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Friday, November 2, 2012

Relationship between tax and job creation debunked by CRC

The top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top
of the income distribution. The share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families
increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009

The evidence does not suggest necessarily a relationship between tax policy with
regard to the top tax rates and the size of the economic pie, but there may be a relationship to how
the economic pie is sliced,  according to.Thomas L. Hungerford, Specialist in Public Finance, Congressional Research Center dated September 14, 2012. 

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Romney: a President or a Boss

Do the people want a President or a Boss? That's the question James Lipton, of the Actors Studio, asked after reviewing the Tuesday night presidential debate.

It was clear that President Obama was Presidential, whereas Mitt Romney was his same old arrogant, bossy, and rude self.

Regardless, how one feels about Romney, there is no excuse for disrespecting the President of the United States as Romney did during the second debate.

As Lipton, correctly identified, there were two people in the debate. A President, i.e. Mr. Obama, and a Boss, i.e. Romney.

There is a big difference between a President and a Boss. From the board-room, Romney can bully the employees, demand obedience, deny-health care and equal pay. He can enjoy firing people and sell-out his employees and transfer jobs overseas when it would put more money in his pocket.

A President, on the other-hand, must represent all the people, all the time. While he can replace his political employees, he cannot fire civil servants on a whim, nor can he deny equal pay for equal work. Most importantly, a President must understand that economics is more than a profit and loss sheet, and diplomacy requires an understanding of other cultures, and that we are a nation of mixed races, and cultures how minorities.
A President knows there is a difference between the private sector and the govenment, and knows what those difference are and how to address those difference.  Romney hasn't a clue.

It was inexcusable for Romney to treat the President-of-the-United States, as he were simply a low income worker, of a different race, who dared to disagree with him and his opinions as he did during the Tuesday debate.  

Romney acted the same way, during the first debate, and his behavior is disgraceful. We need a President, not a boss. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Prefer My Dog

Mesquite Nevada Number One Online News Source Mesquite Citizen Journal:

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I Prefer My Dog
Posting Date: 10/15/2012

My dog “Cocoa (pronounced KoKo) is sick and tired of all these robo-calls and negative ads on television. I know that is true because she is constantly barking at the door and wanting to go outside and take a whiff of a sweet smelling plant and rub her ears against a cactus plant.

Dogs have wonderful senses and when something smells or sounds bad they notice immediately. If you haven't noticed they will try any number of new scents to get the bad odor out of their sensitive nostrils and rub their ears with their paws when they are bothered by sounds.

When it comes to political debates people sit in front of the television-set, drinking beer or colas and dipping chips in spicy sauces while waiting for their favorite candidate to make some innocuous point that they perceive as some great accomplishment in a sporting event.
Dogs are genetically designed to manipulate the behavior of their masters. One bark and the master jumps to meet the dog's demands for the benefit of both. Politicians jump to meet their contributors' demands even if it demeans themselves and endangers the general public interest.

However, dogs and politicians are alike in some important ways. Both are animals and both are breed for specific traits. Dog groups are defined by the American Kennel Club (AKA). Politicians are defined by party affiliations.

Both politicians and dogs have genetic characteristics which define how they will look and behave. These traits can be measured and categorized.

Traits, also called heritabilities, can be measured. For dogs, their behaviors include willingness, fighting the lease, hare tracking and obedience .

Those traits are not much different from what we want in politicians. A willingness to follow the majority, avoiding the urge to fight the leash imposed on them by the majority, and obedience to a set of rules and regulations that benefit more than the most wealthy among us. Very few politicians track hares these days. Instead they track money.

If we can genetically engineer dogs, it's time to think about re-engineering our politicians. Until then, I prefer Cocoa.

Berkley vs. Heller (Mike vs. Mike)

Mesquite Nevada Number One Online News Source Mesquite Citizen Journal:

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Mike McGreer's turn

I support Democrat Shelley Berkley because of the positions she takes on issues important to me and my family.

Karl Rove's American Crossroads is paying for ads that distorts Berkley's congressional work in 2008, to safeguard the kidney transplant program at the Las Vegas University Medical Center. The ads are designed to present Berkley as benefiting monetarily from her work in behalf of the kidney program because her husband is a kidney doctor.

It was the Republicans that presented the issue to the House Committee on Ethics in order to use it against her during the 2012 campaign. The Committee has agreed to hear only one issue, i.e. should she have recused herself from supporting the program. The entire Nevada delegation, including Dean Heller, supported the issue. Berkley argues that it was a health issue pure and simple.

Dean Heller, (R) is being attacked for his positions on health care and taxes. Heller voted against the Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012, popularly known as the Buffett Rule, and he voted against the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, calling it "another bank bailout." He opposed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 that created the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act. The Auto Act saved GM and Chrysler. Nevada banks, credit unions and housing authorities received $161.0 million from TARP. They have returned $140.0M plus another $20.6M in dividends, interest and other fees, leaving a net to date of $367.4K In contrast, Berkley voted in favor of both these bills.

Heller opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, and twice (once in the House and once in the Senate) supported Republican Congressman (now Vice Presidential candidate) Paul Ryan's budget plan. He also opposed expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Berkley supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care, the Children's Health Insurance Program and opposes Ryan's budget plan. She also co-sponsored bills improving services for people with autism & their families; co-sponsored establishing a national childhood cancer database; co-sponsored Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act and supported funding women's health needs.

Heller voted against increasing the minimum wage to $7.25 while Berkley voted in its favor.
Berkley voted for restricting employer interference in union organizing, and opposes discriminatory compensation and she signed Paycheck Fairness Act for stronger enforcement against gender-based pay discrimination.

Heller voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, but proposed an alternative called "End Pay Discrimination" which would prevent the government from collecting salary information and disbursing grants to help women better negotiate higher salaries.
Berkley supports the elimination of oil and gas subsidies. Heller supports oil and gas subsidies but is against subsidies for development of renewable energy, economic incentives to purchase fuel efficient vehicles, and Amtrak improvements.

Heller voted against making additional grants to states for the modernization, renovation, or repair of public schools, early learning facilities and charter schools. He opposed an additional $10.2 billion for federal education & HHS projects.

Berkley voted in favor of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. She also voted in favor of reauthorizing the America COMPETES Act in 2010 but voted against College Cost Reduction and Access Act. She voted in favor of $40B for green public schools; additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects; and $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges. 

Berkley adopted the manifesto to offer every parent a choice between charter schools and public. She co-sponsored an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to reduce class size to 18 children in grades 1 to 3. She supported funding for teacher training and other initiatives.

Heller vote against a bill to set federal standards for how schools may restrain students believed at risk of hurting themselves or others.

Heller is against abortion but voted in favor of embryonic stem cell research. Berkley is "pro-choice" and also voted in favor of embryonic stem cell research.

Heller opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants, supports a border fence (at $25 million for each mile along the 2,000 mile border) and opposes the DREAM Act which would grant citizenship for young illegal immigrants if they attend college or serve in the military. He supports ending birthright citizenship. Berkley co-sponsored the More Visas for Families of Lawful Immigrants bill, supports building a border fence along the Mexican border, and supports the DREAM Act.

Heller is opposed to gay marriage and against the Employment Non-discrimination Act that called for prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Berkley supports the right of gay and lesbian individuals to get married. Berkley voted in favor of repealing Don't ask, don't tell.

There is an issue they both agree on and that is the right to bear arms.
In the final analysis, Heller is opposed to virtually everything that improves Nevada's economy and the health of the middle-class, the poor and the disenfranchised yet he wants to spend $50 billion dollars on a border fence that people can tunnel under and pole vault over.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mitt Romney was rude, arrogant, opaque, non-specific and out-of-touch with reality during his performance at the Presidential debate last night. His performance was certainly not Presidential.

President Barack Obama, was polite, commanding, open, specific and in-touch with the problems of Americans during his participation in the debate. He was Presidential.

Those looking for entertainment, instead of substance, may have been disappointed by the presidents approach, but a presidential debate is not entertainment. It is serious business.

Romney proved to the country that he cannot be trusted by pandering to the audience and pretending to be someone he is not.

Democratic strategists will have a field day showing videos of his flip-flops especially those related to health-care, taxation and economics. He was simply trying to make himself appear a caring silk purse instead of a dangerous sows ear.

He spouted the same old Republican nonsense that has brought the country to economic ruin. Tax breaks for the wealthy, vouchers (privatizing) for medical care, obscene amounts of money for the military and devolving important issues to cost strapped states.  

Romneys' rants against the President for the condition of the economy were intended to appeal to those who have forgot their fifth-grade civics. As a reminder, there are three branches of government: the executive, the legislative and the judicial.

The Republicans realized four-years ago that if they stopped the work of the legislative branch the economy would continue to crumble and they could then cast the blame onto the President. But the President doesn't control the legislative and Republicans would rather destroy the economy then see Barack Obama elected again. This is racism in its worst form.

Then there is the Citizens United decision by the radical right in the Supreme Court. That politically inspired decision gave organizations the same status as human beings. This allowed right-wing leaning organizations to shovel massive amounts of dollars into the campaign to support John Birch and Russia born Ayn Rand ideology.

Here is how it will play out. Both sides will turn exerts from the debate into campaign advertising, but the democrats will have the upper-hand since they can show Romney for being the pandering, wealthy ideologue that is already on tape. Vice-President Joe Biden will tear republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan apart during the next debate. The president will be on-the-road point out Romney's many defects and follow-up factual-based criticism n the final two presidential encounters.

Romney may like to fire people, including last-nights moderator - Jim Lehrer - but he cannot fire us all.      

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mesquite council out-of-touch on sports complex issue

From Mike vs. Mike in the Mesquite Nevada Number One Online News Source Mesquite Citizen Journal:

The Mesquite City Council still thinks the proposed indoor complex is a good idea but voted unanimously that it is too expensive for the city to construct at this time. It's not a good idea since it does little to create jobs and increase the flow of money in the community. Those are the two basic elements of any economic redevelopment initiative.

You can't just build anything that comes to mind and think it will stimulate the economy. Both business and government people know that an investment must return a profit that exceeds what would be earned if the money was invested in low risk stocks, bonds or Treasuries.
The idea seems to be that visitors will come to town and spend. The truth is that there is little to spend on except in the casinos. And casinos do not stimulate economic growth for reasons that I have written about Ad nauseam.

For a community, any investment must go beyond business profits. Any investment must stimulate the flow of money in the community. This is done, for example, when a retail business or government purchases wholesale products from another business in the community.
Another example, is the hospital which meets the demands of the retiree community, receives income primarily from Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance premiums and pays high wages for professional personnel who then have disposable income to spend in the community if the community offered high-quality goods or services they desire.

The hospital example highlights a local problem. Simply put, the community lacks anything that people with disposable income wish to purchase. Instead they spend in Las Vegas, St. George, or any number of cities north, south, east and west of the city.

There is one example of a local businessman that deserves mention. He is Matthew John. He, and his wife, are individuals who have taken abandoned restaurants and turned them around. He took over a dead diner and turned it into Peggy Sue's. He took over a closed Mexican restaurant and turned it into Cucina Italiana. John also manages the Redd and Grill rooms at the Oasis golf course. Most restaurants purchase their food supplies locally and, in case of the Cucina Italiana, a lot of money was spent creating a welcoming ambiance.

Don Muse, a local advocate of downtown redevelopment also has the right ideas when it comes to investments. Muse, and others, argue that downtown needs to be redeveloped in a way that advances the cultural heritage of the geographic area. Done correctly this would draw visitors, and small business ventures that increase the flow of money in the community.

The Mayor and City Council should stop spending time, energy and money on pseudo-economics and task the City Manager to develop a marketable master plan for downtown redevelopment based upon advancing the cultural heritage of the community.

Mesquite Nevada Number One Online News Source Mesquite Citizen Journal:

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

(Note: A friend asked why the government failed to take against Nakoula Bessely Nakoula for his hate film “Innocence of Muslims.” We talked about the prevalence of hate speech in the world today and I told her I would give the problem some more thought. Here is the results.

Federal prosecutors should give serious consideration to filing felony hate crime and homicide complaints against Nakoula Bessely Nakoula for his alleged role in the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens, information manager Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

Nakoula's amateurish movie “Innocence of Muslims,” slandered the prophet Muhammad and allegedly triggered protests at several U.S. government buildings in the Middle East, including the embassy in Benghazi where the Americans were killed. Additional charges should be filed for every additional Americans killed as a result of the hate-filled movie.

Hate crimes from, lynchings to cross burnings to vandalism of synagogues and mosques, have a long shameful history in the United States, and with advent of social media, hate filled messages can now spread from continent-to-continent at light-speed.

Nakoula did not directly kill the Americans, but the U.S. law of homicide applies when death results from any act by a person who shows a wanton and willful disregard for the risk to humans. Even if the actual killing was done by terrorists, under cover of the demonstrations, the case could be made that the terrorists were the instruments of Nakoula's disregard for the human risk.

If Nakoula's actions were considered a hate-crime felony and the homicides occurred during the commission of that felony, then the crime falls under the felony murder rule. That rule says that anyone committing a felony may be guilty of murder if someone dies as a result of his acts, regardless his intent (or lack thereof) to kill. It would be an interesting point of law if an American (Nakoula in this case) could instigate a criminal act in the United States that kills Americans in a American property (the Embassy) in another country.

I certainly don't know the answer but the law of murder does cover situations where an act is committed in one state but the victim dies in another. Of course, this is all speculation but the United States government needs to act aggressively to stop people from acting in such a reckless manner.

I am obviously a big advocate of freedom of speech in any media format. But, I also recognize that the right is not absolute in any country and it is commonly limited through libel, slander, copyright violations and incitements to commit a crime. The right to transmit information carries with it special duties and responsibilities including respect for a persons reputation, protection of national security and public health.

I realize that hate speech is used against Americans in foreign countries. One can only hope that authorities in those countries would act legally and responsibly and in a manner consistent with both the protection of speech and a recognition of its limitations.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monthly Jobs Report at Mesquite Citizen Journal

Monthly Jobs Report
Posting Date: 09/14/2012
For this week's Mike versus Mike debate, we asked this question: 
Discuss the monthly jobs report issued Sept. 7, specifically the 96,000 jobs created versus the 384,000 people that gave up looking for a job. You can also work off the previous M v M column in July - here's the link to that column Mike vs Mike - The Real Unemployment Numbers
As always, we welcome your input into the debate. Leave a comment at the end of this article for others to read and ponder.
Also, take a few moments and answer the poll question in the left menu column.
Mesquite Nevada Number One Online News Source Mesquite Citizen Journal:

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Are Political Conventions Still Necessary at Mesquite Citizen Journal

Are Political Conventions Still Necessary
Posting Date: 09/06/2012

For this week's Mike versus Mike debate, we asked this question:
Do the political party conventions still hold real value to individual voters or should they be eliminated?
As always, we welcome your input into the debate. Leave a comment at the end of this article for others to read and ponder.
Also, take a few moments and answer the poll question in the left menu column.
Mesquite Nevada Number One Online News Source Mesquite Citizen Journal:

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Welfare to Work Mesquite Citizen Journal

Welfare to Work
Posting Date: 08/30/2012

For this week's Mike versus Mike debate, we asked this question:
Discuss the 'welfare to work' program that has been tossed around in this year's presidential campaigns.

As always, we welcome your input into the debate. Leave a comment at the end of this article for others to read and ponder.
Also, take a few moments and answer the poll question in the left menu column.
Mesquite Nevada Number One Online News Source Mesquite Citizen Journal:

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Medicare, Medicaid revolt.

Mesquite Nevada Online News Source Mesquite Citizen Journal:

Experience with private sector greed makes it highly likely that people would revolt against a widespread move to transfer Medicaid and Medicare from government administration to private sector profiteering.

Even with Medicaid and Medicare, the United States is the only advanced country that lacks an organized health care system providing universal health care for all members of society.

The Nation's health care, as it currently exists, is more expensive and continually under-performs health care provided in other nations. But this is not, exclusively, the government's fault

Medicaid and Medicare are minimal protections at best. Federally managed Medicare is only available for those age 65 or older or under 65 and have a disability, no matter one's income. The state-federal run Medicaid program is only available for certain low-income groups (children and pregnant women, single parents, people with disabilities, and people 65 and over).
Individuals wishing to have fully adequate care must purchase private sector insurance at an average cost of $15,073 for premium family coverage through an employer. This is a nine percent increase over last year. It would consume 33 percent of income for a family earning the nation's average of $46,326. This makes it unlikely that the average family could afford private sector insurance.

Private sector insurance carriers claim that potential “rules,” under the Affordable Care Act will raise their costs. Of course, advances in medical technology, testing, surgeries and drug research have also increased the cost of health care.

Some ultra-conservatives think that transferring health care to the market place would resolve the problem. Opponents point to profiteering, poor quality, inefficiency, and a range of unethical business practices in the private sector. Circumspect moderates, mainstream republicans, and progressives recognize that it takes both adjustments in the private sector and the government to deliver universal health care.

While government-private sector partnerships are preferred when delivering health care, it's worth considering the quality of government care provided by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to their clients. Once considered the worse of the worse, it was recently awarded the National Committee for Quality Assurance gold seal of approval in all 17 categories.
Currently, the future of government administered health care depends on how the conservative activist majority judges on the Supreme Court rule on the Affordable Care Act. The constitutionality of the Act was brought before the Court by state based Republican Attorney Generals even though a majority of the provisions in the bill were Republican sponsored initiatives under the William Clinton administration.

Depending on how the Court rules, it could mean the elimination of all government provided services, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Veterans medical programs since all these programs have two things in common that the wealthy and the extreme conservatives abhor: government administration and tax based financing.
Far too many Americans depend upon these programs to survive and radical right-wingers want to deny health-care to all those who cannot pay the high costs demanded by private sector insurance companies.

Fortunately, it is the right (and duty) of the people to overthrow a government that acts against their common interests. In the United States this is done through the ballot box.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Economic Non Sequiturs

Mesquite Nevada Online News Source Mesquite Citizen Journal:

Economic Non Sequiturs - MISC
Posting Date: 03/15/2012

Michael McGreer

A three member majority of the Mesquite City council voted Tuesday to spend funds to study the cost of building a multipurpose covered tent near the Mesquite Sports and Event Center site.
Originally called the Mesquite Indoor Sports Complex, officials are now touting the site as a multiple events complex in order to better sell it to the community.
Councilmen Allan Litman and Kraig Hafen voted against the expenditure on pragmatic grounds.
Litman argued against spending money on a design without a comprehensive business plan and the availability of funds. Hafen objected to taking money from other accounts to pay for the project with only assumed benefits.
Councilman George Rapson, arguing for the project, noted that spending money on projects that didn't make profits was a good thing. He pointed to spending on roads as projects that “don't make a dime.”
The Rapson argument was typical of those who fail to understand that government expenditures must only go to projects that have a clear, measurable, social or economic benefit. Roads do make profits for the businesses that depend upon them to move goods and services from point A to B in an efficient and economical way.
Councilman Geno Withelder argued that since his work companions are for the project, he is for the project. Councilman Karl Gustaveson said that they were only voting to spend money to determine the costs of building the complex.
Litman and Hafen, correctly, were not necessarily arguing against the project, they were arguing for a better economic understanding before launching into projects.
Panic is the best way to describe those supporting the complex. They seem to argue the economic non sequitur that: “if we build it, they will come.”
Resident Robert Shively, a proponent of the “build it, they will come school of economics,” offered that opponents were naysayers without merit and made the illogical comparison between the value of sports complexes in Rochester, Minn., to the potential benefit of the same in the local area.
The most flagrant polemic was seemingly directed at Councilman Hafen by Interim City Manager Kurt Sawyer.
Sawyer attempted to argued that taking economic risks was partly responsible for moving the community from the days when diary cattle roamed the area to its present condition. The reference was an obvious slight to the Hafen family dairy business.
Karen Fielding, President of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, argued for the project. Of all the organizations that should understand the need for solid economic planning, it should be the Chamber. Obviously they don't.
Does the City need another indoor event center? Probably not, since one currently exists at the CasaBlanca and there are any number of vacant buildings that could be converted if the need did exist.
This argument is not about the need for economic development. That need is obvious. The argument is about the lack of economic sense applied to decisions made by some of the city councilmen. But this is nothing new.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

The argument over contraception

Mesquite Nevada Online News Source Mesquite Citizen Journal:

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President Barack Obama did not overstepped the First Amendment when he originally proposed that religiously-affiliated organizations pay for contraceptive services.

There is no legal argument available under the contraceptive proposal since the two essential elements of the First Amendment are not in play. Specifically, the proposal does not interfere with 1) the right to establish a religion, nor does it 2) impede the free exercise of religion.

The current proposal requires religious institutions to cover contraception as part of any health care plan offered to their employees. However, they could also offer an opt-out clause if the offering violates their religious sensibilities. In those cases, an insurance company would cover the individual's choice of contraception, at no cost to the individual or the organization.

Further, insurers would likely see cost savings since contraception is far cheaper than the consequences of unprotected sex.

"If a woman's employer is a charity or a hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan, the insurance company — not the hospital, not the charity — will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge," Obama said.

The real issue here is not an individual religious one, since a large proportion of Catholics and others already use contraceptives. The issue is the right of a woman to choose their health care independent of working environments, or due to a lack of funds.

The contraception issue is a continuation of women's continuing efforts to achieve equal, but sometimes different, rights with men. Specifically, this issue highlights the importance of separate health care provisions which are not necessarily covered by the Equal Protection Clause of the constitution.

Unlike race, real differences between the sexes (relating to pregnancy, nursing, life expectancy, etc) do justify different treatment under the law.

To some degree, The Equal Rights Amendment, first proposed in 1923, was proposed to affirm that women and men have equal rights under the law which the Equal Protection Clause has failed to accomplish.

It's important to remember that equal, in the case of women, means their right to make their own health care decisions, taking into account their own unique needs and circumstances.

Some members of Congress have attempted to block the contraceptive proclamation by inventing “right of conscious legislation," whatever that means. The government is not in the business of protecting rights of conscience for individuals or organizations (religious or otherwise).

Indeed, as some have said, the only conscience that matters is that which ensures a woman's option to have affordable contraception in an environment dominated by religious zealots.

In the final analysis, the contraceptive proposal reinforces the drive of the Obama administration to correct the inefficiencies, inequities, and high costs currently existing in the health care environment.

The only constitutional question here is the right of women to be free from the cruel and unusual punishment inflicted upon them by people preaching their own brand of righteousness.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Researchers find partial smoking ban makes economic sense: Nevada Today: University of Nevada, Reno

Researchers find partial smoking ban makes economic sense: Nevada Today: University of Nevada, Reno:

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Shifting the burden of smoking

Shifting the Burden of Smoking
Posting Date: 02/06/2012

Michael McGreer

The Mesquite Mayor and the City Council have been asked to pass an ordinance banning smoking in the casinos, bars and smoke shops. Smoking is already banned in all other public buildings.

Those opposing such an ordinance offer a series of arguments from a violation of a person's right to smoke, to the potential loss of business in local casinos and bars. Under scrutiny, these arguments fall apart.

Certainly people can smoke in the privacy of their own home or outdoors. But there is no constitutional right to smoke. In simple terms, one does not have the right to endanger another's health with first, second, or third hand tobacco smoke.

Further advances in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which took effect in 1992 under George W. Bush, protects both employees and customers, with smoke-related diseases, from discrimination in businesses with fifteen or more employees (Title I). In the very near future this will become a significant factor in ending smoking in bars and casinos.

Smoking-related disease is expensive but businesses that allow smoking shift the cost burden to the public in a practice called “Cost-Shifting.”
Cost-shifting exists when smoke-filled establishments shift the actual health costs of smoking related diseases to the public, who are required to pay more for health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid, than would be otherwise expected.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the cost of caring for people with health problems caused by cigarette smoking, counting all sources of medical payments, was about $96 billion per year.

Dr. Robert M. Shepard, MD, during his recent visit to Mesquite, pointed to studies showing that smoking related heart diseases could be reduced by an average of 20 percent in communities that pass smoke-free ordinances.

Dr. Shepard said it best, “It's such a simple problem to correct. Pass an ordinance and ban smoking."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mesquite Nevada Online News Source Mesquite Citizen Journal

Fear and Loathing in Mesquite
Posting Date: 01/16/2012

Michael McGreer

Putting serious issues in the hands of elected officials is risky business since one never knows where their loyalties lay.

Nonetheless, that is what the Mesquite community organization for a Smoke-Free Mesquite is doing when they ask the Mayor and City Council to pass an ordinance banning smoking in local casinos and bars.

Mesquite is already smoke-free in part. Nevada's Clean Air Act currently protects customers and workers in all indoor public places except casinos, bars and brothels. Now the majority of citizens, 72.9 percent according to a University of Nevada statistical poll, want the city council to protect public health and safety. That means eliminating all indoor smoking.

All kinds of myths and fears surround this issue. Jobs will be lost, the economy will collapse, businesses will lose revenue, smoking is a right, and non-smokers can go elsewhere, and so on.

Such opposition is based upon false perceptions of economic catastrophes, or the rights of smokers over the rights of non-smokers. Only, a few would disagree with the overwhelming evidence that smoking, and second-hand smoke in particular, is a killer.

The American Lung Association (ALA) has compiled a number of research papers and information over the past 20 years that refute the notion that casinos and bars would lose revenue.

The overwhelming evidence shows that people want clean environments and will increase business in such environments. According to a November poll by the ALA, local casinos could see a 33 percent gain in gaming revenue if Mesquite became smoke-free.

Health is the big issue. Local residents are spending more each year on health, in part, because of smoking-related illnesses. Even if one does not smoke, they still pay the increases in insurance costs to cover the hospital costs of those diseased by smoking.

In Mesquite every hundred people are paying higher insurance costs because 15 smokers from that 100 drive the costs up. If these costs were reduced, savings would be spent in the local economy, not to mention the lives saved.

In previous discussions with the Mayor and City Councilmen, some expressed a desire to have the people vote on the issue. That approach simply kicks the issue down to a smaller section of the population that votes and ignores the opinions of the majority of the local population, visitors, the youth, and casino workers.

But most importantly, it reflects an opinion that elected officials can get away with kicking health and safety issues to the voters every time it becomes controversial. That's not what we elected those individuals to do.

Then there was the expression, from at least one councilman, that elected officials should not be telling a business what to do. Individuals are elected, among other things, to pass ordinances and legislation that protect and serve the people. And they are elected to enforce those laws.

Certainly, over-regulation is an issue that must be avoided. It's hard to image an environment in which local politicians have refused to solve an obvious public health problem out of unfounded economic fear spun by misguided and ill-informed smoking advocates who are often backed by the smoking industry.

Certainly the casinos and bars should have help from local government in marketing Mesquite as a clean, non-smoking environment. Therefore, any ordinance should be backed by a full faith marketing effort by the city.

City officials are thinking about outsourcing economic development when real-life economic development is right in front of them. Imagine if Mesquite were the first city to become smoke-free. Health conscious individuals would flock to the area to maintain their quality of life, while business owners could increase their customer base and home owners could see their property values grow.

All this increases tax revenue for the city to further invest in growth strategies. And this begins with a smoke-free ordinance and a well-planned and executed marketing strategy.

That's what the vast majority of the people want.Mesquite Nevada Online News Source Mesquite Citizen Journal:

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