South Carolina Citizen Journal

November 25, 2008

Congressional Travel

Filed under: Federal, U.S. Congress — NotforHire @ 10:07 am

To those recently outraged by the Detroit automaker’s CEO’s recent travel by private jet to hearings in Washington, I say that what we need to look at is how much congress spends on travel and on housing.

I vaguely remember a news article when Nancy Pelosi first became speaker of the house, about her request for a larger plane so she and her entire staff could fly from coast to coast without refueling. It is time to put a limit on congressional travel and here are some initial recommendations, open for discussion:

ONE round trip first class ticket per senator and congressman per congressional session. If they want to travel their families then they are welcome to pay for it. This goes for congressional staff as well. Staff works in Washington as locals, and can pay for their own travel.

Housing should be limited to five thousand dollars a month, prorated for the time that congress is in session only. Again, congressional staff works in Washington as locals and receives no money for housing.

How much do we spend on each congressional office for staff salaries, travel and housing anyway? I sure would like to see those numbers.

November 22, 2008

Economy

Filed under: Economy, Education, Energy, Environment, Transportation, Water policy — NotforHire @ 5:30 pm

My kitchen is not my dream kitchen, but it certainly is nothing to complain about, most of the modern conveniences being included. My favorite thing in the place is not the food processor, which is used sparingly, or the blender, or even the coffee maker, which I do rely on quite heavily.

My favorite thing in the place is a wooden spoon from my grandmother’s kitchen. It doesn’t just hang on the wall either, I use it almost every time I cook. I love it first because it reminds me of my grandmother, of the times we had in her kitchen, baking or cooking for the family, the holidays, and all the good times.

I love it foremost though for the economy that it represents.

To explain what I mean we must go first to the definition of economy. The way the word is most used now, as defined in Webster’s online dictionary is actually the forth definition of the word, “The structure or conditions of economic life in a country”. The first two definitions of the word are what need to be brought back into common usage:

1. The management of household or private affairs and especially expenses.
2. a: thrifty and efficient use of material resources : frugality in expenditures  ; also : an instance or a means of economizing : saving b: efficient and concise use of nonmaterial resources.

Economy is something we experience in every action that we take in life, whether we are being economical or uneconomical. My grandmother’s wooden spoon that I use, so worn and beloved, is an example of good economy. We used to teach personal economy to our citizens, in our churches and in our schools, but we have gotten away from that. Way away.

It is time, as I think we can all see, for real economy to be dusted off and brought back into use. It won’t be an easy road, but it is a necessary road, and our future depends upon it.

November 10, 2008

Who owns your grocery store?

Filed under: Circle the Wagons, Economy, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 11:03 am

Just so you know where your money goes when you shop for groceries I have compiled the following list:

Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co., corp. offices in North Charleston, SC, privately held, employee owned.

Bi-Lo, corp. offices in Mauldin, SC, privately held LLC.

Harris-Teeter, corp. offices in Matthews, NC, privately held.

Food Lion, corporate offices in Brussels, Belgium, owned by the Delhaize Group.

Publix, corp. offices in Lakeland Florida, publicly traded, employee owned.

Earthfare, corp. offices in Asheville, NC, privately held.

Costco, corporate offices in Issaquah, WA, publicy traded.

WalMart, offices in Bentonville, AK, publicly traded.

Whole Foods Market, Corp. offices in Austin, TX, publicly traded.

Now you know where your money goes when you’re stocking your larder. If I missed a store you shop at in your town please let me know and I will update the list.

Cheers

Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc.

Filed under: Circle the Wagons, Economy, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 9:42 am

A wire blurb in Friday’s Post & Courier caught my attention regarding lower sales and profits from the new Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc.

After having done a little research I found that their corporate headquarters are in Atlanta, making Wendy’s and Arby’s regional chains, and I see the relevance of the wire report.

It would have been nice if this information had been included in the business section report so readers could know that this company is located relatively close to South Carolina and that money spent in these chains will not be traveling too far from our own economic sphere.

When dining out it is good to try to keep your money close to home, first with locally owned restaurants and then with regionally owned establishments. Maintaining and building wealth in our state must be dealt with on all fronts.

November 8, 2008

Budget & Control Board 8% Decision

Filed under: Economy, Sanford, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 10:08 am

Without having done any analysis of my own, I am initially disappointed in the Budget & Control Board’s recent decision not to lower the expected return on investment from 8% to 7.25% as Governor Sanford had advised. I personally would love to see 8% returns on my own investments, but right now it ain’t happening, so I am ready to see how the people managing our state’s investment funds are going to acheive that.

The Governor’s point about the market showing a 5.3% gains over a 100 year period should also not be lost on the public in this matter.

I am also disappointed in the media’s coverage of this decision. The board’s decision was 4 to 1, but in no paper is mentioned who the dissenting votes were cast by. Just to back up a little, the Budget and Control Board is made up of:

1. Governor, Mark Sanford

2. State Treasurer, Converse Chellis

3. Comptroller General, Richard Eckstrom

4. Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Hugh Leatherman

5. Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, Daniel Cooper

I am very interested in what information was driving the decisions of the four people to put the return on our state’s investments at 8%, particularly the Treasurer and the Comptroller, and I’m not sure why in depth statements from these people were not published in the press regarding the issue.

I would also be interested in a statement from the Budget & Control Board’s Director, Frank Fusco regarding the issue if he played any role in the decision.

Again, without having the financial information in front of me, I think that Governor Sanford’s approach was the conservative way to go, and that the board’s decision was a more liberal way of going regarding the management of our state’s funds.

November 7, 2008

University Medical Associates send money, jobs out of state

Filed under: Circle the Wagons, Economy, Health Care, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 9:53 am

After having an altercation with an automobile on my bicycle earlier this summer that required medical attention, I find myself looking at a bill from University Medical Associates, the umbrella group that handles billing for doctors that practice at MUSC.

The statement has me sending my payment to a post office box in Raleigh, NC, which I think is wrong on several different levels. It means that doctors practicing medicine at a publicly funded medical university in South Carolina are using an out of state company to handle their billing, sending jobs and money out of state.

There is no doubt that UMA should be handling their billing with an in state company, keeping the flow of capital in South Carolina banks and employing South Carolina residents rather than outsourcing the business out of state.

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