How to balance the budget

On June 21, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

shelton_webBy William C. Shelton

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)

We are enjoying an intermission in Congress’s vicious deficit-reduction theater. For tactical reasons, the Republicans have decided not to conduct debt-ceiling or continuing resolution dramas for a while. Democrats remain inertial, or absent from the conversation.

So it’s probably a good time to discuss ways to balance the budget that are in plain sight, but aren’t approved of by Congress’s owners. Before doing so, it’s also worth asking why the issue of deficit reduction dominates that of the widespread unemployment and falling incomes that are wrecking lives and savaging the workforce’s youngest generation.

Austere fiscal policy doesn’t work

We have ample evidence now that the austerity economics that so-called conservatives advocate result in economic slow down, greater public debt, and widespread suffering.

Britain’s Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, was forced to report that his government has failed miserably to meet the economic goals that it set in 2010 when it slashed government programs by as much as 30%. At that time, he had said that this policy would cut the budget deficit to zero within four years, reduce public debt, and generate economic growth—exactly what Congressional Republicans promise us.

Instead, the British deficit remains high and the economy has gone through a double-dip recession, the second dip precipitated by fiscal austerity measures. We have seen the same in those national economies that were forced to embrace the austerity approach.

If all the pain and suffering caused by austerity had transformed their economies as promised, there might be some justification. There is none.

Six times, our nation has gone deeply into debt. The first five times were to finance wars. Americans paid down those debts with increased taxes, but did so over decades rather than years, so as not to stifle economic growth.

Tea Partiers like to point to the 1950s as the “good old days.” But for most of the 1950s, the top marginal tax rate was 91%. The lowest was 84% in 1950, more than twice what it is today. Our current huge deficits were created by lowering tax rates while borrowing to pay for two unfunded wars and the Medicare drug benefit.

The pernicious ballooning of national debt, economic malaise, and growing inequality was not the outcome Bush’s tax cuts alone. Their causes go back to the Reagan years, when tax reductions on the wealthy accompanied disinvestment from infrastructure, research, and education. The consequences of such disinvestments are long-term, and we are living with them.

So given where we are today, how might we move toward a balanced budget?

Lowering Expenses

Stop privatizing government work. Frightened of political blowback from expanding government headcounts, and embracing an ethic of private-sector sanctity, recent federal administrations have privatized more and more government functions. The Project on Government Oversight reports that private contractors receive nearly double what a federal employee would receive for the same work.

Reform imprisonment policy. About 5 percent of the world’s people live in the U.S., but 25 percent of its prisoners are locked up here. With a population of 320 million, we incarcerate more people that does the authoritarian state of China that has a population of 1.4 billion. This misguided response to nonviolent crime costs us $68 billion per year. But it doesn’t reduce crime. In fact, it seems to have the opposite effect.

End the war on drugs. It’s mostly fools and lunatics who fail to  learn from experience. But since Nixon declared “War on Drugs,” we spend ever more, while illicit drugs’ availability increases, and violent crime proliferates. In a 2008 study, Harvard economist Jeffery Miron estimated that ending the war on drugs would save taxpayers $41.3 billion per year. On the other hand, taxing drugs would provide ample revenues that could pay for drug education and rehabilitation, which produce outcomes far superior to prohibition, prosecution, and imprisonment.

Bring sanity to the healthcare system. The U.S. spends 16% of its GDP on healthcare, far more than any other nation. Yet we enjoy worse outcomes than countries with single-payer systems that cost much less. If single-payer is against your religion, then support the “public option.” That is, allow anyone to buy Medicare coverage. Even Republican voters approved of this by a small majority. But the big-pharma bullies didn’t. At least allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with big pharma. The other developed countries do this, and doing it would bring down prices for everyone.

Spend what we need for defense, not what the “military industrial complex” wants. Dwight Eisenhower, who coined that term, also admonished that, “Separate ground, sea, and air warfare is gone forever.” But in the 66 years since, the various Services have protected their fiefdoms and the gross overhead costs that they impose. The current fiscal crisis offers a rare opportunity to align defense spending with modern military technology and command structures, producing greater capability.  Meanwhile, we’re still buying cold-war hardware that we don’t need and can’t use. Nor do we need boondoggles like the F-35 jet, which the New York times says, “would cost taxpayers $396 billion….That would be… two-thirds of the $589 billion the United States has spent on the war in Afghanistan.”

Raising Revenues

The inequitable tax system of the last 30 years is one of several essential reasons for the hollowing out of the middle class. So a no-brainer should be a tax scheme in which billionaire hedge-fund managers do not pay a lower rate than their secretaries pay. In addition…

Close down offshore tax havens. The Treasury Department estimates that we lose about $100 billion per year to tax haven abuses.

Impose an excess profits tax on defense contractors during times of war. Since 2002, the five largest defense industry players’ profits have increased by 450%. In World Wars 1 and II and the Korean War, the U.S. imposed what Franklin Roosevelt termed a “steeply graduated excess-profits tax.” He said at the time that a few should not gain from the sacrifices of many.

Impose a financial speculation tax. Risky Wall-Street gambles produced the financial meltdown that ushered in the ongoing economic malaise. Tax every financial trade at one-quarter of one percent. Even a small tax would incrementally reduce the incentive for risky trades, while generating revenue.

Replace the payroll tax with a carbon tax. The “marginal propensity to consume” means that the lower a family’s income, the more of that income will flow back into the economy as purchases of goods and services. Accordingly, in today’s economy, a regressive tax on wages is probably the least sensical of our many taxes. On the other hand, a carbon tax would be equitable, immediately produce $100 billion per year, finance the Trust Fund, and make a huge contribution to averting climate change and its economic and environmental tolls.

 

Unless one is incapable of distinguishing fact from ideology, the potential efficacy of all of the foregoing is well supported by evidence.  But as Benjamin Disraeli observed over a century ago, “Courage is the rarest of all qualities to be found in public life.”

Especially when it’s up for sale.

 

37 Responses to “How to balance the budget”

  1. malcolm kyle says:

    Prohibitionism is intensely, rabidly, frantically, frenetically, hysterically anti-truth, anti-freedom, anti-public-health, ant-public-safety, and anti-economy.

    An important feature of prohibitionism (which it closely shares with fascism) is totalitarianism. That means: a police state apparatus; widespread surveillance, arbitrary imprisonment or even murder of political opponents, mass-incarceration, torture, etc.

    Like despicable, playground bullies, prohibitionists are vicious one moment, then full of self-pity the next. They whine and whinge like lying, spoilt brats, claiming they just want to “save the little children”, but the moment they feel it safe to do so, they use brute force and savage brutality against those they claim to be defending.

    Prohibitionists actually believe that they can transcend human nature and produce a better world. They allow only one doctrine, an impossible-to-obtain drug-free world. All forms of dissent, be they common-sense, scientific, constitutional, or democratic, are simply ignored, and their proponents vehemently persecuted.

    During alcohol prohibition (1919-1933), all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. While battling over turf, young men died on inner-city streets. Corruption in Law Enforcement and the Judiciary went clean off the scale. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have been far more wisely allocated. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally, in 1929, the economy collapsed. Does that sound familiar?

  2. Larry says:

    Bill, we have no such proof that austerity programs do not work. They’ve never been tried – what people call the UK’s attempt at austerity was a joke. But – of course – you know that and decided to just pull something (anything!) out of thin air to try and push your agenda.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but to summarize what you’re proposing: cut defense, spend more on proven wasteful government run programs (has there ever been one run efficiently??), hire more government workers and raise taxes through the roof. Your “solutions” would absolutely destroy the economy of the US. See Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain – and Stockton, CA and Detroit, MI locally – for real proof of how well those policies have worked. They’re bankrupt and have no way out of their mess as their government bureaucracies grew too large to control. And you want the same thing here? That’s bright.

    I understand that you make your cake by getting involved in government “sponsored” boondoggles and other advisory roles where your funding comes from grants (cough, cough….taxpayer funded grants), but, DUDE, keep your grimy fingers out of our wallets please.

    BTW — How’d that Mystic task force work out for Assembly square? Good job there – now we’re stuck with true inertia and corruption. Go back to Stockton – puh-lease! We can’t afford your “genius” around here any longer.

  3. MarketMan says:

    Larry: I’ve heard reference to Mystic Task Force and Assembly Square several times. Can someone educate me about what people are referring to?

  4. gregtowne says:

    Great job Larry! I’ve often wondered what it is Bill does for “work” Does he actually draw a paycheck from an actual company or does he make his living pushing the progressive liberal agenda? That’s a serious question, I really don’t know.

  5. bad stats says:

    I love when people throw around the prison stats. we have more people in prison than China does. Maybe because people in China live in terror of their government? ever read the crime statistics for places that practice caning, or public stonings? zippo,that’s the number of crimes they see. This comparison holds no water at all. You can’t compare countries with wildly different laws or lack of them.
    and to answer your questions—these columns are the result of not having to work for a living. sit around compiling think tank stuff and lack of contact with human beings.

  6. A.Moore says:

    Mystic Task force was a group of people who through lawsuits held the Assembly Square project in hostage for years causing a great deal of lost revenue to this city which probably will never be reclaimed. Personally I believe they should all have been held responsable for that lost revenue and we should have had a class action suit against them for it.

  7. Alan Stiehl says:

    It’s surprising to see these one-sided opinions about Mystic View Task Force surfacing after so many years. There were, indeed, lawsuits, and probably the largest public meetings that ever took place at City Hall. The few who supported the two mayors’ plans all had obvious financial benefits at stake. No one in Mystic View did, except the lead plaintiff, to whom the developers offered a $2 million bribe. She declined it.

    Mystic View won every lawsuit in court because the developers’ and city government’s actions were against the law. Without Mystic View, there would be no Orange Line station or Green Line extension. The site would have been paved over, leaving a few gigantic stores and warehouses, like a second, bigger Home Depot.

    The long-term plan negotiated by Mystic View and the developers will bring many times the amount of jobs and revenue than the city would have received had Mystic View not blocked the illegal sweetheart deals and demanded sanity. See if you can find any elected state or local official who disputes any of this. The history of the conflict of the informed citizens against an incompetent administration backed by endless developer money and intimidation campaigns is fascinating. Bill Shelton wrote up “the back story” seven years ago, so it should be in the Somerville News archives.

    The first developer walked away with at least $30 million in profit by building nothing, funding their lawsuit with Home Depot’s money, electing their own mayor who rammed through illegal rezoning, and then flipping the property.

    But the uninformed still repeat the ugly propaganda lies that the first developers spent hundreds of thousands to broadcast.

  8. A. Moore says:

    I would have welcomed a bigger Home Depot. Some box stores and family restaurants too rather than just shoving several thousand people into a small area. When projects start there are always changes along the way, even this one. We now are building something that many residents of Somerville will have no reason to go there. So many will have to leave the city to go to a family restaurant or department store or food store because we will have all high price store that many cannot afford or would want to shop at. This project has already changed so many times after all these delays. Big box stores are fine, when done with them one just bulldoze them down and rebuild the next thing. There were several years we could have had the income and the enjoyment of this. I know many in Somerville having been here for over 60 years and I can say from the many I hear from how disapointed they are in this development. But that is only the opinion of many of the older and low income residents that are still hanging on here. Many of us still cringe at the thought of the Mystic Task Force.

  9. Larry says:

    Yeah, ok, Alan, you guys were real heroes. Without you there would be no Green or Orange lines coming and the sun would never shine in Somerville again? Unbelievable what you will take credit for and ignore. Why don’t you just claim you thieves fart roses too – at this point you may as well. Hey, if you repeat a lie long enough people will start believing it.

    However, some of us who were independent observers saw one very small, very vocal group (Mystic View) with an agenda (and a profit motive) destroy any development for years in Assembly square. THAT is all you can take credit for. Nothing has been done for a very long time and developers were scared off by your sleazy tactics (we’ll sue unless we get a kickback!). And there is no guarantee that the “utopia” development you pushed will provide any additional benefits and/or revenue.

    How much has that lack of any commercial development all these years already cost the city in commercial taxes that could have been used to offset property taxes or improve services (instead of silly fireworks and “events”)? You, Bill and the rest of the Mystic geniuses never cared as most of you are relatively new to the city, rent and are otherwise not-vested in the city – you’re only vested in pushing your “progressive” agendas. We’re all getting tired of it. You – and Bill – should move on as your work is done here. We’re broke here now and you/Bill should head over to Everett now and pull your shakedown on Wynn and his casino plans. Thank me later for that tip.

    And if you have proof that the mayor is corrupted by taking kickbacks from developers then toss the proof out there. Trust me I’d love to see it as I am no fan of the mayor now. He spends money like a drunken sailor on frivolous events/stunts, raises property taxes/fees and panders to the looney-left in this city way too much. It would be nice to get rid of him, so start showing your cards. If you can do that then that would be an accomplishment for Mystic View, but you can’t. It was just more BS from you guys.

  10. I was involved in the Mystic View Task Force almost from the beginning. Here are the facts.

    IKEA wanted to use the Mystic River waterfront for a store. This store would have brought in a little tax revenue and provided a few jobs, but it would have locked down the valuable waterfront parcel for an indefinite period and brought in a huge amount of traffic. Another developer wanted to convert the defunct Assembly Square Mall to big-box stores, including a SECOND Home Depot. (Two in the same area? Why?) Similar objections. Meanwhile, across the river, Medford and Everett were putting up office buildings, which provide far more jobs and bring in far more tax revenue. These benefits were going to another city, and we were losing out.

    In response to our objections, the city sponsored a study called the Cecil Study that portrayed the big box stores as the “first phase” of a long-term plan. The problem was that big-box stores brand an area as “not good for office development”, which would again block out high-job, high-revenue development. So we brought suit, and won in court.

    Let me repeat that. We. Won. In. Court.

    We then agreed to settle, provided the developers commit themselves to a long-term plan involving mixed use in the early phases, followed by office and R&D later. An important part of the plan was that the developer work to exchange the IKEA site near the river for a less valuable site farther inland. This flip happened, and as a result the developers are now well along in developing the riverfront as mixed use, residential and commercial, along with an exploratory office building.

    Go and look.

    Also important to the plan was working to bring in the Assembly Square Orange Line stop, which MVTF promoted early on as the key to unlocking the potential of Assembly Square. The Orange Line T-stop is now under construction.

    Go and look.

    So you say that the city would have a great development if MVTF had not been involved? No. We would have an IKEA next to the river, a bunch of big-box stores, and a SECOND Home Depot. Period. No mixed-use development, no T-stop, no ambition.

  11. don meglio says:

    Hey Larry,

    I too am a long-time Mystic View member…maybe not as long as Bill or Alan..but I have been involved a long time..and it’s my name and signature that is on the agreement that was eventually reached by all the parties.

    You are entitled to see things the way you see them. That’s what makes living in democracy so interesting. But I’d like to share with you why I got involved..and thought something needed to be done. I have lived in this city for almost 30 years..I have watched how the tax burden has always fallen onto the backs of residents..who either own or rent here. Every time the economy tanks..and with it the state’s economy..along went Somerville’s. We are not Cambridge..and I guess for some extent that’s a good thing. However..the tax burden for those living in Cambridge is significantly less than we folks here in Somerville. Very simply..Cambridge has a diverse economic base..while Somerville has lots and lots of residential uses that cost the city mucho dollars. We don’t have enough commerce to share the load…I got involved because I felt that we could no longer carry the full load without something changing. We needed more businesses that would create
    more Somerville jobs..and would paid their share in taxes. Right now..big box stores just don’t do that..you can argue with that..I’m glad to hear what you have to say….just a fact that residential property costs the most in taxes and cost the city the most to run. While businesses paid the highest rate and make up the smallest amount of the pie. That needed to change then..and that needs to change now..or else this city will become a place only the better off can afford to live in..

    But whatever your opinion is..it will never change the fact that I thought I did the right thing..I stood up when others would not…I sought..and still seek a Somerville that can create affordable housing..give our kids a good education and pay the people who work for us a decent wage. I just don’t thing that entire burden should fall on Somerville families..

    I was out at Assembly Square today…while I can’t say I like everything that is out there…it’s potential is far better than the alternative. Today..so many years later…I am at peace with my contribution and my decision to get involved..

    respectfully..

    Don Meglio

  12. KrisKringle says:

    Thanks to Alan Stiehl and David Dahlbacka for setting down the accurate record (as Bill Shelton did with his terrific multipart Assembly Square: the Back Story- wish I could find the cached link that stitched togetherall 17 part of that incredible piece.).

    @gregtowne & @Larry: I’ve seen with my own eyes that Bill is an hard, honest and honorable worker- he earns every cent he makes with sweat labor, not fancy prissy deskstuff.

  13. Alan Stiehl says:

    Larry,
    You’re not making a useful contribution here. You’re repeating some of the same nonsense propaganda from a decade ago. You’re badly misinformed on several counts. I know of three exceptional opportunities years ago that were thwarted by the city and by the developer. Two of the proposals were never made public.

    Read what Dahlbacka wrote and then Go and Look. Good-bye.

  14. A. Moore says:

    What is failed to consider here is what the people of Somerville wanted. I have yet to meet anyone who is happy with this project and each and every single one is disapointed with it. And every new change brings more disapointment. If this was left up to the voters which something of this size should have been it would have been quite different. Take Olive Garden for an example. Many people here their family comes and picks up their elderly parents to take them to in in another city. It is not so much the food as a place for the family to dine together at a price they can afford. Walmart example, many have to wait until one of the family can take them to one because we have only Targetsand Kmart and they want to shop at another store. My mother before she stopped most of her driving used to take other elderly to Walmart and they would make a day of it. Not that they spent much of anything but it was a place to go. I know a lot of people here and also the elderly walking the streets where I am often stop and talk to my parents so I hear from many. These are not people that are going to the meetings and fight. They are just used to the city just doing what they think we want or so called best for us. Shoving several thousand people down there with stores and restaurants most of us will never want or go to is hardly in the intrests of most of us. This is why many will not foget what was taken away from them and why this project leaves a bad taste and why the Mystic Task Force was so disliked. Regardless of disagreements about this it will pass in time as the older generation goes. But will take many years. At this point of this project our opinion does not matter any more but for many of us that project has nothing to do with us or is of any benefit or use. I see both sides of this and respect the others views except for the long delays.

  15. Somerbreeze says:

    @Larry – I take exception to the absurd notion that Somerville residents who rent aren’t “invested” in the city…

    Almost 68% of Somerville residents are renters–does that make them all disinterested transients?

    I’ve rented here for over twenty-five years, mainly because I can’t afford the ridiculous housing prices–but I damn well consider myself “invested”
    in Somerville!

  16. Larry says:

    Gentlemen, obviously my perception – and many others share the same perception – of your contribution to Assembly square has hit a nerve. Your rabid defense of the indefensible (obstructing development using grant money (taxpayer’s money) and getting kickbacks) speaks volumes about Mystic View Task Force (MVTF). NEWSFLASH: The market dictates what has gone into and will continue to go into Assembly square – not a private club of old, white guys with ponytails and Birkenstocks. It has always been that way and will always. If a business analyzes that they cannot turn a profit in Location XYZ then they won’t open there. Pretty simple stuff here, boys.

    Your only contribution was to delay development by threatening to use the court system, then abusing the court system to create all sorts of frivolous lawsuits to push your agenda. An agenda that wreaks of an elitist and we-know-better-than-you attitude that frankly makes any of your ideas moot from the get-go to most of us. How much money do you think those delays cost us property owners over the years in commercial taxes that could have gone to offset Joey’s oppressive property taxes/fines/fees? I would say millions and I would bet we will never recoup that lost revenue. I’d be tempted – and I am sure many others as well – to join in a class action lawsuit against MVTF to get back that money you cost us. The sword can cut both ways.

    30 years? Big deal. I’ve got turds in the plumbing system that have been here a lot longer than that.

  17. Marilyn says:

    One of the reasons that I have an issue with MVTF is the way they have gone after the Winter Hill Yacht Club. They had no issue with high-end condo developments and high-end restaurants locating at Assembly Square, but heaven forbid a bunch of mostly working-class guys from Somerville and the surrounding towns should have a boat club on the river. That’s when they lost my support.

  18. amen says:

    tough to listen to MVTF when I drive over to Medford or Everett to meet for food,or to get errands done. More choices and options there. And if big box stores are so terrible, why is the Everett plaza doing so well? add our new parking regs, and Somerville is just bleeding money. after work food & drink was always in Som. We crossed over when meters ran later and permit parking took over. it comes down to a snob issue, big box stores don’t fit your vision, and Olive garden an embarrassment. nobody at Mystic View ever tried to treat a family on a tight budget. When my family gets out for a treat, it’s not going to be The Independent or Orleans.

  19. Don Meglio says:

    30 years? Big deal. I’ve got turds in the plumbing system that have been here a lot longer than that.>>

    Larry..this was deep..real deep….

  20. ritepride says:

    Many of the comments are true. The citizens should sue the members of the MVTF. Like the mayor, the MVTF worked against the citizens and for the developers and have thus created a wasteland with the needless delays. Medford and Everett prosper while some of our elected officials are in the developers back pockets, BOA passing the $25 million contractor bond a prime example. If the Casino in Everett is built that will make Somerville’s business community hurt even further and the Chamber of Commerce can thank Lego Joe, MVTF, etc. for the loss.

  21. To Marilyn says:

    Winter Hill Yacht Club doesn’t need your pity. they’ve been paying nothing for prime waterfront land for eons. Let a State Rep dock his bock there free, and some other pols, too, and you get a piece of state land for your private club. People have been cracking down on them lately, but it’s all for good reason. This spot should be bringing in some good money for the city or the state. Their free ride should come to an end.

  22. The Winter Hill Yacht Club is an interesting case. A number of years ago a friend of mine who likes boating went by there and asked for an application to join. They said they weren’t accepting applicants. He asked if there was a waiting list. They said there wasn’t a waiting list. I don’t think they had a youth program either.

    WHYC is on DCR land, and I’m sure they pay their usage fees dutifully every year. However, usually when a club uses DCR land, they are expected to provide some public service. For example, Community Boating on the Charles has been teaching high-school students how to sail for decades, on the cheap.

    Of course, my friend applied a number of years ago, and maybe things have changed. Does the Winter Hill Yacht Club provide community services, such as a youth program? Does it accept applicants from the Somerville community? Or is it an exclusive, invitation-only club?

  23. archivist says:

    Assembly Square, the Back Story” was a series of columns by William Shelton that appeared in the Somerville News between April 13, 2005 and August 15, 2006.

    Here is the link: http://www.thesomervillenews.com/archives/39645

    Bill Shelton is a somerville treasure and this series of columns deserves a Pulitzer

  24. Byan Murphy says:

    You shouldn’t take any of “Larry’s” hateful attacks seriously, Bill. He may insinuate that you don’t work for a living, but his tenants say the same thing about him, like when it comes to removing those 30 year old deposits in the plumbing. He may bellow about yuppies, but he has no problem taking their money, or anyone else’s for that matter. He’s an equal opportunity exploiter.

    “Larry” grew up here. He’s had a problem with anger management since he was a kid, and he regularly flies into rages. His acquaintances don’t want to be with him because it’s uncomfortable, and it can become embarrassing with strangers present. So it’s good for Somerville that SN gives him this outlet. I would be willing to bet that he’s never met you. So whatever he writes about you, or most anything else, is more about his fantasy life than about the real world.

    You’ll notice that he doesn’t offer any reasoning or evidence for his rants.. If another person who posts here pushes him, he’ll cut and paste something from a reactionary website. Unlike people who post thoughtful conservative comments, like JAR, or J Conelly, or A Moore, he’s not really interested in critical thinking. He just needs opportunities to vent his rage. Both the right and the left have their hateful fools.

    He uses false identities like “Imux,” “Harry,” “Conrad Steele,” and many many others because he keeps getting banned and because he needs to create the illusion that there are others in Somerville who are as hateful as he is. He also does it because if he used his true identity, anyone one who knows him would dismiss anything that he says.

  25. Bryan Murphy says:

    You shouldn’t take any of “Larry’s” hateful attacks seriously, Bill. He may insinuate that you don’t work for a living, but his tenants say the same thing about him, like when it comes to removing those 30 year old deposits in the plumbing. He may bellow about yuppies, but he has no problem taking their money, or anyone else’s for that matter. He’s an equal opportunity exploiter.

    “Larry” grew up here. He’s had a problem with anger management since he was a kid, and he regularly flies into rages. His acquaintances don’t want to be with him because it’s uncomfortable, and it can become embarrassing with strangers present. So it’s good for Somerville that SN gives him this outlet. I would be willing to bet that he’s never met you. So whatever he writes about you, or most anything else, is more about his fantasy life than about the real world.

    You’ll notice that he doesn’t offer any reasoning or evidence for his rants.. If another person who posts here pushes him, he’ll cut and paste something from a reactionary website. Unlike people who post thoughtful conservative comments, like JAR, or J Conelly, or A Moore, he’s not really interested in critical thinking. He just needs opportunities to vent his rage. Both the right and the left have their hateful fools.

    He uses false identities like “Imux,” “Harry,” “Conrad Steele,” and many many others because he keeps getting banned and because he needs to create the illusion that there are others in Somerville who are as hateful as he is. He also does it because if he used his true identity, anyone one who knows him would dismiss anything that he says.

  26. harry says:

    Would be very interesting to find out how many members of the Somerville Yacht Club actually live here in Somerville. Would be a perfect site for the city to take to add to the Assembly Square, and how much rent do they pay DCR?

  27. nope says:

    I work with kids and have never heard of them opening their doors for anyone other than their own members to party, drink, and dock their very expensive boats.

  28. Josh says:

    It’s interesting when something is called elitist and must be stopped when it’s something you do not want to be a part of, but when people complain about all of the high end restaurants and such that are unaffordable to many, the answer is ‘suck it up, they are what makes the city great’. It is so hypocritical. The Yacht Club is part of a DCR program that leases land to local boating clubs, and there are many sprinkled through the Greater Boston area. These are for the people who like to go boating or fishing but could never come close to joining a true ‘yacht club’. They also have a nice space they rent for functions, something sorely lacking in this city, but the hoi polloi don’t do functions so why would they care. They also host some city events, such as get-togethers for Seniors. Prime waterfront land? Really? They wanted to be there when noone else did, and have kept the area from becoming completely desolate. Now they should be kicked to the curb because someone decided the land is ‘prime’? How much access will I have to that area when it is fronted by prime office/retail/residential buildings? Not much, I’d guess. What has happened to diversity? You know, I don’t much like so much land being used for 2 hockey rinks, when it could be used for something better. But, hey, the mayor’s kids play hockey, so I say let them have their rinks.

  29. Larry says:

    Bryan, that was a funny post the 1st time…. the second time it just got a bit creepy. Who are those other posters? Kind of strange for you to be monitoring the Internetzzzz, but hey whatever rocks your little boat.

    To Bill and his loyal sycophants, there are certain facts that are indisputable about Mystic View Task Force (MVTF); they take government money to advocate for a small minority of people (leftwing nutcases), they shakedown the city and developers by abusing the court system, their delays have cost the city millions in lost revenue, and their “vision” is the wrong one for that area. High-end shops, “affordable housing” set asides and walkways / bike paths to nowhere are not what the area needed. We needed more affordable shopping alternatives that could have brought in tax $$$s way back when. Trust me that what these goofs pushed will fail. Hard.

    And when this fails – none of these guys (Bill, Dave, Alain) will be around to answer. They weren’t born or raised here – they’ll slither away – they’re all outsiders with far too much influence on these decisions. I get the squeaky hinge gets the oil, but we don’t have to like it or their vision. Not should we take their opinions seriously. They’re slanted and far-left.

    Oh and to the fools who reference other Bill’s article as “proof” of anything – please grow up. Bill’s articles are all full of lies and half-truths to try and justify his agenda. Read his articles and you end up laughing out loud.

    I will also enjoy it when Everett builds that Casino and all the hookers/druggies and drunks use Assembly square as their urinal. What a view we’ll all have!

  30. Larry says:

    Oh and the yacht club takes new members and does events for the city (business events and others). If you want to join maybe layoff the hemp, get rid of the ponytails (cut your hair) and wear real shoes (not Birkenstocks). Not to be mean, but I wouldn’t take any of you progressives to a rock fight let alone join a club I may like to socialize in.

  31. Rob B. says:

    I have read some very interesting and informative opinions within this blog. And then there are the demeaning adjective driven comments from Mr. Hatemonger aka Larry. Does anyone else think that the countries he lists as proof that austerity works actually tried austerity and proved that it does not work? Let’s all chip in and send Larry on a vacation. Somewhere in California might be appropriate.

    Its great for citizen groups to take interest in community planning and
    keep a spotlight on what public officials are doing. Mystic Valley did some good things but like any one individual or group of people, they became power drunk and went much too far. After how many years?
    we so far have Burger Dive and Starbucks. Yes there is much to come although we have already lost too much in the planning.

    As I drive through the new construction, I wonder how much of what is going on could be useful to myself. So far, I am thoroughly disappointed. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a 30 year resident and a renter. I was born a few miles away back before WW2. I guess my opinions don’t count because I am “not vested” and a “foreigner”.
    I probable shouldn’t be allowed to vote either.

  32. Somerbreeze says:

    @ Rob B. – The Larryite Vigilante Squad will escort you and yours to the nearest Cambridge border crossing, where you must present a valid passport.

    If your passport is valid, you may apply for refugee status…

    Have a Great Day, and Thanks for visiting Somerville!

  33. To Josh says:

    yes, it was always Prime Land. a dock minutes from Boston by boat or by car. and it was not used by people who couldn’t afford a yacht club. I could point to many, especially a politician, who just had a bargain basement dock. The function hall is no benefit to the city, as you seem to think. You rent it like any other hall. It recently hosted a Senior event, first time, and last, since it’s nowhere near HP access. Seniors who need wheelchairs, walkers can’t go. It’s a state owned property. Ever see some outreach to the community about this gem? No. I challenge Josh and Marilyn to come up with a public service this place has provided, and/or a non-white face of a member. I would bet my next paycheck you cannot come up with either.

  34. Karen Sheehan says:

    Instead of attacking the poster named Larry it would be helpful if the Mystic View people could answer the facts he has brought up! I too would join in lawsuit after reading all this. They need to be stopped.

    – KS

  35. A. Moore says:

    KS I believe they can no longer do anything more there. I think it was part of a lawsuit in which they agreeded to. I am pretty sure that is how I remember it but hopefully someone will correct me if I am wrong.

  36. missed point says:

    this author completely misrepresents what republicans and others are suggesting as a budget solution. I have not heard any suggestions for an “austere” budget. I’m hearing sensible ideas to stop wasting money. During the sequester we’ve gone forward with new uniforms for TSA employees. The Prez had listed them as ‘very low priority’, yet this goes forward during a sequester. People are asking for common sense in spending before you come back to the people for more money. This author is irresponsible to portray it this way, but it’s what I’ve come to expect from scanning his articles looking for truth.

  37. ritepride says:

    Ah MVTF, Political Correctness, Progressive Democrats, Tea Party, etc.
    Put them all together it equals the same thing…A modern form of the New Communist Party attempting to lead this country towards demise. Ship the whole gang of them to Pakistan.

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