


    Our boviating leader didn't make Time's Person of the Year but he did give us's Word of the Year---"complicit."   A close second could have been my choice of "collusion."

      Oh to have our values represented like this!

P.S. 1
     Mueller probably has Trump's tax returns.  We may find out about them after all.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Jim Nabors at his best

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   With the death of Jim Nabors this past week it is a good time to remember a scene from his show Gomer Pyle USMC where he sings "The Impossible Dream.