The Northwest Illinois business community is comprised of a huge variety of small town businesses. This is your chance to see them in their Holiday glory!
Small Business Saturday is November 24. Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is another special day, one dedicated to the businesses that boost our local economy, support our schools with their tax dollars, and invigorate neighborhoods across the country.
“Shop Small” this Saturday, Nov. 24, and help make this the biggest day of the year for our Hometown Businesses - your friends and neighbors. Look inside - you’ll be surprised!
Together, we can make a big impact on small businesses in our communities. On behalf of all of our small business community leaders, I thank you for your support.
Publisher Prairie Advocate News
Mile of Coins Campaign
It is time again to put out our fundraising bottles for the Mile of Coins campaign. Since our start in 2003, we attempted to reach a mile each year. We have been successful in reaching our goal. Please accept our thanks for your generosity.
This will be our 10th year for the Mile of Coins Campaign that supports the efforts of the Ministerial Association in helping those in need in our community. The fundraising bottles are located at Shaw’s Market, Dairy Queen, Sievert’s, Land of Oz, Pharmacy Center, Charlee’s Bar & Grill, Flower Fan-A-See, Kallemezoo’s, Savana-Thompson State Bank, The National Bank, Mount Carroll Home Center, Mount Carroll Café, Mount Carroll Mobil, Shops at Glenview, Healthy Touch Massage, Stone-House Fudge, Mount Carroll Banking Center, Market Street Commons, Mount Carroll Bowling Center, Bella’s Food & Spirits and all six of the local churches. We thank these local businesses for providing space for the fundraising bottles.
Please contribute whatever you can to help us achieve the mile goal again this year. Thanks to all from your Ministerial Association Pastors and lay members.
Mike Risko and Richard Fortner
Mile of Coins Committee
Mount Carroll, IL
A note to the secessionists (states and people) who are acting like rebellious children: “We have lost the game (election) so now we will take our ball and leave.” To focus on divide and subtract does not make a whole.
Our country has been and always will be inclusive with all manner of different people or things. Motivation with clear thought and insight - use your energies and intelligence to “make a more perfect union” and move forward as a nation, whole and united.
President George Washington Giving Thanks
As Thanksgiving approaches, I thought it would be well for us to remember how our first President and Congress looked at being thankful as our new nation was getting under way:
By the President of the United States of America.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
Publisher’s Note: Upon reading that first Thanksgiving proclamation, I can only pray for the day when our Presidents will make “Executive Prayers” like this rather than executive orders that bypass and/or overrule both the Legislative and Judicial branches our our government. President Washington’s message is not only timely, but also serves as a reminder of the Constitutional fervor that guided our Founding Fathers, and Mothers.
Free Stuff: Compliments of Your Newly-Elected Government
Well, the election is over. Thank God! Of course with the election of President Obama, the people have spoken that they prefer Socialism over Capitalism. I don’t think it is because half the general population is as stupid as it is greedy (high-end and multiple government pensions). The other half? Well, they are just not informed.
Between our education system pumping out a bunch of little socialists and the mainstream media (who are graduates of said system) pushing a socialistic government, then our capitalist system (which made this country) does not have a chance. All the other countries that tried the great progressive experiment have failed - because like Margaret Thatcher said: “Eventually you run out of other people’s money.”
Now it is the USA’s turn. When we have a bunch of politicians who found they can get Stuff by giving Stuff away, they will keep getting re-elected. But the problem is that we end up with a debt like this. Our debt is growing over $4 billion per day. Our total debt with the unfunded liabilities is now over $121 trillion - TWICE the value of our great nation. The National Debt Clock says this equals over $1 million per taxpayer.
It is to the point that if this is what the United States really wants, then I say “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!” Sign up for all the Stuff you can: Food Stamps, Heat Assistance, Kid Care, Family Care, Free School Lunch, Free School Breakfast, Welfare. When your Unemployment runs out then get on full Disability. (Disability is forever, and you need not re-sign up.)
Our list continues: Free Transportation, Free Cell Phones, Free Farm Subsidies, Free Advanced Education for established teachers for instant pay increases. Most government jobs make you eligible for a pension after only 20 years. Why fight it? Progressives care much more about their pensions than debt passed down to their grandkids. Welfare recipients with all benefits included are only $800 per year less than the median income of a working person.
The only bright side of the election is that in spite of the progressive/socialist cry that the Tea Party is dead, check out our County Board victories. 74% of our endorsements were elected. Stephenson County is more conservative than the rest of Illinois. What a burden lays ahead for the new board to resolve, though.
The idea of getting new jobs in Illinois is not easy because during the January 2011 Illinois Lame Duck session, the Democrats passed a 45% corporate tax increase and a 67% personal income tax increase - without one Republican “yea” vote.
Locally, even though Stephenson County gives $100,000 per year to NIDA, matched by the city of Freeport taxpayers, for the purpose of bringing and maintaining jobs to our area (How is that working!), we will not see any major manufacturers show up. Who wants to come to Illinois, Stephenson County, or Freeport with all the rules, regulations, inspectors, and taxes we have waiting for them?
Thank you so much, Stephenson County voters, for making the change on our County Board possible.
Stephenson County Tea Party
Commentary . . .
Obama: The Second FDR Rather Than the Second Carter
By Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson
I’ve thought a lot over the last few years about an axiom attributed to Mark Twain, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.” The question to me was whether the presidency of Barack Obama would “rhyme” with that of Jimmy Carter or Franklin Roosevelt. Given the 2012 election results, FDR might be the more apt precedent.
For a while, it appeared that the 2012 presidential election would parallel the 1980 election between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Like today, in 1980 the economy—and particularly the job market—had been sluggish for years. Then, as now, there was an uneasy sense of American decline on the world stage. Under Carter, the Soviets seemed ascendant; today, militant Islam poses the greatest challenge to our interests. In both cases, the first-term Democratic incumbent seemed tentative and constitutionally incapable of admitting that “the other side” was ruthlessly aggressive and expansionist—a true threat to individual rights and international peace. Carter pulled the rug out from under the Shah and in effect surrendered Iran to control of the mullahs; Obama did essentially the same to Mubarak and left Egypt to the tender mercies of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Surely, I thought, Americans would reject this trajectory of decline and turn to a leader with a more positive vision—a vision of economic vigor and a resolve to face up to a militant tyrannical ideology. Surely Americans would repudiate Obama as they did Carter.
I and many others were wrong. We’ve changed over the last 32 years. The majority that prevailed then has gone. The demographics have shifted, another generation has passed through our deficient educational system, and a lot more people are dependent on government support and will vote for the party that will keep the spigot turned on.
As it turned out, the 2012 election echoes the 1936 election rather than the 1980 election. In 1936, at the end of FDR’s first term, the economy remained mired in the depression that Roosevelt had inherited from Hoover. As historian Burton Folsom showed in his masterful book, “New Deal or Raw Deal?,” many voters could see that the economy hadn’t returned to a healthy state under the incumbent, but so many of them had been on the receiving end of FDR’s massive New Deal spending binge that they voted for FDR to keep the handouts heading their way instead of risking change. Of course, that wasn’t the only reason they voted for FDR, but it was undeniably a major factor. (For the record, 1936 was a landslide, and 2012 was not.)
Now that Barack Obama has won re-election, the parallels that I have drawn in the past to him and FDR seem stronger than ever. In terms of government spending, George W. Bush’s second term can now be viewed as Herbert Hoover redux, and Obama’s additional ramping up of the Bush spending explosion eerily mimics FDR’s post-Hoover strategy. Perhaps the most breathtaking parallel between FDR’s and Obama’s Big Government agendas is this: In his first five years in office, FDR spent more than the previous 31 presidents combined; in eight years as president, Obama will have doubled the national debt accumulated by all 43 of his predecessors (unless, of course, Uncle Sam’s farcical finances blow up before then).
Obama adopted the cynical strategy of the opportunistic politician—his campaign was directed to various special interest groups to line up their votes. Romney was more the statesman, campaigning primarily on the more idealistic theme of fixing a broken country. We can see which strategy prevailed. Perhaps the Curley strategy has now succeeded on a national level, with a majority of the American people willing to trade a thriving economy for government security.
It seems possible that Romney was the Republicans’ last best hope for a long time to come—that Obama’s victory will, like FDR’s in 1936, represent the start of a long period of Democratic dominance. Think about it: If Romney couldn’t win, who could? Romney had extraordinary qualifications to be president—telegenic, articulate, likable, knowledgeable, achievements in several fields on a large stage, as squeaky clean and admirable a personal life as one could imagine. He also had the drive, commitment, and executive vision to organize a multi-year campaign, and yet, it wasn’t enough.
The 2012 election was indeed pivotal. Like Roosevelt’s victory in 1936, it may indicate that Big Government will remain the regnant ideology for many more years.
Federal regulators recently roiled America’s farmers with the release of new rules for financial instruments. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, one of the agencies charged with implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, officially announced the new requirements and said they would take effect by year’s end.
What does Dodd-Frank, passed in response to the 2008 economic crisis and aimed at reforming a vast swathe of the financial sector, have to do with farmers?
A great deal. Among the instruments covered by the Commission’s proposals are agricultural commodity “swaps.” Basically, swaps empower farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and other food suppliers to hedge against certain risks common to their trade, like bad weather or a crash in the price of a food item they sell.
Swaps might sound like they serve some distant, exotic purpose far removed from the lives of average Americans. But they play a key role in providing food producers with a basic level of financial security through tough times, which helps to ensure price stability for consumers.
Consequently, the way the Commission imposes Dodd-Frank rules on these instruments will have a profound effect on Americans’ pocketbooks. And right now, all signs indicate the Commission’s approach to implementing Dodd-Frank is going to inadvertently smother agricultural swaps with over-regulation.
In the rush to prevent another crisis, it has cast its net too wide. As a result, Dodd-Frank could make risk management significantly more costly for America’s farmers, driving up volatility in the market and potentially leading to huge price increases for consumers.
The Commission’s new rules affect agricultural commodity swaps that aren’t sold on exchanges and don’t run through third-party intermediaries -- so-called “over-the-counter” swaps.
Consider a bread baker in Kansas City. He buys thousands of pounds of flour each year. Because of this year’s droughts, though, he’s worried that America’s wheat supply will shrink, driving up flour prices over the next twelve months.
So, to hedge against a price spike, he buys $10,000 in over-the-counter flour swaps today to guarantee that next year he’ll be able to purchase up to 10,000 pounds of flour for $1 per pound. In 12 months, if the price of flour is dramatically higher, he’ll have saved himself a huge amount of money. The price could also be lower, of course, but that’s the risk he runs in order to guarantee he won’t go bankrupt.
Right now, over-the-counter agricultural swaps are mostly unregulated. But that shouldn’t be a point of concern -- these instruments had nothing to do with the financial meltdown.
Nevertheless, this new round of Dodd-Frank rules would impose a slew of new requirements on these instruments. Buyers and sellers would have to trade them on approved exchanges, and they would need to have a certain level of capital on hand to trade. Reporting rules regarding profits and losses would be ratcheted up.
There would also be mandatory “clearing,” meaning swap trades would be required to run through certified middlemen. This is a particularly backwards idea.
The over-the-counter agriculture swap market has been running safely and efficiently for years without mandatory middlemen. No one -- not even the regulators charged with implementing Dodd-Frank -- claims otherwise.
On the other hand, the traditional futures market operating under mandatory clearing rules has been home to some of the biggest financial meltdowns of the last few years. About a billion dollars evaporated before the brokerage firm MF Global declared bankruptcy in October 2011. And Peregrine Financial had racked up a $200 million shortfall in customer funds before it was forced to shut down in July.
The clearing rules regulators are so eager to foist on over-the-counter agricultural swaps were in full force for both MF Global and Peregrine. And yet, the system still suffered massive losses. This regulatory structure is obviously broken.
So implementing Dodd-Frank as planned means forcing agriculture swaps to move from a regulatory environment that is universally acknowledged to be working well to one that has failed repeatedly to prevent fraud and abuse. That’s just senseless.
Overregulation can be just as dangerous and costly as under-regulation. And in this case, these invasive Dodd-Frank rules could dramatically drive up operation costs for farmers, ranchers, and others involved in food production. The rise in expenses would, in turn, be passed along to American consumers in the form of higher food prices.
Some farmers would no doubt be driven out of the swaps market altogether. With no way to manage financial risk, the next hurricane or tornado could put them out of business.
At the very least, regulators need to give themselves more time to study this issue by installing a three-year moratorium on the Dodd-Frank rules governing agricultural commodities. Blindly marching ahead and imposing strict new requirements on these instruments would wind up doing substantially more harm than good.
– Don Coursey is Ameritech Professor of Public Policy Studies at the Harris School of the University of Chicago.
By Jim Sacia, State Representative, 89th District
“Veteran”, the very word has special significance. As I write this on November 12, 2012, one day after Veterans Day, I take great pride in being able to stand among them. Many area schools pay special tribute to our Veterans and I applaud them for that.
This very morning, I attended the breakfast and program at Winnebago High School along with about 150 area Vets. Some in their eighties and nineties are part of what has become known as the “greatest generation” as they answered the call and fought in WWII in both the European and Pacific Theatres. Many in their seventies fought in what is often considered the “Forgotten War”. To those who fought in Korea, it is not easily forgotten. As a young farm boy, I so vividly remember our hired man leaving as a Marine to go to Korea in 1952.
Ten years later, right out of high school, I enlisted in the Army. At that time most able- bodied men in their late teens or early twenties enlisted or within a few years were drafted into the service. Shortly thereafter the Vietnam War came along. I remained stateside as many of my friends and family members served in “the Nam”. The lucky ones came home - 58,272 have their names on “The Wall” in Washington D.C. at the Vietnam Memorial, having died in one of the most controversial wars of the twentieth century. A war that lasted from 1964 until 1975 divided a country more than any other one thing that I can recall in my lifetime.
I remember picking up my brother as he deplaned after a year of horrific combat. His group was pelted with rotten eggs by those protesting the war. It’s a part of history of this great country that I try to suppress in my mind. These men and women deserved so much better.
As I stood today with the ninety year olds and the eighteen year olds currently serving, I beamed with pride. We have evolved to a point where even if we hate the war we recognize the service of those men and women ready to answer the call when their country asks for it.
Everyone has a different calling in life. For some the military interrupted that calling for several years. For others the military helped them find just what that calling was. For me, a young eighteen year old with no real sense of direction, it grew me up, helped me recognize the need for further education, and planted my feet firmly.
Whenever I have the opportunity to talk with young folks somewhat adrift, I encourage them to check out the military. It’s a great place to start and they will carry that very honorable title all through life, “Veteran.”
For the past few years, the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago has been one of the most feared participants in the state’s pension reform debate.
Ty Fahner, a former Illinois attorney general who heads the Civic Committee, managed to convince both parties to elbow each other for a position of favor with him and his group.
When Fahner ended up siding with the House Democrats back in May and endorsing their pension reform plan, including shifting costs to school districts, the House Republicans were furious and very disappointed. They had been assiduously courting Fahner, and figured that since the Civic Committee is comprised of several top Chicago business leaders, they’d be the natural ally of choice.
Not to mention that Fahner also formed a political action committee (“We Mean Business”) to back up his word. Everybody wanted that money, so the PAC gave his position additional strength.
But those days appear to be behind us, at least for now. Fahner’s histrionics last week over what he claimed was an “unfixable” pension problem have all but cut him out of the Statehouse mix. “He’s made himself irrelevant,” said one top Democratic official who is intimately involved with pension reform.
In a memo to his members, Fahner wrote “the pension crisis has grown so severe that it is now unfixable.”
“There simply won’t be enough money” to pay pensions for young teachers just starting out, Fahner wrote.
But then Fahner constructed a bizarre dichotomy by both claiming the problem is completely unfixable while simultaneously demanding specific changes to the pension systems. Fahner said four things had to be done “just to slow the bleeding and reduce the size of the financial burden Illinois taxpayers must bear.” Those four items included eliminating annual cost of living increases for pensioners, instituting a pensionable salary cap, increasing the retirement age to 67 and shifting pension costs to local employers like school districts and universities.
Because he said there was no real fix, there’s little to no use in negotiating with him now because any solution the General Assembly comes up with - including Fahner’s - will be dismissed by Fahner as wholly inadequate. Legislative thinking goes like this: Why bend over backwards to accomodate someone who will never admit that you did the right thing? So, there’s absolutely no political or legislative advantage to dealing with the guy.
Making things even worse, Fahner refused to disclose the actuarial data upon which his public statements were based. That has led to more than one suggestion behind the scenes that Fahner may have cooked the books to arrive at his striking conclusion. The Teachers Retirement System released a statement last week saying that Fahner’s conclusions were wrong, based on its own actuarial data. That statement just fueled the flames of suspicion.
So, it’s little wonder that, as I write this, neither of the Republican state legislative leaders have yet jumped to Fahner’s defense. House Republican Leader Tom Cross’ office was silent and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno continued to call for a balanced, comprehensive fix. Fahner wasn’t with them before, and he can’t be placated now, so he’s off the invite list.
The Senate Democrats were even harsher, issuing a statement from their attorney which ripped Fahner’s arguments to tiny shreds. Fahner had earlier backed a “comprehensive reform” plan introduced by Republicans which would cut the state’s unfunded pension liabilities by $3 billion to $5 billion. It was also so severe that just about everybody considered it unconstitutional. The Senate Democrats’ attorney, Eric Madiar, noted in his response to Fahner that the Democratic proposal currently on the table cuts the same $3-5 billion from unfunded liabilities, which Fahner now calls “insufficient” and “token.”
Only the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board, whose often ill-informed catcalls about pension reform make Fahner look downright moderate, attempted to come to Fahner’s defense. The editorial page claimed that Fahner didn’t really mean that the problem was “mathematically” unfixable, but that it was unfixable due to a lack of political will. That’s a misreading. Fahner clearly stated in his memo to the Civic Committee membership that his demanded fixes would merely “slow the bleeding” and “minimize the long-term damage” to the system.
Either way, few at the Statehouse will listen much to the Tribune editorial board after November’s elections. The paper’s endorsed candidates and positions were almost thumped harder than the GOP.