Friday, September 2, 2016

News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 33


Things seem to be picking up a little as the summer draws to a close.  That being the case, we won’t waste time, but get straight to this week’s news items:

"A film about me? I'd watch that!"
• This past Saturday CESJ held its annual celebration.  The event was postponed from April due to a scheduling conflict with documentary filmmaker Joyce Hart who wanted to tape the event for possible inclusion in a film about Louis Kelso, inventor of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).  After a brief business meeting, there was a panel discussion on binary economics and the Just Third Way, followed by a sandwich buffet lunch.  After lunch, there was a roundtable discussion on what Kelso’s ideas meant to each person.
• Saturday evening, Norman Kurland, Marie Kurland, Dawn Brohawn, and Joyce Hart had a dinner meeting with Dr. Ralph Hall of Virginia Tech to discuss collaboration on a project that could involve a number of countries and a consortium of universities to develop a legislative package to promote sustainable economic development through personal empowerment attained through individual capital ownership financed by future savings.
There are many good reasons to visit Belgium
• Eliza R., CESJ’s new intern, has been formulating questions for a survey to be taken in Ukraine in November to determine attitudes toward widespread capital ownership as a way of helping to counter the extreme corruption in that country as well as rebuild the economy.  Eliza will be traveling to Belgium next week, and possibly meet with CESJ Fellow Astrid U.
• Agitation keeps increasing to do something about the student debt crisis, e.g., permit those with student loans to declare bankruptcy, and change the system to provide free tuition at public institutions.  The problem with student debt, of course, is that permitting students to declare bankruptcy in effect gives them a way to gain a free education at taxpayer expense, and penalizes anyone who paid for an education without taking loans.  As for free tuition, it sounds good on paper, but tuition is not the only educational expense.  Further, in European countries where free tuition is the norm, students are usually charged extra fees in lieu of tuition, making the cost in some cases more than if they had paid tuition.
Consumption taxes are heavily regressive.
• There is also the move to abolish the income tax and go to a consumption tax in the form of a national sales tax.  As we roughly calculated in a blog this past week, a sales tax set high enough to cover all government expenditures at current levels would likely raise the price level by 150% or so, cutting consumption and requiring another tax increase.  The problem is that all taxes discourage production, but consumption taxes more than others by decreasing demand directly instead of indirectly as with an income tax.  Ultimately, of course, all taxes are “income taxes” because they are paid with income.
• CESJ’s latest book, Easter Witness: From Broken Dream to a New Vision for Ireland, is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as by special order from many “regular” bookstores.  The book can also be ordered in bulk, which we define as ten copies or more of the same title, at a 20% discount.  A full case is twenty-six copies, and non-institutional/non-vendor purchasers get a 20% discount off the $20 cover price on wholesale lots ($416/case).  Shipping is extra.  Send enquiries to publications@cesj.org.  An additional discount may be available for institutions such as schools, clubs, and other organizations as well as retailers.
"I say, Old Man, that makes me smile!"
• Here’s the usual announcement about the Amazon Smile program, albeit moved to the bottom of the page so you don’t get tired of seeing it.  To participate in the Amazon Smile program for CESJ, go to https://smile.amazon.com/.  Next, sign in to your account.  (If you don’t have an account with Amazon, you can create one by clicking on the tiny little link below the “Sign in using our secure server” button.)  Once you have signed into your account, you need to select CESJ as your charity — and you have to be careful to do it exactly this way: in the space provided for “Or select your own charitable organization” type “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington.”  If you type anything else, you will either get no results or more than you want to sift through.  Once you’ve typed (or copied and pasted) “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington” into the space provided, hit “Select” — and you will be taken to the Amazon shopping site, all ready to go.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 48 different countries and 43 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and India. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 33,” “I’m New to Distributism,” “G.K. Chesterton v. Modernism and Socialism,” “A Look at the Future, II: Labor Productivity?” and “Let’s Talk About . . . Job Creation.”
Those are the happenings for this week, at least those that we know about.  If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we’ll see that it gets into the next “issue.”  If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you.  All comments are moderated, so we’ll see it before it goes up.
#30#

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