The Ati-thesis , Marxism

"By that definition, a state capitalist country is one where the government controls the economy and essentially acts like a single huge corporation, extracting the surplus value from the workforce in order to invest it in further production.[3] Friedrich Engels, in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, argues that state capitalism would be the final stage of capitalism consisting of ownership and management of large-scale production and communication by the bourgeois state.[4]"

Quoted from Wikepedia

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Corporate Welfare Flourished under LePage.

Continuing from Part One.....Bonds are frequently sold to the public in the interest of job-creation.

During the Lepage years, under the enactment of Industry Partnerships, the public educational system was re-purposed as a job training resource. Industry Partnership's is a new government bureaucracy dedicated to function as central managers of the relationship between industries operating in economic sectors targeted by the State. Funding was re appropriated from traditional government functions such as the Department of Corrections to capitalize ‘quality centers”, collective communes in the community college system, equipped with the state of the art means of production and used as facilities for training workers in the state-targeted industries. More taxpayer funding was distributed to build communal Tech Places, industry quality centers with state of the art facilities designed to attract start-up companies to communal environments with shared facilities and administration. The picture of the corporate state circa 2018.
You Don’t Own the Means of Production and Your Intellectual Property Isn’t Yours !
About the project 
The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA) has established “Tech Place” a Science and Technology Business Incubator at Brunswick Landing: Maine’s Center for Innovation on the campus of the former Naval Air Station Brunswick (NASB) to prompt new small business development and job creation to replace the 4,800 jobs lost as result of the base closure. The incubator will support the business clusters of aerospace/aviation, composites/advanced materials, biotech/biomed, renewable energy and information services technologies. Tech Place Maine- About US

Per statutory mandate, Tech Places maintain a relationship with the university system. The University of Maine is the center of the University system.

Under Angus King, The Legislature  established a policy authorizing the university to claim ownership of intellectual property rights, based on usage of publicly owned facilities by the creative author of the intellectual property. Under the established policy, ownership of the material resources and facilities can be used to acquire ownership of intellectual property rights .

 IV. APPLICABILITY This policy, as amended from time to time, shall be deemed a part of the conditions of employment for every employee of the University, and a part of the conditions of enrollment and attendance at the University by students. It is also the policy of the University that, by participating in a sponsored project and/or by making significant use of University Resources and/or by participating in teaching, research, or service projects, individuals (including non-compensated individuals) accept the principles of ownership of Intellectual Property as stated in this policy, unless an exception is approved in writing by the Intellectual Property Office. (emphasis added)
Copyrightable Works: It is the policy of the University that all rights in Copyrightable Works shall remain with the author(s) and creator(s) unless:
 iv) In the judgment of the Intellectual Property Office and the cognizant University administrator(s), the author(s) or creator(s) of the Copyrightable Work made more than Incidental Use of University Resources. 
Rights to ownership of intellectual property, based on ownership of facilities is a concept embraced in communist political philosophy.

Tech Place is the latest evolution in public-private ownership of the means of production in Maine, On the state side is the University's consortium of productions including the Advanced Manufacturing Center at the University of Maine,  Aqua Ventus, in the public-private modality, there is The Maine Venture Fund, The Maine Technology Institute, Quality Places (for job training) and Tech Place, a commune for private start-up companies - All connected to the University, all requiring a continual reinvestment of capital.

In 2015 Maine House Speaker Mark Eves promoted the “Put Me to Work” bill:
Maine House speaker pushes job training legislation  AUGUSTA — House Speaker Mark Eves is backing a bill designed to invest $5 million over the next five years in job training programs that create public-private partnerships to develop a trained workforce in high-demand fields such as logging, health care and machining.
The bill, called “Put ME to Work,” would also fund scholarships in some of the same fields. Eves and Democratic leaders promoted the bill as a vehicle to help fill job needs in select industries in which an aging workforce and new hires aren’t keeping pace with new skill needs Maine House speaker pushes job training legislation by Steve Mistler Portland Press Herald May 18 2015
From the sales script to the manifestation, the targeted sector has changed classes. This methodology has long roots, harking back to the selling the University of Maine to the public. U of M was sold as a place where farmers son's would be taught scientific skills and used instead to pursue the latest technology in the marketplace, replacing rural culture with urban and suburban culture.

Break Down of Expenditures of LD1373 Put ME to Work Bill

The header of the cost analysis identifies that the bill is to finance the Quality Centers and states that the funds will be used for needs-based tuition assistance and grants for persons participating in the Put ME to Work Program.

  •  25% of the bond will be used for tuition assistance
  • 65% of the expenditure is for the private partnership matching fund which includes what is called “infrastructure” investment likely meaning space and equipment used for production. (the means of production)
  • 10% of the funding for this project provides for one new executive position at $100,000, annually

Unlike The Industrial Partnership's Act and The Major Business Headquarters Expansion Act, the Put ME to Work Bill received massive media coverage as it required public funding approval. It was promoted as a jobs training initiative but only 25% of the funding is dedicated to job training grants. Most of the funding is appropriated to acquiring the material means of production which is to be matched with private funding. 10% of the tax payer funding goes to hiring an executive director for the public-privately owned facility- and let us not forget that it is ownership of the means of production which is used to establish rights to ownership of the intellectual property of its users.

Re-purposing Public Education

The funding for the quality centers follows the standard redistribution of wealth policies used by the State, Funding is for sale as a matching fund for private investors. The bill does not state the private terms of investment, but no doubt they exist. However,  since the establishment of the FAME corporations, under the administration of Governor Joseph E. Brennan (Democrat), state policy holds that private benefit is only incidental to public purposes, which is to say the purposes of the centrally managed state, following the Mussolini dictum that everything evolves around the state and so whatever is the purpose of the State is the purpose of the public, says the State.

A centrally managed alliance to end individual freedom and opportunity.
The authority will serve a public purpose and perform an essential governmental function in the exercise of the powers and duties conferred upon it by this chapter. Any benefits accruing to private individuals or associations, as a result of the activities of the authority, are deemed by the Legislature to be incidental to the public purposes to be achieved by the implementation of this chapter. [1985, c. 344, §5 (AMD).]

LD1373 Put ME to Work Bill
2. Job training programs; criteria. The job training programs in the program must provide training to prepare workers for jobs in high-demand fields. The centers shall work with private businesses to determine the demand for jobs and the skills needed for those jobs and with post-secondary institutions of higher education to determine the ability of those institutions to provide the appropriate education and training, including teaching faculty and any necessary infrastructure. A qualified job training program must meet the following criteria: (emphasis added)
A.  Support of at least 50% of the start-up costs for the job training program must be provided by a business or group of businesses that chooses to participate in a job training program. The support may be provided through funds or through an in-kind contribution, such as equipment or teaching faculty;
B.  The job training program must provide education or training for employment in a trade or industry with a significant demand for skilled labor either statewide or in a region that has been identified by the Center for Workforce Research and Information within the Department of Labor as providing employment for high-compensation jobs; and......

An examination of the Community College charter reveals that student’s educational costs are already arranged to be subsidized by taxpayers, through the implementation of the Pine Tree Zone tax exemptions combined with a refundable tax credit. This is how it works:

First the cost of the training is picked up by the employer:

§5217-D. Credit for educational opportunity establishes that the employer can take on the loan, rather than the trainee.
 A qualified individual or an employer of a qualified employee is allowed a credit against the tax imposed by this Part in accordance with the provisions of this section. The credit is created to implement the Job Creation Through Educational Opportunity Program established under Title 20-A, chapter 428-C. (emphasis mine)
The employer may claim a credit for the amount that the qualified employee could have claimed during any months when the qualified employee was employed. Provided the employee was employed by the employer during the full time of the training, the employer can take a refundable tax credit for the full cost of the training.[
The student must be employed full time. Full time is defined as a four-day work week leaving one day for job training.

The tax credit is refundable

You have to read this section carefully. It says in 2C that the credit will not reduce this tax to less than zero (meaning a refundable tax credit in which when the holder owes no taxes the public owes the holder a cash payment (tax)).

Then it says in section 3 that section 2C is not with standing (for qualified individuals (special interests)) The tax credit is refundable if it is used for the purpose for which it is provided! One can only assume that the refundable tax credit is referred to as a tax less than zero, in section 2C and as a refundable tax credit in section 3, to confuse the reader.

§5217-D. Credit for educational opportunity A qualified individual or an employer of a qualified employee is allowed a credit against the tax imposed by this Part in accordance with the provisions of this section. The credit is created to implement the Job Creation Through Educational Opportunity Program established under Title 20-A, chapter 428-C.3. Calculation of the credit; qualified individuals.
C. Except as provided in subsection 3, the credit under this section may not reduce the tax otherwise due under this Part to less than zero. [2013, c. 525, §15 (AMD).]
3. Calculation of the credit; qualified individuals.   Subject to subsection 2 and except as provided in this subsection, the credit with respect to a qualified individual is equal to the amount determined under paragraph A or paragraph B, whichever is less, multiplied by the proration factor:
Notwithstanding subsection 2, paragraph C, the credit under this subsection is refundable to the extent the credit is based on loans included in the financial aid package acquired to obtain a bachelor's degree or associate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2016,
If the business has Pine Tree Zone tax exemptions which as a targeted sector business there is a high probability that it does, then the business does not owe taxes or owes a reduced amount of taxes and the taxpayer owes the business the cost of the job training.

Two Winners and One Loser:

  • Winner! The student gets job training which will result in a higher paying job with no educational debt. 
  • Winner!The employer gets his job training paid by the general taxpayer and a better employee whom he will pay more but also make a greater profit from the increased skill level of the employee.
  • Loser!!!The general taxpayer gets a larger tax burden without seeing an increase in his own income earning ability to help with covering the increased tax cost caused by the student's job training. 

Streaming Global Economics.

Consistent with the mission of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Industry Partnerships seeks to streamline Maine policies with a global agenda:
§3304. Industry partnerships
 1. Objectives.
H. Help companies identify and collaborate to address common organizational and human resource challenges, including, but not limited to….. hiring foreign-trained professionals [2013, c. 368, Pt. ,§1(NEW).]
5.Agency cooperation.
D. The Department of Education shall:
(2) Support innovative programs to address literacy, including English as a second language, numeracy shortcomings and soft skills training, especially in those occupations critical to targeted industry clusters; (emphasis added)
A directive to include English as a second language is repeated twice more:

G. The Maine Community College System shall:
(2) Support innovative programs to address literacy, including English as a second language, numeracy shortcomings and soft skills training, especially in those occupations critical to targeted industry clusters;
H. The University of Maine System shall:
(2) Support innovative programs to address literacy, including English as a second language, numeracy shortcomings and soft skills training, especially in those occupations critical to targeted industry clusters;

§3304. Industry partnerships was passed and amendments were added to Title 20-A: EDUCATION. By 2020, alternatives for receiving a high school diploma will be in place and will include completing training for state approved industries.

PartChapter 207-A: INSTRUCTION
§4722-A. Proficiency-based diploma standards and transcripts:
2. Method of gaining and demonstrating proficiency.  Students must be allowed to gain proficiency through multiple pathways,ith a high school diploma as described in section 4703, and must be allowed to demonstrate proficiency by presenting multiple types of evidence, including but not limited to teacher-designed or student-designed assessments, portfolios, performance, exhibitions, projects and community service. (emphasis added)
3. Exceptions
B-2. For the graduating class of 2020-2021 and each subsequent graduating class, a student who has satisfactorily completed a state-approved career and technical education program …, is eligible to receive a high school diploma from the secondary school the student last attended. A student may be awarded a high school diploma from the secondary school the student last attended in accordance with the phase-in of the following diploma requirements for the graduating class of 2020-2021 to
B-2. For the graduating class of 2020-2021 and each subsequent graduating class, a student who has satisfactorily completed a state-approved career and technical education program of study and either met 3rd-party-verified national or state industry standards set forth in department rules established pursuant to section 8306-B or earned 6 credits in a dual enrollment career and technical education program formed pursuant to chapter 229 from a regionally accredited institution of higher education and who has successfully demonstrated proficiency in meeting state standards in the content areas and the guiding principles set forth in department rules governing implementation of the system of learning results established pursuant to section 6209, is eligible to receive a high school diploma from the secondary school the student last attended. A student may be awarded a high school diploma from the secondary school the student last attended in accordance with the phase-in of the following diploma requirements for the graduating class of 2020-2021 to the graduating class of 2023-2024:

I wonder if they will be instructed on the many uses of endlessly long run-on sentences, as well as instructing them on how to edit for clarity, should the reason to do so occur?

Monday, December 31, 2018

How Maine Statutory Law Evolved Under LePage: Part One

This post was recently selected for the front page of Tremr,  an international blogger platform


Governor LePage rose to power with the support of Maine's Tea party movement in the 2010 elections.

LePage's campaign message decreed that it is not the role of government to create jobs, but to support private sector job creation. Paul LePage campaigned on lower taxes and fewer regulations, routing out special interests and purging the state's welfare system of waste and fraud. His crowning Job creation bill was enacted in December 2017. The Major Business Headquarters Expansion Act extended Maine's corporate welfare far beyond the geographical borders which define our state sovereignty, an act intended to position Maine advantageously in the global corporate world order. The Major Business Headquarters Expansion Act lives up to Paul LePage's description as a "transformational"act, and yet it was enacted in remarkable media silence, a silence which has continued in the many reviews summing up the LePage administration.

Meanwhile in social media a simple narrative is spun by LePages supporters:"LePage balanced the budget. Mills will overspend by restoring LePage de-funded benefits for the lower half of the economy. The word "welfare state" is used in as occluded a manner as Karl Marx's popularization of the word "capitalism" intending "private or free enterprise", as if states are not also capitalist operators, and as if corporate welfare is not welfare. It is possible for Mills to balance the budget, while funding benefits to the less affluent by de-funding some of LePage's aggressive corporate welfare spending, although deconstructing any of Maine's corporate welfare system has never been enacted since it was established in the seventies, to my knowledge. If Mills wants to pass her own transformational act, the stage is clearly set.

In Maine's Pugnacious Governor Leaves Behind A Complex Legacy, Steve Mistler, posting for Maine writes:

He will depart office having rejected over 640 bills - more than the combined totals of all Maine governors by Steve Mitsler for Maine Public,org

From this we can justifiably conclude that no bills were passed under LePage which were not fully consistent with LePage's intended policy. It is by examining the bills passed under the LePage;s administration that we can glean the real purpose and affect of the Lepage administration.

2011 Overwriting the Maine Constitution's Requirements for Bond Referrendums.

The promise that Paul LePage is a constitutionalist was broken in the early years of the LePage administration when an over write the Maine constitutional requirement for placing fiscal information with bond questions on the ballot, was enacted.

Maine Constitution
 Article IX
....Whenever ratification by the electors is essential to the validity of bonds to be issued on behalf of the State, the question submitted to the electors shall be accompanied by a statement setting forth the total amount of bonds of the State outstanding and unpaid, the total amount of bonds of the State authorized and unissued, and the total amount of bonds of the State contemplated to be issued if the enactment submitted to the electors be ratified....
In 2011 the Maine statute §152. Ratification of bond issue  made compliance with Section 14's requirement for fiscal information on ballots, optional. In the last sentence of the paragraph beginning with the words "In accordance with the Constitution of Maine, Article IX, section 14, the Treasurer of State shall prepare a signed statement,called the Treasurer's Statement," the words “or it may be printed as a separate document that is made available to voters as provided in Title 21-A, sections 605-A and 651” are added.

Title 21-A, sections 651 instructs the Treasurer's Statement to be placed "somewhere outside the guardrail enclosure at each voting booth". Technically that can be satisfied by placing the information anywhere except within the enclosed voting area. The point of the legislation is about where the information should not be placed. not about where it is to be found. This tells us that neither the Maine Legislature, nor the LePage administration, wanted fiscal information to be transparent to the voter, This deflates another of LePage's promises, that his administration would be the most transparent in state history?
2. Election materials distributed and posted.A In each voting booth: one voting instruction poster prepared under section 605-A; and [2011, c. 342, §22 (NEW).]
B Outside the guardrail enclosure at each voting place: (1)-(5)…
(6) One Treasurer's Statement prepared under Title 5, section 152;
(8) One copy of the Office of Fiscal and Program Review's estimate of the fiscal impact prepared under Title 1, section 353. [2011, c. 342, §22(NEW).] [1] 

Hospital Debt Monty

In 2003, The Legislature, under Democratic leadership, returned the liquor industry to the private sector.]with these words:
Transfer of wholesale liquor activities
The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest to seek efficiencies and cost savings from privatizing the State's wholesale liquor business.  
How the Above appears online today. Another change which occurred during the LePage years is that repealed legislation is often erased rather than indicated with a strike through;

In 2013, at LePage's direction, the legislature reclaimed the state owned liquor industry with these words
§90. Contract for operations of wholesale liquor activities
1. Statement of purpose.  The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest to seek efficiencies and maximize growth in the State’s wholesale spirits business while ensuring that growth in revenue from the business is achieved in a socially responsible manner. The contracting of the operations of the wholesale spirits business should serve this purpose and provide the State’s agency liquor store partners with effective and efficient services in order to responsibly serve consumers of spirits in the State.[ 2013, c. 269, Pt. A, §4 (NEW) .][ 2013, c. 269, Pt. A, §4 (NEW) .] 

At the time, I noticed that the hospital debt was spoken about as resolved when it had only been converted into another debt with a contingent plan to use the reclaimed liquor business to pay off the bond. It seemed premature to conclude that the contingency plan would work but none the less it was widely celebrated that LePage had paid down the hospital debt.

My reaction is corroborated by a statement made in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2013
Prior to fiscal year 2013, the General Fund reflected an accrual for the State’s share of the settlement of the State’s hospital debt. In fiscal year 2013, $183.5 million of the State’s share was recorded in the Other Special Revenue Fund to reflect the payment of the debt that occurred in fiscal year 2014.
Note the future is stated as having happened in the past. This accounting method is not appropriate for a balance sheet. Balance sheets tell it as it is, at a particular point in time. No matter what tense is used to identify revenue occurring in 2014, In the year 2013, that revenue had not yet occurred.

The sentences following the previously mentioned statement come across as an oddly placed justification for the accounting method used. This too seems inappropriate since it is standard for one accounting method to be used through out and not have different accounting methods used for different parts of a balance statement. It is common practice for the explanation of the accounting method used to be placed in an introductory section of the report. Even if the method is justified. the method it does not address the fact that revenues projected for 2014 are included in the balance sheet for 2013.
... The primary factor that has a significant impact on the State’s Financial Statements compiled and issued in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as applicable to governments includes accruing tax revenues for budgetary purposes and for financial statement purposes without accruing the offsetting liabilities for budgetary purposes
My current inquiry into the Hospital debt pay-off concludes, for the moment. Today when I searched for the Maine Annual Financial Report, I was unable to find any reports dated later than 2013. I found the 2013 report on  Digital Maine Repository but a search for the same title for the year 2017 produces only the year 2013, and so, it is not possible, on this date, to find out more information, using Maine financial reports.

To be continued in next post....

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Rambling Thoughts on Evolving Economic Paradigms.

For many centuries China produced ceramics which were inspirational throughout the world. In recent times, "made in China" evokes appropriation, commercialism, worker exploitation, and low costs for consumers in the western world. In response, in contemporary times. there is an emerging "Designed in China" movement,in China, complementing the "Made in America " mission in the USA.

The transformation of the China brand typifies the transformation of popular conception of hand crafted products. I recently over heard a young woman tell her friend of the same age that it is so cool that a popular store really does sell crafts made in the third world. I have visited the store not too long ago and was taken aback by the commercial character of the work on display. It felt cold and inauthentic, reflecting the globalized corporate management of the hand craft industry.

A comparison of the hand made market presented on the website for the non-profit organization, Aid to Artisans with the free enterprise venue, Kickstater, displays a distinct difference. Aid to Artisans shows many images of smiling emerging nation artisans, in native dress, and rooms filled with colorful crafts, but the crafts are displayed at such a distance that one cannot get an idea of their quality. On KickStarter, a private benefit corporation, there are images of the artisans from emerging and developed economies and a perpetually present focus on the  artisan product, conveying each product's unique qualities.

According to Wikipedia Aid to Artisans mission is "to create economic opportunities for low-income artisan groups around the world where livelihoods, communities, and craft traditions are marginal or at risk". Aid to Artisans does not include the United States or other developed nations among the artisan class. In the new centrally managed global world order, the developed economies are the hand craft markets and underdeveloped nations are the hand made makers. In economic-development-speak, "quality jobs", where ever they are located in the world, are defined in terms of income and benefits, not in terms of other rewards inherent to the work process.

Surely many of the formerly impoverished are beneficiaries of the globalization of the hand made industry. Such organizations bring a full range of quality to the marketplace, dependent upon how local productions are run, and by whom. In the best case scenario, management genuinely cares about the craft and its makers, but by the same token, large centrally managed organizations can collectivize and commercialize the hand made process to the point wherein the individual soul of the made by hand product, and its makers, is missing in the end result.

Andersen Design is a hand-made ceramic art and design enterprise established by my parents, Weston and Brenda Andersen in 1952 on Southport Island Maine. I use the slogan "The road less traveled" on our website, because this has been the tradition of our company since it was established, during the age of plastics, with a mission to create a hand- made product affordable to the middle class- not the low income and economically undeveloped class, but the middle class, which at that time was the largest class. In the 1950's the distribution of wealth took the form of a bell curve in the USA, with the greatest amount of wealth distributed among the largest number of people.

Dad was raised on a farm in Iowa, where, as a young child he dug clay out of the earth and fashioned his first ceramics sculptures.

In high school Weston read about a new field called "industrial design' in Scientific American magazine. The article inspired Weston to apply to Industrial Design Department of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. At Pratt, he learned about ceramic slip-casting in a class taught by Eva Zeisel.

Weston's college education was interrupted by World War II. Weston met Brenda while stationed in London. My mother once told me that I  came from a long line of craftsmen on her side of the family. Her talent landed her a scholarship at the Royal College of Art where most of the student body came from upper-class backgrounds. Weston and Brenda returned to Brooklyn after the war while Dad completed his education. Eva and Dad became friends and colleagues, sharing a mutual sensibility about nature and simple, modern, elegant design. Dad also found himself in an environment in which his social background contrasted with that of his peers. Dad was raised on a mid western farm, while Eva came from a wealthy and sophisticated European background and had held high placed jobs in the German and Russian ceramics industry before escaping Stalin and fleeing to America.

In the urban environment of  post-war New York, Weston and Brenda were part of the core group of young urban designers who brought about the mid-century designer movement in America and Europe, Weston and Brenda Andersen moved from the East Coast to Akron Ohio, where Weston became Dean of the Art School at the Akron Art Institute. There he had the opportunity to explore ceramics using the facilities of the Institute. He began to design a line of ceramic slip-cast functional forms but soon realized that the housing code in the Levittown community would never allow him to pursue his ideas. He took a different path, when, instead of designing for established industry, Dad chose to become a designer-craftsman and to move to Maine to set up his own slip-casting industry. Eva was taken aback, remarking that it was such a difficult thing to do. It was a difficult thing to do and that is why, this unique American enterprise needs to be continued into the future. Sixty seven years of design and development history created a line of contemporary classics, with sustained market appeal and a distinguished brand identity, which is an industrial design achievement and an economic development asset.

Weston and Brenda took a chance when they invested in entering the first New York Gift Show, which at the time was located in guest rooms in a hotel in Manhattan. That worked out for them for several decades until the gift show venue became watered down by too many competing shows while the costs of attending the show, for both buyers and vendors, soared. Then along came the internet and the rest is the history of once thriving Main Streets, malls, and big box stores falling into decline. Meanwhile the internet as a sales venue continues to expand.

Today we have much touted economic development resources not available in my parent's generation which have evolved into a wealth redistribution economy, composed of a conflation of the public-private and non-profit sectors. Beyond the parameters of the wealth redistribution economy, free enterprise lives on, as if hidden in the Mists of Avalon, borrowing a theme from Mary Zimmer Bradley's famous novel. The wealth redistribution sector and the free-enterprise economy are like non-intersecting alternate universes and it is easy to become trapped in one while not seeing the other. In Maine, the media most often functions as an extension of the wealth redistribution economy. One cannot help but feel that one should explore its options, but the wealth redistribution economy is like a grid. Unless one fits neatly into the spaces of the grid, designed managed, and organized by central management, for all meaningful purposes, one does not exist to that world.

Fortunately the free enterprise sector is inventing many new beneficial innovations for the micro-economy and beyond. One such innovation is the contest app. Contests are a way to build highly targeted email  lists. In the age of internet retailing, growing a  targeted email mailing list is an invaluable asset which can be used to bootstrap a business. Bootstrapping comes from a phrase once common in America, "pulling one's self up by your bootstraps", or another way of saying it is self-capitalization, using one's own assets, what ever they are, to capitalize growth. This is the primary method which my parents used to grow Andersen Design.

After spending many hours exploring contest applications, I found the app with the best functions and excellent online tutorials, and yet lacking in design functions and personal customer service. Since I cannot fully recommend the app I am not saying publicly which app I am using, but am happy to reveal it if any one wants to contact me by email. Despite the major shortcomings, the app has major strengths and is working very well for us, having already increased the size of our email list by over 45%, after a little more than a month.  Since the email list grows in response to a contest in which the prize is our product, it is a very targeted email list expansion. The viral function, which depends on social sharing is working only minimally to date but that can change by developing ways to communicate the way the contest works.

The company which produces the app is driven by a singular independent entrepreneur from the Netherlands. His tutorials include an insightful entrepreneurial discussion. I allowed the audio to repeat over and again a few times.  It was refreshing to hear a grass roots entrepreneurial voice. Here was a voice not of a corporation, but an individual carving his destiny out on his own and creating a tool that can benefit all sectors of the economy. This is the epitome of cool. I find myself willing to forgive the many shortcomings for the benefits, not just the app benefits but the community connection to the free enterprise zone. which. lest we forget, still exists outside the ubiquitous grid of public-private relationships in the all-encompassing environs of the wealth redistribution economy.

The basic app functions are useful bootstrapping tools for the small entrepreneur. The author  discusses the entrepreneurial life from the point of view of one whose starting assets are none other than talent, hard work and vision. Listening to the voice of a lone individualist entrepreneur feels like finding the underground resistance to the global corporate grid.

A Recap of Maine Economic Development History

As reported to the Maine Legislature by the Beldon Hull Daniels firm, In the 1970's and early eighties, Maine's small business sector. employing 100 people or less, was the fastest growing economic sector in Maine and Maine was exceeding national growth in that sector.

 In 1976, the Maine Legislature, led by a board composed of the heads of Mainer's largest companies, brought in by Governor Longley, used Maine's distinguished growth in the small business sector to justify assigning itself central management of the Maine economy, which was declared to be "an essential government function". The reasoning was that because it is substantially more difficult for small businesses to acquire capital than it is for large businesses, the State needed to step in to help the small business economy gain access to capitalization.

However, beginning with the Maine Capital Corporation, as first on the agenda of the Governor's board, the newly centralized economy was used in the self interests of its own authors. Ever since the goal of Maine's economic development policies, as documented in this blog, has been to benefit  the top of the economy at the expense of the lower. In December of 2017, with total media silence, The Maine Legislature passed a bill sponsored by Governor LePage which, through the combined effect of refundable tax credits and tax exemptions, potentially taxes the Maine people, including its small business sector, to finance the capitalization of global corporations. The use of public funding for private benefit is marketed under the popular rubric of "job creation", but for the first time, it is authorized by a Maine statute to use Maine taxpayer money to capitalize jobs located anywhere in the world, in exchange, the global or national corporation will commit to locate headquarters in Maine and employ at least 1500 people. Factoring in the eminent domain authority granted by the US Supreme Court Decision, Kelo vs New London,to private corporations employing at least 1000 people, such a corporation can have its way with any Maine community on the taxpayers dime, to boot.

That is the way the centralized economy of Maine works, from global to municipal, it benefits the large at the expense of the small - or at least it attempts to have that kind of control at the municipal level but Maine's Home Rule Amendment, added to the Maine Constitution in 1969, says otherwise, granting the municipality authority to write its own charter. However most Maine municipaities accept central management and have not realized the valuable tool which the Home Rule Amendment makes available to them. The value of this tool is most likely to be realized by the less affluent communities since Maine economic development policies advantage the affluent communities over others. It comes down to self interest. If the State advantages the affluent, the affluent will channel State policies, while the less affluent municipalities, as the beast of burden, will have more reason to push back and effectively use the Home Rule Amendment to create cultural alternatives to central management.

New Terminology For An Ever Changing World

More than a decade a go I read the Non-Profit Economy by Burton Weisbrod. Weisbrod identified the primary economic sectors as public, private and non-profit. As I studied the Maine statutes I found that the sectors viewed as distinct by Weisbrod have been conflated. For instance, the Maine Technology Instituted, chartered by the Maine Legislature under Governor Angus King, conflates all three sectors into one. The Institute is chartered as a public charity but the board is authorized by the  statutory charter to make a profit and claim ownership of intellectual property rights. Given the contemporary conflation of three formerly separate economic sectors, the old terms are inadequate for today's world and so I  have done my own reconfiguration, using only two sectors, the wealth redistribution sector and the free enterprise sector.

After listening to the entrepreneurial insights by the author of the contest app, I was curious about what sort of economy exists in the Netherlands. I expected socialism, but was optimistically surprised when I found this Netherlands Economic Profile describing its type of economy.

Anyone who engages in political discussions on social networks in America should know that it is a popular and over-used misconception that the antithesis of socialism is capitalism. "Capitalism" is a term used by Karl Marx intending "free enterprise" or "free market capitalism" in which the private sector owns the means of production.

The Netherlands Economic Profile uses the term "free enterprise" instead of "capitalism", with the antithesis being "the command economy". There is also another contemporary term which takes the edge out of "command economy" and that is "planned economy" Whether Maine's public-private government is a command economy or a planned economy is a matter of interpretation to be pursued at a later date.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Excluded Micro Economy in the Boothbay Region and Beyond

Two recent news stories in the Boothbay Register provide an oveview of what is going on in economic development in Boothbay. On October 4, 2018, in the article titled, JEDC future hinges on filling vacant co-chair seat, Joseph Charpentier reported that the JECD, after spending 79000 to hire New York consultants to create an economic development master plan for the entire peninsula, is in decline. The JECD doesn't know how to implement the plan produced for the JECD by the New York consultants, Camoin Associates. The JECD has expended its welcome to use taxpayer pockets to fund its agenda. and the Boothbay co-chair is currently an unfilled position of the public-private development group.

The second story, CEO’s action makes for smooth sailing for new Boothbay business, by Bill Pearson, is about the rescue by Code Enforcement Officer Jason Lorrain of a small manufacturer from a major setback at the hands of the Boothbay selectmen.

Recently a local artist purchased a property thinking he could establish a gallery but the town selectmen prohibited it. In 2013 town officials shut down Stimpson boat builders. Stimpson's right to build boats was eventually restored but at a great cost to the boat builder. Although town selectmen claim to want young people, families, and full-time year-round jobs to the peninsula, they do not welcome or encourage micro-economy jobs and small manufacturers. The Boothbay ordinances are very restrictive of that sector of the economy. The only certain place the selectmen allow for such activities to establish themselves is in Industrial Park, also in TIF District #3, but the location has no attractions, except for the ever-expanding storage units businesses.

These two stories are related by the fact that small manufacturing is a craft. Boat builders and probably even sail makers are designer-craftsmen.

To fill in the backstory, when I applied for fiscal sponsorship to a New York non-profit fiscal sponsorship organization, for our ceramic design and slip-casting business, qualified as a social enterprise, my application took twice as long, as anticipated, all the while being told, not to worry. we would be approved. We were rejected because I used the word "production" on our application. The New York board declared that the word "production" means one is only in it for the money.

The board did not reject us outright but encouraged us to apply for a different mission, such as a school or a museum. The reason we were initially told we would qualify for fiscal sponsorship is that Andersen Design has been teaching ceramic skills on the job since we were established in 1952, but the non-profit fiscal sponsorship organization had such strict rules for what we would be allowed to teach that it meant we would not be allowed to teach what we know and have a passion about- except for our glazes. We would be allowed to teach the general public how to make our proprietary glazes which are inseparable from our brand signature.

I chose to apply for the Museum. I noticed, after the fact that it was better to show no profit in one's numbers. Non-profit organizations do not approve of wealth creation. I had not taken this fact in when I made my application for our production company. Using my Dad's parameters of operations, which is a system of ratios, I projected that we would almost make back the entire amount of funding we were targeting based on setting up a new state of the art production and hiring six to eight employees. Since materials are a percentage of the total budget, knowing the current price of materials, which has risen along with everything else, allowed me to project the numbers for everything else, using the ratos. I put a great deal of time and effort into those figures but when I applied for the museum, having no idea of the expenses involved, I just made it up in about half an hour and showed that the Museum would lose money, since upon re-reading the instructions, I understood that this is what the board wants to see. The board may have used my choice of words ("production") as their cited reason for rejecting us but the fact that I showed that we could make a profit if funded surely did not help. No wonder they concluded Andersen Design is "only in it for the money". It's that small word "only" which is absolutely one hundred percent wrong, as I had written in the application that if we were only in it for the money, Andersen Design would have moved its "production" overseas long ago like most of the western ceramics industry. The fact that we did not, puts us in a rare and special position to revitalize ceramic slip-casting in the USA in the present day.

Midcentury ceramic designer, Weston Neil Andersen designed a series of enticing mugs that are at once unique, playful, elegant, joyous and classic. Andersen mugs have always been handmade in America. Each mug is slip-cast and meticulously hand finished. 

So that is how it came to be that Andersen Design is fiscally sponsored to create the Andersen Design Museum, which I later changed to the Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen. It's a very good concept but, as is often the case with boards, it involved a total and complete change of our mission. My first passion is to bring Andersen Design - an American production as an art form, into the twentieth century so that future generations will have greater options of being able to spend their lives involved in a process which I love and am grateful to have in my life. For me, it has always been about the work process itself. That is an idea central to the concept of an Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen, but that project shall remain on the back burner for now because I have to devote my own energies first and foremost to my first passion.

But, back to the thread of this post, Once we were fiscally sponsored for a museum, we had to learn about a new industry,. We knew nothing about the way the non-profit world functions and so I approached Wendy Wolf with the idea, observing that she and the co-sponsor of the JECD both had a non-profit background and asked for advice on how to go about fundraising. Wendy Wolf chose to interpret my request as asking the JECD to fundraise for us. She did what most of the economic development organizations do. She sent me an internet link for someone else to contact. I had included a sales pitch for the museum explaining how it would be a benefit to the local economy but Ms. Wolf did not find my pitch interesting enough to engage in any way. Her response was that the JECD cannot do anything to help individual businesses, profit or non-profit, and advised me to get help from my own peer group.

Later, I realized through my own research that the form of fiscal sponsorship we have for the Museum is inadequate, while it would have been fine for our Great American Ceramic Designer-Craftsmen Network vision- because we know everything about our own business. Through independent research, I learned that there are comprehensive fiscal sponsors which would make the museum idea much more viable if combined with a small support team on our end. I have been up and down the economic development resources offered in Maine but I had to learn this on my own. If Wendy Wolf or Abby Levin know this difference, they were not about to tell me. I contacted a site for philanthropy lawyers in Beverly Hills, to find out more information about comprehensive fiscal sponsorship and how it works. Before I knew it I was talking on the phone with the CEO and his team. I entered the conversation as one in which I was seeking information about later realized I should have been selling myself. I had discovered my peer group and left the door slightly ajar in the case at a later date we are ready for that. For now, I  have too much on my plate, running our production practically by myself, and all the rest of the functions of keeping this unique American business alive. Given what is happening in the Boothbay Region, I do not think it is a good location for a designer-craftsmen community, and that is the type of community in which I envision the Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen being located, should it ever manifest. Before Boothbay could be a viable location for such a museum, it would have to totally transform its town ordinances so that it welcomes and encourages small manufacturers, which is what designer craftsmen are. I also think the Museum should be in a community that values history, such as Waldoboro, which can greatly benefit from a business like ours which generates destination shopping, and of course, the Museum itself is also a destination.

The Camoin Report highly emphasizes the value of museums. That is what the JECD has to figure out how to implement, according to their master plan, created for them, by New York consultants.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Comment Critical of Susan Collins Kavanaugh Speech Deleted from Boothbay Register Comments

The latest comment by this author to be removed from the comment section of the Boothbay Register takes censorship of free speech beyond the realm of local politics.

You can read the whole discussion- minus my response to JFxm  HERE

Proud of Susan Collins


Detected as spam Thanks, we'll work on getting this corrected.

I think you are missing the point. There is something called "Separation of Powers" which is in the United States Constitution. The Powers which are separated are the Legislature, the Justice Branch, and the Administration. "Innocent until proven guilty applies in the Justice branch of government because it is ONLY the Justice branch of government which has the power to prove innocence or guilt. Without that power, "innocent until proven guilty becomes "anyone accused of a crime is innocent. PERIOD"

Collins did not honor the due process of Congress, which, while not having the power to conduct a trial proving innocence or guilt, does have the power to use sworn testimony under oath. Since the anyone swearing under oath can be charged with a felony if what they say can be established to be false, Congress must grant the sworn testimony the assumption of truth spoken under the rubric of "innocent ( speaking truthfully) until proven guilty( of not speaking truthfully- a felony). There was no criminal case being conducted because that can only be conducted by the Justice Department- NOT by Congress. If it were conducted by the Justice Department both sides would have been permitted to call witnesses, to see discovery, to cross-examine witnesses and so forth. None of that is permitted in a congressional hearing. The only "innocent until proven guilty" which comes to bear in a Congressional hearing pertains to the sworn testimony pursuant to the threat of losing one's liberty if not true. The innocence of guilt pertaining to whether Kavanaugh is guilty not within the powers of Congress to address,

Kavanaugh was NOT accused of sexual assault within a context in which he can lose his liberty. He can only lose his liberty in the context of a congressional hearing if it can be established that he lied under oath- exactly the same as Ford- and even then, it may require a separate process conducted by the Justice branch of government.

Collins acted as judge and jury, accusing Ford of Not being in her right mind because she asserted that Kavanaugh was innocent of any crime which anyone might accuse him of- being that in that contest there is no way to prove innocence or guilt.

Before the FBI Investigation, the pro-Kavanaugh sect was saying it was useless because the FBI cannot draw conclusions. There were four affidavits submitted to the hearing corroborating Fords story. Mark Judge supposedly entered an affidavit- or some kind of statement. but he would be an accessory to the crime and Congress cannot grant immunity. Congress did not allow corroborating witnesses to testify and certainly not to be cross-examined. That may be because Congress knows it does not have the power to conduct a trial which may establish innocence or guilt. Ford asked to be interviewed by the FBI but was not allowed. The entire process was a sham.

And yet our President announced that Kavanaugh had been proven innocent by Congress! No secret that our president lacks the attention span to understand the Constitution.

End of blocked comment.

I have already seen frequent demands on social media that Ford be prosecuted. If that were to occur it would not be in a congressional hearing, it would be in the justice system and Kavanaugh could not escape being part of the investigation in which Ford is the accused and assumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Comment about Lepage's Major Business Headquarters Expansions Program Deleted from Boothbay Register Candidates Discussion

I was not surprised to find another comment deleted in the Boothbay Register, identified as spam, in fact, I expected it, and so I took a screenshot of it in it's published state (see below). It was posted in a discussion about local political candidates, the people who want to be our representatives, making the decisions about what legislation is enacted.

spam Definition found on Miraim Webster
\ ˈspam  \Definition of Spam unsolicited usually commercial messages (such as e-mails, text messages, or Internet postings) sent to a large number of recipients or posted in a large number of placesspam
spammedspammingDefinition of Spam (Entry 2 of 3)
transitive verbto send or post spam tospammed customers with discount offersspamming a message boardintransitive verbto send or post spamThe company was accused of spamming via text messages.Spam
Definition of Spam (Entry 3 of 3)
used for a canned meat product

The deleted comment brings up the Pine Tree Zone Tax Exemptions, which are long overdue to be repealed but there is no existing public dialogue to even suggest the idea, except for occasional articles about or by OPEGA, which is the Maine State Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability, and so they have to be allowed through every once in a while!

OPEGA has been reporting for years that the Pine Tree Zone is not meeting its purpose, and costs the taxpayers more than it is worth to the taxpayers, but, based on what I have seen, in my research, the taxpayers are pawns to be played in a transactional exchange between the public and private sides of our state government. The taxpayers may lose, but special interests profit from the exemptions and so the Legislature keeps passing more Pine Tree Zone styled legislation such as the Major Business Headquarters Expansions Program passed last year, which I wrote about in my previous post.

The good news is that the Pine Tree Zone is entering into its sunset years but the bad news is that, as with the Seed Capital Tax Credit, there will most likely be a push to renew it complete with full media support.

In the latest OPEGA report on the Pine Tree Zone, OPEGA sounds quite frustrated with making reports which are never seriously considered, such as in this paragraph:

OPEGA determined that many of the approved evaluation questions for the PTDZ Program could not be answered without considerable effort because of the shortage of readily available program data. We believe the data necessary to answer these questions could be obtained. However gathering it, preparing it and assessing it would require a significant amount of time for OPEGA staff and potentially the staffs of DECD, MRS and business participants. Given that the PTDZ Program has already begun to sunset and new certifications will not be issued after next year, OPEGA decided not to pursue obtaining that data at this time

The Major Business Headquarters Expansions Program is Pine Tree Zone styled legislation so when the Pine Tree Zone is phased out, a bigger meaner Pine Tree Zone is already in place. I have searched the Major Business Headquarters Expansions Program and related phrases but have not found the Major Business Headquarters Expansions Program reported or discussed in the media, despite the fact that LePage's last attempt to pass a similar bill received a great deal of coverage, It is no wonder that the public-private government wants to keep this bill secret. Taking the giant step of creating a tax on the Maine people (see the last post) to cover free capital for global and national corporations might stir up some resistance, as it should, Imagine how this can evolve into the future!

The purpose of LePage's transformational Act is to lure global corporate business and culture to Maine. The lure is a 2% refundable tax credit, which in practice is arguably a tax levied on the people of Maine based on 2% of the global corporation's global investments  The wording is vague as to whether the 25% of total employment to be located in Maine still holds if the corporation employs more than 5000 employees. The Maine Legislature was very specific when it included the term "unitary business" in its description of a "qualified investment". The term "unitary" has a specific legal meaning, establishing that neither the specificity nor the vagueness of statutory language is an accident.
In Amoco Corp. v. Comm'r of Revenue, 658 N.W.2d 859, 865 (Minn. 2003), the court held that a business is unitary when the operation of the business within the state is dependent upon or contributory to the operation of the business outside the state. USlegal

What happens when the global business exceeds 5000 employees is important to know when projecting how the transformation will unfold in the future. The Act requires that the qualified business has locations in at least three other states or countries. If all four of those states or countries make a similar agreement with the global or national corporation- that would entail 100% of 5000 of the global corporation's employees to be employed in those four states or countries in exchange for the taxpayers in those state and countries refunding 8% of the corporation's capital investments, provided the other states or nations also offer similar PineTree Zone styled tax exemptions. This amounts to the people financing a corporation but not sharing in the profits. It will not take long for that percentage to leap from 8% to 10%. With that kind of free capital, the corporation can rapidly grow and soon will be hiring more than 5000 employees, anywhere in the world. Is the corporation then free to make similar deals with 4 more states or countries?  If so, eventually, the global corporation will have 100% (or more) of its ever-expanding corporate empire financed with free capital, from the people, thanks to their governments.

We should be able to bring up this issue in the public dialogue as we approach election season, but that is not the world we live in.Norms need to change or things are only going to get worse.

Here is the same post from my Disqus file after it was deleted: At first the Disqus message said it was deleted as spam, when I checked that it is not spam, the message changed to what is now displayed.

  • Avatar


    You have that backward. Take a look at the Seed Capital Tax credit- called by the Legislature the "Expanded and Improved Seed Capital Tax Credit" when it was renewed a few years ago. It was expanded and improved for the private capitalists who are the receiving end of the taxpayer burden. The credit is written in one act and the tax exemptions in another such as the Pine Tree Zone exemptions studied and reported to be a loser for the taxpayers for many years now.
    As Lepage was creating what amounts to new Pine Tree Zone exemptions for global capitalists, the OPEGA Report on the Pine Tree Zone for 2017 has a notice in large letters on the top of it which says "–Program Design Does Not Support Intended Goals; Whether Program Is Achieving Results Despite Design Is Unknown As Adequate Data Is Not Readily Available to Assess Outcomes" . This lack of government transparency has been reported for years, The media refers to the tax credit in the Seed Capital Tax Credit and Lepage's new Major Business Headquarters Expansions Program as mere "tax credits" but they are both "refundable tax credits" meaning if the holder owes no taxes, the public owes the holder the amount of the credit, Refundable Tax Credits would better be named a reversible tax credit because they reverse the roles of who owes whom a tax. Refundable Tax Credits allow corporations to tax the public and now we will be taxed 2% on the total business investments anywhere in the world of corporations in the Major Business Headquarters Expansions Program. The statute explicitly uses the word "unitary" which has a specific legal meaning that it is not restricted by state and global borders.
    These tax credits are available only to the Legislature's "targeted sector", not to the whole of the economy. These programs distribute free capital to the upper crust of the economy under the rubric of "job creation". This is requiring the workers, and all taxpayers NOT in the targeted sector to capitalize on privately owned businesses in exchange for creating jobs which the private business needs to be filled in order to make a profit. The state even pays for their job training, A few years back, a bill referred to in the media as "Jobs for Me", was pulling the wool over the public's eyes. Only 25% of the funding in that bill went to job training, which was barely needed because, through refundable tax credits, the public was already covering the costs of targeted sector job training.
    Private entrepreneurs not included in the public-private government's targeted sector take risks, but the risk-taking is removed from the State's targeted sector programs and passed on as a burden on the general public. It's outrageous. and has been since the public-private government was created in the 1970's. From what is reported on Bill Search, there was no opposition to the new Major Business Headquarters Expansions Program. That is why it is important to bring these issues up in respect to the candidates. I haven't found any coverage in the media on Major Business Headquarters Expansions Program. Maybe it exists but I have not found it.
Since I wrote the above, the status on the above Disqus post has reverted to Spam. I took another screenshot. If that changes, I will report, but historically it doesn't change.