Congratulations to Janet Yellen! I don’t know her and I didn’t know of her until a week ago. Ms. Yellen presents a likelihood of one strong, sensible move to keep a fairly aggressive Federal Reserve Board policy in place to alleviate the dragged out aspects of the recent recession. I really like the fact that it is quite clear that she wasn’t appointed because she is a woman. She was appointed because she was the logical choice, the most experienced, the best qualified and most ready to serve.
There seems to be much for we non-Catholics to like about the new Pope Francis. We don’t grant much earthly deity status to our pastors, synod bishops or denomination leaders. It seems most other sects or religious groups don’t, either. In the America of past decades, the leader of the Roman papal hierarchy has had a disproportionate impact and influence upon our total citizenry. Pronouncements from the pope are held in esteem and disseminated as strong edicts that sometimes become controlling laws, not just for Catholics, but all Americans.
We are ever reminded that life is fragile. Also, we are reminded almost daily to expect the unexpected. Yesterday I awoke, thinking that the first priority was to finish up and send in this week’s column. I’d been working with help from another, who recently alerted me to a technical problem, dilemma and concern. We ”tech Neanderthals” have been oblivious to the invasion of privacy, or tech piracy, of our own National Security Agency (NSA).
As I write this column, the Labor Day weekend is coming to an end. As in most of the last 50 years, I attended a Labor-oriented Labor Day picnic in Duluth. It was announced that similar commemorating gatherings have occurred in Duluth for most of the past 122 years. While individuals, non-union and even anti-union and Republicans attend and circulate, the event is organized, financed and otherwise made possible by most all of the Duluth area local unions acting as sponsors, hosts and workers for the event.
In response In response to last week’s columns, all of the facts I learned came from Minnesota newspaper articles. I relied on the following: • AGCO is simply unable to find employees for its new expansion in Jackson, Minn. • There is no housing available for potential employees to move into, anywhere in Jackson or the surrounding area. • The lack of potential employees is so dire that the company is expending huge sums to buy robots to do some of the work.
What I’d planned to write about this week was the Republican recess. It doesn’t affect us in this area directly since we don’t have a Republican congressperson traveling our district this month. We have the luxury of Congressman Rick Nolan. He’s ever on the move, in and out of the vast district, fast-paced, but following his own instincts as to the needs of his constituents, not the dictates of his national party.
Our August Supreme Court recently ruled that our corporations are persons. If so, shouldn’t they have a conscience and be considerate of other people, particularly their workers? It would be nice if they would make their decisions a little more people-oriented, and a little less almighty dollar-oriented, if they showed more conscience and maybe even a little compassion. I’m thinking of a corporation — AGCO, which makes huge farm tractors — and another corporation closer to lake country minds, Wausau.
It is a sad commentary on our society when the biggest bank robbers in our nation happen to be the biggest banks in the nation, robbing the rest of us. We have experienced a lessening of personal service in our bigger banks. It sure makes me appreciate the good, personal service I get at a small bank here in our small community. Along with the lessening of big bank personal services has been a lot of new charges for what used to be free, and a lot of those new or increased charges have come without much in the way of valid explanation or advance notice.
Governor Dayton seems to have survived all the flap and negativism about increasing taxes this legislative session. The major and most publicized feature of his comprehensive tax proposal was to increase state income taxes 2 percent on the top 2 percent of income earners. That increase was loudly decried by many, most of whom will likely never be affected.
One of the minor things the Legislature did this past session is a good, small step in financing our political campaigns. The Legislature reinstated and funded our pre-existing Political Campaign Refund (PCR) procedure. While some of us argue for a lot more in the way of public financing of major elected office campaigns, and some countries totally fund campaigns, we are not at such a point in this country at present or, likely, in the near future. Our state PCR program is a small step in a good direction. It is scheduled to be re-enacted as of July.