Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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October 19, 2012

Sullivan’s Salvos 10/23/12 In this edition: *Vote Stutsman and Schwab! *Liberal Ideas? *Seven Myths of Government Bashing, Part 4 *Did You Know? *Vote Stutsman and Schwab! Johnson County voters got a rare treat when the redistricting maps came out. Due to population growth, Johnson County got TWO new House seats in the Iowa Legislature! I have spoken to longtime observers of State Government, and no one recalls that happening previously. I have very strong biases in these races. Please allow me a moment to talk about my picks for these seats. House District 73 includes Solon, the northwest part of Johnson County, all of Cedar County, and the City of Wilton. In HD73, I support Dick Schwab. Dick has had a very successful business career, including running a huge local employer and starting several successful small businesses. But it is his heart that really impresses me. Dick has dedicated his life to education (Solon School Board, Dollars for Scholars), the environment (Johnson County Heritage Trust, Conservation Bond), and human services (Goodwill, Shelter House). Many people talk about how much they care. Dick Schwab proves it. Dick and his wife Katherine are philanthropists of the first order. Plus, Dick is honest, smart, and hard working. This is truly a quality candidate and quality man. House District 77 is the western and southern part of Johnson County, including Swisher, Shueyville, Tiffin, Oxford, North Liberty, and Lone Tree. In HD77, I support Sally Stutsman. I have had the pleasure of serving with Sally for 8 years, and I can assure you that she knows how government works. As a matter of fact, she deserves most of the credit for improving the County government we have! Before Sally was elected, we had cronyism, sexism, secrecy, no plan for investing, a lack of transparency, and a lack of written policies. Over many objections, Sally led Johnson County to a government of laws rather than a government of personalities. Sally has never gotten the thanks she ought to for her work in those trying times. I know that I can count on Sally to be fair and consistent. She is a damn good Supervisor, and the people of HD77 should know that – she has represented them well for years! Sally will do government right for the people of HD77. If you have a vote in HD 73 or 77, you have a real opportunity. Please vote Stutsman and Schwab! *Liberal Ideas? Since 1980, political negotiations in the US have largely been between the center and the right. On one hand, this makes some sense – conservatives controlled most of the branches of government for most of that period. But beyond simply controlling most of the levers of government, they succeeded in moving the national political conversation considerably to the right. Debates over the Affordable Care Act and same sex marriage are the first really “liberal” ideas to become part of the mainstream political debate in quite some time. Even the Affordable Care Act was a conservative counter-offer to the more progressive idea of universal health care. I believe we need to make sure that liberal ideas remain on the table. Many of the “big ideas” that make America great came from progressives. Think about it: free public education, ending slavery, exploring the west, expanding rights to more people, ending child labor, creating weekends and 40 hour weeks, public health initiatives, Medicare, Social Security, scientific discoveries – these are but a few of the “big ideas” that came from the liberals of the day. These were all expansions of government, and expansions of the role of government. They all came from people who wanted to make the world a better place, and saw government as a way to accomplish those goals. What could be done to improve life in the US? What if we really dedicated substantial resources to curing cancer? What if new mothers got to stay home with their child for a year, with health insurance coverage? What if we put nursing home resources into keeping seniors at home? What if we invested heavily in public transportation? What if, instead of focusing on cuts to Medicare, we lowered the eligibility age to 60? We cannot simply debate between the center and the right. We need big ideas. Yes, there will always be the matter of how to pay for big ideas. (We could actually use some big ideas on this topic!) Nothing great has ever happened in the US without a few people dreaming big dreams. So please join me in keeping big ideas at the table! *Seven Myths of Government Bashing A friend recently sent me a great piece by Gail Cohen entitled “Seven Myths of Government Bashing”. I like this piece so much that I have decided to divide it into seven parts and run it in Salvos. Today, Part 4: CLAIM: Before Reagan came along and reduced government and lowered taxes, America was worse off. ANSWER: Reagan’s answer was to radically cut taxes. In doing so, he created massive deficits. In 1983, Reagan backed off his tax cuts, and raised the amount that each worker had to contribute to Social Security. However Reagan continued to cut corporate taxes and taxes for the very wealthy, so the deficit grew. To curb it, he borrowed hundreds of billions from the Social Security trust fund, the first President to do so in significant amounts. Americans still pay 100 billion dollars a year in interest on the money that Reagan took from Social Security. The 2008 and 2009 “bailouts” were not the first time the taxpayers footed the bill for Wall Street’s betting frenzy. They were only the first giveaways to be called what they really were. All of this was presaged by the Reagan-era Savings & Loan scandal, which was but the first of the now-familiar bankers’ games that cost the taxpayer hundreds of billions of dollars. But it was under Reagan that taxpayers began shoring up bankers after they failed at dice. Before his Presidency, such a practice was unheard of. What else did the Reagan-rich do with their newly-minted billions? Buy other companies. The Reagan billionaires treated newly acquired firms as if they were ATMs, firing employees, gutting communities, stripping legacy businesses of their assets, and draining money to the new corporate headquarters. The resulting dearth of small businesses, the lack of local flavor, the corporate bigness that reduces every town to a series of strip malls each with a Starbucks and a Subway, that all started under Reagan. Reagan’s America was indeed awash in cash. But those billions created relatively few jobs, and the ones created were not robust. The 1980’s saw the decline of well-paying manufacturing jobs and the rise of the “service sector.” American workers emerged from early-1980’s recession to find themselves wearing aprons, colorful hats and serving hamburgers. But rather than invest in industries that would create good jobs, the Reagan-rich invested in financial schemes that created a quick buck. Why didn’t the rich invest in stable, multifaceted industries that created a vast array of products that regular people could actually buy? Because during the Reagan years, regular people couldn’t afford to buy much of anything. During Reagan’s first term, 10% of all working Americans had no job, and the jobs they found later didn’t pay very well. Thus industry had little incentive to re-invent the Boom Years of 1955-75, during which products and all their parts were made at home. During that era, regular Americans could afford to buy the things they manufactured, a dual role which encouraged industry to manufacture more, creating a healthy cycle. But under Reagan, the middle class lost buying power, making up for this loss only by going into debt. *DID YOU KNOW? Through methods such as failure to pay overtime, working folks off the clock, etc. - employers stole over $106 billion in wages from their employees in 2011. (Source: Barbara Ehrenreich.) Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website- "Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents. These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned. If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line. If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line. As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you! ---Rod


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