The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Search Results

Why we need government to attack poverty, too

with one comment

In recessions, when more people need help, most donors have less to give.

Many not-for-profits simply collapse.  Those that remain often move away from long-term indepence-developing programs, crowded by the increase in immediate needs.

Richard Florida, the economic geographer who writes of places, people, and prosperity, described the situation like this:

clipped from www.creativeclass.com
Richard Florida, an American urban studies the...

Image via Wikipedia

I spent this weekend with a friend who’s a retired corporate CEO, has a personal foundation that
supports local and international projects, and is very savvy in business, finance, and nonprofits. He said he’s heard that as many as half of U.S. nonprofits (charities) will go out of business during the current downturn […]

  • Many foundations, having seen their endowments dive with the stock market, are cutting back on large grants. In addition, they’re moving from longer-range capacity-building grants to meeting people’s immediate needs (as one foundation director put it, from philanthropy to charity).
  • Arts organizations are seeing their donations and audiences shrinking. Seasons are being cut back, shows canceled. Some of the weaker players are seeking mergers or takeovers by larger organizations.
  • Safety net organizations like free clinics and food banks are flooded with not only the poor but the formerly middle class.
  • Capital building campaigns are dead in the water.
  • blog it

    I’m no economist, but I see no means to sustain an attack on poverty without resources that are more stable and more broadly shared than voluntary contributions alone could ever be.

    Do you?


    Tags: , , , , , , , Monte Asbury

    Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

    Obama asks GOP for more than ‘Just say no’

    leave a comment »

    President Obama asks those in Congress who object to specific budget proposals to work on “problem solving” rather than “point-scoring,” in yesterday morning’s “Statement on the Budget:”
    clipped from www.dailykos.com
    The answers don’t have to be partisan, and I welcome and encourage proposals and improvements from both Democrats and Republicans in the coming days.

    {{Potd/-- (en)}}
    Image via Wikipedia

    But the one thing I will say is this:  With the magnitude of the challenges we face right now, what we need in Washington are not more political tactics — we need more good ideas.  We don’t need more point-scoring — we need more problem-solving.  So if there are members of Congress who object to specific policies and proposals in this budget, then I ask them to be ready and willing to propose constructive, alternative solutions.  If certain aspects of this budget people don’t think work, provide us some ideas in terms of what you do.  “Just say no” is the right advice to give your teenagers about drugs.  It is not an acceptable response to whatever economic policy is proposed by the other party.

    The American people sent us here to get things done
    Let’s pass a budget that puts this nation on the road to lasting prosperity.
    blog it
    Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

    Written by Monte

    March 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    400 richest Americans’ incomes doubled under Bush tax cuts; economy collapsed

    with 3 comments

    clipped from thinkprogress.org
    Bloomberg reports that, according to recently released IRS data, “the average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a third to 17.2 percent through the first six years of the Bush administration and their average income doubled to $263.3 million.” Much of their income came from capital gains resulting from the Bush tax cuts:
    The drop from 2001’s tax rate of 22.9 percent was due largely to ex-President George W. Bush’s push to cut tax rates on most capital gains to 15 percent in 2003
    Capital gains made up 63 percent of the richest 400 Americans’ adjusted gross income in 2006, or a combined $66.1 billion, according to the data. In all, the 400 wealthiest Americans reported a combined $105.3 billion of adjusted gross income in 2006, the most recent year for which the IRS has data.
    blog it
    Observe the present economy. Like what you see?

    O'Pari Luxury Yacht
    Image by yachtfan via Flickr

    Certainly the tide has risen for the very wealthy: their fortunes have doubled. But has this “rising tide” lifted “all boats?” Has trickle-down affected your income? Can we say that business has been stimulated?

    Perhaps it’s a good time to wonder why tax cuts for the rich did not result in national prosperity as promised.

    Mired on the shore in our jonboats, most of us look on as the yachts head for the open sea.


    Tags: , , , , , Monte Asbury

    Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

    Written by Monte

    January 31, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Pres. Obama’s Inaugural Address

    with 2 comments

    President Obama, perhaps the premiere American orator of our day, could have thrilled the million on the Mall to goose-bumps.  That he chose a different approach suggests to me that he was after something deeper: words of substance rather than words of emotion alone.  Let’s see how they read.

    The Speech
    Image by Kaptain Krispy Kreme via Flickr

    My fellow citizens:

    I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

    I thank President Bush for his service to our nation…

    (APPLAUSE)

    … as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

    Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.

    The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

    So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

    Obama Inauguration
    Image by john w via Flickr

    That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

    Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

    These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.

    Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met. Read the rest of this entry »

    Written by Monte

    January 20, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Why cutting rich folks’ taxes doesn’t stimulate the economy

    with 2 comments

    And what does.

    Another fascinating post comes from the ever-excellent True Conservative.

    Consider: In 2007, only 9% of privately-held U.S. businesses … cited a “shortage of long-term finance” as a constraint on expansion. “Shortage of skilled workers” is No. 1.

    So how do you increase the number of skilled workers? Here’s the story:

    clipped from trueconservative.typepad.com
    Here’s the central tenet of supply-side/trickle-down/voodoo Reaganomics:
    If rich people get (and keep) more money, they will invest it and promote economic growth, so everyone will prosper.
    That would (perhaps) be true if a shortage of investment were an important constraint on businesses […]
    But availability of investment money is the least important constraint […]
    [I]t ranks dead last on the list of business constraints. […]
    A shortage of skilled workers in now the #1 constraint […]

    Constraint 2
    [This is the] economic view so ably explicated by James Livingston, which I summarize and link to here […]
    The fact is that wealthy people can’t find truly productive investments offering sufficient returns, so they turn instead to investments that don’t have anything to do with production or productivity. (Think: MBSes, CDOs, CDSes, etc.)[…]
    Since the greatest constraint on growth is currently a shortage of skilled workers, the best path to prosperity seems to be taxing those unproductive dollars and investing them in the thing that … is prosperity-producing: education.
    Making sure that wealthy people have plenty of money is not the way to produce prosperity. That’s a self-serving myth […]
    blog it

    Provocative, eh?


    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Monte Asbury

    Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

    Written by Monte

    November 21, 2008 at 10:50 pm