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The Triple Bottom Line

One aspect of sustainability is something called the Triple Bottom Line. It’s gone by different names such as the three-legged stool concept and the 3 Es. The idea is that you factor the economy, the environment, and social issues on the same or a level playing field, each getting equal weight when being considered for a decision. So, if something doesn’t consider the economic impacts of say an environmentally sound project, it wouldn’t balance by the Triple Bottom Line assessment. The questions we should be asking ourselves, according to this idea, would be: “How does this policy/plan/product impact the environment/people/economy?” If we’re considering outsourcing jobs, for instance, who is being displaced then by lack of a job? How would that benefit those who are losing there jobs? Is there another plan we could use that could balance the economic side while not exploiting the people who get the job done?

A Last Push to Deregulate itemizes some of the recent rules President Bush plans on putting through as his term nears an end.  How does relaxing drinking water standards, for example, impact people and the environment?  Is it a good decision for either?  Would it balance under the Triple Bottom Line assessment?  Does it take into account a longer impact such as health impacts from drinking potentially contaminated water?

No, rules like this do not take a Triple Bottom Line assessment into account. How long will we go before we realize that this type of planning will only serve to harm us? Perhaps the November 4th election will proffer hope or change no matter which party rules this new administration. Perhaps we can see a more complete form of planning for the next 4 to 8 years.

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Taxes

Taxes. Essential for governments to fund essential services – police, fire, etc. My husband and I have felt and received benefits of other services like healthcare when jobs didn’t line up for us. We know what it’s like to live with a tight budget. Sure, it’d be great to buy an espresso everyday and work on building community in my local third place, but we need that money for milk. Likewise, governments, when facing downturns in economies, should work with what they have. We have grown used to just buying new and asking for raises when we should be reducing and reusing first. Conservation should be the first step when approaching a budget shortfall. Likewise, in this day of confusing politics, often when people don’t vote (the 50% who never even register, for example) it’s their way of saying, “NO!” Who has participated in one of these ubiquitous kitchen table conversations with their partner and really pondered over who or what to vote for with no clear or passionate choices? Taking away the double majority clause takes away their silent voice. Vote “No” on Measure 56 to better retain democracy.

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2008 – 2nd Presidential Debate

2nd Pres Debate, October 7, 2008, Townhall Style, Tennessee

Moderator, Tom Brokaw

With the economy on the downturn, retired and older citizens losing their income, what’s the fastest solution to bailing these people out.

Obama – worst financial crisis since G.D., people worried, final verdict of last 8 years, we should strip away regulations, consumer protections, prosperity to reign, hasn’t worked. Decisive action. One, rescue package, needs to work properly, strong oversight, cracking down on CEOs. Middle Class need rescue package, tax cuts, help for homeowners, state & local governments, infrastructure to keep people in jobs, fix health & energy that is already burden.

McCain – You go to the heart of America’s worries tonight. Angry, upset, a little fearful, our job to fix the problem. Energy independence. Gotta stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much. Gotta keep taxes low. Stop spending spree. $10 trillion debt, 500 of which is owed to China. Reforms, prosperity. Problem so severe, that we’re going to have do something about home values. Home values of retirees continues to decline, people … Sec of Treas, buy up bad home loans, renegotiate at new, reduced value. Is it expensive? Yes. But until we stabilize home values, we’re never going to start turning around and creating jobs. I know how to do that my friends. I know how to get America working again.

Who would you appoint to Sec of Treasury since Paulson won’t stay on?

McCain – tough question, a lot of qualified, first criteria – Americans must trust, Warren Buffet, Meg Whitman. Someone who inspires trust and confidence.

Obama – Warren would be a pretty good choice, pleased to have his support. Other folks out there. Key next Treas Sec needs to understand not enough to help those at the top, we have to help the middle class. Wages and incomes flat-lined, harder and harder to save and retire. Tax policy create tax cut for 95% of working Americans. Need to stabilize housing prices AND jobs. Next

What it is that is going to help these people out?

McCain – match to light fire, Frannie Mae and Freddie mac. With encouragement of Obama & cronies made risky loans to people who could never afford to pay back. Some of us, two years ago stood up against that. Obama 2nd highest recipient of Frannie and Freddie money. Stabilize markets, shore up institutions, not enough, so we’ll have to buy up these loans so people can

Obama – what’s in the rescue package for you? Credit markets frozen up, so some small and large businesses can’t get a loan, can’t make payroll, may have to shut doors and lay people off. 1 company and imagine 1 million. Adverse affect on everyone. Had to take action. Gotta correct a little of McCain’s history. Biggest problem was deregulation of this whole financial situation. 2 years ago said sub prime lending crisis. 1 year ago, went to wall street, go to deregulate. McCain said we should keep on deregulating because that’s how the free enterprise works. With respect to Fannie & Freddie bill, McCain jumped on a year after. Obama didn’t support. This is not the end, this is the beginning of the process. Important to work with homeowners, to ensure they will stay in their home. Rescue package has that option but it hasn’t been enacted yet. Strengthen homeowner.

American economy is going to get much worse and ought to be prepared?

Obama – no, I’m confident about American economy, but we need better leadership from Washington. Have archaic system, need to coordinate with other countries. Need to help ordinary families stay in their home, ensure pay bills, healthcare and energy.

McCain – worse before better? Depends on what we do. If we act effectively, if we stabilize housing market, new mortgage at new value of home. Get rid of Cronyism, etc. Point is, we can fix our economy. American workers…. Innocent bystanders.

How can we trust either of you with our money when both parties got us into this global economic crisis?

Obama – Well, look, I understand your frustration and cynicism, you’ve been doing your part, and Washington hasn’t. remember a little bit of history. When W came into office, we had surpluses, now we have a ½ trillion now over 10 trillion. No one is completely innocent, but over the last 8 years we have had the biggest increase in the last 8 years. Spend money on key issues – gotta reform health care, got to deal with energy, can’t keep borrowing from Chinese and sending it to Saudi Arabia, college afford-ability. Cutting more than I am spending, net spending cut. Key to have priorities that work for you.

McCain – well, Theresa, thank you, I can see why you feel that cynicism and mistrust. I have been a consistent reformer. I have advocated and taken on the special interests taking on the big money people. Clea record of bipartisanship. Obama proposing 860 billion dollars in new spending?

New economic realties that everyone understands, choices made, health energy and entitlement reform what are your priorities and what order, firs year in office?

McCain – can work on all three at once, reform entitlement programs, my friends, not be able to provide same benefits for retirees as we have today, 1983.

Obama – investment 15 billion dollars in ten years, free of dependence on energy middle east, priority #1, health care #2, broken health-care system, #3 education. Looking at our records, we do need to. Senator McCain likes to talk about earmarks, eliminate programs that don’t work, those that do work work better and cheaper. Got to look at where our tax revenues are going. $300 billion tax cut, give to big corps and oil companies, that’s money out of the system. Got to prioritize spending & tax side.

Since WWII we have never been asked to sacrifice … what sacrifices will you ask every American to make to get out of the economic mess we are in.

McCain – some programs we’ll have to eliminate, every agency of every bureaucracy, defense spending. Eliminate earmarks, some good projects will have to be eliminated. Spending freeze except for defense and veterans affairs. Some programs not grow like we’d like them to.

Obama – a lot of you remember tragedy of 9/11, all of country was ready to come together to make enormous changes to make us safer and better. One of the opportunities missed was when he said, got out and shop, not the kind of call to service the American people were looking for. I think the American people hungry for leadership. How we use energy. Increased oil production, explore new ways to get new oil. Use land or lose it. Safe ways to save nuclear energy. How can we save energy in our homes and our buildings. A fuel efficient car built here. Weatherize home, make home more fuel efficient. Young people interested in how they can serve. Creating volunteer corp involved in communities and military service.

Pres Bush said last summer Wall Street got drunk, now people think Govt got drunk and American people got drunk. How would you specifically fix that, a model?

Obama – starts with Washington, we’ve got to show that we’ve got good habits. Looking at spending and revenue side. I want to use a scalpel to make sacrifices.

McCain – nailing down Obama’s various tax ideas are like nailing Jello to the wall. I am not in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy. Then goes on to middle class..

Huge unfunded obligations for entitlement programs, eat up all revenue. Would you give congress a date certain to reform social security?

Obama – going to have to take on entitlements, going to have to do it quickly, my first term as president. We’re not going to solve soc sec and Medicare. Understand revenues coming in. I want to provide a tax cut for 95% of Americans. If you make less than 250,000 your taxes will go down. Small businesses, only a few percent of small businesses make more than 250k, so the vast majority would get the credit, so they could buy health insurance for their workers.

McCain – It’s not that hard, Tom.

I want to know that Congress moved pretty fast, environmental issues, climate change, and green jobs?

McCain – nuclear yea

Obama – one of the biggest challenges (opportunity) of our time, a new energy economy, 5 mil new jobs, engine that drives us into the future, make investments. I favor nuclear power as ONE component of our overall energy risks.

Selling health-care coverage as a marketable commodity profitable, do you believe health-care should be treated as a commodity?

Obama – frequently asked issues.

Health-care right responsibility?

McCain – responsibility?

Obama – Right

Financial stress affect our ability to act as a peace maker?

McCain – strong military, needs strong economy. Prevent bad stuff

Obama – need to change

Obama & McCain Doctrine?

Obama – genocide, ethnic cleansing, moral obligation, not going to be able to be everywhere every time.

McCain – greatest force of good, do what we can to prevent genocide, tempered with our ability to beneficially affect, need to understand limits of our abilities.

Should the U.S. respect Pakistani sovereignty or invade like in Vietnam war?

Obama – difficult situation, hadn’t finished job, got distracted, diverted resources. Kill Bin Laden crush Tali-ban.

McCain – hero T. Roosevelt.

What don’t you know and how will you learn it?

Obama

McCain – don’t know, what we all don’t know, challenges

Brokaw – that’s my script!

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2008 Vice Presidential Debate

Biden – Bailout, focus on middle class

Palin – Bailout, turns to parents, refers to parents, fear

How as vp would you work to shred this gap and polarization

Biden – I’ve done it my whole career,

Palin – talking to and about the American workforce, gretest in the world, she winked, wearing americna flag pin, new and different craving, send maverick from senate

Sub pirme lending meltdown, who’s at fault?

Palin – corrupting, Americans, let’s commit ourselves to never again, never exploited again, demand strict oversite form feds, not get ourselves in debt, don’t live outside our means

Biden – B.O. warned ,J.M always for cutting regs, wall street running wild, republican response, deregulate, overwhelming, belief wall street could self-regulate, those who say don’t go into debt can barely pay for gas,

Palin – darn right we need tax relief,

Biden – charge not true

Palin – mccain healthcare, $5,000 credit, (cost $12,500), purchase about state-lines

Biden – under mccain plan, 20 mil dropped. “Ultimate Bridge to Nowhere” healthcare

What promises have you and your campaigns won’t be able to keep?

Biden – slow down foreign assistance, don’t go forward w/mccain tax cuts, won’t hold up on providing incentives for new jobs, energy policy, cannot slow up on education (engine of growth/competitiveness), affordable healthcare,

Palin – B.S., energy plan obama, ‘had to take on oil companies’, had to break up monopoly in Alaska???, promised to do what is right for the American people, not a whole lot “I’ve” promised.

Biden – tax breaks, energy alts, likes what palin did in Alaska

Last congress passed bill made harder for homeowners to declare bankruptcy, mcain supported, would you?

Palin – yes, but… corruption and greed on wall street made known

Biden – for bill, obama against, mortgage holders paid the price, only 10% had been affected (gets complicated), Obama pointed out sub prime mortgage crisis 2 yrs ago, mccain surprised. Should now be allowing bankruptcy courts adjust interest rate and principle owed to help people from going under

Palin – not so, back to energy need to make nation energy independence key to uor future economic and national security.

Climate Change – what is true and what is false, causes

Palin – Alaska knows it’s real, not wiling to attribute all of mans activities, but real changes going on, don’t want to argue about causes, need to positively effect

Biden – clearly man made, IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CAUSE IS, IT’S VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO COME UP WITH A SOLUTION, clean coal, export tech by investing in clean coal,

Palin – drill baby drill, billions of barrels of oil, clean green natural gas, pipeline largest & most expensive infrastructure, J&O said no to domestic options, nuclear, supports capping carbon emissions

Biden – hard targets for capping, how do we deal with global warming with continued CO2 emissions?

Do you support granting same-sex benefits to couples

Biden – yes, absolutely positively yes, no distinguishing between same-sex & hetero sexual couples

Palin – redefining traditional definition, I am “tolerant” have very diverse family and friends. Don’t support defining marriage as anything but one man and one woman.

Biden – don’t support ‘gay marriage’, decision left to faith. No civil rights distinguished between …

Foreign policy –

Palin

Biden

Nuclear Iran/Unstable Pakistan – greatest threat?

Biden – Pakistan already had nukes. Iran getting nukes would be very destabilizing.

Palin – General Patrais,

Israel?

Palin – 2 state solution

Biden – Bush policy abject failure, thoughtful real-live diplomacy to back Israel.

Palin – both love Israel, yea. Huge blunders, as with every administration. Will leanr from past mistakes. Forge ahead, gov’t back on side of people.

Biden – how different is mccain policy than bush? Haven’t heard that.

Biden as an interventionist, is this something the American public has the stomach for?

Biden – American public has the stomach for success

Palin – playing up not being a Washington insider.

Check the Atlantic this month.

How would a Biden admin be different from an Obama admin?

Biden – national tragedy, I would carry out policy of reinstating middle class, fair break, health insurance, serous tax breaks, energy policy towards independence, clean environment and jobs, foreign policy that ends war in iraq, goes after mission of bin laden, engage allies, knew acting on same page not dictating, reject bush doctrine of preemption and regime change. Agree on every major initiative.

Palin – heaven for bid that would happen, ‘team of mavericks’, agree to disagree, need a bit of realty from Wasilla main street,

Biden

Palin – say it ain’t so joe

What is the vice presidency worth?

Palin

Biden

Single issue (policy) forced to change long-held view to change circumstances

Biden – yea, I can, only thing that mattered nominee judicial temperament, moral, good student. Hard to change, 5 years to realize that the ideology of the judge makes a big difference. Matters what your judicial philosophy is.

Palin – budgets passed did not vetoed, caved in, to get budget to work. No major principles had to compromise on, always find a way to work together on bi-partisan issues up there in Alaska, and that’s what we’re going to do.

Biden – question judgment not motive

Palin – appoint people regardless of party affiliation, diverse family, at the end of the day as long as we’re all working together for the greater good, it’s okay.

Closing statements

Palin – like being able to answer these tough questions, fight for our freedoms,

Biden – most important election ever voted in your entire life. Need for fundamental change. We measure progress in America on whether or not someone can pay their mortgage or send their kid to college. Or when they go abroad to fight they come home and are taken care of. Dignity and respect. Reestablish the bootstrap certitude in American society.

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Financial Crisis

Reading through today’s news is quite interesting. We are under a massive financial crisis with giants falling before our eyes. There is a lot of excitement on Wall Street to have the federal government bail out these bad debts so that the economy can get back on track. Robert Reich thinks it’s a bad idea and offers his own suggestions of where we should next go. Honestly, I don’t understand it. Economics as it is practices confuses the hell out of me.

I understand the importance of balancing a budget. I have a family. We have a set amount of money that needs to go out every month if we are to maintain our standard of living. We own our two cars outright, they are not owned by any bank. We rent. We have ourselves and one little guy to feed. We pay for water, electric, a land line, and my mobile phone. Those things add up, and we have to make them add up within the amount that Peter brings home every month.

Now, shouldn’t lending companies and governments operate the same way? You have a fixed amount you can count on, so you budget your expenses based on that. You prioritize your expenses, and the most important things get paid first. I would prefer to live in a state that views residents be fed, clothed, housed, and healthy before they go fight another nation. Although we live in a country that thinks the opposite, the priorities are set. Now, if one segment takes up too much money, i.e., more than the allotted amount, you have to cut the spending. Over spending, spending into the red, we are taught since we were little is bad financial sense.

So, why are we bailing companies out that seem to have done that? Why are we looking for a quick fix to “get the economy back on track” rather than holding them accountable? What happens to the individual in all this? Are they forgotten? What mortgages are causing these giant banks to fall? Should we just have one massive debt-forgiveness? Would that help? Start now. All loans, housing, car, education, etc., forgiven. One giant debt-forgiving strategy for individuals and corporations . And then, we have our ground rules. No more bad debt. We do lay-a-ways. Limit collateral to paid for items. What happened to one of our founding desires to NOT have debtor prisons? Aren’t we headed that way for individuals if this track continues?

Is it just me, or is this just another in a long list of things that proves how much common sense HAS eroded?