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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : letters August 19, 2014

4/30/2013 9:59:00 PM
Letter: Washington operates too much like the mafia


There has been a lot of discussion lately about the trillion dollar deficits we have been running in Washington, DC lately. More and more people are saying that we can easily continue to run these deficits.

There are a couple of things we need to look at: how are these deficits being financed and is there a better way for government to operate.

First, the deficits are financed by selling T-bills and bonds. Some are bought by Americans, some by foreign interests or governments, but a large chunk is "bought" by the Federal Reserve Bank. This is inflationary as they are basically adding to the money supply to put these "assets" on their books. We only have modest inflation (2 percent if you believe the governments figures or 9 percent if you go by the old ways of figuring inflation; see shadowstats.com) as people are still a little reluctant to spend right now in this economy. Eventually inflation will accelerate and we all will be paying this hidden tax as our paychecks and pensions will not keep up.

The second thing we need to look at is government and its programs. We pay a percentage of our earnings to Washington. They have an army of bureaucrats that administer these programs and divide the money. This sounds a little like the mafia. You are forced to give Washington a cut of your money to be allowed to earn money and the ruling elite does very well for themselves. A percentage of that money is allowed to trickle back to us in the form of programs or other spending as they see fit. We have the illusion that we are receiving great benefits, but overall we are not getting a good return on our money.

Isn't it time to let us keep our money ourselves? We need a national defense, but not much else from Washington. State and local governments can handle the rest.

Joseph Gorski

Prescott Valley

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, May 05, 2013
Article comment by: Joseph Gorski

Glad the article/letter inspired some thought on the part of readers. Being limited to about 300 words I could not fully explain my positions. The main point is that we have grown to accept legal force, coercion, and fraud by our Federal Government. This should be illegal for them as it is for the rest of us. Also, government needs to operate on a business model, not the current inefficient model. Finally, we need to end the cozy relationship between banks, drug companies (and others) with Washington.

Posted: Friday, May 03, 2013
Article comment by: GRUNDO You don't have to look that far !

WOW !... Joseph you came to that conclusion all by yourself? Now just roll over, pass wind and go back to sleep. The people here are just D.U.M.... DUM!

Posted: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Hokas Pokas- The federal government does not have the ability to force a bank to make a loan, period. Your assessment of the situation is heavily stilted to blame government and hold businesses blameless because this supports your political ideology.

Posted: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Article comment by: JM S

I do believe the Mafia is more organized and makes profits.

Posted: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Article comment by: Get Real

OBAMA hates this country and HOLDER hates anyone who isn't a minority. Plain and simple.

Posted: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Article comment by: Arch Wood

@Hoka Pocas

Mr. Gorski argued that much of what the federal government does could be turned over to state and local governments. I stand on my argument that in general his position is not well thought out and could easily lead to chaos if someone tried to implement it.

My other point in responding to you is that many corporations cannot be depended on to do the right things without some oversight. I submit as evidence the following:

Culprits in the financial meltdown in no particular order:

AIG, the ratings agencies (S&P, Moody’s, etc.), Wall Street Banks (Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, etc.), mortgage companies such as Countrywide Financial and yes, Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, etc.

Other Examples:

Massey Energy (negligence in its coal mines endangering its miners), Carnival Cruise Lines (inadequate backup systems in some of their new ships), meat packing companies that let fecal and other dangerous matter into their ground products, Enron, Arthur Anderson, WorldCom, Tyco, Price Waterhouse, banks that conspired to fix the Libor, Banks like HSBC that launder money for drug dealers, Banks like Bank of America that illegally robo-signed mortgage documents, etc.

I do not defend incompetent, captured or corrupt government officials.

I am flattered that you think I might not remember when Toyota, Datsun, et al., entered the U.S. car market. Heck, I remember when the Model A Ford was the car to have.

Posted: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Article comment by: What's What!

After 45 years of hard work, I would be a millionaire if it were not for democrats high taxes for useless programs that help lazy fools which are dumber than animals. Even animals work for their food.

Why do democrats hate paying taxes when a republican raises them? That's what they said to Bush.

Why do democrats love high taxes when they come from a democrat President?

Can you say HYPOCRITE!

Posted: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Article comment by: Mr Maverick

We have always run deficits so crying the sky will fall in is ridicules and shows the level on intelligence in these replies. I would think the Yavapai budget deficit would be much more important than to pointing fingers at Washington. Look no farther than your own back yard. I would correct this and state Prescott seems like it is run by the mafia. The enforcers are the Iron Brotherhood.

Posted: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Article comment by: What's What

Obama is a crook!

Posted: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

@ Arch Wood:

You're exactly right on all counts!


Bankers were forced by the U.S. government to make loans to people who could not afford it. These loans were backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, otherwise they would not have been made.

The last beef recall (3/15/13) was because of three consumer complaints RECEIVED BY THE COMPANY, not by some sharp detective work performed by the crack USDA inspectors (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fsis_Recalls/RNR_023_2013/index.asp).

The Japanese airlines voluntarily grounded their 787 airliners last January. The FAA acted later. In fact, the FAA had approved the use of the new type of battery in 2007, which was the source of the problem (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2007-10-11/pdf/E7-19980.pdf).

The responsibility of a car maker is to provide a reliable product at a good price. You're probably too young to remember when Honda, Datsun, and Toyota first entered the U.S. market with tough, well built, reasonably priced and high quality cars. They put the U.S. (and European car makers to shame). I remember when a U.S. made car was considered worn out when it had 60,000 miles on it. Now, 100K+ is routine. Why? Competition, not government. By the way, it is the driver's responsibility to operate, and maintain, a motor vehicle safely, not the manufacturer's.

The people downwind can sue the operators of the coal fired powerplant. Happens all the time, in free countries, that is.

Enron was a scam, like Obama's Presidency. People went to jail for Enron, Obama gets re-elected by people like you!

Finally, I really had a good laugh when you wrote, "The nation was a much simpler and more innocent place 72 (or 82) years ago." Right, Judy Garland and "The Wizard of Oz." How naive. You should learn a little history. A few names of infamy: Al Capone, Vito Genovese, Dutch Schultz, Jack "Legs" Diamond, Charles "Lucky" Luciano, John Dillinger, and Bugsy Siegel. Or how about: Bonnie and Clyde, "Baby Face" Nelson, Ma Barker, and "Pretty Boy" Floyd.

Is government necessary? Absolutely. But, as was originally intended, government must be limited.

Posted: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Article comment by: Arch Wood

@Hokas Pokas

Your confidence that private companies will do the right thing out of self-interest (or even the public interest), without government oversight, is touching.

Of course, Wall Street bankers would never risk their banks (and incidentally the U.S. and world economies) by taking on excessive risk, would they?

And of course meat packing houses would never risk getting fecal matter into their ground products risking their reputations and businesses. Be sure to check the news, though, or you might get some poop in your ground turkey tomorrow.

Detroit has always taken the lead in automobile safety, too—managers of auto companies would never want their products to be unsafe now, would they—people might be hurt, they then wouldn’t buy their cars, lawsuits might follow and their brands might be ruined! But they were forced kicking and screaming to install functional seat belts and air bags despite overwhelming proof that such devices made cars safer.

Then there is the case of coal fired power plants. You know operators of these plants would not want to spew mercury and sulfur into the environment—bad for business. Right! Tell that to the people downwind.

Gullibility is believing that many companies will not risk their survival by bad behavior. For further examples, recall Enron, Arthur Anderson and Worldcom.

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

Arch Wood and Bob Lynne attempt to make a case for the huge, wasteful, government we have.

The FBI, the CIA, the Secret Service and, in fact, the military? Fine. That's is what the government is supposed to do.

The FAA? Airplanes continue to crash. Boeing or Southwest Airlines, don't want their planes to crash anymore than we do. That would be bad for business. Air traffic control systems around the world are developed by private companies. The FAA, with the sequester "cuts," has a larger budget than last year. Because of the economy, people travel less and airlines have cut the number of flights. There is less air traffic to control. This FAA "slow-down" is bogus. The government, in particular the guy in the White House, is not keeping you safe. He is lying to you.

And you guys are just gullible enough to believe him and just about any other government official on his side.

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: Dpwntown Brown

Arch-what does the Kool Aid taste like where you are at-the rates you discuss are net of several items in the basket as they are based on a modified GDP unlike 1931. Also have you factored the impending cost of Obamacare in your equation. Figure that in and the rate will 32.6% by the date you project. You know what they say, Statistics don't lie but all statisticians do.

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: Just Saying

Enough!!!The government gets invades our lives and extorts from us. The government threatens to punish us if we do not submit to its assaults. Is it any wonder civil war is on the horizon?

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: I Beg to Differ

The Mafia operates at a substantial profit - Washington quite the opposite.

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: Lost In Time

Wish I had all the taxes I paid out over the last 40 years. I would have put them to work in a better way than our government.

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: John Smithe

The real truth is, there isn't much difference between the Mafia and our government.

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: Liberal Lunacy

@Bob Lynne-there is a big difference in raising money for the common good and flat out irresponsibility that this administration is showing. Stop blaming and wake up.

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Lynne

Arch Wood makes some good points about how the federal government works and gives us many benefits. Polution control and food safety come to mind as additions. Mr. Gorski would have us go back to the Articles of Confederation, with states deciding everything. That disaster, nearly lost the Revolution due to the inability of the new government to raise enough taxes to clothe and feed Washington's Army. The Constitution was adopted in order to give congress and the executive branch more power...the power to tax equally to raise money for the common good.
Gorski's "keep my money" theme is common among the Tea Party types and the 1%, but is not what the founding fathers had in mind.

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: Arch Wood

82 years ago!!

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: Arch Wood

Tom Steele in his comment below makes the point that the federal government spent 6% of the GDP in 1931 and 24% in 2012/13. 1931 was before measures were taken to try to break the Great Depression, before WWII, the Cold War, Korea and Vietnam, before Social Security and Medicare. In 1931, defense expenditures were miniscule. The nation was a much simpler and more innocent place 72 years ago. Steele’s comparison is nonsense.

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: Arch Wood

Mr. Gorski needs to think a bit more about his division of labor among federal, state and local governments. We have just seen the effects of furloughs of air traffic controllers on flight delays. Would he turn air traffic control over to states? What about the parts of the FAA that certifies the safety of the aircraft to which we entrust our lives? What about the FBI, the Secret Service, the National Weather Service and the Department of Justice?

What about the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services? The Center for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation? What about the EPA? Does Mr. Gorski really believe that the states could work out agreements on pollutants that cross state lines? Would he have just stood by and let the sulfur emissions from the coal fired power plants of the Midwest destroy the forests of the East Coast states?

Or the Transportation Department? Would he let the states individually set safety and efficiency standards for automobiles and finance the interstate Highway System?

Mr. Gorski’s ideas are a prescription for chaos.

He needs to get up to date on the deficit, too. The large deficits of the last few years arose because of the deep recession, the high unemployment rates and the consequent reduction in tax receipts. Moreover, the deficit is currently falling as a percent of GDP at the fastest rate since the end of WWII. By 2015 it is projected to be 3% of GDP, a figure that is judged by most economists to stabilize the debt as a percent of GDP.

As to the Federal Reserve buying federal bonds—who better to buy them? The Fed refunds net interest on the federal bonds it holds to the Treasury!

Finally, comparing the federal government to the Mafia is a bit much. That certainly doesn’t conform to my experience in working in and for the federal government for many years.

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: My intial thought

You insult the mafia but to be fair, people get the government they deserve. We elect a tax and spend large government liberal that hates everything America stands for, we get what we got. It's not rocket science.

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: Gottag Goah

Like the Mafia for sure. Talking about repeating history. And how about holding us for ransome by creating air traffic controller furloughs.

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Article comment by: Philip Tattaglia

Love the analogy, what's your take on how Sheriff Joe is running his family?

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