The Debate on Socialism

I ran into a friend the other day, and the first words out of his mouth were “Since when did the Democratic party become Socialist?” My short answer was — they haven’t. They’re they same old corporatist, center-right party they’ve been for years. It’s just that Republicans, seizing on the rhetoric of Bernie Sanders and a few others, have decided that socialism is the Democrats’ Achilles heel and so they’re making a big issue of it. Oddly enough, however, this could turn out to be a good thing. By drawing attention to it, they’ve opened a debate that’s been dormant for decades.

SoVermont Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy 2018 Draft

BDCC and SeVEDS have released a draft version of the 2018 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. Below you’ll find the full text of what is being suggested for improvements to this part of the state. It is currently a draft, and you can get involved to help improve it.

Note some of issues relate to having a regional community web site with a calendar and such. Too bad we don’t have one of those around here!

GOP Has No Plans for Elderly Americans

Republicans have never liked Social Security, going all the way back to August 14, 1935, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. For decades, congressional Republicans, rigorously supported by Republican presidents, have been attempting to steal the trillions from the “lock-box” of the self-sustaining Social Security Trust Fund.

The principle message of Social Security’s opponents, perpetrated since Roosevelt’s signature was dry, is the blatant lie that the checks are handouts forced from unwilling taxpayers. In reality, these payments come from the workers’ own earnings with 6.2% of gross withheld and deposited in special mandated savings accounts authorized by the “Federal Insurance Contributions Act” (FICA).

Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting Finance Committee Releases Brattleboro Union High School Budget Report

Brattleboro, VT – The Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting Finance Committee announced today the release of its report on the Brattleboro Union High School District #6 proposed budget for fiscal year 2019, which will be considered for approval next week by the voters of the four towns in the district. The BUHS Annual Meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. in the BUHS gymnasium.

Quite The Dow Drop

I took a short break today to watch an historic event. It wasn’t intentional, but I caught the stock market dropping like a rock this afternoon. If you missed it, in less than an hour it went a bit like this:

Hurricane Damage Costs Will Skyrocket Due to Climate Change, New Report Finds

WASHINGTON, June 2 – Costs from hurricane damages in the United States are expected to increase 39 percent in the coming decades because of the effects of climate change and coastal development, according to a new report prepared by the Congressional Budget Office for Sens. Bernie Sanders and Patty Murray. The 2016 hurricane season began Wednesday.

My New Theory – Economic Fracking

I’ve coined a new term for what I think is going on in the world economy. Certain speculators and money-obsessed groups are fracking the economy, trying to extract smaller and smaller amounts of profit from deeper and deeper crevices. In doing so, they’ve made the underlying economy unstable, and strange, unexpected, and dangerous events are the result. This makes it impossible for those who played by former rules to know how to participate. The old rules have changed.

So, an example of this fracking of the economy would be the investment houses that invest in algorithms to do high volume micro-trades at faster-than-human speeds. They are hoping to extract pennies, or portions of pennies, in their favor.

SeVEDS Announces 2015 CEDS Vital Project Rankings

Windham Region: Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) has announced the projects submitted for inclusion in the 2015 CEDS (Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies) along with the list of 14 projects ranked at Vital Projects at a Press event held at the New England Center for Circus Arts at the Cotton Mill Hill studio. Vital Projects are the top ranked projects in terms of alignment and potential to advance the goals and objectives of the CEDS.

Modern Wood Heat: An Economic Engine for Windham County

Windham County is poised to lead a modern wood heat revolution in Vermont—and there are several reasons we should be leading the charge.

Modern wood heat—I’ll explain just what that is in a minute—will deliver economic, ecological and community benefits to our county. It will create jobs in forest-based businesses and foster energy independence, both of which Vermonters value.

Modern wood heating systems use high-efficiency boilers to heat whole buildings ranging in size from a modest one-story home to apartment buildings to large commercial buildings. Instead of oil, these systems feed on wood pellets or wood chips that are delivered in bulk and stored on-site. When you push up the thermometer, the heat kicks in just as it would with fossil fuel, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that you are heating with a renewable local fuel and that your heating budget is supporting our economy.

Upcoming Public Forum on Modern Wood Heating Systems: Local Heat for a Local Economy

The Windham Wood Heat Initiative (WWH) will hold a free public information forum on modern wood heating systems on November 16 from 5:30 – 7:30pm at the Marlboro College Graduate Center in Brattleboro. Modern wood heating systems are low emission, high efficiency systems that provide much of the convenience of conventional fossil fuel boilers—without the fossil fuels. Heating with locally sourced, sustainably harvested, and renewable wood pellets provides numerous environmental, economic, and social benefits. These systems come in a wide range of sizes adaptable for residences as well as large commercial operations.

Stock Market Volatility and The Little Guy

About six weeks ago, even those of us who are barely paying attention started to hear ominous reports out of China. The stock markets in the world’s second largest economy had taken a turn for the worse and were shedding value to an alarming degree – 7% one day, 8% another, to the tune of a whopping 35% by the time Black Tuesday rolled around. This occurred despite continual action on the part of the Chinese government since May to shore them back up or at least stop the bleeding. Market turbulence had set in and the central banks of that country seemed powerless to stop it. Watching all this from half a world away, the big question on everyone’s mind became: when is this going to hit us? On August 21, 2015, it did.

Southern Vermont Projects Funded to Mitigate the Economic Impacts of VY Closure

Green Building Cluster, Business Acceleration and Tri State region CEDS alignment

Windham County, VT – On Monday August 31st, Senator Patrick Leahy announced that the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) has been awarded $265K by the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The federal award was the final piece of funding needed for a $530K project which will launch two major initiatives outlined in the Windham Region S.M.A.R.T. CEDS: Development of a Green Building Cluster Study and the initiation and operation of the Southern Vermont Business Innovation Accelerator.

Windham County Economic Development Program Relaunch

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) and the Windham County Advisory Council are pleased to announce the relaunch of the . 

ACCD has worked closely with state and regional partners to redesign the program to ensure greater local and regional participation in the process, simplify the application process – especially for businesses – and improve communication about the program to the region.  The regional partners have formed a consisting of BDCC, WRC, SeVEDS, SBDC, ACCD, municipalities with designated downtowns – Brattleboro, Wilmington, Rockingham – plus Vernon.

As Greece Goes, So Go Debtors All

Don’t mess with the powers that be. That’s the message I got from the Greek crisis currently winding down in Europe. They will wipe you out sooner than look at you if you welch on a bet – or default on a loan.

It was really quite remarkable to behold, this unraveling of Greece. Rumblings of trouble in the financial pages for months, a day of reckoning in June with banks closing country-wide, a stunning public referendum in which 60% of the citizenry voted against more austerity, and the government, just this week, caving all the same, its more idealistic finance minister resigning in, well, resignation.

“R” rCredits For You?

What are rCredits?

The rCredits system is a cooperative mutual credit organization providing online credit card, debit card, and cash card services.

In this economy, it’s hard to find US Dollars to pay for things. With rCredits we can fund what we need, without having to depend on US Dollars. rCredits are simply a way for us to give each other credit in our local community, so that, in effect, there is more money to go around.

You can spend rCredits and be paid with rCredits just as with US Dollars.