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ECONOMY ISSUE Fall, 2012 1|Page


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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau founder Elizabeth Warren (Public Domain Photo)

Features p. 21 How to Fix the Economy

The founder of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and candidate for the U.S. Senate in MA on how to get America’s economy back on track. By Elizabeth Warren ______________________________________________

p. 28

Don’t Bet on Casinos for Southeastern Massachusetts A casino in the area will not solve our economic problems. By State Senator Dan Wolf ________________________________________

p. 36

The View From Around the World:

The Attleboro Democracy features its first international panel, focusing on different perspectives on the Euro-crisis. p. 38

The View From Germany

By Dr. Birgit Reinemund

p. 41

The View From Belgium

p. 44

By Senator Ludo Sannen

The View From the United Kingdom By John Thurso, MP

(A.D. Cover: Picture of Editor with Wall Street Bull by Alyssa Roban)

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Pledge to Our Readers Although this magazine is edited and put together by Democrats, we aspire that anyone of any political affiliation can read and enjoy the Attleboro Democracy. Contact us at: attleborodemocracy@gmail.com

Leading Off 8 11

Summer in Review Speech of the Season

Attleboro 13

The Economy of innovation Joseph P. Kennedy III

16

the Government spending debate Paul Heroux

23

The economy’s impact on education Victoria Wagner

25

Developing South Attleboro Andrew Meehan

Boston and Beyond 30

Our economy: with government or without? State Rep. Tom Conroy

33

The duties of Treasurer State Treasurer Steven Grossman

46

On the economy and the President Governor Deval Patrick

49

Which side are you on? Shawn Fitzgibbons

51

Who’s fighting for Massachusetts? Lee Harrison

Humor & Satire 53

Special Report: Candidates Spending Millions Interrupting Television Shows

The Politics of Culture 55

“The Dark Knight Rises” and the Redemption of the Rich Andrew Meehan

59

“The Campaign” and USA Elections Paul Heroux

EDITOR’s DEsK 60

One year of Democracy 5|Page


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Leading off. Summer in Review:

Some of the Biggest News from the Last Few Months.

1. Obama and Romney face off.

(Public Domain Photos)

The horse race for the Presidency is on, as President Obama faces former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney as his challenger in the fight for the White House. Polls show a slight Obama lead amongst a slow but sure economic recovery as the nation is also healing from war. This race is sure to be close right down to Election Day. 2. Paul Ryan picked as Republican Vice Presidential nominee.

(Public Domain Photo)

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan was chosen by Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney to be his Vice Presidential running mate on August 11th. The chairman of the Congressional Budget Committee, Ryan is the author of the controversial conservative budget plan, “The Path to Prosperity,” which critics suggest will radically hurt the current Medicare system. Romney’s selection of Ryan seems to help win over the conservative base of the Republican Party.

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3. A War on Women?

(Public Domain Photo)

In the midst of the election season, a so-called “War on Women” is a theme lurking beneath the surface. Sparked by the comments of Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri, Congressman Todd Akin (who spoke of his pro-life beliefs by citing “legitimate rape,” a comment for which he apologized), many are wondering in this campaign year if the rights of women won over the last few decades are under attack.

4. U.S.A. Ambassador to Libya killed.

5. Tensions strained between Israel and the United States.

During an assault on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three embassy staff were killed. An antiIslam movie made in the U.S. allegedly sparked the attack, and has caused protests across the Muslim world.

(Public Domain Photo)

As the threat of the Islamic Republic of Iran potentially acquiring a nuclear weapon looms, the United States and its ally Israel are at odds. Israel, feeling endangered by Iran, has threatened to preemptively attack Iran in October, before the 2012 U.S. Presidential election.

6. The United States thrives at the 2012 Olympics in London. The United States won the most Gold Medals, winning forty-six of them.

7. Curiosity lands on Mars.

8. Neil Armstrong died.

NASA’s rover Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6th and is currently exploring the Red Planet.

The first man to walk on the Moon died on August 25th.

(NASA Photo)

(NASA Photo)

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Speech of the Season The Attleboro Democracy’s motto is: Striving for a Better Public Debate. Those in public affairs that go out of their way to try to promote a better discourse in the country, city, and state, often do so by speeches and rhetoric. The best of these we like to feature here.

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Bill Clinton speaks before the DNC in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Speech of the Season for Summer 2012 : Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, former President Bill Clinton gave a speech endorsing President Obama for re-election, but did so in a way that is in line with the ideals of the Attleboro Democracy in that he spoke of the nation’s leaders need to compromise and cooperate to get things done. Here’s an excerpt from Clinton’s speech.

“And so here’s what I want to say to you, and here’s what I want the people at home to think about. When times are tough and people are frustrated and angry and hurting and uncertain, the politics of constant conflict may be good. But what is good politics does not necessarily work in the real world. What works in the real world is cooperation. What works in the real world is cooperation, business and government, foundations and universities. Ask the mayors who are here. Los Angeles is getting green and Chicago is getting an infrastructure bank because Republicans and Democrats are working together to get it. They didn’t check their brains at the door. They didn’t stop disagreeing, but their purpose was to get something done. Now, why is this true? Why does cooperation work better than constant conflict? Because nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. And every one of us — every one of us and every one of them, we’re compelled to spend our fleeting lives between those two extremes, knowing we’re never going to be right all the time and hoping we’re right more than twice a day.” You can see the full transcript of the speech here, and the full speech on video here.

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The City of Attleboro is excited to

Announce its First Restaurant Week! Enjoy a prix-fixe dinner menu at participating restaurants across the city. Specially selected three-course dinner menus will be offered for $20. Plus, some restaurants are offering twocourse lunch menus for $10.

A unique dining experience which encourages guests to sample offerings from the city’s new

restaurants as well as enjoy the city’s historical gems and long-time local favorites.

No tickets, coupons, or passes are required from customers. Food lovers may simply dine out at as many participating restaurants as they wish during Restaurant Week. Enjoy!

Questions?

Contact

Jay

DiLisio,

City

Councilor

At

Large,

508

838

7328

council@cityofattleboro.us

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or


ATTLEBORO

Content of, for, and by Attleboro.

Sustaining and Growing the Innovation Economy Attleboro, as well as the rest of the new 4th Congressional District, is poised to take advantage of jobs based on advances in science and technology. By Joseph P. Kennedy III Half a century ago, an Attleboro entrepreneur discovered that a common procedure used to give jewelry a durable sheen could be reversed to create the electrical contact needed for electronic test probes. Suddenly, from the roots of this city’s turn-of-

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13 | P a g e


the-century jewelry businesses came an

people have the tools they need to grow our

industry-leading manufacturing process; one

innovation economy outside of Boston and

that is used by companies across the globe

the Route 128 corridor and into areas like

today, including Attleboro’s own Rika

Attleboro, Taunton, and Fall River, which

Denshi America, Inc.

have incredible potential to host new

The people of the 4th District have a tradition of innovation stretching back

outposts of growth. Realizing

that

potential

requires

a

before the Industrial Revolution – from the

combination of public and private efforts – a

jewelry makers of Attleboro, to the first

strategy

mills of the Blackstone Valley, and the

working not as adversaries, but as partners,

textile manufacturers of Fall River. Today,

toward our economic future.

of

business

and

government

a new revolution in training and technology

From Rika Denshi here in Attleboro to

is needed so that innovation defines not just

the Hopkinton-based data storage giant

our past, but also our future.

EMC, global companies have planted roots

Nearly 40 percent of the jobs in our

in the 4th District that the public sector can

state’s $400 billion economy revolve around

nourish. Their success requires access to the

innovation industries like health care,

capital,

biotechnology,

workforce that businesses need to hire and

defense

information,

advanced manufacturing, and information technology. While

overall

employment

infrastructure,

and

educated

grow. On

the

federal

front,

that

means

statewide has fallen by 2.5 percent, the $33

continuing to secure funding for research

billion

and development. Massachusetts receives

biotech

employment

50

sector

has

percent

increased

since

2001.

more grants from the National Institutes of

Wherever new industry jobs arise, small

Health

business

sectors such

Foundation – over $2 billion annually --

as construction, business services and retail

than any state besides California. We also

soon follow.

receive the highest proportion nationally of

growth

in

other

and

the

National

Science

The source of innovation employment

Small Business Innovation Research grants.

across the Commonwealth comes as no

But the growth of NIH funds has not kept

surprise: our citizens, with their history of

pace with inflation. Strong leadership is

ingenuity

are

needed in Washington to expand R&D

powering our state’s great institutions of

accounts, which bring so many benefits to

higher education, our research hospitals,

our national economy and to Massachusetts

and our long history of pioneering products

in particular.

and

hard

work.

They

from the mutual fund to the minicomputer. Our challenge today is to make sure our

Bringing a larger share of those funds to the

4th District

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depends

on

public

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investments

like

the SouthCoast

Life

Science and Technology Park at Fall River, which was funded in part through the $1 billion

Massachusetts

Life

Sciences

Initiative. It also means making permanent the federal R&D tax credit, which helps spur innovation. State and regional efforts are critical in the area of education. According to recent figures,

around

200,000

Massachusetts

workers are unemployed at the same time that over 130,000 jobs go unfilled because they require skills the jobless do not possess.

and education to work in the cities and

demand

towns they grew up in across the 4th District.

information technology training obtainable

Our district is ripe with the ideas and the

through no more than two years of

work ethic to lead the Commonwealth and

community college – a sound investment

the country into a 21st-century economy.

that can pay off with a starting salary of

Our businesses large and small understand

$50,000. We need an aggressive campaign

that innovation is not an abstract goal, but a

to align education and training at local

product of the fundamental values that have

institutions like Bristol Community College

been the lifeblood of this district for

with targeted job opportunities. This would

centuries:

not only drive up employment but also

commitment and pride. Those values above

encourage companies to locate new facilities

all else will build and sustain our economic

Thousands

of

those

jobs

th

in the 4 District to take advantage of the

resourcefulness,

initiative,

future. ď ˇ

concentration of trained talent. Communities like Attleboro, Plainville,

Joseph P. Kennedy III is a candidate for

Mansfield, and Taunton can serve as anchors for an educated, highly skilled

Congress in the new 4th Congressional

workforce – places that are home to not just

District of Massachusetts.

innovation and industry, but community and character. Housing, infrastructure and accessibility are all essential parts of

A copy of this op/ed originally appeared in the

encouraging a new generation to buy

Attleboro Sun-Chronicle.

homes, raise families, and put their talent

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The Government Spending Debate There’s a right way to think about government spending – and a wrong way. By Paul Heroux

The outcome of the debt policies in Greece and Europe have made some politicians in the U.S. backtrack on their position concerning the U.S. economic recovery. Austerity (cutting government spending) did not lead to market confidence and consequently an improved economy; it did the opposite. Cuts made unemployment soar. The Eurozone has an unemployment rate of about 11 percent. Why? They never really got out of the recession like the U.S. did for two main reasons: 1. Europe never used a stimulus as the U.S. and China did. 2. Europe has engaged in severe austerity measures. This flies in the face of some economic ideology.

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16 | P a g e


U.S. House of Representatives Budget

grow. If there is no spending, the economy

Chairman Paul Ryan, and presidential

will contract and GDP will decrease. This is

candidate

very bad. Cutting spending (public or

Mitt

Romney

have

both

backtracked on their economic views. Rep.

private) isn't the solution to a jobs crisis.

Ryan said that we need cuts so that we don't

A national economy is more complicated

have to do the Greek style austerity cuts. I

than a household economy. There are more

don't think Rep. Ryan knows exactly what

than enough examples of how cutting

austerity means; cutting is austerity.

spending in recessions has resulted in

Candidate

Romney

recently took the government

position

even

that

when

people

were

unemployed, goods and services were not

chief

bought, and when goods and services

macroeconomic adviser is Greg Mankiw, a

weren't being bought tax revenues decreased

professor of economics at Harvard and who

further contributing to the debt. Moreover,

also is a new Keynesian.

the GDP also shrunk and this increased the

recovery.

Unfortunately,

hurt

Recently,

our

economic

spending would

cutting

increased unemployment.

Romney's

deficit

hawks

and

debt to GDP ratio. Several Nobel Prize

conservative fiscal ideologues refuse to

winning economists, chiefly Paul Krugman,

accept that their ideas are misplaced in time.

reason that this scenario could have been

We want private sector investment but this

avoided by an opposite policy of temporary

isn't happening right now; the private

government spending.

sector is sitting on $2 trillion in cash reserves.

Consequently, when

spending

decreases, GDP decreases and then so do tax

revenues,

and

the

national

debt

increases.

Government spending... that sounds scary. If done correctly, it's not scary at all. The core issue in economic growth is one of spending. When there is a demand for goods and services, spending occurs; with increased spending a GDP grows. If there is no demand, there is no spending. A steady

Macroeconomics 101

supply of money in people's pockets is One of the main problems with our

necessary for people to act on their spending

national economy is that we are in a

demands. Either the private sector or the

liquidity trap.

public sector can spend. Right now, the

What this means is that even when the Fed lowers interest rates to zero or near

private sector isn't. Conservative economists often like to say

zero, the private sector still doesn't spend.

that

supply

Spending is important for growth. If there is

sometimes when conditions are good;

not enough spending, the economy won't

supply of a new product can (but not must)

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creates

demand.

It

does

17 | P a g e


lead to demand. More importantly, no

this increases the debt (but so do ill timed

spending will occur if there is no money and

tax cuts).

there will be no money if people don't have jobs.

What we saw in Greece was the result of ideological decisions, not sound economic principle. This is going on here in the U.S.,

So, how do we get money into people's

too. Deficit hawks seemingly have a fear of

pockets?

data and reality, or maybe it is a blind In a healthy economy, the government

adherence to a rigid ideology that does not

should spend as little as possible. Too much

accept that the best policy depends on the

or misplaced government spending in a

context. Whatever it is, their cute little

healthy economy can crowd out private

saying that 'you don't decrease debt by

investment, which in turn decreases tax

spending' is just ignorant of how a complex

revenues and misses the opportunity to pay

economy

down public debts.

debt and there is bad debt. Good debt can

works.

There

is

good

In an unhealthy economy, however, by

create jobs, increase spending, increase the

definition the private sector isn't spending

GDP and therefore increase tax revenues

and

which then pays down the debt.

unemployment

is

high.

When

unemployment is high, spending decreases,

If we follow sound economic principle,

businesses contract, people are laid off and

we would expect that more stimulus would

it creates a downward spiral. To keep the

be pumped into the economy. If we follow

sale of goods and services flowing, which

political ideology, we will continue with

keeps our GDP high and people employed,

very slow recovery.

someone or something needs to spend. Therefore, the government is the spender of

A Misdiagnosed Economic Disease

last resort. is

Excessive regulation has been called the

a temporary injunction of money into a

reason the private sector isn't creating jobs,

troubled economy to keep people employed,

but that is a political slogan and it doesn't

to

and

square up with the evidence. A recent

consequently to keep private businesses

survey by small business economists found

afloat. Socialism is something entirely

that regulation wasn't why

different.

weren't investing; it was confidence. The

This

keep

is

not

them

socialism.

buying

This

goods,

The government, as a spender of last resort, is a temporary fix and to be clear, yes,

report stated:

80

percent

businesses of

survey

respondents felt that the current regulatory environment was "good" for American

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18 | P a g e


businesses and the overall economy. Much

investing this, businesses would invest.

to the annoyance of many of his core

However, there is no guarantee that

supporters, Obama's policies have been very

investing

pro-business.

Obama's

argument, is going to give a return on

public

investment. The reason is that there is no

investment "crowds out" private investment.

sufficient demand. Citizens don't have

Uncertainty/supply-side proponents are

enough money to buy goods. They are

missing a major lesson of Macroeconomics

either out of work or their bills are too high,

101: public investment doesn't crowd out

as is the case with students who owe

private investment in the short run; it does

enormous amounts on student loans (I

so in the long run.

personally owe $150,000 in student loan

economic

Opponents

policies

chant

of that

The 'uncertainty/supply-side' narrative is a misdiagnosis of what is really going on and a distraction from what we need to do The

‘uncertainty’

argument

this

money,

a

supply-side

debt). Since the private sector isn't investing because they don't think there will be buyers

is

because unemployment is high, someone

fundamentally a conservative argument

needs

to

step

in

and

decrease

the

because it says that if you supply goods and

unemployment rate, which will put money

services, people will purchase them. This is

in the pockets of consumers. This will then

simplistic and, in this context and current

increase business that investment will

economy, it is just wrong.

produce a return.

Businesses say that uncertainty is holding

In all fairness, does regulation impede

them back because they have bought into

business? It can, but at present it is to a

the Republican narrative on this issue. Both

lesser

of my parents are small business owners

Republicans;

(Attleboro, MA and Plainville, MA) so, in

fundamental

addition to having studied this issue at the

unemployment is.

degree

than it

is

is not

claimed the

economic

core issue

by or --

highest level, I am intimately familiar the

When people have jobs, they will spend

challenges associated with growing a small

their money. When people are spending

business. If either of my parents were in the

their money, businesses can grow. Am I

black, they would either 1) keep that money

arguing for more regulation and more taxes,

as profit, or 2) invest it to grow their

both of which can hinder economic growth

business but only if they thought people would

if done incorrectly? No.

buy their goods. The private sector is sitting on over $2

Closing Thoughts

trillion in cash reserves. If businesses expected that it would make money by

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19 | P a g e


The recent disappointing news about the

rigid ideology. This suggests that there is a

slight bump up in the unemployment rate

strong political argument for their position.

has led to contradictory statements.

Mitch McConnell said that his primary objective is to see to it that Obama is a one-

When the national unemployment rate

term president. So, if the economy gets

was going down, Republicans said it

better, Mitt Romney will lose. If the

was because people are dropping out

economy stays the same or gets worse, Mitt

of the job market.

Romney will win. Could all this misplaced economic

When the unemployment rate went

ideology

be

political?

Only

Republicans and their conscience know. 

up, Republicans say it is because Obama's policies have failed. Paul Heroux is a candidate for State Rep in the

What Republicans are saying is that when

Second Bristol District (Attleboro). Paul is a

unemployment goes up, the unemployment

master's graduate of the London School of

rate is a valid measure, but then when

Economics and a master's graduate of the

unemployment goes down, it is not a valid measure. Ladies and gentlemen, Republicans want to have it both ways. Unfortunately for them, the evidence is not on their side. The whole Republican argument blames the economy on a president's policies

Harvard

School

of

Government.

Paul

has written extensively on macroeconomic policy and is a consultant in private practice on program cost-benefit analyses. Paul can be reached at paulheroux.mpa@gmail.com.

creating uncertainty and completely ignores that

any uncertainty is coming from

un-

employment and consequently a lack of demand. Businesses would have more confidence if they felt that people would buy their goods. When the unemployment rate goes down, businesses will start to have more confidence. When businesses step in and invest, the government can back off and collect the revenues from that investment to pay down initial debt incurred to get us out of this slump or stalemate. Perhaps Republicans understand that the best policy depends on the context and not a

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau founder Elizabeth Warren (Public Domain Photo)

How to Fix the Economy by Elizabeth Warren The founder of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and candidate for the U.S. Senate in MA has one key goal for re-energizing America’s economy – helping out the country’s middle class families.

As I travel all across the Commonwealth, I meet people who have been looking for work for months or even years. I meet young people who played by the rules and invested in their future by going to college, but are now drowning in debt and moving home with their parents because they can't find a job. I meet small business owners who can’t get financing, and are worried about rising costs. These are hard-working people, and they’re up against a hard truth: the system is rigged against them. It’s rigged to work for those who have an army of lobbyists and an army of lawyers – the big oil companies that make billions in profits, while sucking down billions in subsidies; the billionaires that get to pay lower tax rates than their secretaries; the big corporations that get special deals for investing and shipping jobs overseas. As we work to rebuild our economy, we need to create a level playing field so that everyone pays their fair share and everyone has a real shot at success. With a level playing field, we have

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21 | P a g e


real accountability, so there are rules to

any in the world. Well-trained workers give

prevent the big Wall Street banks from

us a powerful competitive advantage in

crashing this economy once again. With a

world markets.

level playing field, we have a tax system

And we need to invest in research and

that isn’t riddled with loopholes designed to

development. Massachusetts is a world

let the wealthiest get breaks while the

leader in the research that produces new

middle class picks up the slack.

products and new industries - and creates

And with a level playing field, we make

the demand for new jobs. Increasing our

the investments in the future that allow us

support for this kind of research helps

to get people back to work immediately –

Massachusetts and helps the country.

and create opportunities for our children and grandchildren to succeed.

We also need to support our small businesses, which are the heart and soul of

In the short term, we need to get people

our economy. Small business owners bust

back to work. Without a job and a

their tails every day, creating jobs and

paycheck, people can't spend money, and

opportunities for the future. We need to

that hurts businesses and depresses the

simplify and streamline regulations so small

economy. There's also plenty of work to do

business owners don't get tied up in red tape

- rebuilding our roads, bridges, and water

or strangled by hidden tricks and traps. And

systems,

we need to simplify the tax code, which is

working

as

teachers'

aides,

weatherizing our homes and offices. But

way too complicated.

just last fall, Scott Brown opposed three jobs

Every small business is different, and

bills in a row that would have made a big

every small business owner faces his or her

difference to people in Massachusetts.

own unique challenges. But by putting the

In the longer term, we need to create the

big banks and big corporations ahead of

conditions for our people to prosper and our

small businesses, Washington makes it

economy to grow. We need to invest in

harder for our small businesses to succeed,

infrastructure

thrive and grow.

-

in

roads,

bridges,

transportation, power, and communications.

Scott Brown and I stand on different

These are the kinds of investments that help

sides. I intend to make clear every day of

create

this campaign that he has taken sides with

an

environment

where

small

businesses can grow and flourish.

Wall Street and the big corporations, and I

We need to invest in education, because

stand with our middle class families and

investments in our people pay the highest

small businesses and will fight to end the

dividends. Good public schools, good

rigged system and create a level playing

public universities, and good technical

field for them in Washington. ď ˇ

training can give us a workforce better than

Elizabeth Warren is running for the United States Senate in Massachusetts.

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Two men walk along a street in the Dominican Republic. (Anna Langova, Public Domain)

Affects the Economy Has on Higher Education Education as a field is being harmed by the worldwide poor economy. By Victoria Wagner Education is not what it used to be and it no longer provides the same opportunities to individuals that it did so many years ago. People’s ability to attend a school or university that adequately matches their intellect has greatly diminished ever since the economic recession began. This issue, though, does not simply apply to the United States; it has become a global issue that needs to promptly be taken care of. Now more than ever students in the United States are discovering that just because they are intelligent enough to attend some of the top universities across the nation does not mean that they will be attending there even once they have been accepted. Instead, one of the largest determinations for students both in the United States and globally of where they will attend

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23 | P a g e


college is determined by their financial

not get to go at all due to their financial

status. No longer can a majority of students

status, and even once they have passed the

imagine themselves attending their “dream

required exams and enrolled it is not

school”—something that was possible just a

guaranteed that they will be given sufficient

few decades ago. Instead students are even

classes to enable them to advance and

beginning to question whether or not they

graduate. A majority of students in los

can

campos in the Dominican Republic, where

attend

state

schools

as

tuition

continually creeps up.

the poorer civilians tend to live, are not

While the economy in the United States

being given the opportunity to advance

is not at its greatest to support students

because of their economic and financial

attending institutions of higher education,

state. It is not something that they

students are still far better off than their

themselves have determined; it has been

peers in many Latin American countries.

predetermined by the governing state the

Recently in the Dominican Republic, the

number of courses they can enroll in and the

cost

“aid” they will receive, mirroring that of the

to

attend

the

public

university

skyrocketed in comparison to what families had been paying previously. Before these

current situation in the United States. Now, because of finances and the

costs rose, families still had difficulties

heightened

paying the tuition due to the their low

education, individuals across the globe are

income levels. Now, in addition to these

not able to attend the institutions that would

heightened costs, university students outside

best equip them to succeed in the world

Santo Domingo, the country’s capital, are

today. Students, regardless of their financial

only being given two or three classes (if

situation, should be allowed the opportunity

they’re lucky) as opposed to the normal six

to enter into studies at universities that

or seven classes that the students within the

match their intellect and ability. One’s

capital are allowed to take. The university

future should not be destroyed because you

system does not determine the number of

couldn’t afford to pay for your present

classes a student can take based on their

education, a basic right for all. 

cost

to

receive

a

higher

intellect, ability, and past performance; rather, it is arbitrary. At first glance, the two systems of higher

.

education appear to be irrelevant; within the

Victoria Wagner is a student at Boston College,

United States, students still have the option

in the Lynch School of Education

to attend a university even if it was not their first choice or their “dream school.” Those in the Dominican Republic, though, may

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24 | P a g e


(Andrew Meehan, Attleboro Democracy)

Developing South Attleboro Central Attleboro gets its economic attention – but so should Southie. By Andrew Meehan

I live in Southie.

blessed to have Route 1 cut through the very

Not South Boston – South Attleboro. For

center of it. If you have ever passed through

those outside the Attleboro area, the

Southie,

distinctions between Attleboros can be

Washington Ave, from St. Theresa’s all the

confusing.

Attleboro

way to the Church of the Good Shepherd, is

municipalities, North Attleborough, a town

every imaginable fast food joint and plenty

north of the city of Attleboro. In Attleboro

of other stores too: Wendy’s. Honey Dew.

itself, there is the neighborhood of South

Burger King. Taco Bell. McDonald’s.

Attleboro, in the southern part of the city,

IHOP.

just mere minutes (in some case seconds)

Mayflaire Plaza, as well as the tinier stores

away from the Rhode Island border. In

on the other end of Washington Ave near

Attleboro as a whole, we often talk of

Lee’s Pond. There’s even two Dunkin

developing the city economically, but in

Donuts a mile away from each other on the

many

same street. And that’s not even half of

There

cases,

we

are

are

two

talking

about

developing downtown (the central area of

you’ll

Deangelo’s.

notice

All

that

the

along

shops

in

what we have here.

Attleboro) and excluding South Attleboro.

South Attleboro, due to its geography

There are legitimate reasons for this, but by

along Route 1, is blessed to have a

doing so, we are often missing out on

developed business area that needs little

developing Southie.

help in attracting potential store owners.

Part of the reason Southie is left out of

However, that doesn’t mean that South

the discussion is that South Attleboro is

Attleboro businesses (many of which are

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25 | P a g e


locally owned places, as opposed to big

and Foxboro from places like Wal Mart, the

chains) couldn’t use fostering. Of course,

Emerald

the other part of the reason South Attleboro

Outlets, and Patriots Place Plaza. In

is ignored vis-à-vis central Attleboro is

contrast, central Attleboro locales are in

because Attleboro has more need in helping

better positions in some respect because

its development. Attleboro’s downtown is

they simply so surrounded by the rest of

currently

a

Attleboro. Something like Jonathan’s Café

renaissance, with new local favorites like

resides close by to Attleboro High School,

Scorpio’s Pizzeria popping up alongside

the Capron Park Zoo, the Attleboro City

classics like Morin’s Diner along North and

Hall, and the Attleboro Train Station.

South Main Street. Much of this has been

(South Attleboro has a train station as well,

noted and praised, especially in light of

but it is all the way on the Attleboro-

efforts

downtown.

Pawtucket border, and the shopping center

However, such praising would not be as

it is adjacent to has nothing quite like the

highlighted in South Attleboro because such

amount of commerce and stores like its

a thing would be common-place – it’s not a

sister on Route 1.)

in

made

the

to

early

stages

develop

of

Square

Mall,

the

Wrentham

surprise for instance, that something like

There are certainly ways to foster a more

IHOP would so recently decide to settle in

locally powerful South Attleboro. Things

South Attleboro on Route 1.

like

The development of central Attleboro is

a

business

organization

devoted

primarily to South Attleboro business needs

completely deserved and worthwhile –

(perhaps

something

nonetheless, there are things we as city can

Chamber of Commerce or like-minded

do to help foster South Attleboro growth

organizations),

even more, especially in light of the recent

sidewalks

uptick in the city’s desire for helping small

Attleboro, given its many side streets, as a

locally owned business.

whole, is well suited for a mass biking

and

or

a

subsidiary

more

biking

of

constructed

paths

(South

Helping so-called “mom and pop” shops

community), and even promotion from the

is no less difficult in South Attleboro along

city for local South Attleboro chains all are

Route 1 than it is in downtown Attleboro –

positive and simple steps.

often, it can surely be harder. In South

Central Attleboro should get its attention

Attleboro, a small business has to complete

from the city. But Southie should not be left

with dozens huge food chains and clothing

out of the discussion. 

stores just within the Southie borders – that’s not even including the squeeze such firms would face from competition down

Andrew Meehan is the Editor of the Attleboro Democracy.

the road in North Attleboro and Wrentham

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26 | P a g e


27 | P a g e


DOn’t Bet on Casinos for Southeastern Massachusetts A casino will not solve our economic problems. By State Senator Dan Wolf As plans move forward for gambling in Taunton, my strong hope is that no one will confuse building a casino with rebuilding a vibrant economy in Southeastern Massachusetts. There’s so much more we can and should do: - Invest in infrastructure to create good jobs and long-term benefit. - Invest in education to create a workforce ready for tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities. -Invest in alternative energy, green renovation and construction, adding jobs that build healthier communities and get us away from oil dependence.

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28 | P a g e


In short, invest now for tomorrow, rather

over, experience has shown that gambling

than borrow from tomorrow to mask

raises revenue in no fair proportion to

today’s problems.

income, from those who can least afford it.

Casinos do not make those investments. Yes,

there

will

be

good

And much of that funding goes right back to

short-term

those who gambled it in, in the form of

construction jobs, a quick fix for some. But

human services and social programs as lives

the longer-term jobs in casinos generally are

crumble.

low wage, with little opportunity to climb the economic ladder.

So while we celebrate whatever help casinos offer to state programs that truly

Even assuming that the Wampanoag tribe is successful in its federal application to

need it, no conversation about gambling can be complete, or honest, without saying this:

move forward, the real money made in

Wealth in our state and nation has

casinos does not go to people who work in

concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, at

the

host

the top of the economic pyramid, in the last

communities . It goes to those who own and

30 years. But our tax code has not adapted.

invest in these operations, corporate backers

We need to accept that truth, and adjust

whose profits don’t circulate back through

taxes to reflect our economy’s top-heavy

our communities.

nature.

halls

and

hallways,

or

to

That’s not a reality I celebrate, and that’s not how to grow a grassroots economy.

Casinos

do

nothing

to

help

accomplish that. Our communities have always been

One visit to Atlantic City, strolling one

about education, innovation, health care,

block off their famous boardwalk into tough

financial

streets and bad neighborhoods, makes the

entrepreneurs. Our focus should remain on

case for not counting on casinos for our

economic growth that lifts our spirits,

economic future. So does a comparison

celebrates our creativity, builds and rebuilds

with Nevada, where gambling dominates

our

the economy: Nevada’s unemployment rate

Commonwealth

remains at 12 percent as of mid-August

And our revenue policies should reflect how

reporting, the worst in the nation, while

our wealth has consolidated.

th

ours is closer to 6 percent, 12 best in the

services,

infrastructure,

and

creative

strengthens

our

– making us all proud.

That, not black or red on the roulette wheel, is the prize for our eyes. 

nation. There’s the promise of more state revenue

for

important

programs

in

education, transportation, and elsewhere, as

Dan Wolf is the State Senator for the

casino operators pay handsomely for the

Cape and Islands.

right to become “the house.” Yet over and

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29 | P a g e


Our Economy: With Government or Without? In order to have a healthy economy, do you need government? By State Rep. Tom Conroy Mitt Romney's disparagement of

lowering taxes for their rich friends boosts

47% of Americans as "dependent on

the

government,� implying that half of all

deficits. There are several problems with

Americans are lazy, is another clear

this philosophy.

economy

and

lowers

government

demonstration that two disparate views of

First, the theory has never worked in

the American economy dominate our public

practice, having been implemented twice in

policy

believe

the past thirty years (under Reagan and

government "is the problem" to quote

Bush the younger). No causal link between

Ronald Reagan, and should get out of the

the tax cuts and U.S. GDP growth has been

way;

proven,

debate:

while

Republicans

Democrats

believe

that

and

instead

of

shrinking

government should partner with the private

government, recent Republican presidents

sector to create new jobs and preserve

have

American competitiveness. Who is right?

(significantly in defense) and deficits. And

expanded

both

government

The GOP believes in laissez-faire, supply

the larger national debt burden they caused

side, trickle-down economics. Right-wingers

has created uncertainty in the private sector,

like Romney and Scott Brown theorize that

slowing investment and job creation.

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30 | P a g e


Second, the theory makes little sense for

industry in that country with over $100

the vast majority of Americans: the working

billion over the past several years. The

class. Tax cuts on the rich and trickle-down

Chinese government subsidizes essentially

economics makes the rich richer, further

all of its industries, which are taking jobs

widening the already cavernous income

from Americans every day. To compete

disparity between the rich and average

effectively in a global marketplace of the

workers.

been

21st century, we need to get off our chest-

burdened with shrinking job opportunities,

thumping, ideological high horse and fight

flat real wages for the past forty years,

back.

The

middle

class

has

higher health care costs, and unaffordable

As an alternative, Democrats believe that

college tuitions. Why make it tougher on

government can be smart, and should

us?

partner with the private sector in three areas

Third, supply side economics has been

where a completely laissez-faire approach

discredited by former proponents, including

undermines

our

private

President Reagan's budget director, David

competitiveness

Stockman, and two of President Bush's

infrastructure, clean energy, and advanced

economic advisors. Yet Romney and Brown

manufacturing.

across

sector

the

globe:

cling to it because it sounds good: they get

By investing government resources in

to make their rich friends richer while

rebuilding our infrastructure, jobs will be

claiming (fraudulently) that they will solve

created in engineering, construction, and

the deficit problem by doing so.

manufacturing that will, in part, make up

Republicans seem blind to the realities of

for lost jobs in other sectors. Further, these

what the rest of the developing world has

investments will provide a solid foundation

been doing to compete effectively against

for efficient and effective commerce, aid

what once was the most dominant economy

private

in the world. The European Union has been

investment, and support local businesses. By

subsidizing

aircraft

having the best roads, rails, bridges, and

manufacturer, EADS, for the past thirty

buildings in the world, we can force U.S.

years, stealing thousands of jobs from

businesses to think twice about outsourcing

Boeing

jobs overseas.

its

commercial

and

other

manufacturers.

Earlier

US

spurring

private

By investing in clean energy, the United

Brazilian government announced a $38

States can diversify our energy supply,

billion subsidy of its $48 billion ethanol

stimulate the economy with new jobs,

industry, which competes directly with

enhance

American

German

contribute to a cleaner environment. Wind,

government has infused the solar energy

solar, hydro, and biomass power can be

The

year,

by

the

agriculture.

this

airplane

industry

our

Go to Table of Contents

national

security,

and

31 | P a g e


cornerstones of American produced energy

-- Relaxed regulatory oversight and

that is sustainable and affordable. Our

compliance requirements for SMEs with

challenge

track records of compliance.

energy

involves

making

design,

renewable

management,

and

Innovation

and

manufacturing

are

production a top priority for government

inherently linked, and surrendering our

investment until the output pricing is

manufacturing base to other countries

competitive with other forms of energy. At

imperils our ability to maintain our creative

that stage, capital from private industry can

competitive advantage. Government can,

begin to replace government investment.

and should, foster synergies between our

Many U.S. based small and medium

high tech industry and manufacturing to

enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing

ensure that the United States remains on the

industry

competitive

cutting edge of innovation. It's easy to

challenges: they lack access to capital; their

propose fairyland feel-good schemes like

workforce is aging; and they need reliable

cutting taxes when you're trying to win an

R&D tax credits and a balanced regulatory

election and you care much less about

environment.

in

actually governing. It takes courage to see

partnership with SMEs, can address each of

the reality of our situation, speak truth to

these

the people, offer prudent leadership to

face

significant

Our

challenges

government, by

making

direct

investments in the following areas: --

Direct

investment

in

weather the economic storm we're in, and

subsidized

financing, accounting, legal, and insurance,

make the tough decisions that will lead to a brighter future. ď ˇ

and discounted back office solutions for joint ventures between high tech and manufacturing

firms

to

develop

new

Tom Conroy, a Democrat, is state representative from Wayland for Massachusetts'

products;

13th Middlesex District.

-- Direct investment in municipalities and state governments to transform fallow sites and former manufacturing buildings into "high

tech

manufacturing

ready"

and

"shovel ready" sites for small and medium enterprise (SME) manufacturers; -- Workforce development and training and funding for community colleges to enlarge the skilled labor base for advanced manufacturing;

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32 | P a g e


THE Duty OF TREASURER The goals and responsibilities of Massachusetts’ state Treasurer. By State Treasurer Steven Grossman “I feel a profound sense of urgency about the responsibilities I have accepted as Treasurer. We face daunting challenges… but I know we can meet them. The stakes are too high for the people of the Commonwealth to settle for anything less.” Treasurer Steven Grossman — Swearing-In Address, January 19, 2011

Since the beginning of my term, I laid out a clear vision to improve the operations and efficiencies at the Treasury. Our office created a Treasury Scorecard which provides a retrospective look at what we accomplished during our two years in office while outlining our ongoing commitment to protect the taxpayer's money, enhancing government transparency, and helping the economy by creating jobs and boosting small businesses. You can review the scorecard online at: www.mass.gov/treasury.

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33 | P a g e


“We are fervently committed to using the full potential of the Treasurer’s Office to protect the public’s money...” I believe that, first and foremost, the job of the Treasury is to protect the taxpayer’s hard-earned money –

your

money.

Strong

fiscal

stewardship is enhanced through a series

of

initiatives

we

have

advocated and implemented during our administration. Among them

The Small Business Banking Partnership (SBBP) program invests state deposits into Massachusetts community banks with the understanding that these institutions will use the money to make new loans to small creditworthy Massachusetts businesses. Source: Mass.gov/treasury

include more competitive bidding, pension reform, achieving a higher bond rating for Massachusetts, and a new customer-oriented focus for

Our initiatives have included the Small

the Unclaimed Property Division which has

Business

returned $93M in unclaimed assets to the

program which invests state deposits into

citizens of the Commonwealth during the

Massachusetts community banks with the

last fiscal year.

understanding that these institutions will

Banking

Partnership

(SBBP)

use the money to make new loans to small “Create jobs by moving money from the

credit-worthy

biggest banks in America that have failed

The funds used for the program are reserves

to provide adequate capital to small

that previously were held by financial

businesses into small banks, local banks,

institutions outside of Massachusetts, and in

regional banks and community banks that

many cases, outside of the United States.

are helping creditworthy small businesses

Boiled down, we put Massachusetts money

finance their growth.”

back into Massachusetts banks to help

As Massachusetts recovers from the

Massachusetts

businesses.

create Massachusetts jobs. Banks are encouraged to focus on loans

economic downturn, I work every day to ensure that we continue to create and retain

to

jobs here at home. As a former CEO of a

businesses,

fourth-generation

small

Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities and the

business, I’m fully committed to using my

neighborhoods of Boston. So far, 50 banks

role to promote small businesses, which is a

have signed on to the Small Business

principal engine of our economic growth.

Banking Partnership, and nearly $300

family-owned

women-owned

Go to Table of Contents

and

particularly

minority-owned in

the

34 | P a g e


million

has

been

deposited

in

these

government spending information. You can

institutions. The banks have given out over

search details of state spending, see payroll

2500 loans.

and pension information, identify vendor payments, and explore tax credits.

“Today, public confidence in government

Responsible fiscal stewardship, proactive

is low. Our fellow citizens have serious

measures to boost the economy, and an

doubts

to

open

to

government has been hallmarks of my first

accountability. If we are to restore public

two years in office. We remain committed

confidence, we must dedicate ourselves to

to using the full potential of the office to

serving the public to the best of our ability

build on past accomplishments and to create

and

further successes for the taxpaying public in

about

excellence,

with

our to

the

commitment transparency,

highest

standards

of

and

transparent

approach

to

the years ahead.

integrity.” An open and transparent government not

“It

is

an

honor

to

serve

this

only gives you an opportunity to better

Commonwealth, and I hope to do so by

understand how the public sector operates,

listening to the needs of its people and by

but it also gives you increased confidence in

responding

government overall. Elected officials work

compassion, good judgment, and a sense

for the public, not the other way around.

of humor. I ask each of you to be my

You have the right to understand how

partner, to be our partners in serving the

government

people of Massachusetts.”

is

operating,

what

your

government is spending, and how your government is protecting your interests.

with

vision,

creativity,

 Steven Grossman is the State Treasurer of

Integrity, accountability, and transparency

Massachusetts.

are more than just words – they are the standards to which every public official should be held. One of the first initiatives I undertook,

in

partnership

with

the

Executive Office for Administration & Finance and the Office of the Comptroller, has been to create the Open Checkbook Project.

The

Open

Checkbook

(www.mass.gov/opencheckbook) is meant to be a window into state government and to provide the public with access to state

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35 | P a g e


THE view from Europe is in the midst of a financial crisis. To

many Americans, what might be going on across the Atlantic might be a puzzle. Not to worry. The Attleboro Democracy has assembled a small panel of international commentary

from the economic legislative leaders of Europe to explain their perspectives, and the situations of their respective countries to help explain what’s going on around the world. 36 | P a g e


Around The world. GERMANY One of the center-pieces of the Eurozone, Germany is thriving economically, but feels unwanted to pressure to bailout out other Euro-zone members. By Dr. Birgit Reinemund, MdB

Belgium A “small and open economy,” Belgium faces the need for the Euro-zone crisis to be resolved by the members working together. By Senator Ludo Sannen

United kingdom The UK has been hard hit by the global financial crisis, and although like many countries it’s not a Euro-zone member, it too needs to see Euro recovery in order to grow.

By John Thurso, MP 37 | P a g e


GERMANY Germany’s economy is sound and is defying the European debt crisis. By Dr. Birgit Reinemund, MdB The German economy has overcome the financial and economic debt crisis of 2008/2009 far faster than anyone had dared to hope. In 2011, Germany registered real per capita GDP growth of about 3%, which was well above the EU average of 1.3% and the Eurozone average of 1.2%. Besides Germany’s traditionally strong export performance, domestic consumption has also developed into a solid pillar of the national economy. Thanks

to

record

tax

revenue

and

the

lowest

Go to Table of Contents

unemployment

figures

for

38 | P a g e


decades, we seem set to undercut the

crisis in individual Member States of the

structural deficit ceiling of 0.35%, the ‘debt

common currency area as a sovereign debt

brake’ enshrined in the German Constitution,

crisis, we cannot fail to conclude that similar

as early as 2013, which will enable us to meet

reform efforts are needed in the troubled

the criteria of the Fiscal Compact as well. It

countries to make them more competitive. If

was only a few years ago that Germany was

we regard it as a crisis of confidence among

the ‘sick man of Europe’, but now we are the

operators in the financial markets, we must

economic engine of Europe.

display the will to consolidate and give proof

But how did this come about? On the basis of its Agenda 2010, Germany has made

of

Europe’s

political

and

economic

capabilities.

strenuous reform efforts over the past ten

Reforming the labour market and the

years to make its social-security system more

welfare state in order to make individual

effective and its labour market more flexible.

national

These reforms have been trenchant and, for

generating

many people, painful; there have been fierce

systematically reducing sovereign debt in the

political altercations, such as those over the

various Member States are two sides of the

increase in the retirement age to 67. The

same coin. They are lengthy and politically

reforms, however, were necessary and laid the

difficult processes with painful effects on

foundations for the subsequent economic

people’s lives. Yet without these measures it

upturn

in

practising

competitive,

economic

thereby

growth,

and

With

employees

would be impossible to maintain confidence

moderation,

employers’

in the Eurozone and to restore its strength.

Germany. wage

economies

labour costs have remained reasonable in

The Community is called upon to practise

recent years, and companies have remained

solidarity with the countries in crisis, and it

competitive. This is one significant factor in

has been doing so for almost three years

Germany’s emergence from the global crisis

through crisis management, always linked to

with a stronger economy.

contractually prescribed conditions entailing

If we regard the current so-called euro

RANK

COUNTRY

the pursuit of consolidation.

EXPORTS

DATE OF INFORMATION

1

China

$ 1,904,000,000,000

2011 est.

2

European Union

$ 1,791,000,000,000

2010 est.

3

United States

$ 1,497,000,000,000

2011 est.

4

Germany

$ 1,408,000,000,000

2011 est.

5

Japan

$ 788,000,000,000

2011 est.

(Source: CIA World Factbook)

Go to Table of Contents

39 | P a g e


major decisions. This is what

the

European

Treaties stipulate. This is what makes the process of change so interminably arduous. Nevertheless, it is worth all the trouble to shape our common future in a strong Europe, acting together as a league of sovereign states, each of which is responsible for its own national budget. I believe it would be wrong to pool Europe’s debts. Lincoln

As

Abraham

said,

“You

cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the As Europe’s largest economy, Germany undoubtedly bears great responsibility in several respects, namely responsibility for averting harm to our citizens and their savings, responsibility for safeguarding the stability of monetary union and of Europe and responsibility for initiating closer integration of the economies and the financial policies of the 17 Eurozone countries and of the 27 sovereign Member States. The impatience and occasional incomprehension shown by our

strong.” Debt-funded

growth

and

recovery

programmes only exacerbate the underlying problem

of

excessive

sovereign

debt.

Reducing debts and boosting growth and employment through structural reforms in the medium term and emergency aid for countries in difficulty in the short term will overcome the crisis and restore public and market confidence in the euro.

non-European friends and partners in the course of this crisis with regard to the apparent procedural complexity in Europe is understandable. Yet it must be remembered that there is no European government to

Dr. Birgit Reinemund is the Chairwoman of the Finance Committee of

make quick decisions. All negotiations in the European

framework

are

the German Bundestag.

negotiations

involving sovereign states which have equal voting rights and must reach a consensus on

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40 | P a g e


BELGIUM Belgium seeks crisis to solve the Euro-crisis through cooperation of all the member states. Hard as that may be, it can get Europe back on track. By Senator Ludo Sannen Belgium has been hit hard by the global crisis: the fall in world trade has a strong impact on the small, open economy. Belgian exports are mainly oriented towards other euro-area countries, whose import growth has been considerably lower than world trade growth in recent years, and they show a specialization in mediumtechnology goods that are easy to imitate, such as chemicals and steel. The Belgian economy therefore depends for a great deal on economic circumstances in other European countries and thus on fiscal and monetary policy within the Eurozone. Unilateral fiscal expansion is ineffective: the demand effect mostly presents itself externally.

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41 | P a g e


As a small, open economy, increasingly

it perceives a threat to the integrity of the

interdependent with neighbouring Dutch

Eurozone. As economist Paul de Grauwe

and German economies, Belgium greatly

has forcibly argued these past years: when a

benefits from the common currency. For this

central bank announces its willingness to do

reason, the welfare of the Belgian economy

what's necessary to protect the financial

is entirely dependent upon a healthy

stability of its currency, speculators will not

common currency and a strong European

be tempted to speculate on a sovereign debt;

economy. It can be argued that an exit from

they know the central bank's firepower is

the long-term financial and resulting fiscal

unlimited, unlike the funds (the European

crisis that plague the Eurozone are a conditio

Financial

sine qua non for the survival and continued

European Stability Mechanism) that were

thriving of the Belgian economy. Therefore

created by the sovereigns beforehand. The

this piece will roughly outline the necessary

expanded ECB-mandate is however only a

modifications of the Eurozone policy path

crisis resolution mechanism. Long-term

and institutional make-up.

sovereign

In brief, these can be summed up in three

Stability

solvency

existence of

Facility

and

the

and

the

continued

the currency depend on

points: Firstly, monetary union must be

common

completed: the European Central Bank

coordination, which is ensured by the “six

(ECB) must take up the role of lender-of-last

pack”-reforms, the implementation of the

resort. Secondly, political union must be

European Semester and the European Fiscal

strengthened in order to control and

Pact.

coordinate

without political union, which entails, but is

economic

and

budgetary

policies. Last, but certainly not least, the

fiscal

Monetary

supervision

union

cannot

and

survive

not limited to, budgetary oversight.

ever-increasing

Last, but most importantly for the

austerity measures forced upon periphery

political future of the European Union, the

countries,

of

current policy path needs to be reversed.

economic expanssion materializing, must be

Pursuing the current policy path, the burden

stopped.

of adjustment falls squarely on periphery

current

policy path without

of any

prospect

Every month, (excessively) incremental

member states (Greece, Portugal, Ireland,

steps towards the first two policy goals are

Spain), who can only bring their unit labour

being taken. Mario Draghi's announcement

costs in line through internal devaluation

of

Operations”

and are forced to lower their trade deficits

programme is an important achievement:

mainly through lowering imports. The point

on September 6th the ECB announced its

is not that this cannot to a certain extent be

willingness to buy unlimited amounts of

effective, but that the cost is unbearable to

sovereign bonds on the secondary market if

any population: youth unemployment in

the

“Outright

Market

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42 | P a g e


Spain

is

at

50%,

mainline unemployment at 25%. In Greece all indicators of economic activity are down but for net exports. Without keep

effort

the

economic

to

minimal expansion

going that keeps the level of incoming tax receipts at an acceptable level, governments are not able to finance the debt they have built up, much less reduce their country's

debt

Unemployment rates unadjusted by BLS, 10 European Union countries or areas, seasonally adjusted, February 2011–July 2012. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

levels.

They enter an economic death spiral, which

gargantuan German trade surplus, which

is only slowly and painfully reversed, at

currently stands at 16.1 billion â‚Ź and is

great

Understandably,

driven by an undervalued Euro, is a drag on

extremist and nationalist parties are on the

the world economy. There is ample room

rise in all periphery member states, Greece

for symmetrical adjustment. Partly, this is

the most dramatic example with significant

already happening: German imports from

electoral support for proto-fascist and

the euro zone rose 6.7 per cent on the year

communist

in July, compared to a more subdued 1.9 per

human

cost.

parties.

No

democratic

cent overall year-on-year rise. ď ˇ

constituency will stand for this. The

social-democratic

and

socialist

parties within the Eurozone do not assert that the way out of the crisis is additional debt, but maintain that further depressing

Ludo Sannen is the

demand within the Eurozone is nonsensical.

Chairman of the Finance and Economic

Member states need to be given more time

Affairs Committee for the Belgian Senate.

to reach the 3 % percent deficit treshold. Furthermore, fiscal wage expansion in the Eurozone core, first and foremost Germany, can mitigate the pain in the periphery. The

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43 | P a g e


UNITED KINGDOM Our cousins across the Atlantic have been hit hard by the Great Recession too. Their recovery, like ours, is tied with the recovery of the rest of Europe. By John Thurso, MP.

In

2007

UK

national or international economy. That

economy looked solid.

was also the general view of regulators and

London was world No 1

bankers in the UK. With a few notable but

in

services,

unheeded exceptions nobody foresaw the

property was booming and even our

scale of the crash or the depth of the

declining

problems.

financial

manufacturing

the

sector

was

showing signs of sound revival. In May

And nobody in the UK truly understood

2007 I visited Washington with the House

just how dependent the country was on the

of Commons Treasury Select Committee. I

financial

vividly recall our meetings with US treasury

vulnerable the economy was. Over a quarter

secretary Paulson, and later with Chairman

of UK tax receipts were generated by

Bernanke. I asked both the same question –

activities in the city of London, a close knit

what damage would sub prime do to the

square mile of financial and related firms.

economy and where was the risk. Both

The balance sheet of the banking sector was

answered that whilst there may be problems

500% of GDP. Thus the UK’s economy was

in some states there was no big risk to the

acutely vulnerable to a financial crash.

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sector

or

consequently

how

44 | P a g e


Today the UK economy is still suffering the

of the common currency. This massive

aftershocks.

problem is financial but more importantly

In 2010 following the general election

political. Germany and France have too

with no clear winner a coalition government

much invested in the Euro project to see it

was

wing

fail at this time but the uncertainty is putting

Conservative party and the centre-left

the eurozone into recession. This means the

Liberal Democrat party. Always a tense

UK’s largest market is slowing rapidly at

partnership it was founded on the core

just the moment the UK was counting on it

concept of dealing with the economy. The

to drive growth.

formed

between

the

right

outgoing Labour administration had over

On the face of it therefore the UK

seven years created a £120bn annual

economy is in difficulty. However the

structural deficit, one of the highest in

quarterly economic data continues to show

Europe and public spending was spiralling

conflicting evidence. Growth persists at very

out of control. The coalition capped current

slow levels if at all. Yet the labour market

spending and set out a clear plan to

statistics tell a different story with 900,000

eradicate the deficit over 5 years. As a result

new jobs since 2010. As the public sector

the markets which had been worried about

cuts bite, the private sector is creating jobs.

the UK turned their attention to the

Exports and manufacturing growth are

emerging Eurozone countries. The UK’s

persistently better than one might expect.

borrowing

The

rates

have

subsequently

UK

became

a

net

exporter

of

remained consistently low. With growth

automobiles in March for the first time since

projected at around 2% and growing this

1976 and inward investment in engineering

looked a sensible course. The reality has

continues. The truth is that no one really

been very different.

knows what is happening. From QE to

Europe is by far the UK’s largest trading

banking, and from public sector cuts to

partner accounting for around 45% of

investment

exports. The sovereign debt crisis in Greece,

conflicting data. There is however one

Portugal, Spain and Ireland showed the

certainty. If Europe cannot get the Euro

structural weakness of the Euro currency

crisis under control the UK cannot recover.

but looked manageable. The contagion to

Thus

Spain

bigger

Constitutional Court and the European

economies have now put the Euro into

Central Bank will probably be more

doubt. The financially stronger northern

important than anything done in Downing

countries,

Street. 

and

Italy,

two

particularly

much

Germany,

are

the

the

statistics

meetings

of

are

the

full

of

German

reluctant to finance those in difficulty, but are being forced to deal with them because

John Thurso is the Chair of the Finance and Services Committee for the British House of Commons

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45 | P a g e


President Obama and the Recovering American Economy The economy has been getting better and the county is moving on the right track, earning President Obama your vote, writes Massachusetts’ Governor. By Deval Patrick

In the so-called battleground states, voters hear a lot from each candidate about why not to vote for the other guy. We get blessedly little of this back-andforth in Massachusetts. It’s not that we are so reliably Democratic. In fact, there are more unenrolled independents in the Commonwealth than there are registered Democrats and registered Republicans combined. It’s certainly not that Governor Romney has a lock on the state he governed for four years and calls home even today. Actually, it’s telling that he seems to have conceded

the

state

that

knows

his

record

and

his

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leadership

most

intimately.

46 | P a g e


At the end of it all, I am not voting against anyone in this race. Despite all the

nuclear arms, and increased international pressure on Iran.

efforts by each campaign to sharpen the

This is the president who, when the

contrasts, I suspect a lot of other Americans

bottom was falling out of our and almost

want a reason to vote for a candidate than

every other state’s budget, helped us support

against one. I am voting for Barack Obama

our public schools, keep firefighters and

– proudly and enthusiastically, I might add

police officers on the streets, and provide for

– because he has the record, the vision and

the folks hardest hit by the recession.

the courage to help us save the American Dream.

This is the president who partnered with states to rebuild roads and bridges, expand

The President’s record is long, impressive and barely told.

broadband to left out communities, and construct high-speed rail.

This is the president who delivered

This is the president who has increased

access to affordable health care to every

support for our warriors in the field and

American in every corner of the country

their families and veterans at home, got

after 90 years of trying.

automakers to agree to nearly double fuel

This is the president who saved the American auto industry from extinction, the

economy

standards,

and

tightened

restrictions on mercury emissions.

American financial industry from self-

This is the president who has cut taxes

destruction, and the American economy

for small businesses and middle class

from full-blown depression, adding 4.4

families 39 times already, saving a typical

million private-sector jobs in the last 28

family $3,600 over his term.

months – more than in the 8 years of the George W. Bush administration.

I could easily go on. The president’s record is even more impressive when you

This is the president who strengthened

consider that he has governed in the face of

laws demanding equal pay for equal work

Republican leaders who openly declare that

for women, and has stood firm against the

unseating this president (by denying him

onslaught against a woman’s right to

legislative victories) is their top priority.

choose.

I also appreciate this president’s vision.

This is the president who ended the policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” so that love of country, not love of another, determines one’s fitness to serve.

It’s a vision about putting the American Dream within reach of everybody. President

Obama

believes

that

to

strengthen the economy and reduce the

This is the president who brought Osama

national debt we need growth, and that

bin Laden to justice, ended the war in Iraq,

growth comes from investment, not from

signed a treaty with Russia to reduce

cuts. Every business leader understands this.

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47 | P a g e


The president alone has offered a plan, and

He put his country, not his political

he has executed against it. That plan

future, first. In these days of political

emphasizes education to prepare us for the

bullying, that takes courage. I am voting for

economy

that, too.

and

society

of

tomorrow,

innovation to seize the edge in high growth opportunities,

energy

to

secure

At times of crisis Americans could once

our

be counted on to come together and our

independence and fuel our growth, and

leaders could once be counted on to call us

infrastructure to create the platform for

to that higher cause. There is only one

everything else. That’s the very strategy we

candidate in this race true to that legacy of

have pursued here in Massachusetts and the

leadership, with the record, the vision and

reason we are growing faster than most of

the courage to deliver. That’s why in

the rest of the country. It’s a vision based on

November I am voting for Barack Obama. 

expanding opportunity out to the middle class, not just up to the well connected. And

Deval Patrick is

the president has pursued it with discipline.

the Governor of Massachusetts.

I am also voting for this president because of his courage. Political courage is rare in politics. Office holders are often more focused on getting and keeping their job than doing it. They will sometimes avoid the right decision if it’s unpopular. This president has shown real backbone. He stood up to Wall Street on regulatory reform to end the kind of risk taking that plunged the entire economy into crisis. He stood up to his own party loyalists on everything

from

the

elements

of

the

Recovery Act to health care reform. He stood up to Tea Party extremists in Congress on women’s health issues, stem cell research, gutting Medicare and Social Security, and otherwise shredding the social safety net. The president refused to go along with House Republicans’ radical deficit

A copy of this op/ed originally appeared in the Des Moines Register.

reduction plan last summer because doing so would have been irresponsible.

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48 | P a g e


Which side are you on? By Shawn Fitzgibbons Like other moments in our history, citizens have to ask themselves whether they support the working class. Through a

lens of history

concern. Florence’s husband was a union

Campaign 2012 presents a familiar tale of

organizer, and he and his family were being

struggle between citizens and big business.

terrorized by the local Sheriff who was on

The names have changed, but the storyline

the company’s payroll.

hasn’t. Campaign 2012 is an urgent fight by

In her song, Florence asked her fellow

regular Americans to protect their freedom

citizens: Which side are you on? Which side are

to live well. Here in Massachusetts, the fight

you on?

centers

around

the

race

for

Senate,

Elizabeth Warren vs Scott Brown.

It was a time when corporate America ran amok. Robber barons trampled workers

About a century ago a Tennessee woman

in their race to have everything for

named Florence Reece penned a song about

themselves. Empires were built by a few

her family’s struggle with the local mining

while families like Florence’s went hungry.

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49 | P a g e


After the Great Depression and World War

unlimited, anonymous corporate campaign

II, the barons were quieted. A new strong,

spending

middle class grew.

registration programs for poor people in

Today, modern-day barons hope to take us back to that 20th Century heydey. Now,

restrictions

on

voter

Massachusetts. All this, done with a friendly smile.

it’s the Tea Party’s organization, Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda and the Koch

and

Don't listen to their lies. Us poor folks haven't got a chance unless we organize.

Brothers’ money that are trying to tear

Elizabeth Warren is running a campaign

down progress. Their results so far? Voter

to keep Massachusetts and America moving

suppression. Citizens United. Weakened

in

unions. A war on women. And an ominous

Warren, and for the Democratic Party,

beat: get rid of Medicare; end Social

freedom means something very powerful.

Security; abolish the minimum wage; and

Freedom means being able to achieve your

even weaken child labor laws.

dreams, whatever they might be. For many,

Oh workers can you stand it? Oh tell me how

the

right

direction—forward.

For

it might simply mean being able to get a good job. For all, freedom means having a

you can. Senator Scott Brown has a great smile

fair shot at success, and a level playing field.

and seems like everyone’s pal. Like George

This is everything Elizabeth Warren stands

W.

effective

for, and this is what we need now in the US

candidate for the new 21st Century right

Senate to keep our economy and our nation

wing. In reality, Brown is a Trojan Horse

moving forward.

Bush,

he’s

certainly

an

quietly placed in the living rooms of

To get there, common citizens must

Massachusetts families by the robber barons

organize and work together. For our

of 2012. Don’t fall for the ruse. He’s not

numbers can do far more than the millions

your friend. He’s not here to help you.

of dollars we’re up against. The light of each

Scott Brown’s voting record in the Senate

and every one of us, brought together for

is appalling. He has repeatedly voted against

one cause, can continue to be a beacon of

middle-class tax cuts to protect tax shelters

hope that says to the rest of the world that

for the rich. On helping women workers

freedom and democracy still prevail here. 

fight for fair pay, he’s voted no. He’s voted to block assistance for unemployed workers again and again. He’s voted to make college more expensive. Brown is first in line to take away affordable health care from

Shawn Fitzgibbons is the co-chairman of the Newton Democratic Party. He can be reached at spfitz@gmail.com or (617) 997-2577.

Massachusetts families. Brown knows this isn’t popular which is why he supports

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50 | P a g e


Who’s Really Fighting for Massachusetts? By Lee Harrison Mass.

boxing

legend

Micky

Ward and his political change in stripes makes one wonder who’s really the fighter for our state, writes one A.D. columnist.

You may have missed it,

out he’s also against gay marriage, and I say

but a few weeks ago Lowell boxer Micky

if you love someone you should have the

Ward dropped Scott Brown. The blow came

same rights no matter who you are.”

very fast, like a hard right to the jaw. And

Clearly, Ward can distinguish between a

just as quickly it’s becoming a watershed

contender and a pretender. He looked past

moment

Scott Brown’s slick TV campaign and saw

in

this

year’s

U.S.

Senate

that the Tea Party Republican is not fighting

campaign. You may remember Micky Ward, who was famously played by former Bostonian

for working people. In fact, Scott Brown is fighting against us.

Mark Wahlberg in the 2010 movie “The

Indeed, Brown has a history of voting

Fighter.” But you probably don’t know this

against us on a host of economic and jobs

tough, no nonsense guy is also a Teamster –

issues. He voted twice against extending

and that was part of Brown’s problem.

Bush’s tax cuts for the middle class and

While Brown was preparing to fly to

ending them for people making more than a

Lowell from the Tea Party Republican

$250,000 a year. He even voted against

convention to accept Ward’s endorsement,

ending tax cuts for millionaires!

Micky Ward was learning the truth about

So,

Scott

Brown’s

warnings

about

Scott Brown. When he did, he shifted his

“taxmageddon” ring as hollow as former

stance and TKO’d Brown.

Boston Mayor Ray Flynn’s claims that

“I can’t support Scott Brown. I just can’t

Brown is “independent.” Of course, Flynn

do it,” Ward said. “I found out Scott is

does say Brown “is a guy you can do

anti-union and I’m a Teamster guy. I found

business with,” which is true if you happen

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51 | P a g e


to run a major oil company: Brown voted

would

against a bill to reduce the federal deficit by

education jobs, a bill paid for with a 0.5%

closing special tax loopholes benefitting the

surtax on incomes over $1 million. He also

world’s five biggest oil companies.

voted against bills that would have created

Then there’s financial regulation. After

have

thousands

supported

of

up

to

Massachusetts

6,300

jobs

by

the 2008 financial disaster, only a fool or a

upgrading our transportation and school

hedge-fund manager would object to reining

infrastructure.

in the casino-like behavior of America’s

infrastructure bank, was supported by both

major financial institutions. Brown claims

the national Chamber of Commerce and the

he voted for financial regulation, which he

AFL-CIO.

One

bill,

a

national

did, but only after using the leverage of his

In stark contrast, Elizabeth Warren not

41st vote to gut enforcement mechanisms in

only wants to invest in our future by

the bill, essentially moving costs from those

rebuilding roads, bridges, schools, sewer

who created the financial mess to people

and

like us. Then he had the brass to brag that

broadband internet service but she’s also

he had been the deciding vote to pass it.

committed to strengthening workers’ and

But that’s not all.

According to The

water

systems,

and

expanding

women’s rights. And, remember, she’s

Boston Globe, since passage of that weakened

already

bill, Brown has worked tirelessly to block its

dedicated to protecting the middle class

full implementation. His reward: $2 million

from predatory banks and credit card

in campaign donations from Wall St. and

companies,

an offer from NYC Mayor Bloomberg to

Protection Bureau.

help him raise even more money in the Big Apple. Some fighter for the middle class.

created

the

a

government

Consumer

agency

Financial

So, if you’re wondering who’s really fighting for Massachusetts, think about

Brown’s record of fighting against us

Micky Ward. Mickey liked Brown's “truck

doesn’t end there. He voted eight times

and barn coat” regular-guy image, but once

against extending unemployment aid –

he looked a little harder at how Brown

which led to the loss of benefits for 30,000

votes, Mickey changed his mind – and he’s

Massachusetts residents, including teachers

not alone: The more voters learn about

– and he voted to cut Pell Grants for

Brown's position on issues, the more they

135,000 Bay State students. Speaking of

are moving to support his opponent,

teachers, in 2010, Brown voted against a bill

Elizabeth Warren. 

that would have saved nearly 3,000 teaching positions in Massachusetts. A year later, he voted to filibuster the Teachers and First

Lee Harrison is a member of the Mass. Democratic State Committee and former Berkshire Brigades Chairman.

Responders Back to Work Act, which

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Humor & SaTire With all the laughs fit to print.

SPECIAL REPORT - Candidates Spend Millions of Dollars Interrupting Television Shows ATTLEBORO, MA – In an increasingly close election year for the Massachusetts junior United States Senate seat, both Republican Scott Brown, the incumbent, and Democrat Elizabeth Warren, are pouring millions of dollars into television advertising for their respective campaigns. As television watchers are discovering around the state, their favorite shows commence their commercial breaks only to feature two or three advertisements over and over again for hours on end. An expert television watcher, who refused to be identified, gave noted insight into this phenomenon. “Normally, I might have the TV on all day, and they’re might be about fifty different commercials for products I’ll never buy or organizations I’ll never give money too. Instead, I’m lucky these days to see ten different ads altogether.” When asked to describe how the ads made him feel about the particular candidates, our expert replied that he’d forgotten who they were already. Nancy Shane, a South Attleboro mother of three, felt positively about the increased level of advertising. “It’s good to see these two people trying to convince us to vote for them by showing

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53 | P a g e


their ads as much as possible. My youngest son, Jimmy, he’s becoming really politically astute. He usually changes his mind on what candidate he supports, depending on whose ads he’s seen more that day. Right now, the sixty-four Scott Brown ads he’s seen today have given Brown the edge.” John, Nancy’s husband, shrugged his shoulders at the advertising. “It’ll be over soon and tv will be normal again.” One media professor at Harvard’s Bruce Jenner School of Entertainment however, suggests this might be more than a temporary shift. “We are beginning to finally see the penultimate death of television,” remarked Dr. Austin Lionel, Ph.D. “Not only are Americans shifting their viewing habits to more internet and on-demand based formats, but these political ads are sapping the joy and life of television for many. I mean, seriously. Every time I try to watch America’s Got Talent, the show’s interrupted every thirty-nine seconds by either Nick Cannon’s commentary or a plea for my vote.” The candidates’ spokespersons both defend the massive amounts of campaign advertising. “Senator Brown is trying to present his case for reelection to the people of Massachusetts with these ads,” said Brown press secretary Boo-Boo Blue. “Yes, we could probably get rid of the ad where he paints a red fire decal on his truck, or the eleven minute ad of him hitting two-hundredtwenty-two consecutive half-court shots on the basketball court. But overall, these are important.” Warren’s spokesperson responded similarly, along with trying to dispel doubts that Warren’s ads do not feature her famed golden retriever, Otis, more prominently. “Tv ads are the best way to reach potential voters for Elizabeth Warren,” said Mike Silverman. “And no, Otis, is not to be given more screen time during commercial breaks. The first time we put him in there, we received complaints that he was not a focal point of the ad, but instead the emphasis was on the middle class. When we tried to fix that, critics suggested we just scrap the idea of Elizabeth pitching her ideas to voters and instead feature 30 second ads of just Otis playing fetch.” While both candidates may not agree on political positions, both can agree on this: they will definitely flood every Patriots game with unlimited advertising. 

Andrew Meehan, Editor of the Attleboro Democracy, contributed to this fictional report.

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THE POLITICS OF CULTURE Movies. Books. Television. And their politics.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES And the Redemption of the Rich The latest Batman blockbuster gives the wealthy a way of being heroes. By Andrew Meehan In America, as the winds of election season blow fiercer, the candidates for President have sparred over a seemingly timeless battle: whether the rich are too wealthy and powerful, or whether society is attacking those with great financial success. In much of classic American cinema, the villains often tend to be the rich. One only need think of the corrupt Mr. Potter in It’s A Wonderful Life, or Gordon Gecko in Wall Street. American culture embraces the rags-to-rich story, and more egalitarian heroes like Robin Hood. Or so we think. Enter The Dark Knight Rises.

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55 | P a g e


In the Dark Knight Rises, the final installment of acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, some of the biggest victims are some very rich and powerful people – as is of course, the film’s hero, Bruce Wayne,

the

alter

ego

of

Batman, played wonderfully by actor Christian Bale. In this third

Nolan

Batman

film,

Gotham City and its financial elite come

greater twist, the main hero of this story is

under

the richest of them all.

the

attack

of

a

group

of

revolutionaries led by the menacing, maskwearing Bane (played by Tom Hardy).

As evidenced by the success of the Nolan Batman trilogy, it is Batman who currently

Bane’s group first launches an assault on

stands highest in the American pinnacle of

Gotham’s stock exchange, holding its

Superheroes - he’s more popular than

traders at gun-point, and robbing some of its

Spiderman, who as Peter Parker is a nerdy

assets. When a more blue-collar police

teenager from Queens, New York who’s

officer arrives at the scene, a trader of the

humbly raised by his aunt and uncle, or

exchange decries that, “everyone’s money”

even Superman, who is raised by his

was being robbed, to which the officer

Earthling foster-parents on a farm in

replied, “My money is under my mattress.”

Smallville, Kansas. It’s Batman, whose

Such a comment, suggesting a huge

alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, is a billionaire

disconnect between rich and poor, came at a

playboy. Bruce Wayne is the 1% of the 1%.

moment when innocent people were in fact

Why do we love Batman? Because we

in jeopardy of being robbed – not to

don’t define Bruce Wayne by his wealth.

mention, being mortally harmed.

We define him by how he uses it. The Dark

Such problems persist when Bane, upon

Knight Rises promotes the idea that anyone

seizing control over much of Gotham’s,

can be a hero, as symbolized by Batman

sends mobs to seize many rich people out of

being anonymous to all but a few. He could

their homes, seize all of their wealth, and

be anybody. Yet the reality is of course

subject them to a “kangaroo court” where

different. No one but a rich man like Wayne

their only options are death or exile. Unlike

(with special training of course, from Liam

in many examples of American cinema, the

Neeson’s Ra’s al Gul in the first movie)

rich are victims, not villains. And in an even

could be the Caped Crusader. Bruce Wayne

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56 | P a g e


has no superpowers, only his fighting skills,

an even

greater threat looming over

wits, and all the expensive gadgets Lucius

Gotham, Batman is implored by Anne

Fox (played by Morgan Freeman) can give

Hathaway’s Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) to

him.

run away from Gotham’s endangered

Conservatives often lavish the rich with

residents and save himself. “You’ve given

praise as job creators; liberals demand that

these people everything. You don’t owe them

the rich pay their fair share of taxes like

any more.” And Batman gasps back with a

everyone else. What’s implied by both the

hint of martyrdom, “Not everything. Not

praise and scorn is that something is expected

yet.”

from the rich. With wealth comes power, and

Obviously, no one should expect any

with power, comes an obligation to use it

billionaire to dress up as a bat, and fight

for good. Bruce Wayne uses his power to

crime and corruption as a vigilante. That’s

become Batman, as a means of fighting

not the point. Bruce Wayne is willing to

injustice and crime,

sacrifice not only

as a means of helping

his fortune, but his

Gotham. He gives

life if need be, for

himself to his city.

the

As the Nolan film

sake

of

his

fellow citizenry.

trilogy makes clear,

As the country

it’s not philanthropy,

debates the role of

or

the

generosity,

but

rich,

the

duty. At the end of

emphasis is often

the

on the middle class,

first

movie,

Gotham police officer Jim Gordon (played

who are being squeezed by economic

by Gary Oldman) tells Batman after he

disorder. But the rich should get their

saves the city from a chemical gas attack, “I

attention, not as villains, but as potential

never said thank you.” Batman replies,

heroes.

“And you’ll never have to.” At the close of

depending on how they use their power.

the blockbuster second movie The Dark

That’s what the example of The Dark Knight

Knight, Batman and Gordon look upon the

Rises shows us.

deceased former Gotham District Attorneyturned-murderer Harvey Dent, and Batman demands to take the fall for Dent’s crimes

The

wealthy

can

be

heroes,

Ultimately, we will define those who have wealth by what they do with it.  

saying, “I’m whatever Gotham needs me to

Andrew Meehan is the Editor

be,” before fleeing into the night. And in a

of the Attleboro Democracy.

crucial scene in The Dark Knight Rises, with

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THE CAMPAIGN AND AMERICAN POLITICS How the new crude comedy hit shows how silly our elections can really be. By Paul Heroux.

The Campaign is a great movie for

something he is not. However, as the movie

the times. As America watches how

progresses, it becomes apparent that Marty,

political campaign contributions influence

the simple idiot he is, may actually be

how we see our options, in The Campaign

preferable to the seasoned politician.

corporate America is decidedly looking out

However, a turn in the plot finds that Marty is becoming someone he is not and

for its own interests. The Campaign takes place in a small town

Cam becomes someone who will win at any

that could be anywhere USA making a

cost. A negative attack ad, which no one

mockery

and

approved of, gives one candidate a bump in

Democrats alike. One very pleasing aspect

the polls; this is meant to be a slap in the

to this movie is that not all of the funny

face to America that we encourage dirty

material was revealed in the movie trailer.

campaigning by rewarding it in the polls.

of

both

Republicans

the

From the sound bites of ‘god, guns and

incumbent US Representative who is an

country’ and pandering to every group Cam

insincere rising star in his political party

speaks to, to the campaign consultant who

who doesn’t know the issues but maintained

is hired to make Marty Huggins look like

a high level of popularity until he left an

something he is not, The Campaign makes an

sexually

appropriate

Cam

Brady

explicit

(Will

Ferrell)

phone

call

is

on

the

satirical

mockery

of

our

answering machine of a Christian family

contemporary electoral process. It is a good

sitting down at dinner. Cam was nearly

example of art imitating life.

going to run unopposed when two CEOs

Only at the end of The Campaign, when

decide that it was in their best interest to put

one

a Member in Congress who they believe

moneyed interests, put aside his own legacy,

they can better manipulate.

do we see a glimmer of hope that integrity

Marty Huggins (Zach Gailifianakas) is a loveable idiot. The son of a very rich and politically

well-connected

businessman,

Marty is a simple and honest man. But when Marty is selected to be the stooge needed by corporate America, Marty is manipulated inside and out to appear to be

candidate

decides

to

ignore

the

may be restored to the Congress and the electoral process.  Paul Heroux is a candidate for State Rep in the Second Bristol District (Attleboro). Paul is a master's graduate of the London School of Economics and a master's graduate of the Harvard School of Government. Paul has written extensively on macroeconomic policy and is a consultant in private practice on program cost-benefit analyses. Paul can be reached at paulheroux.mpa@gmail.com.

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The ediTor’s desk To submit a letter to the Editor, please send an email to the Attleboro Democracy at attleborodemocracy@gmail.com Thank you for taking the time to read the latest edition of the Attleboro Democracy Magazine. Our pledge to our readers is that although this magazine was edited and put together by Attleboro Democrats, we aspire that anyone of any political affiliation can read and enjoy the magazine. The Attleboro Democracy is a magazine for everybody, not just one faction or party. This issue has focused on the economy. Over the last four years, America and the world has trodden through “The Great Recession” that began amidst the financial collapse on Wall Street in 2008. Unemployment has been up, industries like building and construction down, and the American people look anxiously to the future. This issue has thus been designed to help offer solutions and examples of leadership that have positively affected Attleboro, Massachusetts, and the country. It has also, we hope, broadened your view about the economy of the world, especially given the international panel we were privileged to feature in this issue. We hope you enjoyed the work of our contributors. Our stated goal is: Striving for a Better Public Debate. As long as we keep writing, working, and thinking over the great issues of the day, that’s what we’re going to keep trying to do.

Want more Democracy? You can find archived issues of the website of the Attleboro Democrats: http://www.attleborodemocrats.org/ See our Winter 2012-2013 special issue on Election Season.

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One Year of Attleboro Democracy As we noted in the previous issue on Health Care, the Attleboro Democracy, with this publication of this issue on the economy, has just marked its one year anniversary of being formed. The Attleboro Democracy has grown rapidly from its inception, starting as a humble but adept newsletter-like ‘zine, then growing in content, breadth and depth, to its current issue, where we hope to set and attain a high standard. And we’re only just getting started. Get ready for some exciting things to happen in the realm of the Attleboro Democracy Magazine during Year 2.

To all the readers, contributors, and On

all others who helped build up the Attleboro Democracy Magazine over the last year: Thank you.

-Andrew Meehan, Editor of the Attleboro Democracy

-Ac

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Attleboro Democracy Magazine: Economy Issue, 2012  

Our fall 2012 issue on the economy! Features op-eds by Elizabeth Warren, Deval Patrick, Joe Kennedy III, our first international panel, and...

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