Author Archive: lfurman

Andrew Lucas, Rob Clifton, Club Monmouth & $1.2 Million of Taxpayer Funds

Once upon a time Andrew Lucas, R, the Mayor of Manalapan, acquired controlling interest in a failed real estate development company. The company had one valuable asset – a farm in Manalapan located next door to Mr. Lucas’.

John Kennedy famously, said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” George H. W. Bush, like many Republicans of his generation, often spoke of “Service.” President Kennedy was eloquent, but it seems to me that he and the first President Bush were talking about the same thing.  

Christie, Palatucci, & Jersey

Late last year, Bill Palatucci, friend and mentor of NJ Gov. Chris Christie, left Community Education Centers for the law firm of Gibbons, PC.

Community Education Centers, CEC, calls itself “A leading provider of offender reentry” is the company to which New Jersey has outsourced halfway houses.

It is also the company that allows felons to – in words Mitt Romney might use – “Self-Parole” and “Self-Pardon” – to walk away at will. The New York Times covered this at length. The Times, not known for sensationalist reporting, described Community Education Centers half-way houses as places where “bedlam” reigns.

Palatucci said that his resignation from CEC had nothing to do with Governor Christie’s re-election campaign. He also said that he wants to have time to work on Republican campaigns in 2013.

If Gov. Christie runs his campaign the way Community Education Centers runs their half-way houses I expect Mr. Christie to lose his re-election campaign.  

Occupy Wall Street

I’ve been Demonstrating … yesterday told a reporter with the Huffington Post “I’m here because tax policy is unfair and energy policy is foolish and short sighted.”

The real demand is for economic democracy. Political democracy is meaningless in the face of a non-democratic economy.

President Obama was a community organizer and professor of Constitutional Law – not an economist or an environmentalist. His biggest mistakes, I think, were hiring Geithner, Sommers, Bernake – men from Wall Street – and Stephen “Clean Coal” Chu, rather than economists like Krugman, Stiglitz, Costanza, Daly, and energy people like Lovins and McKibben. (Yes he hired Van Jones, but Jones is history.)

The “Extended Text” appears on Page 1 of a handout I have been distributing. I also sent it to Pres. Obama, Rep. Holt, and Senators Menendez and Lautenberg.

Economy, Environment

Taxes and Government Spending.

Tax the wealthy. For one thing, they have money. They are the only people with money. And for another, it’s not as if they don’t reap any benefits from living in society. Wealthy people get sick – and can afford health care.

During the Depression, Roosevelt and Keynes saw that while business owners could hire people they wouldn’t risk capital making widgets they were not optimistic that people would buy. In economic times such as these it is only the government that is both able and also willing to hire. That’s why the austerity programs in Europe are backfiring. We need government programs.

But they must make sense.  

How To Really Save the Economy

Today’s NY Times has an op-ed by Robert Barro, of the Hoover Institution and Harvard University. It’s not surprising that someone from the Hoover Institution says “Austerity not Stimulus.”  But as Franklin D. Roosevelt proved during the Depression, while both business and government may be able to hire in times like these, ONLY the government is willing to hire.  Therefore we need stimulus. The question is “Which stimulus?”

Because of the NJ Clean Energy Program, we went form 9 kilowatts of solar power to about 400 megawatts in the last 11 years. Suppose we expanded the NJ Clean Energy Program to put a 40 KW solar array on every school in NJ, and the US?

What would it cost? What would it buy?

For starters, taxpayers pay the electric bills of schools. So if new solar is cheaper than new coal or new nuclear then it seems like a good idea.  

And what happens in an emergency?

Here’s the letter I sent the Times, Pres. Obama, Rush Holt, and Senators Menendez and Lautenberg.

Rush Holt on Budget

promoted by Rosi

On August 1, while John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and their colleagues were threatening to shut down the government, Rush Holt gave a speech describing the budget debate as:

at its heart, a debate between two visions for America. One side envisions rebuilding our country, investing in jobs and education and infrastructure, and rising from the Great Recession as a stronger and more resilient Nation. The other side accepts a pessimistic vision of a weakened America with a shrunken government-a Nation hampered by deep cuts to the safety net and hobbled by a refusal to invest in our future.

I couldn’t agree more. And, like the Honorable Representative from the 12th District, I hold with the former.

Here’s the full text, after the jump, of his August 1, 2011 speech. It will be in the Congressional Record as soon as it is updated – assuming, of course, that funds will be budgeted for updating and maintaining the Congressional Record.  

Socialists v Stalinists

The Washington Post reported, on August 6, 2011, that John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and the “Young Guns,” their Republican comrades in the House of Representatives, PLANNED as far back as January, 2009 to use the debt ceiling to create a political crisis. It seems to have worked. The Republicans held fast, Obama and the Democrats blinked. The rating agency Standard & Poors, S&P, downgraded their rating of the credit-worthiness of the United States of America, President Obama’s core supporters seem to be abandoning him. And the stock markets are plummeting – the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1000 points in 3 days.

Negawatts save Megabucks

The Newark Star Ledger reported (here) that Public Service Electric and Gas, PSE&G is installing a the UMDNJ is installing a  2,700-ton chiller as part of an $11.4 million investment in negawatts. The Star Ledger reported that UMDNJ will save $1.3 million per year on energy costs.What’s the payback? An $11.4 million investment will save $1.3 million per year. That means the system will pay for itself in about 8 years 9 months, assuming the price of energy remains constant.  I think it’s a much more reasonable to assume that the price of energy will go up.

The system will work long after it is paid for. It will save at least $13 Million over the next 10 years and $26 Million over the next 20 years – assuming electricity costs are constant, assuming electricity costs are constant.  Assuming electricity costs increase an average of 5% per year, this will save $16.35 Million over the next 10 years, and $42.99 over the next 20 years.

  • Projected Savings of $11.4 Million investment.
  • After 1 Year: $1.3 Million. 11.4%
  • After 5 Years: $7.18 Million (63%) with a 5% annual increases in cost of energy.
  • After 10 Years: $16.35 M (143.4%).
  • After 15 Years: $28.05 M (246%)
  • After 20 Years: $42.99 M (377%).

We have Governor Corzine to thank. as well as Governors Whitman, McGreevey, Codey, and Christie.