October, 2020 Archive
As a former Schenectady city councilman and county legislator, I can speak from experience regarding the need for our elected city, town and county officials to fight for the people who elect them into office. There’s a real issue this election that the Schenectady County Legislature has truly hoarded a disproportionate share of the sales tax dollars and is shortchanging every town and the city of Schenectady.Every legislator up for election this year has failed the people who have voted them into office with the exception of Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle and Councilman Jim Martin — they’re the only ones speaking up. And if we want our fair share, we need to have a clean sweep of the career politicians, especially those who are double-dipping from public dollars on the county payroll.In 2004, Schenectady County sales tax revenues were approximately $48 millio. Since then, these revenues have grown to approximately $98 million. Niskayuna, Glenville, Rotterdam and the city’s share have practically remained stagnant, while these revenues have more than doubled. The bottom line is every local portion of your property tax bill could be reduced by up to 50 percent.Do you want your fair share? Vote Row B and send a message that we are mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore.Peter GuidarelliSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Motorcyclist injured in Thursday afternoon Schenectady crashSchenectady department heads: Budget cutbacks would further stress already-stretched departmentsEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%Schenectady’s Lucas Rodriguez forging his own path in dance, theater, music Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion
No one knows if the tax changes will hasten this; no one should assume that they will not.No one knows at what percentage the debt’s deleterious effect on economic growth becomes severe; no sensible person doubts that there is such a point. We will discover that point the hard way, unless Congress promptly sends to the states for prompt ratification a constitutional amendment requiring balanced budgets.The amendment proposed by Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia University’s business school, and Tim Kane, economist at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, would limit each year’s total spending to the median annual revenue of the previous seven years, allowing temporary deficits to be authorized in emergencies by congressional supermajorities.Because reverence for the Constitution is imperiled by tinkering with it, and because the supply of ideas for improving Madison’s document always exceed society’s supply of Madisonian wisdom, the document should be amended rarely and reluctantly.Today, however, a balanced-budget amendment is required to counter two developments: the abandonment of the original understanding of the Constitution, and the death of the political morality that expressed that understanding. For approximately 140 years, the government was restrained by the Constitution’s enumeration of its powers, which supposedly were “few and defined” (Madison, Federalist 45). Before Congress acted it considered what James Q. Wilson called the “legitimacy barrier”: Did the Constitution empower the government to do this or that?As late as the 1950s, Congress at least feigned fealty to constitutional limits: When it wanted to build the interstate highway system and subsidize college students it referred, if perfunctorily, to the enumerated responsibility for defense in naming the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act (1956) and the National Defense Education Act (1958). Wilson thought the legitimacy barrier’s collapse was complete in 1965 when Congress intruded into the quintessentially state and local responsibility with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.Democracy generally, and especially legislative bargaining, is inherently additive: Majorities are assembled by attracting components with particularized benefits.Christopher DeMuth, president emeritus of the American Enterprise Institute, notes that from the Founding to the 1930s-1960s New Deal-Great Society era, this natural tendency of government to grow was inhibited by the bipartisan political ethic: Deficits were neither prudent nor seemly except when “borrowing was limited to wars, other emergencies, and investments such as territorial expansion and transportation; and incurred debts were paid down diligently.” This tradition of borrowing for the future dissipated as government began routinely borrowing from the future in order to finance current consumption of government goods and services.DeMuth argues that a balanced-budget amendment is required because of the transformation of government from a provider of public goods (defense, infrastructure) to a provider of benefits (money and services) directly to individuals: Categories: Editorial, OpinionWASHINGTON — Today’s political discord is less durable and dangerous than a consensus, one that unites the political class more than ideology divides it.The consensus is that, year in and year out, in good times and bad, Americans should be given substantially more government goods and services than they should be asked to pay for.Lamentations about the paucity of bipartisanship ignore the permanent, powerful incentive, which both parties share and indulge, to run enormous deficits, thereby making big government cheaper, for the moment.Government borrows part of its costs; the borrowing’s burden falls on future generations. This is a form of expropriation — taxation without representation of the unborn. The federal debt held by the public was 39 percent of GDP 10 years ago; it is 75 percent today. Before last month’s tax changes, the debt was projected to reach 91 percent in 10 years. Transfer payments are now about 70 percent of federal spending.A constitutional amendment imposing congressional term limits would not obviate, but would lessen, the need for a balanced-budget amendment by diminishing the incentive to think of the next election rather than the next generation.Unfortunately, the careerism that makes term limits advisable means that Congress will also never vote for this version of Warren Buffett’s instant fix for deficits: When, absent a war or other emergency, the budget is not balanced, all congressional incumbents are ineligible for re-election.Critics of a balanced-budget amendment warn that Congress will evade it by means of creative bookkeeping, stealthy spending through unfunded mandates on state governments and the private sector, the promiscuous declarations of spurious “emergencies” and other subterfuges.Such critics inadvertently make the case for the amendment by assuming that the political class is untrustworthy.And that the people’s representatives unfortunately are representative of those who elect them. George Will is a nationally syndicated columnist with The Washington Post who writes from a conservative perspective. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes
However, I do feel Trump’s deregulation of industry, including oil companies, will have a detrimental effect long after Trump and I have passed. Our national parks are being cut in size as Trump gives oil companies the drilling rights in our parks that were once sacred. His promises to the coal miners of West Virginia and other coal-producing states have come up empty as miners are laid off. Promises to those who voted for him that “On Day 1, he will give us the best health care in the world” and “On Day 1, ISIS will be destroyed” are just as empty. He has done his best to take health care away from those who need it most and ISIS is still a threat, as it was on his first day in office.His crowning achievement is the tax reduction for the large corporations and the rich, with no more than a crumb for the middle class. His slogan of “Make America Great Again” has turned out to be “Make America the laughingstock of the world.” Again, I thank those who voted for a womanizer, as I will benefit “greatly”Gary Philip GuidoRotterdamMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationRotterdam convenience store operator feels results of having Stewart’s as new neighborCar hits garage in Rotterdam Sunday morning; Garage, car burnFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion As a new year starts. I thank those who voted for Trump as president. I’m one of those millionaires who will benefit from our president’s tax break for the rich. The deregulation of several industries and the gutting of the Environmental Protection Administration has done nothing but have more money come my way via the stock market and other venues.Some may wonder why I didn’t vote for Mr. Trump, as the rewards are great while the rewards for those less fortunate are few. In point of fact, it will be those who voted for Trump, as well as those that didn’t, who are responsible for my good fortune.
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“With the addition of digital signature features, the authorization process can be shortened from seven days to one day.”One of the company’s programs for MOST is to introduce a feature that enables its users to take part in online lessons in which they can, among other subjects, learn the mechanisms of investing in the equity market.According to the company’s internal survey, 60 to 70 percent of its investors are between the ages of 18 and 31, with a majority residing in Jakarta and Surabaya in East Java.Mandiri Sekuritas president director Dannif Danusaputro said the application could also be used by the visually impaired, who could choose the audio feature to help them carry out transactions and manage their investments. (ydp) Topics : PT Mandiri Sekuritas, a subsidiary of state-owned Bank Mandiri, is aiming to further improve its online stock trading platform to attract more retail investors using its brokerage services.With the improved online trading application, called MOST, the company hopes to have 148,000 users by the end of this year or a 25 percent increase from 119,000 in 2019, Mandiri Sekuritas executive vice president Theodora VN Manik said in Jakarta on Wednesday.In order to attract more retail investors, the company is targeting to make MOST more convenient and secure, she said, adding that more than 80 percent of its retail investors carried out transactions through the app.
“However, only Hungarian citizens can enter Hungary from Tuesday. Anyone, Hungarians and foreigners alike, are free to depart from the airport in the coming days,” it said.Foreigners denied entry must wait in a designated transit area until departure. A previously imposed mandatory medical screening for Hungarians returning from South Korea, Iran, Israel, China and Italy remains in effect, the airport said. Budapest Airport will allow Hungarian citizens only to enter the country as of Tuesday after sweeping restrictions imposed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government on Monday to contain the spread of the coronavirus.As the restrictions took effect, Hungary reported a jump in confirmed coronavirus infections to 50 on Tuesday from 39 a day earlier as the central European country transitions from isolated cases to cluster infections.”Budapest Airport is not closing; it will continue to welcome and launch flights,” the airport operator said in a statement. Topics :
The easing of restrictions follows Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the city earlier this month — his first since the crisis erupted.As the rate of infection slows in China, the rest of the world has stepped up measures to try and battle the raging pandemic.China is anxious about an influx of infections brought in from other countries, with the number of imported cases climbing steadily in recent weeks to pass 350.Of the 39 new cases reported Monday, 10 were in Shanghai and 10 were in Beijing.Many cities have brought in tough rules to quarantine new arrivals.Authorities have said all Beijing-bound international flights will be diverted to other cities where they will be screened for the virus to help make the process more efficient.Those who get the all-clear will be allowed to continue to Beijing where they will still be sent to quarantine facilities. There have now been over 81,000 cases in China, and the death toll has reached 3,270. Topics : They can also go back to work if they have a permit from their employer, and leave the city for other parts of the surrounding Hubei province after being tested for the virus and receiving a health certificate.The virus, which emerged in a market that sold wild animals in December, sparked a dramatic lockdown of the city on January 23 that was then widened to the rest of the province of nearly 60 million people.Since then infections have slowed dramatically and for five straight days there have been no new cases in Hubei.Another nine people died in Wuhan, the National Health Commission said Monday in its latest update. People in central China where the coronavirus was first detected are allowed to go back to work and public transport is restarting, as some normality slowly returns after a two-month lockdown. The easing of restrictions in Wuhan city comes as Chinese health officials reported Monday no new local cases of the deadly virus, but confirmed another 39 infections brought from overseas.Wuhan residents considered healthy can move around the city and take the bus or metro so long as they show ID, officials said.
Economic devastation The pandemic has already, and rapidly, been catastrophic to the global economy.In the United States, the world’s largest economy, the Labor Department reported that 3.3 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week — by far the highest number ever recorded.Job losses have swept across sectors from food services to retail to transportation as nearly half of the country has closed to “non-essential” businesses.”It is staggering. We are only seeing the initial numbers; they will get worse, unfortunately,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters, estimating that half a million people in the city would lose work. But Wall Street soared for a third straight day, recouping more of this month’s hefty losses, on expectations for the largest stimulus in US history.The Senate early Thursday unanimously passed a $2 trillion package that will provide cash payouts averaging $3,400 for a family of four. Speaker Nancy Pelosi voiced confidence that the House of Representatives would follow suit on Friday.President Donald Trump, who has been hoping that a strong economy would win him re-election in November, has been one of the few US leaders to seek a quick return to normal. Priests at risk The global lockdown — which also hemmed in India’s huge population this week — tightened further on Thursday as Russia announced it was grounding all international flights, while Moscow’s mayor ordered the closure of cafes, shops and parks.Tokyo’s millions of citizens have been told to stay home, too, just days after the city was forced to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games for a year.China said it was barring entry to most foreigners, fearing that imported cases were undermining its success in bringing domestic transmissions way down.And South Africa braced for a nationwide lockdown as its cases climbed to more than 900 — about a third of Africa’s 2,975 cases. The impact of the virus has stretched well beyond frontline health workers, with billions trapped in their homes and facing what experts say could be lasting psychological harm.In virus-stricken Italy, clergy members have been among the worst affected. Out of Italy’s more than 7,500 deaths, 67 have been priests.But offering a glimmer of hope, both Italy and Spain have seen lower daily rates of new infections this week. The World Health Organization called Italy’s numbers “encouraging signs” but warned it was “still too early to say whether the pandemic is peaking.”A study from Britain’s Imperial College provided a grim prediction, saying 1.8 million people could die worldwide this year even with swift action to halt the virus. With fears mounting of a global recession if not depression, leaders from the Group of 20 major economies held crisis talks by video link Thursday, pledging a “united front” to fight the outbreak — along with an enormous financial injection. “The virus respects no borders,” the leaders said in a statement.”We are injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic.” They also pledged “robust” support for developing nations, where coronavirus could next take hold after ravaging China and then Europe. Record one-day toll in France Alarmed by the rapid spread of the sickness in Italy, France has taken aggressive action to stem the virus and went under lockdown on March 17.But the 365 deaths reported Thursday was its highest in a one-day period and, alarmingly, included a 16-year-old girl — a rare case of a young person succumbing to a virus that has devastated the elderly.”It is very difficult to estimate when the peak will come,” French health official Jerome Salomon said. “People who are ill now were infected before the confinement began.” “Now there is less contact, people are going out less and get infected less. So we hope there will be fewer people getting sick next week and fewer people going to hospital,” he told reporters.With hospitals under severe strain, medical workers in Italy and Spain are making painstaking choices.”If I’ve got five patients and only one bed, I have to choose who gets it,” Sara Chinchilla, a pediatrician at a hospital near Madrid, told AFP.”People are dying who could be saved but there’s no space in intensive care.”In Britain, the National Health Service said London’s hospitals are facing a “continuous tsunami” of seriously ill COVID-19 patients, despite a lockdown imposed this week.And in New York, the virus hotbed in the United States, authorities hope to stem the growth of infections as the city needs to more than double the number of available hospital beds.”Almost any scenario that is realistic will overwhelm the capacity of the current healthcare system,” Governor Andrew Cuomo warned. Topics : The United States on Thursday took the grim title of the country with the most coronavirus infections and reported a record surge in unemployment as world leaders vowed $5 trillion to stave off global economic collapse.More than 500,000 people around the world have now contracted the new coronavirus, overwhelming healthcare systems even in wealthy nations and triggering an avalanche of government-ordered lockdowns that have disrupted life for billions.In the United States, more than 82,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19, edging out Italy, which has reported the most deaths, and China, where the virus was first detected in December in the metropolis of Wuhan. But the unity pledged by the G20 has been in short supply with China and the United States trading barbs over their handling of the coronavirus crisis.And Italy as well as Spain, which has the second-highest death toll, objected to a draft economic plan by the European Union which they saw as too weak.Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte wants a “strong and sufficient” financial response that deploys “innovative financial instruments truly adapted to a war,” his office said.
Topics : As a global coronavirus pandemic spread around the world, landlocked Paraguay did not wait, imposing a strict lockdown in early March, before neighboring countries. The result: the fewest cases in the region.The grains producer with a population of around 7 million people has just 159 confirmed cases and seven deaths. Just three of the infected people are hospitalized, with one in intensive care, health ministry data shows.That compares with over 2,000 cases in Argentina, 10,000 in Peru, almost 8,000 in Chile, and 25,000 in Brazil. Smaller neighbor Uruguay has almost 500 confirmed cases while Bolivia has 354. Luis Alberto Escoto, representative of the World Health Organization in Paraguay, told Reuters the country’s success was due to aggressive social distancing measures.”Their best result can be attributed to adoption of these and the attitude that the population has despite living in a difficult context, of inequality and poverty,” he said.Paraguay’s government shut schools and suspended large events in the second week of March. Shortly later, it closed its borders, airports and ordered a total quarantine of the population with very few exceptions.Police and military watch the streets and shops and have punished more than a thousand people for violating restrictions. The South American nation, however, also has one of the lowest test rates for the virus, with 26.2 tests per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the WHO and Pan American Health Organization. It has shortages of tests and a lack of qualified personnel.It has also had trouble getting ventilators and protective equipment for medical personnel, part of the reason President Mario Abdo extended the quarantine on Monday.Escoto, however, said this was not masking a hidden crisis, while local lawmakers emphasized the country’s health system – though under-funded – was not buckling under the strain.”There is a certain under-reporting that exists. But the absence of mortality or serious cases saturating the system suggests there is not exponential community transmission yet,” said Senator and former Minister of Health Esperanza Martínez.”The fear is that when these measures are lifted without having a rapid test strategy,” she added, “Paraguay may get the sort of peaks that have occurred in other countries.”