The hard choices in front of us

(Harvard students should be strong enough to listen to a diversity of views, not precious little flowers that need to be shielded from the real world. Trying to silence people like Gilchrist and their appalling arguments will not make them go away and, in fact, in my opinion, strengthens them in the long run -- the opposite of the desired result. It is a sign of weakness, I think. - promoted by Bob)

Today’s Boston Globe story about our administration’s work with Evergreen Solar clearly points to some of the key choices Massachusetts must make in the months ahead — choices that will affect us during this economic crisis and far into our future.

Early economic indicators show we are poised to come out of this downturn stronger and faster than the rest of the United States.  That is good news – and no accident.  The work we have done with Evergreen Solar and companies like it is one of the major reasons why.  We are fully committed to supporting them and championing them, fighting to keep and grow them in Massachusetts.

Starting even before we were sworn in, our team worked hard to convince Evergreen to build a solar panel manufacturing factory in our Commonwealth instead of in other states like New York and Oregon.  Since then, Evergreen has grown to nearly 700 employees — more than doubling its Massachusetts-based payroll, twice the number of jobs they committed to create.  They are great jobs, with benefits, and they belong to our neighbors right here in Massachusetts.  Not in other states.  The company has increased sales in the last year by more than 50 percent, and recently raised over $70 million in the capital markets.  Despite the economic crisis and the growing competition from other new Massachusetts-based clean tech companies, Evergreen has clearly stated it has no plans to scale back operations here.

So, I am proud of our work with Evergreen as well as with the many other companies we work with.  We want those businesses competing and growing jobs right here in Massachusetts.  


All of us ought to promote what is strong, positive and possible in Massachusetts.  But doing so requires we also fight back against the persistent negativity and cynicism that surrounds us.  That, I admit, is one the hardest parts of my job.  It is a daily slog, but it must be done if we are to position our Commonwealth for a better future.  And I need your help to do that.

You ought to know that, despite what the cynics say, our clean energy sector, like life sciences, IT, health care and education — the very sectors our administration has concentrated on — are leading Massachusetts out of this recession faster and stronger than the rest of the country.

You ought to know that, as tough as our fiscal challenges are, we have closed an $8 billion dollar revenue gap and delivered three budgets that were balanced, responsible and on time — not something many other states can say.

You ought to know that, while we have work to do to tackle ever-increasing premium costs, more than 97 percent of our residents are insured — more than any other state — and that our neighbors don’t have to worry about going into bankruptcy if they get sick or having their insurance company turn them away because they were sick before they were insured.

You ought to know that, short as we are on resources, we have invested more money in education and in rebuilding our roads and bridges, public and affordable housing, college campuses and broadband expansion than any other administration in the history of the Commonwealth.

And you ought to know that no matter how much the cynics and the negative peddle their cynicism and negativity, we will keep on investing, managing through the fiscal crisis and promoting to business and to families what’s right about Massachusetts because that is the only way to create opportunity and a better future for us all.

You ought to know all that – and you ought to tell somebody else.

I am hopeful.  But my hope is not blind optimism.  It is the persistent determination to look up and move forward, not ignoring the obstacles, but in spite of them.  Because that is the only way to move Massachusetts forward, and the only way anyone ever has.

Keep the faith.

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  1. You ought to know that....

    the people on Main St America are not feeling much better than they were last year.  The cost of living in Massachusetts is difficult to manage, at least for those of us who live in the reality of the state.  

    ~~~~~~~~~ Do you have links to these indicators.....

    Early economic indicators show we are poised to come out of this downturn stronger and faster than the rest of the United States.

    I hope they don't show that unemployment and retail sales have indeed fallen, only less than expected.  That is a beautiful spinning dance, sorta like the waltz.

    ~~~~~~~~~

    All of us ought to promote what is strong, positive and possible in Massachusetts.

    I agree, it's important to promote the positive, but not if you completely ignore the reality.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    But doing so requires we also fight back against the persistent negativity and cynicism that surrounds us.  That, I admit, is one the hardest parts of my job.  It is a daily slog, but it must be done if we are to position our Commonwealth for a better future.  And I need your help to do that.

    What do you mean by this.....shut up and smile?

    Life is not as good as you wish it to be portrayed.  Being silent would only be sweeping middle class difficulties under the rug.  We have not recovered yet, Governor Patrick, it doesn't feel like we've recovered at all.

    ~~~~~~~~~

    It is the persistent determination to look up and move forward, not ignoring the obstacles, but in spite of them.

    Maybe looking up is where the problem lies, if I were to look up all the time, I would trip over the reality of what lies on the ground. Moving forward in spite of the obstacles is technically ignoring them. I realize many of the obstacles are national, not state, things for which you have no control. What we need you to do is validate that the American people are still struggling and that more needs to be done.  A far better idea, I think, than to say that all is well and let's move on.

    Just so you know,  there is no more money in middle class household budgets to fund another tax increase.  If you need to raise taxes, I think a more fitting way to do it is to tax the highest income earners, who easily meet their household budgets every month, including basic needs, education, and healthcare, and then have thousands of dollars in disposable income left.  I think it's time to begin discussing the idea of a graduated progressive income tax, begining at a gross salary of $150,000/yr.

    Thanks for listening.

     

    • Appreciate your points...

      Liveandletlive, I appreciate your points, but you may have missed mine.  I am not asking anybody to ignore the hardship, struggle and damage the economy is causing.  I don't ignore that reality.  It is in nearly every decision that comes to the governor's office these days.  It has affected my family and my friends, as it may have yours.  The only way out of it is to get people back to work, which is why I spend my time every day working with companies to invest here and create those jobs.  That's why the Globe story about Evergreen was so frustrating - here we have an example of a company that, at our urging, invests here and then doubles the number of jobs they committed to create at the outset, but they and we still get slammed.  I know that not enough people have felt the turnaround.  But that means doing more Evergreens, not fewer.  The point is that we are on the right course, not the wrong one, to recover - by working hard on the sectors that can and are, slowly but surely, lifting us out of recession.

      • I am missing your point

        I am not trying to be disrespectful. I am trying to be open and honest.  I am trying to express the frustration the people of this state also have with regard to all of the difficulties facing us today.

        I don't feel like the Globe article you refer to is trying to slam you.  What is happening to Evergreen Solar is not much different than what is happening everywhere.  The concerns are that there was a large amount of taxpayer dollars invested in this company.  Unfortunately, that reflects poorly on you, because it was your decision to take on that investment with public dollars.  So, I want you to know, I am not angry about this investment.  I want clean energy and I want jobs in Massachusetts.  Not only did you invest in jobs for Massachusetts, but you invested in the future of clean energy.  Of the many ways federal, state and local governments waste taxpayers dollars, your choice to invest in Evergreen Solar is not so bad, and actually forward thinking and in line with what progressive values are about.

        It's terrific that Massachusetts is "poised" to recover sooner than the US.  In the meantime, jobs are still being lost, wages have not increased in line with inflation, middle class budgets are stretch way too thin, and National Grid wants more money.  Our local governments want to raise real estate taxes to cover their thin budgets, and the State is making difficult cuts to important services, all the while hinting that they may need to raise taxes again.  While indeed Massachusetts has addressed the health care crisis on it's own, I still had to pay nearly $200. out of pocket for 3 immunizations for my son last month.  It's very hard to be hopeful, and it's very hard to act as if everything is OK.  

        I think it's more important for you to hear the truth than for you to hear what you want to hear.  I don't mean that as a snide remark. I mean it in an honest, real, positive, and productive way.

  2. Thank you

    for coming to BMG to address us.  I appreciate your time and attention.  

    With all due respect, sir, was the point of this lecture to deflect criticism over the $63.6 million dollars in state and local grants, subsidies, loans and tax incentives? Is this the "best defense is a good offense" strategy?

    If it is, it's not working. Sometimes a "good offense" can be a tad offensive.  While I don't think supporting Evergreen was necessarily a bad idea, Governor Patrick, you're reminding us of the "hard choices" in front of us, at a time when unemployment is at 9.3% and foreclosures are skyrocketing.  For some of our citizens, the hard choices are far more basic - like having a home, food, a job...

    Your administration is predicting additional budget cuts, and further cuts to local aid are likely.  Your vendor- department head in EOHHS is closing down state-run facilities for people with developmental disabilities in the name of privitization and evicting profoundly impaired people from their homes.  You've announced massive layoffs of state employees.  Cities and towns have already been squeezed.  Where's the support for our people, sir?  where's their bailout?  We're talking about real pain out here.  Have you noticed the uptick in begging on Washington and School Streets?  I'm glad you're "hopeful," but these people can't buy groceries with "hope" at  Stop & Shop.  This isn't "cynicism" or "pessimism" - it's realism.

    When you're counting the "short resources" that you reference with regard to funds spent on road and bridges, does it include the $17 billion Massachusetts received in federal stimulus money?  Or just the money we've spent?

    I've been a Democrat for more than 30 years, Governor, and I've stayed a Democrat because I believe in social justice.  Unfortunately, we have a government which now thinks that using $63.6 million in grants, subsidies and tax breaks for a green firm is more important than taking care of people.  And there's no justice in that.  

    • I don't understand your point

      Besides your "help the people" chant, what specifically are you saying?  

      The Gov is contending that the one-time $63m to Evergreen IS an investment in "taking care of people" - b/c job creation/preservation is precisely helping the people.  

      Perhaps focus your case on how you would have better spent the $63m,

      whether buying groceries for the poor,

      or keeping 63 more Massport employees on the books for 10 years,

      or a $10.00 stimulus check for each of MA's 6.3 million people

      • Far from a mere $quot;chant$quot;

        GGW, this was a (hopefully) compare/contrast of the "hard choices" the Governor says he has to make with the damned hard choices that families in this Commonwealth are making around the basics - food, shelter, unemployment, etc.  Learning that the Administration spent $63.6 million bucks on a combination of grants, subsidies, tax incentives, etc for a favored company, while at the same time, announcing another wave of cuts and layoffs is disturbing.  I didn't sign up for this.  We were supposed to be getting "no more business as usual" - and that's exactly what we got.  Reform?  I'm still waiting for something meaningful, as opposed to the window dressing bill that passed.  The last round of cuts hit bone and tendons, instead of the real fat.  Expensive, non-essential appointees still have their jobs.  

        The whole "you ought to know" lecture didn't resonate in my house.  It's mind-boggling that his people think this sort of literary mechanism works. (Read it out loud to get maximum effect)    

  3. Governor Patrick, I respect your concern

    and good intentions.  This company, however, will succeed or fail as it relates to  the free market economy, not as we may wish it to succeed.  It is not for you or me to determine what industries will succeed in Massachusetts; a lot of our money is going down the tubes with this "green" ideology.  Please listen to the professors at MIT who are telling us that wind and solar are simply not practical solutions to the energy needs of the future. Hydro and nuclear are the cleanest and most economical ways to go.  And what is the stock price of this solar corporation today?  Even the Globe recognizes the folly of this operation. Best wishes, Edgar

  4. it's not easy being green

    and it's appropriate I think to invest "our money" in long term projects that can grow the economy and jobs, even if it's risky.

    Same goes for continuing to invest in "our money" into repairing and reforming the network of public structures that make our communities healthy by educating our children, keeping our streets, parks and recreation areas accessable and safe, caring for our poor, our elderly and our disabled neighbors, strengthening our public health inspection and prevention programs and maintaining our "comprehensive health coverage program" (unless you are a legal resident that hasn't got your citizen ship papers yet).

    Tested programs with concrete outcomes and thousand of jobs. Not nearly as risky either.

    Better than cutting them I think. May even be time to include a plan to increase revenues in your 9C message later this month.  Please read Cuts and Consequences here on BMG.  

  5. If not a home run, we need a frozen rope double down the line scoring three

    Governor,

    I know that you've done an incredible amount of no-glory work on our behalf.  The little things that should be done, that weren't getting done.  Ratcheting up standards, reducing duplication, making our government better.  Few of these things have much glory -- they're the sacrifice bunts, the running hard to break up a double play, the flair singles.  Those things win ball games, particularly in the National League.

    Trouble is, going to a gain like that is fun for the purists, but not for many fans.  Throw in the dark clouds and cold temperatures of our recession, and grinding out a slow win doesn't keep fans in the seats.

    I appreciate that your intent has always been to keep your head down, do good work, and let the results speak for themselves.  Bunts, good base running, flair singles.  The fact is, Mr. Governor, we need to see a highlight.  We need to see not progress but accomplishment.  Something tangible, something we feel.  We need it soon, or frankly we won't work hard for you come 2010 and we won't open our wallets.  We'll hold our nose and vote, and that won't win you re-election.

    Don't swing for the fences with every pitch -- but find a pitch and take an aggressive swing at it.  We want to stand up and cheer, but it's hard to do that for seeing-eye-singles.

    • Brick-by-Brick

      Stomv, thanks for your baseball metaphor.  I don't think I can keep up with the references, though.  When I was in Haverhill a week or two ago, a guy told me that the cane I have been using lately looks on TV like a magic wand.  I wish it were.  That's not where we are.  State government is too broken and many of the interests are too entrenched for home runs.  Frankly, when you consider how many things we have gotten done in the last three years (a few of which I noted in my original posting), much of which we have been clamoring for for decades, I wonder what counts as a home run.  You want an accomplishment you can feel?  Your auto insurance rates are lower because of our work.  Your roads and bridges are safer.  Your public schools, though not perfect, are the envy of the country.  In my experience, in real life, unlike on the playing field, change happens brick-by-brick.  If you want to vote for that, we'll all win.  If you don't, I respect that.  That's democracy.  But be clear that your election choices are about going forward or going back.

      • I love it that our vehicle insurances are less!

        I love it that I am held up in traffic daily with road and bridge projects underway.  Having always struggled financially, we are not in any different shape than we have been for the past....well my whole life.  Life does feel harder however, and I sometimes wonder if the shift forward to a real economy based on goods and services versus the "get rich quick schemes" of the past twenty + years is some of the trouble with laying the bricks.

        Seeing how entrenched state government and special interests are, including decisions made by you and your Administration are the termites that eat away at my optimism.  When you come here and communicate with "the people" we have an opportunity for candid dialog and I appreciate that...something never experienced in my lifetime with a CEO of the Commonwealth.

        My respect for you as a person and a leader willing to reach out when the going is difficult, keeps me on-board.  Stay true to your words of transparency, inclusion/communication (these are underliers in most issues that turn contentious that have been proposed by your administration) and resist short-cuts and quick fixes.  The past two generations of Americans have not had to seriously struggle.  i believe that we have the capacity to survive and thrive but we have gotten a little soft and like to whine.  You employ a lot of people and it is my opinion that they should be doing more to assist you and the LG in touting your successes, listening to and educating people.  There is much we do not know about your vantage point and vice-versa.

        Godspeed.

  6. Choices need to be transparent

    Judy Meredith, as always, has wise things to say about competing priorities.  Here is some more commentary on this, too: http://runningahospital.blogspot.com/2009/10/hey-thats-our-money.html

    But let's also not forget something else,  Several months ago, the Administration was keen on merging MassDevelopment and Mass HEFA, the agency responsible for issuing bonds for nonprofits like schools, hospitals, and museums.  As Bob Ciolek and others noted at the time (http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/03/26/the_truth_behind_the_triviality/), this was an attempt to transfer funds from the non-profit sector to be used for the purposes set forth by the Governor above.

    That non-profit sector has been an important driver of jobs in the state, too, and the move to eliminate MA HEFA had no sound policy basis.

  7. Creepy

    Having government pick winners and losers in the private sector is creepy.  And Evergreen appears to be a spectacular bust.  That $63 million would come in handy now that 2000 state workers are on the chopping block.  Just plain ugly.

    • It's $quot;creepy?$quot;

      With all the right-wing wing causes (and companies) America props up, you pick Evergreen to complain about? Government has always and will always set policy; we can set policy that's over-the-long-term good for America, or we can pick policy that hurts America in the long run. Not giving Evergreen some starter funds now is as surely Government "setting policy" as allowing coal-based factories to continue to pollute and not pay anywhere near their true costs of maintaining those facilities.

  8. Governor, thanks for posting here

    I have been a supporter of your administration as a campaign volunteer, delegate and poster here on BMG.   I am in agreement with the need to develop new industries in Massachusetts to provide the jobs of the future.

    However, I unfortunately have to agree with the reaction some have had above to your comments about cynicism.  Sometimes the criticism  of the press or your constituents needs to be taken in a different spirit, one that does not seem as tone deaf.  Many people in my personal circle have lost jobs during this downturn or are afraid of what the next round of 9c cuts will hold for them.  Many people who have supported you are concerned about about some of your administration's decisions.  Environmentalists are justifiably outraged about the change in water policies - despite other good actions by your administration on environmental issues.  Teachers are angry over the composition of Readiness project leadership and Secretary Reveille's recent actions in Gloucester.  People in the provider community supporting the disabled don't understand the priorities driving some program cuts.  Good government advocates appreciate your support of reform legislation earlier this year, but can't believe how you damaged your reform reputation with the  Walsh appointment.  Governor, these people aren't all cynics, and your administration needs to do a better job of understanding, considering and managing the politics of its decisions.

    I have a specific question.  The company I work for recently received a contact from the State of South Carolina.  The contract stipulates that certain aspects of the work must be performed in that state, requiring us to open an office and hire workers there.  Does Massachusetts ensure the same types of provisions are part of its contracts?        

    • An Answer To Your Question

      Bean in the 'Burbs, thanks for your comments and question.  The short answer to your question is that the work contracted for by the Commonwealth is normally performed here (more often than not by local people) and we are trying to get the rules changed to require hiring local people.  On your comments, I accept that we have made mistakes.  Have you ever known a human being who didn't?  And there are certainly things I would do differently.  But I do not accept that everything reported as a mistake really is one.  In some cases we are doing things differently on purpose.   Make your judgments, as you are entitled to, but hear the other side of the story before you do.  In my experience, in this job and life, there are almost always at least two sides.  We are going to do a better job of getting you the other side.

      • I would be so happy if we saw more of the other side

        I'm a big supporter. I work in the human services. Whenever there are talks of cuts, my bosses, co-workers, and staff, ask if I still support "my guy". I'm known by a lot of people as a big supporter of the governor. I need some positive things to tell, need to show them your committment to people with disabilities.

        I saw you at the Perkins School during your first campaign. I was so impressed with how you listened to the people there ( I posted on BMG about it). I hear from the people at ADDP that you interacted very well with the people who have participated in the vigil outside your office.

        I understand that education, green jobs, roads and bridges are important to you. I thought we might see more from you on people with mental illness and mental retardation.

        When people ask if I still support "my guy", I tell them I do. I have been disappointed in what feels like a lack of interest in the human services, but I still appreciate the way you have chosen to govern. I think that you are interesed in the long term interest of the MA. I think you don't want to do things the same old way. I think you are trying.

  9. Hard to Understand

    It is indeed hard to understand how so much taxpayer money could be used to benefit just one company.  Government does a terrible job picking winners and losers.

    Wouldn't that money have been better used to support our human service workers and programs?  Shame on you Governor for forgetting why you were elected - it wasn't to give away money taxpayer money pretending that you were a Romney type venture capitialist!

    You ought to know that it is clear that you have no broad based economic plan unless of course you count the casino proposal (how pathetic!)

    You ought to know that your Administration has been a disaster.  You should do the right thing and step aside now rather that lose the election in a landslide!

    • Give him credit for coming here to discuss the story

      of Evergreen Solar.  Maybe he has learned from this experience. How many other politicians would talk openly about such failures?  Actually, the more I see Deval in action, the more I like him.

  10. Intel

    has several wafer fabs now in China.  It is easy to think of the profit margin and complexity of processor chips selling for $700 vs low tech must be cheap solar arrays.

    Low tech fabs in the high cost plus regulated enviornment in this state will never turn a profit no matter what the subsidy might be.

  11. Governor, last summer, at a town hall meeting, you

    promised a family member of the Fernald League for the Retarded that you would see to it that a cost-benefit analysis is done before the Fernald Developmental Center is closed. You promised "full disclosure" of the results.

    I'm writing on behalf of the Fernald League.  Your administration claims to be on track to close the Center by June and to move all the remaining residents elsewhere. But what about the cost-benefit analysis?  We've heard nothing more about it.  Has it been done?  Will it be done?

    Cost-benefit analyses are being done for three other state facilities that your administration has marked for closure.  Why not for Fernald?  What about your promise?  We would greatly appreciate an answer.

    • What three are having cost-benfit analyses?

      Do you mean the master plan for the EOHHS or a specific cost-benefit for the facilities and residents, care plans?

      • I'm referring to three specific cost-benefit analyses,

        which are required before the administration can close the Monson, Glavin, and Templeton Developmental Centers.  As a previous post (http://www.bluemassgroup.com/diary/16019/why-senator-brewer-is-no-costbenefit-analysis-needed-for-fernald) reported, this requirement was part of the 2009 state budget.  

        Both Houses passed amendments to the budget to require that the cost analyses be done for all four faciities marked for closure, including Fernald.  However, for reasons unknown to us, Senator Stephen Brewer, a member of the budget conference committee, removed Fernald from the requirement (in what I personally think was a violation of the Legislatue's Joint Rules.)

        In July, Cathi Valeriani, a Fernald family member, personally asked Gov. Patrick at a town hall meeting, why no cost-benefit analysis was being done for Fernald.  Patrick did not appear to be aware that Fernald had been removed from the budget requirement.  He personally promised Valeriani that not only would the cost analysis be done for Fernald, but it would be done first, and that the results would be fully disclosed.  Since then, all we've heard is that Fernald's closure remains on track.

  12. levy the union buster

    He is just like Goldman/Sachs giving 200 million to education to divert attention from the 30 billion they gave out in bonuses this year.Paul Levy praising judy meredith? Levy is running one of the most vicicious and expensive anti union campaigns that Boston has seen in along time. He is spending millions of dollars denying his employees a chance to band together to improve patient care. Millions going to anti union lawyers, instead of improving patient care.  By praising an icon of the progressive community, Levy can not expect to hide his anti worker, anti-patient record.  

    • Dear Humanservicer

      It may be hard for you to believe, but Judy Meredith and I have been friends and colleagues for decades.  We agree on many, many things.  And when we disagree with each other, we do so in a polite and civil fashion.  And, unlike you, we actually list our real names when we post comments here.  Why don't you try it?  It will make you feel good.

      Let's explore which group is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on union activities, the one that has run a mean-spirited campaign buying ads denigrating the community leaders who volunteer to govern our hospital, the management of the hospital, and indeed the people who deliver care to the community.

      As for anti-union, please recall that I signed the first major project labor agreement in this city when I was running the MA Water Resources Authority.  We may disagree about whether people should have the right to an election when there is a decision to unionize a workplace-- I think they should have the right to vote -- but throwing around terms like anti-union does not help you make your case.

      • unpack this statement

        We may disagree about whether people should have the right to an election when there is a decision to unionize a workplace-- I think they should have the right to vote

        Does someone who knows the details of this issue want to unpack this statement?  

        • Dear Neil

          It's worth its own thread some day, i.e, the question of whether labor laws should be changed to make it easier for unions to organize.  SEIU and others are supporting legislation along those lines, the so-called Employee Free Choice Act.  In the meantime, SEIU conducts corporate campaigns denigrating the reputation of those who don't want to sign "neutrality agreements".  Here's more on the topic: http://runningahospital.blogspot.com/2009/02/is-this-free-part-or-fair-part.html and here, too: http://runningahospital.blogspot.com/2008/12/thanks-for-keeping-fares-down.html

          The sad thing is what Humanservicer tries to do in his/her comments, i.e., to use code words like "anti-union" and (in my case)"anti-patient" rather than address the merits of this debate.  Unfortunately, that is all too common an approach.  There are good and sincere people on both sides of the labor law issue, as there are in the case of the one being discussed by the Governor.  The real shame is that some people think that calling names equals responsible debate.

          • is this a case of up is down, black is white?

            It's worth its own thread some day

            Why wait? You said it:

            We may disagree about whether people should have the right to an election when there is a decision to unionize a workplace-- I think they should have the right to vote
            • and rather than letting someone else unpack it, you want to push it off onto another thread someday and choose to not address my very specific inquiry but you do take the time to comment on and criticize humanservicer.

            What I'm afraid of, is that you are using Orwellian language in your debate; that you oppose legislation that would give workers more ways to organize, including a secret ballot but not limited to one.  If that is the case then I would ask you to not insult the intelligence of readers at BMG by saying things like this.

            It has been said that some of the workers at Beth Israel do not receive health care benefits as part of their compensation.  When I learned this I was surprised and dismayed.

            Is it true that the BI uses workers - both employees of the hospital and employees of subcontracted businesses who work within the four walls - that do not receive health care benefits as part of their employment?

            I love the BI. I've had surgery at the BI. But I think a society is measured by the way it treats the least powerful and surely the people who work for one of the best hospitals deserve to be treated like human beings.    

      • With no regard for you who are, or the contents of your message...

        And, unlike you, we actually list our real names when we post comments here.  Why don't you try it?  It will make you feel good.

        Sod off.  Posting anonymously is an important part of the blogosphere, and suggesting a poster not post anonymously is, well, rude, tone-deaf, and frankly implies that you don't understand the protocol of this media format.

        As for the rest of your comment -- I didn't read it, and thus have no comment of my own.

        • Stomy

          Gee, thanks for the lecture.  But, not so.  The "protocol" of this media format is what every person in the world chooses to make it.  If someone accuses someone of being something, s/he can indeed choose to be anonymous or not.  Likewise the person being accused can point out that an anonymous accuser has less credibility that someone who chooses to use his or her real name.  That's not rude or tone deaf.  It's part of the same world.

          • Fail, twice.

            First, you fail to even use my moniker.  I don't know who Stomy is.  I don't take offense, and you're certainly not the first to do so... but just as I'm unimpressed when people don't quite get my name right in meatspace, I'm more unimpressed here because, well, it's written clear as day under every single one of my posts.

            Secondly, you fail to understand that reputation, not use of name, earns credibility.  (Differently winged) Peter Porcupine doesn't use the name momma gave.  Tons of credibility.  Credibility is earned not by using one's real name, but by making respectful, insightful, and otherwise useful posts.  Attempting to diminish someone else's comments because that person doesn't post under a real name represents a heavy handed attempt to reduce the veracity of someone's comment not because of the value of the words, but because of how that person chooses to post.

            We're a community.  You claim that the "protocol" if this media format is what every person in the world chooses to make it as if this arena is somehow different from every other one in the world.  No sir.  As a community, we have Rules of the Road, culture, and expectations that aren't subject to your whims.  To suggest otherwise only amplifies your rudeness.

            • Sorry, Stomv

              ...poor eyesight.  I misread the "v" and put "y".  Here's the section of Rules of the Road, not my whim:

              "We have found that commentators who disclose their real names are in general more likely to be constructive than those who are anonymous.  We encourage users to add their real name, profession, age, the jurisdiction where they vote, and conflicts of interest to their profile.  Anonymous commentators are allowed, but we encourage such users to provide as much of this information as they can manage."

              • I'm quite familiar with the RotR

                and the discussions about anonymity which we have every 6 months or so around here.  The point is simply that you brought up anonymity in a way that was wholly unnecessary.  Each person reading can determine credibility for themselves -- and each person reading can read the by: person portion.

                Instead of fighting words with words, ideas with ideas -- you took a shot at his anonymity.  I took umbrage with that unnecessary comment.

                You then made the outrageous statement that protocol is up to the individual, to which I also take umbrage... as if this community is less real, and therefore doesn't follow the social practices of every other community I've ever encountered.

                So look, at the end of the day it doesn't matter much -- this is far too much ado about far too little.

          • There is one kind of credibility from using one's name {I do and am free to do so] and another gained over time

            Paul - YOU are free to sign your real name because you are at a high enough level not to risk you livlihood and ability to support a family.

            I am free to sign my posts with my own name, as I am self employed and as long as enough clients respect integrity, courage and advocacy on their behalf, I will always have work even if I never have a "pension" or paid vacation again [my last paid vacation day or W2 income was in 1981].

            Others do not have the freedom of high position or self employment, but have analysis and opinion to share.  I admit that I prefer signed posts, but others gain my respect by their body of work over time.  I do NOT assume, as you apparently do, that others have the same freedom that I do.

            I gave up security for freedom of choice.  I will never forget the day a law partner told me to back off on a case because it was too political, and on another case because there was no more money to spend, and what I had already done was good enough.

            Those were two of the experiences that caused me to "hang out my shingle" and please the woman whose face I see in the mirror every day - me.

            But I doubt that my income is 10% of yours...and therefore, I would never ever denigrate someone for protecting their ability to keep a job while still participating in this discussion.  I know what it is to have to decide "which bills to pay" or how much to pay on a bill.  I do not claim my particular life path has been the road to wealth after all.

            • AmberPaw, I understand

              ...why some people are fearful of using their name when discussing the issues of the day.  That is perfectly legitimate and understandable.  Indeed, it is also fine for people just to choose to be anonymous for any other reason.

              This particular reply, though, was not about the topic at hand or the merits surrounding it.  It was an attempt to discredit one commenter based on misrepresentations about his beliefs and actions on other issues, and also to suggest that I had no right to agree with the comment of a respected person (Judy).  (Think about it this way:  If I had posted anonymously, that form and content of the reply never would have been submitted.)  When someone chooses to do that, to engage in an ad hominem attack, the choice of the commenter not reveal anything about his or her background is fair game.

              On the other hand, I could have just ignored it, and we all would have been spared this unnecessary diversion from the issue at hand!

              • As to that....Thanks for your reply, Paul, and a query -

                I do not claim to know why you were labeled as unfair with regard to union issues.  Maybe a separate thread where you lay out why card check is not as good as the current system, and get a discussion going on it is the way to deal with that.

                The low percentage  [is it 8% or 12%] of workers who are now in unions saddens me - and as to this thread, that topic is relevant in so far as strong employers with working relationships with unions  DID strengthen "the middle class" after World War II; there seems to be rather a consensus by historians on that.  A better balance of power and of rewards between labor and management/capitol does seem to be needed.

                Part of the problem with the current economy, the non-recovery recovery is in fact THAT very problem.

                My next post will be about the 140 BILLION in bonuses that will be going to the bailed out businesses whose very greed and lack of accountability landed the world in its current economic mess.

                Decent jobs and decent wages mean an healthy economy, growing at a brisk clip.

                Outsourcing and job cuts in fact lead to a slower GNP, and recession.

                So I understand why all that name calling got under your skin, but, frankly, where is the courage to hire and pay decent wages these days?

                Death by a thousand cuts while it may keep "profits" looking good sure won't help the economy.

              • I think

                Your problem here was that you aren't as regular a commenter as Stomv or Amberpaw. Regular readers of BMG know Stomv very well, even if we don't all know his actual name. So when someone scoffs at him for being anonymous, when he's one of the most wonky and thoughtful writers here, it doesn't reflect well on yourself.

                I don't find it useful to lecture people in online communities unless you've been there long enough to have the credibility to do so, because on the internet, your words are just as credible whether you're a CEO of a major hospital or a fake Ernie Boch. It's not who you are that makes a blog or comment worth while, it's what you say. Comments on the blogosphere are solely a matter of meritocracy, people here care about well-researched, logical arguments and discussion points, not whether or not a writer uses their real name or has a prominent title.

      • Running a Hospital in to the Ground. Blogspot

        Paul,

        I take it that since you did not respond to the allegation of spending millions to stop your employees from organizing that you are conceding its accuracy. What a shame. How many kids could get free immunizations with the money you are paying some high priced lawyers to scare workers. As for signing a project labor agreement 25 years ago. Big f'n deal.  You did right by some employees 25 years ago, and that gives you the right today to keep your boot on the neck of BI employees. Paul, what's next? are you going to get behind charles baker, help lower taxes, shred the safety net further, while carving out a little morsel for your self or BI?  

  13. Thank you for participating here, Mr. Governor

    I strongly encourage you to remind your team of the vision you articulated (a statement about the world we wish to create), the several missions that you have set out (the work we do to realize that vision), and the goals by which you and we will measure our progress.

    You and your team have expertise that we lack. You have access to resources -- especially political resources -- that we may not appreciate. You have the insight that comes from your strong interpersonal skills and day-to-day interactions with the many stakeholders that share in the success of our several collective missions.

    I strongly encourage you to rededicated your team and yourself to discipline, to a relentless laser focus on your priorities, and to the seeming ruthlessness in accomplishing our collective goals that results.

    My sense is that at the beginning of your administration, you articulated three priorities for Massachusetts during your administration -- in order:

    1. Transportation infrastructure
    2. Health care
    3. Education

    I believe these are still your correct priorities. I suggest that when your team has stumbled, it is because you have created the appearance (rightly or wrongly) of being distracted from these priorities.

    I suggest that significant progress towards these -- especially the first two -- is the only substantive way that you and we can address the economic situation that challenges all of us.

    Finally, these three priorities must drive the financial requirements that determine the future we all share. I suggest that you must determine the minimum investment needed to address these priorities and then raise whatever taxes are needed to meet those requirements.

    We must raise taxes. Anyone with the courage to engage the numbers and do the math understands this -- those who deny it (in public) are grand-standing. You must find a way to lead the legislature and the public towards accepting this painful necessity. There is no other way.

    • Focused on our Priorities

      BrooklineTom, thank you, too.  We are very focused on these priorities.  Of course, the global economic collapse has imposed some other priorities that we cannot avoid, like trying to close the revenue gap and keep vital services intact.  I appreciate your support of new taxes, but the time is wrong.  People are watching every penny right now and a broad-based tax, in my opinion, is not the right way to go right now.

      • Perhaps Governor

        there is opportunity to lower taxes in some arenas and increase taxes in other areas for those who can afford to pay more with a progressive income tax?  The Commonwealth, along with many other states in our great but confused society, has also become the home of "haves" and "have nots".

      • Who said anything about a broad based tax?

        With all due respect  Governor how about proposing to close a few loopholes in the tax expediture budget?  

      • Watching every penny, yes - but vital services are NOT being kept intact

        The safety net for struggling families is not just frayed, but full of holes.  One example:  When a parent was told to get "urine screens" to prove sobriety by DSS [now DCF]there WAS a contract with Willow labs to do those screens - now it is "do it yourself".  What is more core than strengthening struggling families so that children don't wind up in foster care?

        Foster care costs much more then services like urine screens, detox beds, therapeutic intervention, parent aids and competent social work.  Laying off 100 social workers is likely to increase costs, not save money!

        Incarceration costs much more then education, too.  

        But the school-to-prison pipeline is sadly still flowing strong.

        I would love to have an explanation as to what is a "vital service" and what is not, frankly.

        I appreciate this dialog the more since the letters I have sent to the Governor's Office haven't been answered.  

        I stopped writing you and your office after the lack of response when I inquired after the elimination of the role of guardian ad litem for education and focused on BMG, facebook, Op Eds and Letters to the Editor.  

      • Court funding

        Governor Patrick, when you make a list of your administration's priorities, I think you ought to include adequate funding for the administration of justice. Additional cuts to the trial court budget will likely make it impossible to provide justice to all kinds of litigants, which is really the first duty of government. Your staff has got to find the money somewhere to fund the courts adequately.

        TedF

        • TEDF - administration of justice is already in trouble in the juvenile courts

          Timely hearings?  No.

          Decent facilities - NO!  The most intimate parts of family life are often discussed in hall ways and stairwells.

          The timely hearings required when the state has done a "pull" [emergency removal of children] can take weeks.

          There are no services for these families any more, either.

          The Department of Children and Families typically offers at most two hours a month of contact between parent and child when neither abuse nor neglect have been proven - and abuse rarely alleged.

      • The time is right for Pags to pay more taxes

        These are tough, tough times and those that have wealth in abundance, like Pags, should give so that those who are struggling don't shoulder too much of the burden.

        These cuts in human services and local aid are hurting the poor and bringing the middle class one step closer to being poor.  

        We could raise the personal deduction and adjust the rate so that people making under $150K shouldered less of the burden and people like Pags shoulder more.  

      • I enthusiastically AGREE about a broad-based tax

        I emphatically agree with your opinion that a broad-based tax is not the right way to go right now.

        In that spirit, I call your attention to the $1.25 TRILLION that is expected to pass from one generation to the next in the Greater Boston area over the next 50 years (according to this 2006 analysis performed by researchers at the Center for Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College).

        At an average of $25B per year, an additional tax on these transfers can hardly be described as "broad-based". In fact, 11 members of the Forbes Magazine 2005 listing of the "400 richest individuals in the country" live in the Greater Boston area. These ELEVEN individuals have a collective net worth of over THIRTY FIVE BILLION DOLLARS.

        From the above piece (emphasis mine):

        Fully 52 percent of the potential charitable giving will come from 0.5 percent of these final estates, which will have assets of at least $20 million. That reflects the fact that, historically, estates of $20 million or more give the most to charity-38 percent of their value, compared to 8 percent for estates that are worth less than $20 million. These larger estates are also more likely to belong to older residents, which also accelerates the pace of giving.

        I suggest that the estates of our wealthiest residents can afford to pay more than they do today. This is not a "broad-based tax", nor is this a burden on anyone who is "watching every penny right now." Instead, this would be a tax on the estates of our wealthiest people who are already dead.

        I encourage you and your team to explore the possibility of increasing the estate and gift taxes on our very wealthiest residents. An increase that nets an additional 4% of the above-quoted $25B/year intergenerational transfer solves the anticipated shortfall of the 2010 budget.

        This is a narrow tax on those few residents of Massachusetts who are most able to afford it, and it brings enormous relief to the enormous number of people who are least able to afford it. I ask you to please consider it.

  14. Good subsidies versus bad

    It would be nice if the Commonwealth had a policy about this.

    Unfortunately, tax breaks get handed out at best with good intentions, based on the slippery criterion of "this will be good if it works." At worst--and I'm not thinking of Evergreen--it's in response to self-interested lobbying by deep-pockets industry groups.

    I'm not philosophically opposed to all tax breaks by a long shot, but given the above I think we'd be better off, on the whole, without the narrowly-focused ones that are supposed to produce jobs or services or lower prices but that rarely deliver.

    A better way to boost job creation and retention in the long term is to make Massachusetts a job-friendly place, a place with an educated work force and a good quality of life for working people.

    That's a little different from the standard emphasis on being business friendly, especially when that devolves into the standard race-to-the-bottom on taxes. (It needn't, right? If the services that are delivered make it worth the taxes charged.)

    So, take these tax subsidies and invest them in transportation, housing, and education. Retire some MBTA debt, which is a job-destroying cancer, and ease up on the cities and towns, who for better or worse provide most of the quality-of-life services in the Commonwealth.

  15. Transparency and recipients of tax credits

    The Governor deserves a lot of credit for making the budget making process and his budget site more transparent, and, for all of us who really want to make sure these tax credits are being helpful in creating jobs, I think it is important to support his amendment to the FY 10 budget which must be taken up and voted on by a majority of the House and Senate members before the end of the 09 session. (The Legislature recesses on Nov 18.)

    Sections 31 and 40 require public disclosure and analysis of the results of refundable or transferable tax credit programs, including the number of jobs created.  I strongly support the purposes of these sections, and I proposed language to accomplish these purposes in my own budget.

             As enacted, however, these sections omit important information -- especially the identity of the taxpayer -- necessary to analyze fully the effect of these tax credit programs.

    Here's a copy of the House calendar. See page 2 item 50. And then call your Rep.

    And tell her/him it's time we got some hard data on whose getting those tax credits how specifically it has helped them retain or build new jobs.  

    Credit where credit is due, Mass PIRG has been leading a fight to increase transparency in the budget process and the "tax crediting process" (I just made that phrase up)for years, and you can learn a lot here.

    I'd love to hear from Fidelity tell us how their tax credit incited them to move less jobs to North Carolina or where ever they went.  

  16. Jobs and housing remain key to both economic recovery and your re-election

    Why jobs?  First, the courageous path is not firing 2000 workers but ensuring more workers are hired.  For every state or corporate worker fired, from 20-100 families hunker down and go into bunker mentality.  What do I mean by "hunker down and go into bunker mentality"?  Each family  reacts to the news of a friend or coworker's firing by believing that THEY could be without a job next.  So they and their whole family cancel vacations, defer purchases, and avoid any discretionary spending.  As a result, restaurants close, companies fold, and the "recovery" is in fact an illusion where the robber barons batten at the trough - Goldman Sachs trumpeted "profits" are a great example.

    On the other hand, every new hire is a new consumer, and a circle of family and friends who feel secure enough to plan for the future, go out for dinner occasionally, and dare to buy new sheets or other goods.

    If both government, the elite nonprofits like Harvard, and business had the "courage to hire" we might well see a real recovery.  Hey - Where is Harry Hopkins, the WPA, and a vision of economic inclusion when we need them anyway?

    And why housing?  Economic security breeds jobs, consumers who consume, and costs less.  The 3000+ families   now housed in motels and hotels at $89 - $125 a day are costing millions and many of these families are working folks who lost housing when the same banks we taxpayers bailed out with expensive borrowed money  foreclosed on rental properties and evicted families on the edge.

    As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said:  

    True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

    The current consolidation of wealth in this country, and use of cuts to balance budgets means that economic security is vanishing for more and more citizens, many of whom will look for a quick fix at the expense of their own freedoms.

    Where is the courage to hire and to house?  

    • I go back and forth on this...

      Which creates more local jobs...

      * Spending $500 to buy a new television or spending $100 to have yours repaired? * Going to a chain restaurant which gets lots of its supplies from out-of-state or even out-of-region, or buying food at a local grocer which buys more local products and making it at home? * Going to Florida for your summer vacation, or going to the Berkshires?

      Sure, I cherry picked examples, and I'm not claiming that every "recession decision" paradoxically stimulates the local economy.  I'm also not delving into tax policy (first example $31 tax vs. a few cents for parts, second example $6.25 state+local taxes vs. $0).

      Still, it strikes me that the path to MA success is through service, not goods.  If during a recession people spend less money on goods but spend more on services, it's not clear what the local economic impact is.  Of course, from an environmental perspective, people buying less stuff is good.

      Confusing, huh?

  17. Public Investments as Policy or as Politics

    Since the story in the Boston Globe I have been thinking about the decision to have the Commonwealth - the public - make an investment in Evergreen Solar, a private corporation.    

    I am curious as to the source of funding for this "investment".  Mass Development Finance Authority receives its funding from several sources, some public and some private (although, admittedly, once private money is sent to MDFA arguably it could be deemed to have been transformed into "public" funding - maybe, maybe not).  

    If it is public money, i.e., it came from federal or state funding initially, was granted or appropriated to a state entity and then was invested in a private company, it is a fair argument by the Governor that the investment was made to promote economic development and create jobs for Massachusetts residents.  There is a healthy role for state government in trying to accomplish these appropriate outcomes. It is also fair to argue, though, the limits of public assistance in terms of economic development should begin and end in terms of infrastructure investing and improvements. Building roads, sewers, water lines and other infrastructure assets has the benefit of creating an asset that will be owned by the public and also possibly used by them as well.  Building or upgrading the infrastructure is one efffective way of encouraging private investment and influence private location decisions.  But, making a direct loan to, or the taking of an equity position in a private firm goes too far. If it is public money, what is the process for giving the public the opportunity to weigh in on the standards for making such public investments?  If it is such a good idea, why not add a line item in House 1 that states, in substance, that in FY11 we would like the legislature to approve an appropriation in the amount of $X million to Y Department (or independent public authority) for the purpose of investing in Evergreen Solar?  Whether such an appropriation would have been approved by the State Legislature is debatable, but I am willing to bet that the public hearings would have been well attended and the media and the public would have been fully informed. The terms and conditions of any loan would have been fully public and the issue of "risk versus benefits" fully debated. Presuming this really is a "public" investment, it is hard to argue that the deliberations of a Board of Directors of an authority constitutes the standard of openness for a decision of this significance. There are practical and political limits in terms of the role state government can and should play in "investing" in the private sector as this situation highlights.

    But, what would be the case if this was "private" funding?  MDFA receives much of its funding by doing bond deals with various non-profit private organizations in the Commonwealth, such as colleges, social service organizations, cultural institutions and so forth. Those organizations pay MDFA for MDFA's services.  If these fees were used to make the loans it raises questions as to whether this truly was a "public" investment in Evergreen Solar after all.  Should not the fees paid to MDFA for bond work been limited to simply cover the costs of the authority for that bond work? Should there not be a rough match of $1 dollar of fees to match $1 of authority expenses?  If MDFA is going to loan public monies to private firms, maybe it really should be public dollars to begin with.  And, if there was sufficient excess of fee revenue to support private lending activity, maybe the best way to stimulate job creation is to substantially reduce the fees paid by a host of non-profit organizations for bond work. The number of employees found in the universe of Massachusetts non-profits dwarfs ALL other employment sectors in Massachusetts. And, by the way, did anyone ask the opinion of those organizations who are paying for the loans to Evergreen Solar?      

    The Governor is to be commended in coming to BMG and discussing this policy matter.  Hopefully, some of the comments will help shape future decisions of this kind.

    P.S.  Please tell me we (the public) took a security interest in this company for our money.

  18. I'd like to hear a different tune

    Governor, I appreciate your leadership in highlighting some signs of strength in hope in these difficult times.  With due respect, however, I would suggest finding a newer anecdote to buttress that optimism.  Perhaps I am indeed cynical, but I notice that we're all heard about the success of Evergreen Solar for quite a while now -- you first boasted of their investment in Massachusetts about 2 and a half years ago.  You brought it up again last April.  It seems to be a "go-to" anecdote for good reason -- large numbers in investment and jobs.  Heck, the company's founder was working with/for you before you were even inaugurated.  However, it also seems to be the only anecdote on offer to "prove" the success of your approach.

    Meanwhile, we learned this week that Evergreen Solar is in rough shape financially.

    Granted, this economy has been kind on nobody.  However -- and it may test well to call people like me "cynical" -- I would prefer more than one anecdote over the last three years to buy into the success of a program, particularly when that anecdote is heading for an uncertain end.  On balance, how many jobs have been created per dollar of tax exemptions?  On balance, how does the Commonwealth's lost revenue compare to its gain in investment.

    The film tax credit, to put it kindly, may be a fiscal success someday.  What, other than the questionable fate of Evergreen Solar, gives us reason to feel hopeful about your other program?

    sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • Applied Materials

      a well established semiconductor company decided not to locate in Danvers at the old Sylvania plant.

      Intel now has high tech processor fabs in China.  As an unemployed engineer who has not even worked in the high tech industry since the late 1980s even I know the prospects of low tech solar array manufacture here in Massachusetts is beyond insane fantasy.

      • Applied Materials

        As a business why would you open a plant in Massachusetts, unless someone gave you lots of money. Just locate  across the border in New Hampshire.  No sales tax, no income tax and a friendly business environment. The state of Massachusetts is going out of it's way to business unfriendly. They have just hired  legions of accountants to audit small businesses, just what a small business needs in todays economy, waste money on accounting fees and time that could be spent on your company.

        • How many accountants

          are there in a legion? Are they the people driving south across the NH border on Rte 3 and Rte 93 every morning? There certainly are a lot of them.

          • DOR auditors

            I want to stay in Massachusetts, but the State needs to become more business friendly. Read this story about a Worcester startup that was taken to court by the DOR. They hadn't yet made a product so the DOR decided they weren't tax exempt. I'm sure policies like this will encourage business formation in Massachusetts :(

            http://www.wbjournal.com/news4...

            • But what about the legions

              of accountants you say the state has just hired? The DOR seems to be losing the argument described in the WBJ article. I'm missing how the plot of this drama is supposed to play out. Are the Accountant Legions going to assault the SJC and force them to deny the start-up its manufacturer status? Will the Noble Entrepreneur wind up in the poorhouse while the centurions of auditing twirl their moustaches and laugh?  

              • Audits

                Even if he/she wins they lose, I think the amount in question is 200K, I'll bet you they have spent 100K already in legal fees. Depending on the size of the business this could be their payroll for the next quarter. So do they pay payroll or legal fees ?  Do you think this business  person will ever start a business in Massachusetts again ?

        • If this narrative were true

          I don't think we'd see the streams of New Hampshire residents that we do see commuting in to Massachusetts to work everyday!  The highways are wide open going north!  My understanding is that total taxation in Massachusetts is low relative to other states, there is an educated workforce many states could only dream of having, and the state is mindful and working to provide the necessary infrastructure to support business.

          • Nice of you to try, but...

            ...anyone whose handle is based on Ayn Rand's fiction is unlikely to have a strong grasp of economics.  Note that s/he discounts the idea of an educated labor force or reliable infrastructure in the question of siting companies.

            I imagine Roark is surprised that business is not booming in tax-free Somalia right now.

            sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
            • Make it Mass, NOT

              Someone got the reference,  nothing wrong with being a fiscal conservative and a social liberal.   The right wants to regulate my personal life the left my financial life. Neither party wants me :(

              There are plenty of states  with a well educated workforce that don't have an overbearing state government. The 70M spent on Evergreen could have been spent on core state services, let say DMH or local aid,  but nope the state know better :(

              Not Somali, how about Hong Kong unemployment rate currently 4% ? (though a crappy political system)

            • Ha!

              I imagine Roark is surprised that business is not booming in tax-free Somalia right now.

              And the piracy biz has gone bust.  

              Oh, those silly Randians.  Isn't government overrated?  A waste of time and money?  An oppressive apparatus designed to strip us of our individual freedoms?  

              While Somalia might not have a functional government, the rest of the world's nations do in large measure.  Yay for them.  

              As previous established earlier on this site just this week, Ayn Rand was a charlatan, a fraud, and, most egregious in my book, a shitty novelist.  

              • Literary crimes are the worst.

                The academic in me cries out.  Ayn Rand books are to political discourse what the Celestine Prophecy novels are to philosophy and religion.  There is a great quote from Ayn Rand to the effect that people who read her books are "a-holes" for a month afterwards.  I think she was unaware that was litotes.

              • I missed the previous reference to Ayn Rand this week.

                I agree that she was a shitty novelist but see her as a transforming historical figure. I would like to see the info that describes her as a fraud, however.

                • I can't speak to the fraud part, but...

                  ...the discussion is over here.

                  I'm guessing you're a fan.  

                  • I'm a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates only.

                    I have an interest in her work for historical reasons. Easy for all of these critics who had the good fortune to spend their formative years in America to crap all over her. And I don't deny the absurdity of some of her ideas, as well as the total repugnance of her kool-aid crew.  If any of you had lived through the early years of Bolshevism you might have a better understanding of her ideas, as flaky as they were. Undoubtedly she was an extremist in her cheerleading for the self(ish).  However, I think that until you have seen the utter idiocy of socialist ideas, and worst of all how it infects the mentality of people, then you can't really understand her.  I'll let you in on a little secret: the people, for the most part, who lived under communism in Russia and the eastern provinces like Kazakhstan still have this "mentalitet" and turn to the government to make all of their decisions for them. Did you know that right now, today, October 19, 2009 there are hundreds of tons of wheat rotting in Kazakhstan because the government beaurocrats told the farmers there to grow it, and they could sell it to both Eastern Europe and China.  Of course, the Chinese prefer rice, and Ukraine is already providing most of the wheat going the other way. So, while people are starving to death in Africa, the farmers in Kazakhstan are going broke--so nice to depend on the government for all of your needs, isn't it? p.s. Thanks, Huh, for the link.  It was an excellent article as far as it went.

                    • I'm guessing further ...

                      ...that you have no idea who Whittaker Chambers was. This may help:

                      Whittaker Chambers (April 1, 1901 - July 9, 1961), was an American writer and editor. A Communist Party USA member and Soviet spy, he later renounced communism and became an outspoken opponent. He is best known for his testimony about the perjury and espionage of Alger Hiss.

                      Opposing Communism does not mean embracing Randism. Or vice versa.  

                      I'd also be careful of confusing socialism with the misguided actions of the government of Kazakhstan.

                      I'm sorry to use the word "fan" to describe something which appears to be more of a religious issue for you. Do you prefer Randist or Randite?

                    • What in the world does Whittaker Chambers have to do

                      with our conversation? Of course I know who he was. You wouldn't confuse socialism with the actions of the Kazakhstan government?  Are you implying that such foolishness doesn't happen in socialist countries?  And you have missed the point about "mentalitet." Don't you realize that people who live in these regimes prefer that the governments do their thinking for them?  Those that don't want to live that way oftentimes emigrate to the US. And what do the Pittsburgh Pirates have to do with religion? You must be a devoted member of Red Sox Nation. And where did I give you the idea that I embrace "Randism"?

                    • Last I checked...

                      ...Kazakhstan was a predominately Muslim presidential republic. The CIA describes  their government as "authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch." I'm saying that stupid decisions are orthogonal to socialism, totalitarianism, or even democracy.

                      Whittaker Chambers is the author of one of the most famous Rand critiques. I was responding to "Easy for all of these critics who had the good fortune to spend their formative years in America to crap all over her."

                      It remains a source of great amusement to me that you think everyone but you is a moronic sheep.

                    • Huh, why is everything a pissing contest to you?

                      Sorry to rub you the wrong way, but disagreement doesn't imply that one person is assuming some sort of superiority over another, unless you are mirroring your own attitudes toward me.  I'm going to read your link because it is something new for me to digest; and I appreciate your sharing it with me. Best wishes. p.s. Let the power structure of Kazakhstan be the topic for another day. I have actually lived there and can enlighten you a bit. Funny that you are so willing to believe a CIA report (which I can assure you is giving you only the superficial description of who runs the country and how).

                    • not at all

                      You said "Don't you realize that people who live in these regimes prefer that the governments do their thinking for them?"

                      You've made similar comments about the folks on BMG:

                      I will ask again what I said over a year ago: why do people on this blog act like clones? why do they think that they are having a real conversation when do nothing but agree with and reinforce each others beliefs?

                      As to pissing contests, I'll challenge you to provide an example of a discussion you've entered where you didn't start and end insulting the other folks. In the entire time you've been on here I have yet to see you contribute anything substantial, just assertions of knowing better. Dismissing a CIA report based a promise to "enlighten me" is a great example.

                      I don't really care about your arrogance.  In fact, I find it amusing you're so seldom right. As smadin says in the exchange above "All I'm asking is for you to support any of your claims."

                    • I'll stand by what I said.

                      Don't be so defensive about the CIA. Unlike you I have taken the time to read other points of view, especially those links which you have provided.  Best wishes, Edgar

                    • ROFL

                      You're right.  Why would anyone believe the CIA over the unsupported assertions of someone on a blog?

                      If you care to provide a link or some supporting information (heck, even an anecdote), I'd be more than happy to read it.

                      I think you've forgotten that I used to be a registered Republican and still spend quite a bit of time on conservative blogs...  

                    • Gotcha! (only kidding)ROFL;

                      I have always been a registered democrat and spend no time on conservative blogs.  They tend to be dull and really dim-witted.  I like to challenge and be challenged by bright, curious and innovative people. I am always interested in what you have to say and I do read your links. As for the CIA: they have discredited themselves to a farethee well on most topics for the past twenty-five years. You don't have to believe Edgarthearmenian to know this.

                    • Not to defend Huh, but...

                      When I joined BMG earlier this year, my very first diary garnered precisely one comment from you, Edgar (emphasis mine):

                      Please spare me the kind of left-wing flapdoodle with which you cover the readers' opinions of Boston.com.  By the way, in case you didn't know it, the New York subway system which you are so fond of alluding to is in worse shape financially than our T.

                      Presumably you and I have built a bit more mutual respect since then. I hope you'll agree, though, that we might characterize your very first words to me as a bit on the aggressive side, can't we?

                      Meanwhile, if you'll review my "frank and candid exchange of views" with Huh starting with this comment, you'll note that Huh and I have, from time to time, been enthusiastic in our occasional disagreement.

                      I'll say, as a bystander to this current exchange, that I've learned a great deal about both of your perspectives and I thank each of you for sharing them.

                    • Yes. I was wrong to say that and I am sorry.

                      But you have to admit that your posts here are far superior to those others. I have come to respect your analyses and approaches to various topics.  By the way, I was right about the NYC metro problems; they are much worse than ours.(At least from what I have read in the New York Post)

          • Commuting North

            I think the lack of commuters going north might have a little bit to do with residents  of Massachusetts being taxed by the State even if they work outside of the state. People respond to financial incentives, it wouldn't make sense to live in Massachusetts and work in New Hampshire.

            • wrong

              If you live in NH and work in MA, you still pay MA tax.  You just don't pay NH tax (except for fees and property tax, of course).

              A Massachusetts full-year and/or part-year resident is required to file a tax return with the state of Massachusetts if his/her Massachusetts gross income is in excess of $8,000.

              A Massachusetts nonresident is required to file a Massachusetts nonresident tax return if his/her Massachusetts source income exceeds the smaller of $8,000 or the prorated personal exemption. The prorated personal exemption is the personal exemption times the Massachusetts source income over the amount that would be Massachusetts gross income if the taxpayer were a full-year resident.

              • We actually agree

                If you live in NH and work in MA, you pay MA tax If you live in MA and work in NH, you pay MA tax

                BUT

                if you live in NH and work in NH, you pay no tax.

                Given that New Hampshire is 20% the  size of Massachusetts, there are certainly going to be more jobs in  Massachusetts. People are going to commute even with the tax disincentive to Massachusetts given the specialization  of jobs in our economy.

                • No way jose

                  if you live in NH and work in NH, you pay no tax.

                  You pay no income tax and no sales tax, but own property?  Eat at restaurants?  Stay at hotels?  There are also taxes on vehicles, business and investment income, and tolls on state roads.

        • Far more than that

          Semi uses some of the most toxic of substances and in an educated population this becomes a huge risk.  That and at least 26 regulatory agencies mandating industrial policies on everything high tech.  Cheaper in China for sure.

  19. Thanks for opportunity for dialog

    Thank you for posting here, Governor Patrick.  I appreciate the opportunity to understand what you are thinking and to engage in a dialog of sorts with you.  

    I am a big supporter of green energy, and although I recognize the pitfalls in subsiding private enterprise, I at least understand that there are dual objectives here of supporting the economy and leading us in a better direction on energy policy -- and ideally linking the two.  Not all these initiatives will be successful, unfortunatly.  You/we need to be prepared for some failures and acknowledge this reality.  The public is understandably concerned about having to bear the risk, especially now.  I have to confess to being concerned about this venture, albeit far less so than the public bailouts of irresponsible players in the financial sector.

    Governor Patrick, I hope you will also read the post below yours, along with the comments about it.  The unilateral action that DEP took on the safe yield issue was bad science, bad policy and bad politics, alienating one of your most loyal constituencies.  You are ill-served by those who advised such an extremist interpretation, which is totally at odds with state policy under 5 previous governors, with your goal of sustainabililty, and with current science.  I sincerely and respectfully urge you to order DEP to rescind their decision immediately and to go back to the drawing board to create a sensible sustainability initiative that includes all the elements as a package.  They can't gut the most important provision of the Water Management Act now, and say they'll fix the rest someday.  The environmental community has heard those empty promises of reform for far too long to trust that anything meaningful will come of them. I will also say that dismissive comments like that posted by one of your bureaucrats here earlier that equated enviros with Chicken Little, or Commissioner Burt's false statement that the enviros were given ample advance notice, only inflame the situation.  

     

  20. Evergreen is Crony Capitalism

    I'm sure the CEO and board of directors are not on the hook for any of the loans, they can just walk away, leaving the State of Massachusetts holding the bag. While 95% of the small businesses in this state are on the hook personally for loans, the state just gives away money to favored businesses. There is a reason for Venture Capitalists, they spend their own money,  not our on ideas they think will make money. The state doesn't have specialists who know which business will survive or not.

    The state needs to stop spending money on companies that various members of the administration think might be cool. Instead they should spend the money on core services, or give it back to the people and businesses who have earned it.

  21. Remove the Barriers to Job Creation in Massachusetts Gov

    Thank you Governor for being so accessible via this forum.  (Assuming that you read the replies to your posts).  We need job creation asap in Massachusetts.  With so many talented and educated people idled from the workforce, it's a great time for entrepreneurial startups and growing cottage industries into economic engines.

    But new businesses are subject to regulation and upfront costs at the local, state and federal levels.  Want to set up shop somewhere?  It'll take lots of paperwork, permits, costs and delay to open your doors.  And Lord help you if you actually want to give another person a job--much more paperwork and expense.  Even within the same level of government, there are contradictory and competing levels of regulatory enforcement.  Want to set up a tent to sell your wares in Boston?  You'll need approval from the Building Commissioner AND a separate approval from the Fire Department.  And they don't always agree with each other.  For a tent!

    As Governor, by Executive Order, you can order a six month deferral of all state enforcement of non-criminal state laws, regulations and costs for any new business launched in 2010 that creates a job.  Urge mayors and selectmen to do so at the local levels as well.  After six months, if the business has survived the rigors of the marketplace, THEN hit 'em with all the paperwork, permits and costs.  Government won't create jobs but it can suppress the energies and spirit of private sector entrepreneurs and business people willing to risk all they own for a chance.  Please give them that chance Governor and get government out of the way, if only for a six month head start.

    • Multiple Bottom Lines

      Amicus, interesting idea but probably illegal.  The Executive Branch has discretion in many settings, but not whether to enforce the law at all.  I agree with you that we need to lighten the load.  But remember that government has to consider multiple bottom lines - the financial and business one, to be sure, but also the human, environmental and community ones.  They all count.  The thing I want is to make sure that all compliance is simpler and cheaper, and obviously to repeal the rules within my control that just make no sense anymore.

    • Citations?

      I can't tell if you're speaking from experience, or just parroting conservative talking points. I'm guessing the latter.

      How about giving some examples of the laws you think are burdensome instead of just suggesting that we suspend all non-criminal state laws?

    • Incredibly stupid ideas

      Those permits and regulations serve a purpose. Perhaps there are too many, but to suggest disabling all non-criminal regulation, even temporarily would be stupendously irresponsible.

      If you as a businessman cannot figure out how to get some simple paperwork done, then you have absolutely no chance of success in the real world of business.

      The Governor has no authority to suspend local regulations in any case.

  22. Calling for an $quot;Attitude Adjustment$quot; - Hard Choices Ahead

    I have been concerned that too many of us who got super-excited about the Deval Patrick candidacy and Administration are bogged down right now in the negativity of hard economic times and the polls and punditry of the moment--and are not sure how to respond.

    The Governor's letter in response to the Evergreen article gives us a great tool to begin shifting our focus to the real and the positive. It provides a framework for us to see the Administration's record and vision differently than the daily grind of headlines. I would encourage that we actually read it, find the two or three points that resonate with us most deeply, and in doing so, begin to change the way we talk.

    Welcome to the "attitude adjustment hour" which comes along in every worthwhile venture when the chips are down and all the choices are horrible.  We need to resist the temptation to be the sharpest skeptic in the room. We chose Deval Patrick because of an uncommon vision and depth we saw in his readiness to lead. Let's be there now despite the challenges of the times, when social pressure so often makes good people into finger-pointers.

    I think it is especially important that as progressives we handle our disappointment which the Governor clearly shares and we present the public with a realistic, positive and determined front with President Obama coming to town next Friday.

    The election will be decided based on what happens in the next 12 months, not the last 12; and no-one ever made a dime betting against Deval Patrick or against Massachusetts. You may have heard me say that leadership is not about taking the temperature; it is about setting the temperature. That is the kind of leader Governor Patrick is and that's the kind of citizen I want to be.

    One thing I ask is let's not get caught sitting on our hands. The stakes are too high and the opportunity too great. Let the "attitude adjustment" begin!

    • Tickets are $500.

      Which essentially eliminates most middle class and every poor Massachusetts citizen from attending this event.   Just one more slap in the face, if you ask me.

      I think it is especially important that as progressives we handle our disappointment which the Governor clearly shares and we present the public with a realistic, positive and determined front with President Obama coming to town next Friday.

      Realistic?,  you must mean sugarcoated.

      Once we have succumbed to yours, the Governors, or anyones request to put the smile on and pretend it's all good, is when all efforts to strive for easing the burdens of the middle class will end.  I'm not ready to believe for one second that we are well on way, or have even begun, to recover from the economic crash we have all just experienced.

      It is NOT time to pat ourselves on the back and proclaim success.  It is way to early. Too many people are still hurting.  This small success the governor has had with Evergreen Solar( if it is a success, too soon to tell), as well as his continued touting of ...

      Early economic indicators show we are poised to come out of this downturn stronger and faster than the rest of the United States.  

      is offensive and makes him appear as if he doesn't get it.  Being "poised" to do anything is not a success.  Achieving what you were "poised" to do is the success.

      It's as stupid as "Mission Accomplished"  

      • No One is Patting Themselves on the Back...

        That is not the point of the Governor's message.  He understands that we have a lot of work to do, and that many people are still hurting.  All he is saying is that we must continue to make the hard choices that will help us eventually get out of this national economic crisis.  I believe the Governor is doing that, and that the work that his administration has done has put us on a path to recovery.  

        • I appreciate the clarification...

          We have all become very tired of making hard choices, I think we are all aware that there are more hard choices down the road.  That does not make for a happy constituency, but that does not mean we blame Governor Patrick for the state we are in.  I blame the Bush Administration for all of the grief we face today.  

          I will not be able to pretend that we are turning a corner on this crisis yet.  It's quite possible we could sink farther into the pits before we turn around.  The hard choices have been "our" hard choices. We are the ones who feel the pain in our daily lives.  The governor must continue to acknowledge the strain this has had on the citizens of Massachusetts.   It's not his fault, but it is his responsibility to see us through it.  There are things he can to do make a difference.

          His call out to the Hyatt for their abuse of employees was an amazing display of caring for his constituency.  Auto insurance reform which has resulted lower insurance rate is a terrific talking point. I'm sure there are many, many more.

          Asking for an end to negativity and cynicism because we are poised for a strong rebound, nope, he needs to lose that one.

  23. I appreciate the vision and a suggestion

    Governor,

    I appreciate the vision of trying to encourage green technologies here in the Commonwealth.  The extent to which the market affects the success of these businesses is clearly beyond what can be easily predicted.  But we wouldn't even be in the game without these companies making an effort.

    Along these lines, I know the state is making efforts to help people increase the efficiency of their homes.  Why not make this a cornerstone of the State's green efforts?  A big increase in home efficiency through improved insulation alone could save MA homeowners significant money and lower our state's carbon footprint.   With the large new federal tax incentives, the costs to the state and homeowners could be relatively small.  A team of energy conservation auditors (accessible state-wide) and, probably most important, a well publicized campaign (Public service ads on NPR, Globe, Herald, Cape Cod Times, etc) could make a big difference.  

    A warmer home is a tangible benefit to voters.  This could provide the RBIs Stomv suggests.

    Sincerely, Mak Saito

  24. Peddle their cynicism and negativity?

    This seems to be a one sided argument intended to take focus away from the crisis currently taking place to the services available to the most vulnerable citizens of the Commonwealth.

    I have heard many times the Governor state that he would like to protect these services and I commend him for that, but in practice this has not been the case as accessibility to services has diminished.  What seems to be the disconnect is that many of these services are cost-effective or natural in any cost analyses. Let's taking vocational training for people with disabilities at community rehabilitation providers?? Obviously the faster these people are trained, the faster the can become employed, the faster they will work off of benefits and the faster they will add to the tax base. Yet these people languish in a bureaucratic nightmare, sometimes waiting 9-12 months just to begin the process.

    Full disclosure, I work for a private community rehab provider and it simply frustrating to send these individuals to EOHHS so they can be told to come back in 9 months. How about reform within EOHHS? Why do every agency within every cluster need their own contracts department, their own IT department, their own legal department? Why do are offices of DMH, DMR, DTA, and MRC need their own buildings paying millions upon millions in leases when these offices could be consolidated? Why not take IT and contracts and do the same with these departments as what happened to personal departments a couple of years ago?

    What comes down to it is that millions upon millions of dollars could be going to direct services but instead are gobbled up in bloated administration costs! Where is the reform?  

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Wed 22 Mar 8:09 PM