Politics and Emotion

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Politics and Emotion

Postby WalkerARCHITECTS » Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:34 pm

We live in a storm of protest and rhetoric. "The right wing is on the attack: slashing public services, eliminating workers' rights, and destroying jobs." We are exhorted to take action. Americans are destroying the rights of American working class people. Their excuse? "America is broke"—and yet big corporations and the wealthy are raking it in, and continue to get tax break after tax break. Something doesn't add up....

America is not broke. The right-wing Tea Party wants to convince us we're broke so that they can push through their radical agenda. Somewhat transparent. There is more than a bit of truth however, government waste is not a right any American can sustain. And well-connected corporations continue to use their political power to shape taxation and legislation that empowers them to evade paying their fair share. Do corporations "dodge" their taxes?

In 2009, after participating in the crashing of the American economy, Bank of America paid $0 in taxes. I have an account with this bank, and we do wonder how they accomplished that, but I seriously must doubt that they broke any laws. GE had a tax bill of $0 in 2010. Was legislation actually drafted to empower certain companies to enjoys special interest tax breaks? Yes exactly that absurd. Did that money stay in this nation or go overseas?

They say "Republicans want to give a $50 billion tax bailout to big oil companies—and at the same time take away food aid to hungry pregnant women and children. Check out the prices at the gas pump! This is immoral and un-American." It is true, that is what they are doing is wrong. Is that fair, rational, somehow improving the standard of living in the best interest of the american people of the nation or does it serve only the interests of a wealthy few?

I hereby propose tax legislation that would create a ten year moratorium on income taxes for all Licensed architects with fewer than 20 employees. Is that ok? Is that fair to the rest of the people in America who also pay taxes?

We are urged to take action by liberal sponsors. "Enough is enough! On Tax Day, April 18, as millions of Americans patriotically pay their taxes, we will call on corporations and millionaires to pay their fair share."

I had one client who was taxed more than 30 million in a single year....under the George Busch administration. High taxes are not something that only happens when a Democrat is in office. Avoiding taxes is good business if you do it legally, as an MBA that is something I help Architect firms do. "At hundreds of events from coast to coast, we'll present tax bills to corporate tax dodgers for the billions of dollars their legions of lobbyists helped them avoid. We'll organize a peaceful, dignified, and powerful day of action to call on corporations to pay their fair share. And we'll demand that our elected leaders make them pay."

The truth is special interest requires money to influence politics so those who have money are getting the special tax breaks by making contributions to elect candidates who want to accelerate a shift of wealth from the middle class to the pockets of a few millionaires who already are wealthy; politics is politics is politics....

Perhaps 35% taxation on the income of one person is not that unreasonable.....hmmm...what do you think?

It's time to demand that everyone pays their fair share. But what is that... what is fair? It is time to rebuild the American Dream. We invite frustrated architects, underwater industry homeowners and builders, and vilified public servants, as well as job-hunting architecture students, unemployed architects who lost their jobs because of their age, and unemployed american veterans—everyone in the architecture building industry facing cuts or cutbacks, a pink slip or a shrinking paycheck—to join in. :) and to join this forum. :)

Terry L. Walker, Architect
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 3:12 am

Postby SDR » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:29 pm

I guess this makes it into the Architecture Forum -- as against the Fireside -- with a single sentence about architecture ?

I'm with you, believe me. For those who claim we're "paying more taxes than ever," IRS records available online show that in the Good Old Days-folks' favorite decade -- the 'fifties -- the tax rates ranged from 20% to 91%, while last year they were 10% to 35%.

Tell that to Grover Norqiuist and the Tea Baggers . . .

millennium club
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Postby csintexas » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:28 am

It will be interesting to see how this debate plays out in 2012 now that the republicans are being a bit more honest about their intentions to dismantle national level social programs.
millennium club
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Protecting wealth, and saving America? Or blame success?

Postby Ed Ziomek » Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:37 pm

Do we blame success and ignore the problem?

As many others and I have indicated on the Forum over the years, there are many improvements that need to be made.

Myself, I have been a business and financial failure all my life, making a little bit of money, losing it for various reasons, rebounding, and losing it again.

All empires come to an end sometime. And what causes it? Greed, pride, envy, laziness, anger, gluttony, and my favorite... LUST!

As you know, these are the biblical 7 deadly sins, which sounds to me that the ancient Greeks and Romans also debated why their government seemed to favor the rich, exactly as we do today.

Human beings are lousy co-operators in the long run. Great ideas get consumed by arrogance... "I've got mine, now I will take yours, and we are too big to fail".

How easy it is to blame a big corporation, which employs 287 thousand people around the world, and someone claims, pays no taxes.

Well, can you also add facts like, how many hundreds of millions that corporation has lost in the last 5 years, in their credit card business?

Can you also add the hundreds of millions or billions it re-invests in itself to keep on top of the technology wave?

How many of the top 100 corporations of 20 years ago, are still on top?

Individual small business owners can also play the re-investment game, plowing profits back into their own business, to promote more business. Correct me if I am wrong on this, but the US Government rewards the flow of money, the re-investment of money, and recognizes losses which cannot be taxable.

At the same time, does anyone blame the 90% of American credit card holders for getting themselves into serious debt, in the last 5 years, and weakening America. There is a financial term for the catastrophic situation, something like the "debt to credit ratio", which is still enormously high and dangerous all across America.

Shifiting gears towards solutions, I propose and suggest, and I will write to the EPA, that what Americans should do is OBVIOUSLY get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, as is being done, then concentrate on the ecological disaster that I believe is looming in the Pacific Ocean waters as the hundred square miles of Tsunami debris heads towards the West Coast. As many super qualified people have warned, this floating garbage concentration could interrupt sea lanes, foul up ship propellers, pollute fishing areas and beaches.

Re-task our Armed forces, especially the Navy and Coast Guard, prepare for the clean up.

This trouble could be opportunity, and this is a moment where both parties, and all persons of Canada, America, Mexico, and Central America, could lobby for a pre-emptive clean-up effort of all this contamination, possibly in floating incinerators using our moth-ball fleets of standby ships.

Can we as a nation come together in this impending disaster situation?

Or do we fight ourselves into failure?
Ed Ziomek
Posts: 795
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stamford, Connecticut

Postby Richard Haut » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:41 pm

Or do we fight ourselves into failure?

Ed, I'm beginning to think that we bring about our own (personal) success and failure - which in reality are up's and down's, rather than successes or failures.

those who a year or two ago were crowing look-at-me-I've-got-a-new-whatever-it-was are now whining because 1) whatever it was isn't new any more and 2) they can't afford another one.

perhaps it is the equating of money with success and happiness. Greed is not a nourishing meal.

"Americans are destroying the rights of American working class people"

American against American. That's bad, very bad - and, in my view as a non-American, it is about as un-American as it gets, isn't it ? And Europe ? Britain has a BNP Mayor in a northern town - far right-wing. The right-wing is growing in many parts of Europe and the view has been expressed that a large number of Brits might vote that way.

being of Jewish origin, I don't find that funny - so I'll let everybody into a little secret: Fascism is, and always was, a loser-creed. Listen to Hitler's speeches. Listen to Goebbels' speeches. Now is your chance. You never had the opportunity. We were cheated. We were betrayed. We were let down. Now is our time. Now is your time. Look at those outsiders/foreigners/Jews/Blacks/Gypsies taking your jobs, your welfare, your food and, most acid of all, your women.

what is the far-right wing about - virtually anywhere ? Spite, resentment, hate. Take that away and what do you have left ? Some years ago Jean-Marie LePen's Front National amazingly came second in a French Presidential election (round one only). This meant, as the number 2, the world had to listen to his policies, meet his main people. They had nothing to say. His "policies" were jokes about immigration - he knew nothing about housing, health, education, the budget.

some of those who got large amounts of money a year or two ago, who had it too easy, will start working to earn their future, but others - possibly too many others - will turn to resentment about why they are not rich any more.

things are tough ? things are close to cruel. Sure we can blame the sleazy bankers, but we can also blame ourselves, the public - society, for allowing the crooks to get their sticky fingers into the money in the first place.

we are all in some way responsible for the trouble - but we all have the chance to help to be part of the solution. OK, so having made such a mess of it, let's make it better. We'll make more mistakes but we just might get some of it right.
Richard Haut
millennium club
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Location: Cuneo, Italy

Love, Family, Sharing, Understanding... Cures hate.

Postby Ed Ziomek » Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:34 pm

Rich, all that you have said, is so amazingly true, I can’t add to the words.

I will tell you what cures hate and spite, photographs!!! Flickr photos, or Panaramio photos, or any of the photography websites that share the human condition, proving we are all the same.

I have collected a whole bunch, especially trying to show examples from what even our own country tried to claim as “evil empires of hate”.

In the end, I present the future, the children, and I love all of them, trying to give them a voice that others, the hate mongers, the war mongers, the extreme elements have tried to take away.

Possibly my most favorite, “Best of the Best”, an absolute world prize winner from US Air Force Tech Sergeant Laura K. Smith….
http://www.flickr.com/photos/isafmedia/ ... 49411@N03/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shirsoore/ ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lfphotos/5 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kerolic/51 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27244079@N ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmboyer/15 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/qqnakamine ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29719263@N ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/derekwin/4 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/afghandown ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kernbeisse ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitommy/ ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pjwoodland ... 49411@N03/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rafoss/430 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexbro69/ ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohbeautifu ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/48399179@N ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ur4chun8/5 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/unhcr/5555 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/amynicoles ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/45763306@N ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/malaz_phot ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pablodamon ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/45447707@N ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jongkyna/5 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kerolic/53 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/48399179@N ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rafoss/322 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lonqueta/5 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/48399179@N ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/48399179@N ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22589152@N ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bart3/4954 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/48399179@N ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/48792861@N ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/isafmedia/ ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/isafmedia/ ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/helhaz/299 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/isafmedia/ ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielgust ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sultan/413 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/or_whateve ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/33830706@N ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9899582@N0 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/simonnarra ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kernbeisse ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fabian-f/3 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/karlerikbr ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sensaos/54 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/abhinavv/5 ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9899582@N0 ... 49411@N03/

Irishy Tribes of China, XinJiang by 62Lofu, Simon Narramore
http://www.flickr.com/photos/simonnarra ... 49411@N03/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/simonnarra ... 0522950493

and sadly, one of my most touching faves…
http://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-trac ... 49411@N03/

...In the best sincerity… is this Barack Obama, probably at age 16…?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hazmanbasi ... 49411@N03/

... is this George Bush Junior's cousin at age 4?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fazlionlin ... 49411@N03/

This is the world, and they are taking over! God Bless them all, love them all.

Fight the hate!!!!
Ed Ziomek
Posts: 795
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stamford, Connecticut

Re: Politics and Emotion

Postby WalkerARCHITECTS » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:23 pm

December 27th 2010 Architectural Record
"For architects, the Great Recession hasn’t really let up since its official start in December 2007. Countless projects are stalled or canceled, including Santiago Calatrava’s Chicago Spire — now a 110-foot-wide void. We investigate what’s in store for architects in the near future and beyond." by C.J. Hughes

Clearly Architects have landed in the soup. Has the situation for Architects changed at all since April of this year?

Can Architects lead the recovery?

Layoffs. Each week the numbers of layoffs grow as architects frantically attempt to curtail the fallout from the current recession, when projects are killed, postponed, or don’t materialize. This is still common.

Few firms want to shed their trusted, well-trained architects, and few firms want to talk about it with the not-so-trusted members of the press. Too many firms are now closed down completely with no end in sight for the recession!

As Andrew Bartle, AIA, puts it (nicely), "if the press sticks to its current role as harbingers of doom, won’t it only exacerbate the problem by keeping clients ultra-nervous?"

Walker Architects is known for private estates, multi-family and mixed use projects and progressive sustainable energy design, as well as market oriented residences. Architects in Seattle agree that sharing information is better than avoidance. “In the 1990s recession,no one discussed layoffs or pay freezes as openly. We are of course writing and talking all the time. The big firms enjoy the expansion of work overseas, and the global flow of money. The small firms are sinking or closing.

For small and midsize firms, any loss of personnel is serious. I am alone here now, my one employee is long gone and I do it all by myself, when there is some bit of work to do. Many of the firms in town once 19 or 20 people are now down to a core skeleton crew of 5. The large firms are affected severely as well, even if the percentages are lower. Robert Buford, AIA, managing partner of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, had to let go an estimated 5 percent of the firm in the past couple of years. This is a problem for Architects it is the most dramatic recession since the 1970s—only more global. So the relevance of the article to the Architecture Forum should be well established.

On Eve of Obama’s Infrastructure Initiative, AIA Policy Document Outlines Six Steps to Create Jobs and Grow Economy. Let us examine and discuss why this was or was not effective. let us speculate on what could have been done and should be done to move the economy. We need to engage the search for solutions, clearly jobs will continue to be held hostage to the political will of a few, we need to work together for our collective survival.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) issued the most comprehensive look yet at the built environment’s role in economic recovery, highlighting six specific policy steps that will generate jobs and help grow the American economy.

The policy document, “The Built Environment’s Role in the Recovery,” is being issued on the eve of President Obama’s major jobs initiative to be unveiled Thursday in a speech before a Joint Session of Congress. The AIA white paper was delivered this week to the White House and to Congressional leadership on both sides of the political aisle. These efforts are significant given that the Senate failed to pass the legislation.

The report notes that the value of construction put in place each year equals between six and nine percent of annual Gross Domestic Product. THAT IS A HUGE PART OF THE DOMESTIC ECONOMY! Each $1 million in new construction spending supports 28.5 full-time, year-round-equivalent jobs, according to a study by George Mason University economist Stephen J. Fuller.

Yet, despite record low interest rates, a financing crunch still persists in this sector, severely limiting job creation.

“We’re putting these recommendations forward now because it’s time for the Administration and Congress to get real about creating an environment in which people are willing to lend and borrow,” said AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA. “When credit flows to worthy projects, it unleashes the job creation potential of the American economy.”

“It’s also important to realize that infrastructure is more than roads and bridges,” Manus said. “The American people need to let their politicians know that the built environment is where the most potential exists to grow the economy.”

Should cutting government spending take precedent over job creation?

The six steps outlined in the policy document are:
1. Support Recovery in Private Lending Markets
In May, the report notes, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that “new [commercial real estate] borrowers have faced tighter credit conditions, due to banks tightening their underwriting standards in response to the downturn…” The trend of tighter credit standards suggests that borrowers who previously were considered creditworthy might not meet banks’ higher standards.

“Without spending a dime,” the AIA policy document states, “the federal government could immensely improve conditions within the construction industry by improving access to credit.”

2.Re-establish the Build America Bonds Program
In the two short years that the program was authorized, state and local governments used Build America Bonds to finance roughly $180 billion new construction projects, preserving tens of thousands of jobs. What’s more, the AIA estimates that at least $45 billion of that amount was used in the construction sector to finance schools, offices, hospitals and other building projects that improve communities.

3. Establish a National Infrastructure Bank
Establishing an Infrastructure Bank is an improvement that should be made immediately. Receipts to the National Highway Trust Fund are falling and an infrastructure bank could leverage private capital to stretch federal dollars further. Two current and similar proposals sponsored by Senator Kerry and Representative DeLauro would provide a source of patient capital for loans or loan guarantees for building energy retrofits, storm-water management, and electric grid improvements, modernizing a broad spectrum of infrastructure and making smart investments in America’s future.

4. Jumpstart Green Construction and Schools
President Obama called for a new Better Buildings Initiative that would reduce energy used in commercial buildings by 20 percent over 10 years. The initiative would be a catalyst for private sector investment in upgrading the efficiency of commercial buildings. In particular, enhancing and expanding the energy efficient tax deduction by turning it into a credit, streamlining the certification process, and making it available to more owners of commercial property, the Better Buildings Initiative would encourage private investment in energy efficient improvements. More investment, in turn, means more jobs. In addition, financing the renovation and retrofit of schools will create jobs, lower school districts’ energy bills and provide better learning environments for students.

5. Pass a Surface Transportation Bill that Maintains Current Levels of Funding
The construction industry understands that transportation drives development. In January 2008, the AIA and the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies released Moving Communities Forward, a study authorized by Congress that shows how well-designed transportation projects can bring multiple enhancements to communities. The legislation that authorizes and guides transportation investment nation-wide expired in September 2009.

6. Repeal the Three Percent Withholding Rule for Government Contracts
Legislation enacted in 2005 requires three percent of all payments to contractors by federal, state and many local agencies contracts be withheld, starting in 2013. This law not only reduces the cash flow for millions of small businesses who perform public work, but it also will cost taxpayers an enormous sum to implement. The Department of Defense estimated that it will have to spend more than $17 billion to implement this requirement. At a time when the governments face severe funding shortfalls and businesses are struggling to make ends meet, the three-percent withholding law needs to be repealed.
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