Category: Business

David Stockman is Right, and We Should Probably Be Afraid

Iowa Politics Money Chess TaxesFormer Michigan Congressman and Reagan Budget Director David Stockman’s new book “The Great Deformation” provoked a flurry of insult and ridicule when it first came out back in April. I’m late to the party because as a law school graduate I spend all of my spare cash on liquor; in fact, I have not yet read the book. Fortunately for me, book tour promotional speeches are readily available on Youtube, and Stockman has no instinct for holding back.

Here is the gist; the Bretton Woods Conference made the dollar the reserve currency of the world, it was gold-based until 1971 when Nixon decided to let it float free, allowing the US to run endless trade deficits with mercantilist, export-led industrializing countries in East Asia. Along …


What I Learned as a Foreclosure Attorney

forclosed houseA sizeable chunk of my legal career has been spent neck-deep in the morass of the foreclosure wave that has wreaked havoc across the land several years ago. If you wonder what has made me cynical about both the economy and the competency of government, it was my year doing foreclosures.

First of all, I am not the big expert, and this is in no way legal advice; I worked long enough to learn how the process works and how it ties in to real estate market and the economy as a whole. I think I have put the picture together reasonably well, and I have learned a few things about our national obsession with real estate.

Banks Do Not Hold Mortgages

The fact that …


Local Economic Development Through Youth Entrepreneurship

business start-upWell, another class of high school graduates are killing time until they begin their college experience. In four, five, or six years, many of them will graduate from college, and move to Dallas County so they can work as temps at Wells Fargo.

Meanwhile, town squares across Iowa are emptying out. I’ve spent some time exploring small towns in rural Iowa, and there are common threads that threaten to further damage the prospects of the young, and may even threaten the existence of many towns across the state.

And so it goes; young people leave to try and buy jobs that don’t matter (and often don’t exist in large numbers), buildings stand unused, and eventually the towns just collapse into stagnant malaise.

What Muscatine Has


Rep. Tom Latham Staying Engaged on Fiscal Responsibility, Appears at Fix The Debt–Iowa Event

fix the debtProving his concern about our country’s national debt wasn’t mere campaign lip service, Congressman Tom Latham continued to warn against the perils of a $17 trillion debt in Urbandale on Friday.  He joined an event hosted by the Iowa chapter of Fix The Debt and toured the facility of Jon Troen’s ColorFX company.

Speaking to a group of ColorFX employees Latham seemed hopeful a long-term solution could be agreed to this year saying, “I think there is a real chance of getting a bi-partisan deal passed.  It has to be done to ensure our nation’s economic and fiscal security.”  As the owner of a company trying to navigate through an increasingly shaky economy, ColorFX owner Jon Troen fully concurred by stating, “The national debt affects …


3 Questions With Iowa Senate Candidate Vicki Stogdill

(This is the second installment of a continuing series posing 3 questions to Republican candidates statewide) 

Vicki Stogdill is running for the seat representing Senate District 18 in the Iowa Legislature.  She has been campaigning hard for months to give this traditionally Democratic territory a new voice at the State House.  Every race in the Iowa Senate this year is of utmost importance, and Stogdill’s effort to engage the voters of District 18 will reveal much about the Iowa electorate at large.  Voters both in and out of her district should take the time to check out her positions and background on her website, and to show her support in any way they can.  She brings to the table a long career in small …


Iowa’s Expensive Wind Addiction

I recently heard a radio commercial urging me to contact various members of Congress to voice my support for tax credits connected to the wind energy industry. On a lark, I went to the Iowa Legislature website and searched active bills for the word “wind,” and received several dozen hits, many of which seemed to be focused on state tax credits for manufacturing and installing wind turbines. Both state and federal politicians seem to be tripping over themselves to get into the wind energy craze.

Back in 2010 Alliant Energy was petitioning to be allowed to increase the rates they charged for electricity, and one of the supporting reasons they put forward was the $150 million project called the Whispering Willow-East wind farm in Franklin …


A First Time Candidate For A First Time District: An Interview With John Landon (Part 2 of 2)

This is the second installment of a two-part interview, to read part one click here.

Education

Governor Branstad’s legacy-minded education reform proposal has struggled to draw support since its release on October 3rd, and you can count Mr. Landon as one of those lacking in enthusiasm.

A core tenet of Landon’s philosophy is local control. The benefit he sees in applying this principle to education is that the parents of each child, and the teachers in the actual class room, will have their voices better heard and their concerns more directly dealt with,

“My first reaction (to the governor’s plan) is that it drives us towards more state control and more mandates on levels of performance. I think that we are going to


A First Time Candidate For A First Time District: An Interview With John Landon (Part 1 of 2)

This is part one of a two part piece.  A link to the second installment covering the topics of education, health care, illegal immigration,  gay marriage, the tea party and an early analysis of this race can be found at the end of this article or by clicking on Part 2 here.

The population explosion the city of Ankeny has seen over the last ten years has brought many changes to this Des Moines suburb. Along with construction of a new high school and the surge of large retailers that accompany a population growth from 27,000 to 45,000 in one decade, Ankeny has also received a make-over in its state legislative districts.

In terms of the Iowa House, what resulted is for the first time …


The Great Sino-American Currency War

The economic relationship between the United States and China is often described as being “co-dependent.” The Chinese lend America money, and the Americans buy Chinese goods. If the Americans stopped buying Chinese goods, then people in China would lose their jobs, and if the Chinese stopped lending to America, then Americans couldn’t consume Chinese goods, and around and around as the story goes.

It is a complete mirage. Right now, the Chinese are dedicating a large portion of their economy (land, labor and capital) to produce cheap, depreciating consumer goods to sell to the United States. We pay for these goods with American dollars, and China’s domestic exporters have so far been happy to accept these dollars in exchange for their products.

These dollars flow …


McKinley’s Memo

Though the third longest session in Iowa history has been over for two weeks, Governor Branstad still has until the end of July to sign or veto any of the legislation that was passed.

While there were some notable and very positive accomplishments, Senate Democrats also stood in the way of a lot of positive progress.

Here are a few accomplishments followed by some of the missed opportunities.

1) Sustainable Budget

We finally are back on the path to long-term fiscal sustainability with a budget that spends less than we take in and funds Iowa’s priorities. Is there more we can cut? Absolutely. But it’s a good start and a real break from the problems of the last four years.

2) Rule & Regulatory Reform…


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