My little club is a mere 95.
We've come a long way, despite having an idiot for a Club President last year.
As the video shows, we changed a lot.
Marietta Rotary's 95th Anniversary from Holly Enterprises on Vimeo.
It was one of the best nights I've ever had and I could not imagine a better group of guys with whom to share it. A black guy, two white guys, and an Asian guy, all ranging in age from early thirties to mid-sixties, is not exactly your stereotypical poker crew.
I am thankful for this poker game because it has allowed me to meet people whom I never would have met otherwise. I chuckle when I hear certain people talk about how poker ruins lives and hurts families. In fact, these guys have become my family and every interaction I have with them makes me a better person.
Friday's MDJ included a column by Kevin Foley in which he tells black people what is best for them and criticizes those who have chosen not to vote in the past. Why does Foley hate democracy? Or does he just hate black people? The beauty of democracy is that it places the power of choice in the hands of each citizen. Those who support democracy by definition support the rights of citizens to make their own choices, including the right to chose not to vote. For Foley to criticize the blacks of Ferguson for low voter turnout is to show disrespect for democracy and for the capacity of black people to decide for themselves what actions (and votes) are appropriate. This is a prime example of what George Bush called "the soft bigotry of low expectations". For Foley to suggest that non-voting blacks are responsible for the death of Michael Brown is disgusting. Were that suggestion made by a Republican, that person would be labeled a racist. We should not let Foley get away with his assault on the authority of black people just because he is a white, male, liberal.
In Wednesday's MDJ, Cobb County Commission Chair Tim Lee defended himself against formal ethics charges by claiming his accuser "doesn't have a good, clear understanding of the process and procedures for economic development". In reality it is Lee who lacks understanding.
Economic development occurs every day in thousands of markets via billions of transactions. Most of those transactions occur without direct action by local pols such as Lee, much less the secret meetings and private deals Lee claims are normal. And as economists have documented countless times, when pols and bureaucrats step in, the marketplace suffers. As long as governments spend taxpayer funds to favor specific individuals and businesses, government officials will always come under fire for ethics issues. Lee could avoid these hassles by leaving economic growth to the private sector. But that would require him to gain some understanding of his own.
In your speech on The Case for User Fees on August 19th, you noted "the main objection to a user fee is a philosophical resistance to growing the government." While that is a valid criticism of user fees, I think it is not the strongest argument against user fees.
One significant problem of putting the burden of higher SEC funding on advisors, is that higher costs will drive marginal firms out of business, as there will be no corresponding rise in income. This will happen either as firms shutter or consolidate. The end result will be a landscape of fewer, larger firms serving the investing public. As history has shown, most recently with the banking crises, a system of fewer, larger firms is less robust than one consisting of more and diverse entities. User fees would make the investment advisory industry more fragile, less robust.
User fees also present a potential conflict of interest for the regulators. If regulators find evidence sufficient to prevent a firm from further operations, proceeding in the best interest of the public will cause them to reduce their own budget. Regulators could face the prospect of sanctioning the very firms that pay their salaries. This seems like a terrible burden to place on the SEC employees. In the investment industry, current laws and regulations bestow fiduciary status (and responsibility) on those advisors who align their interests with the investing public. I suggest the same should be true of regulators. Regulators are to serve the public, and thus should be paid by them. For regulators to be paid by a third party, the one they are tasked with monitoring, is not in the best interest of the public.