Spa City government works for the people

first_imgRemember the Edsel car? The best research and the smartest people in the automotive industry developed a new car with everything people said they wanted. However, no one bought an Edsel because it was overpriced and overhyped.The proposed new Saratoga Springs constitution is similar. It has everything that sounds good, but won’t be bought by knowledgeable Saratoga Springs residents who understand we already have a unique city government that works for our unique and wonderful city.Jackie ClarkSaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Keep open mind, but weigh facts on climate

first_imgMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Puccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfect Two similar letters to the editor by Bob Lindinger in The Gazette seem to claim that humans have no responsibility for modern global warming. He argued that such a conclusion is unwarranted because “science is never settled.” It seems that, if we don’t know everything about global climate, we don’t know anything. Well, sure, nothing in science is known with absolute certainty. For example, modern research indicates that fire is a rapid, heat-releasing chemical reaction between fuel and oxygen in air. But that’s not settled. Maybe fire is called into mortal existence by Lucifer or Hephaestus, after we ritually strike a sacred match, or form a specially consecrated spark.Hmm. Where do we draw the line between accepting an idea that is overwhelmingly supported by evidence, or believing any number of ideas that are poorly supported by the evidence, unsupported or down-right crazy? That’s really the choice.The overwhelming weight of evidence shows that modern global warming is happening, caused mostly by burning fossil fuels. Sure, the computer models change a little bit every year, as does the growing pile of data behind them. But the results don’t change much. Modern supercomputer models, early models in the 1970s, and hand calculations done over 100 years ago. All give similar results.Accepting the science behind modern global warming is a matter of evaluating the available evidence. It’s a good idea to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out.Kurt HollocherNiskayunacenter_img Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Ban on opioids won’t solve the problem

first_imgIt’s easy to be momentarily swayed by these soothing pronouncements when, in actuality, these are warning flags of imminent government overreach.Supporters of the Second Amendment recognize this flawed logic because — let’s be clear — the objective of the anti-gun lobby is to ban private ownership of firearms.Put forth as “common sense” (a phrase frequently employed by the condescending intelligentsia), these arguments would never be a reasoned solution to opioid abuse because it is readily apparent that the rights of many legitimate patients would be sacrificed to benefit the few.In both cases and under the justification of saving lives, it matters not what legitimate users want or need. The benefits of legitimate use must be ignored and the offending implement banned — whether it’s a drug or firearm.Tim ConnollySchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Schenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationSchenectady’s Lucas Rodriguez forging his own path in dance, theater, musicFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Schenectady man dies following Cutler Street dirt bike crash Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion The current opioid crisis has drawn significant media attention due to the sheer number of deaths from improper or illegal use.People simply want government to “do something.’ The ensuing political circus stifles rational debate and usually results in damaging overreaction.To wit, one solution is to ban the production, distribution, possession or use of any and all opioids. It’s “common sense” that overdose deaths would drop to nearly zero if opioids were banned.last_img read more

Suddenly, America’s trade deficit isn’t so bad after all

first_imgNothing real will be changing, of course.The same phones will still be sold, and the same intellectual property will be created.But it will look like a huge win for the Donald Trump administration, which pledged to cut trade deficits.A more substantive result concerns the changes in the global economy that took place during the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession. In the mid-2000s, as the U.S. trade deficit ballooned, many economists and commentators alleged that global imbalances were getting out of hand and were setting the country up for disaster.In net terms, U.S. consumers were borrowing from foreign countries in order to consume imports.Many predicted a devastating correction — and at first it seemed like the financial crisis and the Great Recession fulfilled that prophecy. Categories: Editorial, OpinionIt’s possible that more than half of the U.S.’s trade deficit is a mirage — an artifact of corporate shenanigans designed to avoid taxes.Official statistics say that the U.S. trade deficit is about 3 percent of gross domestic product — smaller than in the 2000s, but still historically large.  What does this mean for U.S. policy?First of all, it means the corporate tax cut just passed by Congress could dramatically shrink the reported trade deficit, while not actually changing real economic activity.The bill cuts the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, changing the U.S. from a high-tax country to a moderately taxed nation.A lower tax rate will tend to reduce the incentive for multinationals to engage in the kind of avoidance schemes described above.This effect will be partially canceled out by another feature of the tax reform — the shift from a worldwide corporate tax system to a territorial one, which increases the incentive to use tax havens.But if the effect of lower rates dominates, reported foreign investment income will shrink, and reported exports will rise, as companies report more profit to their U.S. branches and less to their foreign subsidiaries.TRUMP LOOKS GOOD More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes But a recent Goldman Sachs note about tax reform makes the startling claim that the real trade deficit is much smaller — less than 1.5 percent. TRADE DEFICIT DROPPEDIf that’s right, the trade deficit has shrunk by more than half since the early 2000s, and is now considerably smaller than it was in the 1980s.There’s even the possibility that this is a low estimate — drawing on a recent paper by economists Fatih Guvenen, Raymond Mataloni Jr., Dylan Rassier and Kim Ruhl, the Goldman Sachs team speculates that the true trade deficit could be as little as 25 percent of the reported number — i.e., less than 1 percent of GDP.The overstatement is the result of corporate profit-shifting.The U.S. corporate tax is paid based on where a company records its earnings.Consider a hypothetical company called NoahCorp, based in the U.S. but with an affiliate in low-tax Ireland.center_img If NoahCorp Ireland makes a profit, NoahCorp USA doesn’t have to pay taxes until the money gets repatriated to the U.S.In the meantime, that money can be used to make overseas investments, or held offshore until the U.S. grants a tax holiday.Here’s an example adapted from Guvenen et al.’s paper.Suppose that NoahCorp produces the NoahPhone, using research, design and branding done in the U.S., then sells it to people in Japan.Normally, the revenue from that sale would be counted in U.S. exports.But in order to avoid paying corporate tax on the profits from the sale, NoahCorp sells its patents and brands to NoahCorp Ireland for a pittance.It then declares that the profit from the Japanese phone sale actually goes to the Ireland subsidiary, not the U.S. parent company. But the U.S. trade deficit remained stubbornly high. This confounded those who had thought the imbalances were unsustainable.It also seemed to foretell another crisis, since it implied another big adjustment was inevitable.But the findings of the Goldman Sachs team, and of Guvenen et al., show that the imbalances smoothly adjusted — and happened on schedule.It was just covered up by massive tax avoidance.And that probably means that another big global rebalancing, with an attendant financial crisis, isn’t looming.Noah Smith is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University. The parent then doesn’t have to pay U.S. corporate tax. And the phone sale doesn’t get counted in U.S. exports.Of course, at some point, NoahCorp shareholders in the U.S. will want the money from the sale.At that time, NoahCorp Ireland will transfer the money to NoahCorp USA, where it now gets taxed. But now the money is counted as investment income rather than export income, so it doesn’t subtract from the trade deficit.NUMBERS DECEIVINGThe result of all this profit-shifting is that the U.S. trade deficit seems wider than it really is, while U.S. income on foreign investments gets overstated.It looks like the U.S. is really bad at selling things overseas, but very good at choosing its foreign investments.For many years, pundits believed that wise U.S. investing was partially making up for uncompetitive manufacturing — now, it turns out that both of those stories might be different aspects of the same illusion.last_img read more

Work-for-health-care mandate is no answer

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared in The Washington Post: Obamacare tried to fill that gap – and break the link between work and insurance – by opening up a subsidized individual market and by admitting millions of working-age adults to Medicaid.This was progress, both ideologically and substantively.And now the Trump administration proposes to undermine it by allowing states to require non- disabled adults to work for Medicaid benefits heretofore provided based on only income.This is a solution in search of a problem.The majority of the target population already work (60 percent) or live with a worker (79 percent), according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.So even if the official rationale for the new policy — the Department of Health and Human Services says work improves health — is valid, it’s superfluous in most cases.Of those who aren’t working, many have care-giving responsibilities that either they would have to abandon or states would have to accept as the equivalent of work outside the home, after a lot of complex and expensive administrative hassle. In contrast with those of other advanced industrial democracies, especially in Europe, the U.S. system of social insurance and income support distributes benefits based not only on membership in society, but also on work effort, past and present.In the realm of health insurance, this means that instead of adopting universal coverage as a national legal standard, then devising a unitary system to meet that goal, the United States cobbled together programs whose organizing principle, such as it is, is work.A plurality of adults get tax- subsidized insurance through their employers; most retirees get Medicare, paid for out of deductions from their past paychecks.Many others — poor children, people with disabilities — obtain insurance from programs whose premise is that the recipients are neither expected nor able to work, which is itself a work-related criterion.This makes no actuarial sense, because the need for health care and work are not necessarily connected.It created the impediment to worker mobility known as “job lock.”And it created a large and chronic coverage gap for working-age, non- disabled adults who lacked jobs, or whose employers did not provide insurance but paid their employees too little for them to buy it on their own.center_img Eight states have petitions pending for the relevant legal waiver that would allow them to impose work requirements.Of these, five expanded Medicaid through Obamacare, so the necessary effect would be to tighten eligibility for that population, ending coverage for at least some poor people who have it now.(A waiver for Kentucky, also an expansion state, has just been approved.)Of the other states that did not expand Medicaid, the new policy would, in some cases, add to administrative burdens without affecting work incentives for anyone except a relative handful of non-disabled adults.And, of course, people who can’t meet a work requirement will not cease seeking medical care;.They will get it as they used to before Medicaid, by showing up at emergency rooms, where they must be treated, often at higher expense than would have been the case if they had insurance.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Monday, April 22

first_imgI’m more than offended by the liberal church and the number of priests who have preyed upon the vulnerable youths. How sick. How could God allow such an abuse to happen?Luckily for me, as an altar server, I wasn’t confronted.What bothers me is Pope John Paul II knew about the abuse and did nothing. What did the church do? They made him a saint. What hypocrisy. It’s still with us today with Pope Francis. Talk about mortal sin and the grave effects of it. How can they be the moral leaders of our faith?In my Catholic faith, I have a vertical relationship with God.The hierarchy of the church is corrupt all the way to the pope, but I still will be a believer in God and maintain my faith.Dominus vobiscum.Jerry BubniakNorthville Faith is in God, not the Catholic churchI grew up in a strict Roman Catholic home and attended St. Stanislaus School in Amsterdam.In that time frame, I was a faithful altar server from grades 3 through 8. I served so many Masses that even today, the Lord’s Prayer and the proper responsorial phrases are ingrained in my mind.As a teen, I jested with my parents why we went to Mass on Sunday. The response was immediate and non-negotiable. When I married, the same Catholic tenets of the church were instilled in our six children, who have since moved on. I find myself as a Roman Catholic, but not in the same way I was raised. Since St. Clare’s was basically forced out of business by “competing” hospitals, there should have been forethought that the remaining hospitals pick up the pension fund and administer the program for those displaced by the closing.Going forward, the remaining hospitals, in particular Ellis, should pick up responsibility to continue to administer and fund the program, as was promised to the St. Clare’s retirees.Those in the Schenectady area healthcare industry should have a moral obligation to keep St. Clare’s pensioners whole and secure. Lou deAraujoFort Plain Trump stands up for American peopleI’d like to let all you Democrats know Donald Trump won the election fair and square. Mrs. Clinton cost herself the presidency because she was so corrupt and greedy. After two-plus years of a fake orchestrated investigation, even a stacked posse could not pin anything on Trump. Bernie Sanders has the gall to complain about the top 1 percent of wage earners. Yet Bernie, due to the release of his tax returns, has revealed that he is part of the 1 percent.Should Bernie now be considered a greedy capitalist that has preyed on the American people? Of course not.Thankfully in America, Bernie Sanders has had the opportunity to write books and allow citizens of this country to obtain the wherewithal to buy his books from which Sanders derived much of his income.Although Sanders released his tax returns and President Trump has not, I’m comfortable with supporting President Trump because if Trump does release his tax returns, it would be inevitable that the Democrats would launch a needless investigation into Trump’s finances that would bog down our government like they did with attempting to tie Trump’s election victory to Russian collusion.By earning over a half a million dollars last year, Bernie Sanders should refrain from calling the kettle black and perhaps embrace the great capitalistic nature of our society, which promotes ingenuity and affords people the most effective way out of poverty. Mark BrockbankRotterdam Sanders should now celebrate capitalism Green energy will be helpful to economy In Robert Dufresne’s April 16 letter, he claims that The “Green New Deal” to replace fossil fuels and nuclear power with “green energy” is irrational and impossible. He also says “Going green” only works if your “bright idea” is to destroy our economy and capitalism.center_img Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionDiocese, Ellis must support pensionersThank you, Bernard Burns, for your April 14 letter, placing the St. Clare’s pension issues where the burden lies, with Ellis Hospital and the Albany Catholic Diocese. If The Gazette wants its readers to have compassion, please provide some figures as to what these pensioners receive as for their total retirement package, when they retired.What percent was earned per year, how many years did it take to become vested, was healthcare coverage provided, does the pension include survivor benefits for spouses or dependent children, were employees allowed to retire early due to the consolidation? More specifics would be nice to know for the readers of your paper, since this issue has been rightfully taking up space in your newspaper. The Schenectady Police Department deserves kudos.On April 17, I arrived at Howe Elementary School and was greeted by an orderly group of excited children, led by teachers and police, to a squad car.I soon learned that this event had been coordinated with the school and the police department as a way to introduce the children to the responsibilities the police have in protecting and serving its citizens.Doors were opened on the police vehicles for the children to see and feel the interior. Some of the children held back initially, but were soon lost in the enthusiasm of their classmates.The officers visited the classrooms and answered the myriad questions the children had for them. The role of the police dog was talked about and there were even some police dogs on hand for the children to see. High praise for the police department and its officers for developing a positive relationship with the children of Schenectady.Constance ClarkeSchenectady In my opinion, this idea that “going green” will ruin the economy and capitalism doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.First off, the price for renewable energy such as wind and solar is now cheaper than coal for the first time ever. Individuals, businesses and governments are choosing to “go green,” whether it’s for environmental reasons or to save money. A question I have is how can a growing industry which is surpassing the fossil fuel industry in terms of job growth destroy our economy?Simple answer: It can’t. The evidence is in West Virginia, where the state and federal government are trying to bring coal jobs back, but the only thing that it is doing is giving hope to coal miners when the industry is dying. Are those promises just for votes? Coal miners are hardworking people that deserve better. So why can’t we provide renewable energy training where there are more opportunities? The United States was a country of many firsts, a country of leadership in innovation and technology. But are we still that way?The “bright idea” to keep using old ideas of creating energy, not repairing a crumbling infrastructure, or ignoring the need to modernize an outdated grid will be the one to destroy our economy and capitalism. Jacob ReedAmsterdam Kudos for outreach by Schenectady PD Since Trump won the election, a great percentage of the stories written about him have been negative. Obama enjoyed a fawning press that did nothing but support him. Trump calls out a corrupt press for lying about him. I would too.Under Trump, jobs that Obama said were never coming back are coming back. The GDP has averaged double what Obama gave us, after telling us that 1.5 percent growth is the new normal. You liberals always criticize Trump for going after our allies. There are 29 members in NATO. The US pays 22 percent.Even you publicly educated Democrats can see that is wrong. Trump is pushing them to pay more. He’s thinking of the taxpayers over our allies. Good.I don’t like some of the language our president uses, but he’s looking out for us first. He hasn’t divided us by race, age or sexual orientation. He has tried to raise everyone’s position.One more thing, for Mr. Nevin in his March 27 letter: He mentions Trump’s comment about having the support of the military, et al. Don’t forget that the failure Obama said if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.Give up. He’s going to be president for six more years.Dave EdwardsHalfmoonMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Investment: Manchester offices selling out

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West Surrey offices: Safe in Surrey

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Castlemore roars into City with £200m Lion Plaza buy

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Legal merger sparks South Bank search

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img