Baggers in the library
An open letter to Tea Baggers:
I've noticed that in my little town of Conway, your local contingent often holds its anti-government meetings in places like the Faulkner County Library, Conway's McGee Sports Center or our municipal courts building. And when one of your national Tea Baggers stopped in Little Rock a few months ago to speak, the event was held at the Central Arkansas Library's Butler Center. Isn't it ironic that these venues used free by your group for its activities in support of limited government are housed in taxpayer-funded public buildings? Perhaps other locales with active Tea Bag cells might report similar behavior.
It's good that we have public facilities such as these that are available to citizens. You shouldn't have to rent an expensive conference room at the Hilton every time your stamp club, book club, student group or Tea Bag buddies want to meet.
But being members of an outfit like the Tea Baggers, which so fervently rails against government spending, how are you able to reconcile your group's habitual use of free public facilities? When your local TB chapter is meeting in a place like Conway's McGee Center, plotting plans to downsize government and fulminating over high taxes, do any of you ever express concerns for the costs that taxpayers must bear to provide this public space for your free use?
If your little group is really serious about shrinking government and cutting taxes, show us that you mean it and put your money where your mouth is. Rent a room for your next TB meeting and just say "No!" to free public accommodations. Your local economy needs the business.
And you can stay out of our public libraries, too! I love libraries, patronize them often and encourage others to do the same. But when it comes to you small-government types, I don't want to see any of you browsing the stacks, looking for a free read on the taxpayer's back. If you want a book, go to Barnes & Noble or Amazon or Hastings and buy it!
Or just stay tuned to Fox News. They tell you all you really need to know, don't they?
More 'Talking points'
Since my dear son knows what a fan of the Arkansas Times his mother is, he sent me some choice excerpts from the copies he collects for me. Bob Lancaster and his "Talking points" column (Oct. 5) gave me a lot of out-loud laughs. Only a very fertile brain could come up with all that! I'll hold to his promise of more to come. If he finds any more really good stuff, bring it on! I am a big fan.
From the web
In reaction to news about Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art founded by Alice Walton:
I think it's great that this museum is being built. I also think it is a shame that while the family is spending $1.4 billion on the museum, that Walmart is also slashing workers' already meager health benefits. Walmart associates aren't asking to be millionaires or have their own museums, but to be able to work hard and provide a decent life for their families.
In response to stories about Occupy Little Rock:
These I see are some of the gripes OWS/OLR have.
The feds are trying again to help people with mortgages. Underwater mortgages brought on by the last housing bubble — unregulated lending practices that financed people into homes they would not have been otherwise able to afford by using risky lending schemes. The banks lost and they got bailed out. People lost homes and try as they have the feds can't seem to stop people from losing a place to live. But still the feds are trying to bail people out for being greedy with too much house compared to what they make.
Then you have student loans. People who had tried to better themselves with higher education. But the lending practices are largely unregulated as well. Huge loans being financed by the feds. In today's economy grads have to pay them no matter what the state of the economy. Sure payments can be put off 3 years. Or, payments reduced — not options with a mortgage, true. But interest accumulates that whole time. Accumulating interest over 3 years can increase a loan amount 30 percent. Then you have to hope you find a job that pays you 30 percent more than it would have otherwise.
There is a disparity between the amount you borrow vs. the amount you make. Not all jobs are guaranteed to make a salary to meet loan payments. It is a gamble. It brings to mind, is that gamble in higher ed worth it? The best or worst example are pilots. A junior pilot will easily rack up $60,000 in loans because the labs in school are flight lessons. Very expensive. But, that junior pilot is lucky to make 20K a year each year for the first 2 maybe 3 years out of school. That's just above single-person poverty. Not enough to pay loans and if they don't, interest on 60K at 7 to 8 percent is frightening. That individual will be playing catch up for most of their life if the slightest unforeseen event delays anywhere near a top end salary schedule.
Student loan defaults have no tangible collateral to collect except one's indentured servitude for life.
I think the next financial bubble will be student loans.
Why are people getting bailed out of mortgages and the fed does nothing to help bail out those affected by similar failed student loan practices?
Because, bailouts are meant to affect the corporations only. If a bailout plan harms a corporation the feds won't support it.