St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones has promised more police downtown and stepped up enforcement of traffic and nuisance laws. Her supporters in the defund the police movement are not happy.
Continue reading on StlToday.com
The US and other countries have proposed a global 15% minimum corporate tax. However, it’s not a change in tax rates that our corporate tax system needs, it’s a change in structure. We need to move from taxing profit to taxing revenue. Doing so would be a far more effective way to end the tax avoidance strategies of multi-national corporations and would reduce bureaucratic costs for all businesses. If the transition was revenue neutral, it would result in a tax cut for many small and medium sized US businesses, and a significant tax increase in companies that use accounting to move their profit offshore to avoid paying US taxes.
At the recent Taste in Ferguson event organizers set up a table with 13 flowers a quiet memorial to the last American soldiers to die in Afghanistan. Their deaths were a bitter ending to a long, frustrating conflict, and Congress is rightly holding hearings on the withdrawal from Afghanistan. However, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it wasn’t President Biden that lost the war in Afghanistan. It was President Bush, twenty years ago, by allowing Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to escape. We’ve been dealing with the consequences ever since.
Continue reading on Ferguson Observer – https://yourferguson.org/ashby-bush-afghanistan/
Proposal: Make direct cash payments to Section 8 recipients to allow them, in conjunction with a church or non-profit, to purchase a house and build personal equity instead of renting an apartment.
Background: Ultimately, the goal of any safety net program is economic agency, to give the recipients of the aid the ability to take control of their economic lives. Government programs can have the opposite effect, building a dependency on the government instead of self-reliance. The current Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 8 program is an example. The program does allow recipients to take control of where they live, however it also leaves most of the responsibility with the government. The government decides if a housing unit is adequately maintained, not the recipient. The government pays the landlord directly, instead of trusting the recipient to make the payment. And there is no incentive for the recipient to find comparable, lower priced housing – the recipient doesn’t financially benefit from being frugal.
I heard it again: The coronavirus wasn’t as serious as it was made out to be. It was a campaign tool to get Joe Biden elected. What was concerning was that I heard this from one of the leaders of the church my wife and I attend.
They are sometimes referred to, tongue in cheek, as “The Harrolds of North County”. There are a lot of them, and many are very successful in their chosen fields. In parts of North County, if you mention knowing one of the Harrolds the person you are talking with is almost guaranteed to say “Oh yeah, I know..” and then name a cousin or uncle or aunt.
Continue reading reading on The Ferguson Observer.
A friend believes the presidential election was stolen from President Donald Trump. Me? I doubt it. But according to polls, most Republicans believe President-elect Joe Biden only won the presidency because of significant voter fraud.
Sometimes it seems as if “compromise” has become a dirty word. It’s worth remembering that it was a compromise, Democratic Capitalism, that made the United States the country it is.
Democratic Capitalism is capitalism moderated by the power of democracy to ensure we all have a chance to participate in our economy, share in its benefits and that everyone plays by the same set of financial and legal rules.
As a longtime Republican who voted against Donald Trump twice, I’m relieved that this chapter of our history is almost over. But it’s hard not to be disappointed by the campaign that Democrat Joe Biden ran. Our divided country needed a debate on the proper role for government in our society. We didn’t get it.
Continue Reading https://www.stltoday.com/opinion/columnists/blake-ashby-an-opportunity-missed-for-democrats-to-redeem-capitalism/article_df288fc1-4040-5ab7-b13f-5776aff6e935.html
Published in St. Louis Post-Pispatch 12/01/20
It’s been a great month for democracy.
Not because Joe Biden won, although I am happy about that. It’s been a great month for democracy because the citizens of the United States of America proved yet again that we recognize, and cherish, this beautiful system of government we have built. We cherish the right of every American – every American – to participate in the process of choosing our leaders.
Early Sunday evening, I watched a 77-year-old grandmother get punched by a Ferguson protester. She told him to stop spray-painting graffiti. She turned to talk to another protester; he took two steps toward her and cold-cocked her in the jaw, knocking her off her feet.
Continue reading https://www.stltoday.com/opinion/columnists/blake-ashby-speaking-out-against-protest-vandalism-doesn-t-warrant-physical-attack/article_49f6bad2-8f00-5680-a55c-3ce1f5f2ce56.html
Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch 06/04/20
Information about our federal coronavirus preparedness and response is slowly starting to come out. However there’s one critical piece of data that we will likely never learn: How many people were turned down for tests because of lack of testing capacity?
Continue reading https://www.stltoday.com/opinion/columnists/blake-ashby-the-missing-data-what-you-dont-measure-you-cant-manage/article_0ab2d969-d32d-56fa-99b4-4a366907ad40.html
Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch 04/11/20
If nothing else, the global pandemic is highlighting the interdependence of the global economy, and hopefully the need for international cooperation. Global oil production is yet another example of this interdependence.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/10/trump-mexico-oil/. The first oil well in the world was drilled in the United States in 1859; we have been pumping it out of the ground ever since.
It’s a rough time for our country, but we will get through it, and we will eventually get back to the presidential election. When we do, I’m hoping its with a more civil, less hateful approach. And that includes how we talk about President Trump.
We need to get through this crisis, and we will. Once we do, we need to have a real conversation about the proper role of government. What do we as individuals take responsibility for, and what responsibilities do we place on society, on government? It’s not an easy question – where does individual responsibility end, and government responsibility begin? Where do the rights of the individual end, and the rights of the group begin?
Lost in the global bad news over the weekend was a bit of good news – Israel became a little more democratic. For the first time ever, the parties representing Arab Israelis have agreed to participate in a coalition government. The Blue and White Party, in its efforts to cobble together a majority in Israel’s legislature, the Knesset, had asked the Joint List of Arab-majority Parties to join its governing coalition. With these added voted, the Blue and White Party has a majority of votes and has been given the right to form a new government, with its leader as Prime Minister.
One of the problems in our society is that the anonymity of digital communications allows some people to feel empowered to say things that they would never say to someone’s face. An example of this are threats of harm or even death. If threats of this nature were made face to face, the person making the threat would be subject to arrest – it is illegal to threaten to harm or kill someone. However since these threats are being made remotely, often anonymously, action is almost never taken against the person making the threat. Often they are in a different jurisdiction and local law enforcement lacks the resources or technical capabilities to adequately pursue the case.
Here’s an example of how American Capitalism has been distorted: compensation for Chief Executive Officers of public companies. If you go back a few decades, the average corporate CEO made about 20 times what his or her workers made. By 2010, the average CEO made 200 times what the average worker made, an increase of 1,000%. The average CEO went from being paid hundreds of thousand dollars a year to being paid tens of millions of dollars a year.
I have to admit, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Michael Milken.. He did deserve the jail time he got, he was breaking securities laws in an attempt to hide his holdings and influence. But in the scope of Wall Street characters or scoundrels, whichever you prefer, he was also an innovator that helped change and yes improve our financial markets.
We need to make Democracy a condition of any future nuclear deal with Iran. Iran insists that it is a responsible nation and can be trusted with nuclear technology. Recent unrest has shown yet again that the nation doesn’t trust its own people, and the people are losing their trust in their leadership. Iran is not a democracy, it is a theocracy, run in the name of God by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The Supreme Leader has control over every aspect of society, and a private army, the Revolutionary Guard, that only answers to him.
We're In This Together
Sometimes it seems as if "Conversation" has become a bad word in our country, as if talking to someone not in complete agreement with you is a sign of weakness. Sometimes it seems as if Anger is the only energizing force we allow ourselves. I believe in a different America. An America where two people can disagree but still respect the basic humanity of the other person. An America where it is possible to disagree without hate, to talk without shouting. I believe, even still, in the ideal of the United States of America, a democracy where each person has the right to pursue their own life, and have their own opinion. If our country is less great than it once was, it is because we have slipped away from this idea, this belief that all men and women have the right to choose the course of their own lives, and their own opinions. It is both the left and the right that have slipped away from this idea, allowed their anger to somehow convince themselves to question the humanity of the other side. Sometimes it seems that fighting anger with reason is impossible. But if history has proven anything, it is that reason does always eventually win. This blog is my effort to again have a conversation, to replace anger with reason. I hope you will join me in a conversation, and together we can recapture the faith in our country and our citizens that made America great.