Not Business As Usual at SMU Today As Obama Officials and Dallas Fed Head Chat Up Journos

Categories: Biz, Media, Politics
At this very moment, more than 350 biz journalists, members all of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, are on the Hilltop for a star-studded afternoon of speeches and panels set to feature the likes of Elizabeth Warren, tasked by President Obama with creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, now the U.S. Trade Ambassador; and American Airlines bossman Gerard Arpey and his Southwest counterpart Gary Kelley, whose chitchat will be liveblogged here beginning 'round 10:30 this morning.

Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher
So far today Securities and Exchange Chairman Mary Schapiro told the huddled masses that she's got a small staff that's "stretched thin" -- which won't matter if there's a government shutdown today, because, whoops, there goes enforcement. And Dallas Fed head Richard Fisher delivered a speech titled "Is America's Decline Exaggerated or Inevitable?" Read the whole thing here; I've said it before, he makes economy talk ... enjoyable? Let's jump to the end, when he references the invaluable 1968 history book Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans:
My German interlocutors asked why I am encouraged that we would now finally get on with the business of cleaning up our fiscal house. Central bankers are, after all, genetically programmed to be sourpusses; we are inherently wary of the capacity of politicians to be serious and discipline themselves.

My answer is admittedly emotional. I am the son of immigrants; my parents came to this country because it is the land of promise. Moreover, I am a naturalized Texan, and Texans are a persistent people who have always pressed on against the odds. The great historian of Texas, T.R. Fehrenbach, wrote that Texans understand that "men who exist get overrun by men who act." I believe deep in my heart that this is not unique to Texans -- it is a quintessential American trait. I believe that the people of this great country will reward those members of Congress who act and will overrun those who exist only to encumber us with unsustainable debt and an imbalance of taxes and spending that threatens our prosperity rather than advances it. So, yes, I am hopeful that our elected leaders will get on the stick.

Besides, I believe Winston Churchill had it right: "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing ... after they have exhausted all other possibilities."

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Juan Valdez
Juan Valdez

Bland speech.

I still think he's hot tho.


I have long respected Mr Fisher, however the quote you cite makes him sound like a doctrinaire Republican.

"I believe that the people of this great country will reward those members of Congress who act and will overrun those who exist only to encumber us with unsustainable debt and an imbalance of taxes and spending that threatens our prosperity rather than advances it."

We need to address our debt and our non-productive and market distorting spending, but to complain about taxes, when they are at historic lows as a percentage of GDP is pure boilerplate. The taxes on the middle class and lower classes are high, while tax rates on the most privileged among us have fallen substantially as a percentage of GDP, while their share of GDP has doubled.


"The taxes on the middle class and lower classes are high..."

Considering that 47% of the people in this country pay NO federal income taxes, how can you claim that? It's the folks on the upper end who are footing the bill for everyone else.

"...while tax rates on the most privileged among us..."

What is "privileged" about working my ass off? I grew up in a poor family, started throwing papers at age 11, worked full time in high school, and paid my own way through an expensive private college. Now, I work seven days a week -- and see almost half my income go to taxes. How the hell is hard work "privileged"?

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Indeed. Many thanks for that, Bruce. I have fixed it.

Harvey Lacey
Harvey Lacey

If you don't know Bill Holston personally you are missing out on one of the finer things in life. When I saw him come up to the Omyonga/Kenya house I extended a hand in friendship. He waved it away and demanded a hug.

There are some people whose joy for life and love of people make your world bigger and better by just showing up. Bill is one of those people.

I do wish some of the elite had shown up at our exhibit. It would have done them good to join the SMU volunteers walking the mud right for the exterior finish. They could have taken off their shoes and socks, walked in the mud to make the mix just right, and received a smile that would last at least a week.


you're grossly mistaken about 47% of the people paying no federal income taxes. What the hell are payroll taxes if not taxes on income? Your bullshit equivocations don't speak well of your integrity or those who feed your your talking points. Perhaps you work too much to follow matters, but you'd be the sucker that I am defending. Your bosses pay only capital gains on their income, dramatically raising the burden on everyone else. There should be a 50% marginal tax rate on incomes exceeding $1 million/yr. Those people are NOT anywhere in the same boat you're in, most likely. Their payroll taxes would be at best 1.5% of their income, where it's 15% on anyone making less than $100K.

In fact, I want to call utter bullshit on your 7 days a week Hanibal. You comment on here far too often to have your nose to the grind stone as you report.

Again, the top one percent pay a lot of taxes nominally, but not near the percentage people making $300k and below pay. You certainly don't pay anything like 50% of your income to income taxes, and most likely, the poorer among you pay a greater percentage to taxes and fees than you. So, again, either you can keep apologizing for the connected crony capitalists to get off Scot free, or you can demand some fairness. To suggest that someone making $300K and someone making $1mil/yr are in similar boats is ludicrous.

Harvey Lacey
Harvey Lacey

Robert, don't wait until next week. Come by today if you want to see what I hear is something really rare. The dean of the Lyle School of Engineering Geophrey Orzak said he will be there to help me make a door and window for the Omyonga/Kenya house.

Last night a friend brought in ten boards from an Oklahoma barn that was dismantled. These boards are at least eighty years old. They are boards that were milled back in the day when a barn was built with lumber fresh cut on the property. They would cut down trees to get the logs that were then cut into the lumber for the barn.

These boards are too kewel. They have character that only time and experience can give something. They are wide, warped, and wonderful. Orzak said we will be driving Dallas' funky designers crazy using them on the Omyonga/Kenya house. I told him it will be fun watching the designers cry.

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