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Homer 33C Junior High recognizes student achievement, accomplishments

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

 

For Immediate Release:

April 26, 20156

 

Homer Junior High recognizes student achievement, accomplishments

 

Homer Junior High students, staff and parents have a lot to be proud of — both academically and athletically.

 

On Wednesday (April 20), the school recognized students for their achievements in the classrooms, on the athletic fields and in the field of art and music during a school assembly.

“We want to acknowledge the great things going on here at Homer Junior High,” said Principal Troy Mitchell, who provided students and staff with a “small snapshot” of accomplishments.

 

Among those recognized were the school’s Geography Bee Winner, History Club state qualifier, Spelling Bee winner, Carnegie Hall performers and student athletes who qualified for state.

 

Also honored were the school’s mission statement contest winner, its Division I Show Choir, Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) qualifiers, Reader Leaders and Math March Madness Champions.

 

Will County Regional Superintendent Shawn Walsh joined the celebration and congratulated all of the students for their achievements — especially the school’s Spelling Bee winner who won the Will County Spelling Bee and is headed to Washington, D.C. this May to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

 

It’s the third time in four years that a Homer Junior High student has won the Will County Bee.

 

Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/homer33c?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

 

Source: Will County News

Reading, Writing and Guns

Reading, Writing and Guns
David A. Lombardo
stock-photo-killer-with-gun-close-up-on-dark-background-258823379
Go Aggies! The anti-personal protection cabal must be having a collective paroxysm over Texas A&M giving the green light for students to carry concealed on campus. The bill, which was introduced in 2015, does have some restrictions including child-care facilities, places for student disciplinary actions and sporting events. All things considered, it’s a good win. The relaxed policy comes as state legislators passed a law giving campuses more leeway in determining carry rights for gun owners.
In a Fort Worth Star-Telegram interview, Chancellor John Sharp said, “Do I trust my students, faculty and staff to work and live responsibly under the same laws at the university as they do at home? Of course I do.”
Texas’ new campus carry law goes into effect statewide August 1st, in time for the new academic year. It doesn’t mandate all institutes must allow concealed carry but rather it allows them individually to make the decision locally whether or not to allow concealed carry and set whatever limitations they wish on where students may carry concealed. Lest you think this an anomaly, it is slowly gaining momentum across the country.
The 2015 victory in Texas wasn’t an isolated incident by a long shot. In 2014 at least 14 states introduced similar legislation, and in 2013 at least 19 states introduced legislation to allow concealed carry on campus. Two bills survived: one in Kansas that allows concealed carry generally and one in Arkansas that allows faculty to carry. The Kansas legislation creates a provision that colleges and universities cannot prohibit concealed carry unless a building has “adequate security measures.” The Arkansas bill allows faculty to carry, unless the governing board adopts a policy that expressly disallows faculty to carry.
Currently there are 19 states that ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus which-surprise surprise-includes Illinois. Nine states have some provision for campus concealed carry. They include: Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, Texas and Wisconsin. All the remaining states but one leave the decision to ban or allow concealed carry weapons on campus up to the institution itself; Utah remains the only state to have a statute specifically naming public colleges and universities as public entities that do not have the authority to ban concealed carry, and thus, all 10 public institutions in Utah allow concealed weapons on their property.
Of course the anti-personal protection cabal forecasts dire results, as always. They’re marching out the same old, tired nonsense they always say. For the record, I’m still looking for the following predictions by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the recently-departed Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy:
Where in Chicago is blood running in the streets because we got concealed carry?
Can you tell me where someone shot another person over a parking space or, perhaps more importantly, over a piece of lawn furniture holding a parking space?
Can you think of a single instance where a concealed carry holder got into a shootout in a store and killed a bunch of people accidentally?
And has there been even one case in Chicago in which a cop killed a concealed carry holder by accident?
Of course not, because when you give law-abiding John Q. Public the right to carry a concealed firearm, John Q. rises to the occasion, and the proof is in the pudding. The 500-pound gorilla in the concealed carry permit game is Florida. Since 1987 the state of Florida has issued 2.5 million concealed-carry permits. Of those, only 168 persons out of 2.5 million have committed firearms-related crimes, or .00672 percent. Compare that to a three-year study showing .02 percent of slightly more than 683,000 full-time law enforcement officers have committed a firearm-related violation. The simple fact is this: guns save lives, and gun owners take the responsibility very seriously no matter where they are or what they’re doing.

Source: Will County News

Register Immigrants to add to Democrat Votes

Obama Allots $19 Mil to Register Immigrant Voters

APRIL 18, 2016

A year after President Obama launched his Task Force on New Americans the administration is injecting it with a $19 million infusion so it can achieve its key initiative of registering new voters that will likely support Democrats in the upcoming election. Officially, this is being described as enhancing pathways to naturalization by offering immigrants free citizenship instruction, English, U.S. history and civics courses. The cash is being distributed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Homeland Security agency that oversees lawful immigration, and the obvious goal is to register more immigrant voters because they tend to be Democrat.

Otherwise a Democrat commander-in-chief and his open-borders Domestic Policy Director wouldn’t be operating such a costly project. Judicial Watch wrote about the new task force last April, reporting that its chair is none other than Cecilia Muñoz, the former vice president of the powerful open borders group National Council of La Raza (NCLR). Obama recruited Muñoz to be White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs then promoted her to the more powerful and prestigious post of Domestic Policy Director. That gives her tremendous influence as the president’s top adviser on domestic issues as well as the White House official in charge of coordinating and supervising the execution of domestic policy. As head of the Task Force on New Americans Muñoz recruited like-minded leaders from various agencies—including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, State, Education, Transportation and Health—to brainstorm about ways to empower immigrants.

Executing this mission will cost American taxpayers a chunk of change to provide immigrants and refugees with free “citizenship preparation” programs the administration claims will “strengthen civic, economic and linguistic integration” and “build strong and welcoming communities.” The allocation was announced this month by USCIS, which has dedicated large sums over the years to similar causes. The money usually goes to various leftist groups that help lawful permanent residents prepare for naturalization. In fiscal year 2016, however, the agency is recruiting new groups by offering them a piece of the multi-million-dollar pie. “We intend to award about $1 million to first-time recipients in the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program for fiscal year 2016,” the agency’s grant announcement states. “If you represent one of these organizations, or know of an interested organization, we strongly encourage that organization to consider applying. Additionally, another $9 million will fund programs that provide both citizenship instruction and instruction and naturalization application services.”

The administration brags about spending millions in recent years to support the quality work of organizations that play a vital role in helping residents prepare for naturalization, but seems to acknowledge this year is special and therefore more money will be dedicated to the cause. Read between the lines; presidential election. The extra cash “will help nonprofits establish new citizenship instruction programs or expand the quality and reach of existing ones,” the agency writes. “Examples of eligible organizations include private, nonprofit organizations such as civic, community and faith-based organizations; adult education organizations; and volunteer and literacy organizations. A separate funding opportunity will award approximately $9 million to public or nonprofit organizations that prepare permanent residents for citizenship by offering both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services.”

This is only a small part of the new task force’s mission. Practically every federal agency will participate in this effort by contributing resources and creating programs to help immigrants. For example the Department of Labor (DOL) will implement “new workforce programs” for the “new Americans” and the Department of Education will promote “funding opportunities” to assure that the immigrants “are provided the tools they need to succeed.” The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will collaborate with other agencies to release a career and credentialing toolkit on “immigrant-focused career-pathways programs.” The Department of Justice (DOJ) and USCIS will make sure the new Americans have worker rights and protections, the task force says, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will launch a two-year pilot to assure that non English speakers have “meaningful access to housing programs” subsidized by American taxpayers.

Source: Will County News

Clinton:Too many guns in American homes

Editors Note:  Clinton OK taking guns from good people, defends rights of bad people.  Makes excuses for imorality, Lies about Benghazzi, lies about emails, From Chicago Politics like Obama, Friends with Bill Ayers.  Not my choice for any office. She belogs in Jail. Remember Vince Foster, The Rose Law Firm, and all her Arkansas dealings.

Clinton: Too many guns in American homes

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Hillary Clinton speaking at rallyDemocratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton continued her verbal assault on the 2nd Amendment Wednesday, promising that she will do everything she can to remove guns from American homes and neighborhoods if elected.

Clinton made the remarks during a campaign event in Philadelphia.

“When it comes to guns, we have just too many guns. On the streets, in our homes, in our neighborhoods,” she said. “And, you know, there’s been a lot of talk in this campaign, in the primary campaign, about the power of certain interests in our country. And we do have a bunch of powerful interests, make no mistake about it. But there is no more powerful lobby than the gun lobby.”

Clinton in recent months has intensified her anti-2nd Amendment rhetoric in a bid to win over Democrats turned off by opponent Bernie Sanders’ more sensible positions on American firearm ownership.

Back in October, the former first lady praised Australian-style gun control and said a similar mass disarmament of citizens is “worth considering” in the U.S.

She said  federal gun confiscation could take place under the guise of a buyback campaign similar to the Cash for Clunkers program that accompanied the U.S. auto industry bailout.

“I think it would be worth considering doing it on the national level, if that could be arranged. After the terrible 2008 financial crisis, one of the programs that President Obama was able to get in place was Cash for Clunkers. You remember that?” she asked. “It was partially a way to get people to buy new cars because we wanted more economic activity, and to get old models that were polluting too much, off the roads. So I think that’s worth considering.”

And earlier this month, Clinton said she is in favor of legislation that would make it easier for victims to sue firearm manufacturers when the products they produce are used in a criminal manner.

She’s also begun talking again about her long-held belief that the federal government should impose a 25 percent across the board sales tax on firearms.

Source: Will County News

Wake up Ill. Legislaters/Changing the Name of a policy won’t make it good

Editors note:

The Democrats have controlled Illinois for far too long and Chicago over 50 years. Doing the same bad policy and changing the name to sound good results in the same failures that make Illinois the most croupt, taxed, and regulated State to live. No wonder business and people are leaving if they can.

Illinois Dems need own reform agenda — one that will work

The Illinois State Capitol is seen during sunset in Springfield.  (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

The Illinois State Capitol is seen during sunset in Springfield. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

It’s time for Democrats in Springfield to come out of our defensive crouch.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand how we got there. Shortly after he was inaugurated, Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed the “turnaround agenda” — his set of proposals for Illinois, which consisted mostly of extreme, controversial anti-union ideas.

These plans, which are based on the economic philosophy that in order to attract business you have to make it as cheap as possible to hire people, would drive down wages and harm the middle class. In other words, they violate core principles that form the backbone of the Democratic Party.

But even beyond that, they were simply confusing. Our state government has extreme problems — by some measures, we’re first in the nation in debt, and we’re definitely first in incarcerated governors. In that case, shouldn’t a search for solutions start with an identification of our truly extreme policy anomalies, rather than an assault on collective bargaining laws that we have in common with numerous other thriving states?

Yes, it should. Illinois needs a reform agenda, and that agenda has to begin with a list of our unusual policies that have caused severe problems. This list clearly isn’t going to come from Gov. Rauner, so Democrats must fill the void.

Formulating and enacting that piece of an agenda is necessary if we want to truly solve the fiscal and ethical problems that plague us. But we shouldn’t stop there.

Democrats have grown adept at criticizing Gov. Rauner’s anti-union policies and their negative impact on wages and working conditions, but we haven’t done as much to explain what we want to do instead. In order to do that, we have to be honest with ourselves about a completely different topic: the many extraordinary strengths of Illinois.

We’re a culturally vibrant and well-educated state. And not only are our people diverse — our economy is strikingly diverse, with a dynamic mix of opportunities other Midwestern states can only dream of. Our universities and research facilities are extraordinary, and, yes, we tend to have higher wages than our neighbors.

In other words, racing to the bottom in order to cater to companies that want to pay the lowest wages possible isn’t only harmful to Illinois workers — it represents an abandonment of the traditions that made Illinois great in the first place.

Our greatest successes have come from our participation in a high-skill high-wage economy, and our best shot at a thriving economic future comes from doubling down on this model, not turning away from it. Democrats should champion this vision for Illinois, and we need to advocate for a policy agenda that matches it.

This policy agenda has to be based on inclusive growth — economic success that benefits everyone. In other words, a high-skill high-wage economy doesn’t mean that a few well-educated engineers get rich by starting IT companies while everyone else is left behind. Yes, it certainly includes a highly innovative group of workers leading the way in high-tech industries, but there’s much more to it than that.

Robust investment in education (extending from early childhood through college) and infrastructure doesn’t just create economic opportunity; it also creates stable middle-class jobs. And once we’ve wisely abandoned the race to the bottom, we’re free to enact strong labor laws to lift up low wage workers.

I understand that at a time like this it can be hard to think years into the future. Illinois government has plunged into chaos. We have no budget. Social service providers and institutions of higher education have been pushed to the brink (and sometimes beyond). Democrats and our allies are fending off attacks the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

Fighting for what you believe in is inherently riskier than just saying no to the other guy. But that’s all the more reason to build a progressive reform agenda. We can’t just sit back and hope for the best, and we can’t count on someone else to do it for us.

In the coming months, I’ll be laying out some of my ideas on how to flesh out that agenda at medium.com/@danielbiss/. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and I’m sure that as I keep on listening and learning my views will continue to adjust. But we have to start somewhere, and we have to start now.

Daniel Biss, a former mathematics professor, represents the 9th District in the Illinois Senate

Source: Will County News

Mapping Illinois Teacher Pensions Costing Taxpayers Nearly $1.0 Billion

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Mapping the $100,000+ Illinois Teacher Pensions Costing Taxpayers Nearly $1.0 Billion

APR 22, 2016   Forbes

New numbers show that the 7,499 ‘highly compensated,’ six-figure school administrator/teacher retirees cost IL taxpayers nearly $1 billion per year. But in just six years, the problem of six-figure pensions will be three-times worse.

In 2014 I wrote in Forbes about a pair of union bosses who substitute taught for one-day in the public schools and then started collecting over $1 million of lifetime public ‘teacher’ pension payout – despite a state law expressly designed to stop them.

Now, after recent Illinois Supreme Court decisions confirming that pension benefits are constitutionally guaranteed (including the pensions for the pair of union bosses above), the public employee gravy train is running faster than ever.

ILTeachersPensionEditsFinal

Where are the 7,499 six-figure educator pensions located? Most of the ‘heat’ is in the six-county area around Chicago.

This week, our organization at OpenTheBooks.com debuted our interactive info mapping platformgiving context to the 7,499 retired Illinois educators who pulled-down a pension of $100,000 or more. These retirees cost Illinois taxpayers $900 million (2015). Individually, these pension millionaires contributed so little to the system that they ‘broke-even’ on their ‘cost-basis’ within the first 20-months of retirement.

 

 

For all Public Sector Employee wages http://www.openthebooks.com/illinois/

 

 

It takes the equivalent of all income taxes paid by 330,177 individual Illinois taxpayers to fund the nearly $1 billion for the 7,499 ‘highly compensated’ six-figure retirees. By any estimation, this is unsustainable. Illinois only has 6.2 million people with jobs.

By 2017, Illinois income taxpayers will be on the hook for more than 10,000 educator pensions paying more than $100,000. The number of six-figure pensions increased by 57 percent in just the past two years – from 4,767 2013 to 5,930 in 2014.

But, it quickly gets much worse. Our data and analysis at OpenTheBooks.com shows that by 2022, over 20,000 Illinois teachers/administrators will have pensions exceeding $100,000 annually.

Locally, school districts are spiking salaries – granting raises near the end of a career to raise guaranteed pensions – which drives costs even higher. Taxpayers are fighting back in creative ways (read my Forbes piece on the ‘Shouse/ Tiny house’ movement in Illinois) but systemic abuse persists.

Consider the following examples:

  • The Top 100 All-Time pensions: #1 $302,991 (Lawrence Wyllie at Lincoln-Way CHSD) to #100 $200,812  (Michael Radakovic at Aurora East USD 131). Read the Top 500 All-Time IL teacher pension list.
  • The Top 5 school districts conferring six-figure pensions are Palatine TWP HSD 211, Palatine (449); Township HSD 214, Arlington Heights (419); Consolidated HSD 230, Orland Park (196); Northfield TWP HSD 225, Glenview (188); Maine TWP HSD 207, Park Ridge (180). Click here  Outside of the six-figure pension for the ‘highly compensated’ educators, there are another 100,000 pensions for rank-and-file teachers. By our calculation, $1 of every $3 collected by the Illinois income tax now goes toward these retirement annuities – that’s the equivalent of all income taxes paid by 2 million hard-working Illinoisans each year. Yet, the system looks impenetrable to reform. For example, the Park Ridge – Niles School District 64 (elementary) pays 142 current teachers/administrators six-figure salaries, and 18 are already retired on $100,000 plus pensions. Taxpayers even funded the school’s retirement party at the Park Ridge Country Club complete with herb mustard-crusted filet mignon, special tilapia and high-end chocolate desserts. It’s a never-ending salary and pension party, all on your dime. Recently at Forbes, we covered the ‘Pension Palace’ of Illinois Legislators and the ‘Big Dogs’ of Illinois Municipal Government. Adam Andrzejewski is the founder and CEO of OpenTheBooks.com and this editorial was based on our Freedom of Information Act requests. to look-up your school district or any district in Illinois using our interactive map.
  • Northern Illinois school districts are driving the majority of $100,000 pensions. In fact, 6,706 pensions for over $800 million in annual payouts were conferred by districts in the Chicago metropolitan suburban area. Only 793 six-figure pensions totaling $95 million in annual payouts were conferred by school districts in the rest of the state.Yet, income-taxpayers across the whole state guarantee the retirement annuities for everyone.

The public pension largess is not only for government educators, but also private education associations and union bosses. For example, Reginald Weaver was President of the National Education Association (NEA) in Washington, D.C. – the de facto national teacher’s union. Weaver’s Illinois teacher’s pension is now $22,759 per month, or $273,108 annually.

Moreover, many administrators taking six-figure pensions really aren’t even ‘retired.’ Twenty-one highly compensated school administrators are now members of the municipal system, not the teacher’s system. It’s double-dipping: receiving a ‘teacher’ retirement pension, while also rehired by a school under the ‘municipal’ plan.

This form of doubling-dipping is not prohibited under Illinois law. It should be. For example, Mohsin Dada made $503,200 by double dipping the Teacher’s Retirement System (TRS) and the Illinois Municipal system (IMRF). Dada’s teacher pension is $254,700 and his current salary from North Shore School District 112 is $248,510 – up from $202,903 just three years ago (2012).

 

Outside of the six-figure pension for the ‘highly compensated’ educators, there are another 100,000 pensions for rank-and-file teachers. By our calculation, $1 of every $3 collected by the Illinois income tax now goes toward these retirement annuities – that’s the equivalent of all income taxes paid by 2 million hard-working Illinoisans each year.

Yet, the system looks impenetrable to reform. For example, the Park Ridge – Niles School District 64 (elementary) pays 142 current teachers/administrators six-figure salaries, and 18 are already retired on $100,000 plus pensions. Taxpayers even funded the school’s retirement party at the Park Ridge Country Club complete with herb mustard-crusted filet mignon, special tilapia and high-end chocolate desserts.

It’s a never-ending salary and pension party, all on your dime.

Recently at Forbes, we covered the ‘Pension Palace’ of Illinois Legislators and the ‘Big Dogs’ of Illinois Municipal Government

Adam Andrzejewski is the founder and CEO of OpenTheBooks.com and this editorial was based on our Freedom of Information Act requests.

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Source: Will County News

Exemplary character rewarded at Homer Junior High

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

 

 

For Immediate Release:

April 21, 2016

 

Exemplary character rewarded at Homer Junior High

   More than 40 Homer Junior High School students were honored Thursday (April 21) for showing exemplary character.

“You have been demonstrating wonderful character and we appreciate that,” Meagan Doornbos, Dean of Students, told students as they arrived for the school’s Third Quarter Principal’s Breakfast in the school cafeteria.

Dean of Students Meagan Doornbos serves French toast to students who were honored Thursday (April 21) for demonstrating exemplary character during the third quarter.
Dean of Students Meagan Doornbos hands out awards during Thursday’s Third Quarter Principal’s Breakfast.

 

Each semester, the school’s teams of teachers reach consensus and nominate about 10 students per team.

 

“The purpose is to encourage students to continue to act with integrity and to recognize those who stand out for doing so,” said Doornbos.

 

Each student received a certificate after enjoying a hot meal of French toast, scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon and sausage.

 

“Congratulations to all of you,” Doornbos told the students. “Keep up the good work.”

 

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Source: Will County News

ILLINOIS UNEMPLOYMENT RISES AGAIN IN MARCH; STATE STILL ADDS 14,700 JOBS

ILLINOIS UNEMPLOYMENT RISES AGAIN IN MARCH; STATE STILL ADDS 14,700 JOBS

Illinois unemployment

The Illinois unemployment rate rose for the fifth straight month in March to 6.5 percent, but the state still added 14,700 new jobs.

The data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security shows Illinois falls above the national average for unemployment, which went up slightly last month to 5 percent. Overall, Illinois has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation, after Alaska (6.6 percent) and tied with Washington D.C. and West Virginia. The Illinois unemployment rate was revised to 6.4 percent in February.

On the plus side, Illinois is one of 14 states that showed statistically significant, positive job gains between February and March. The state gained nearly 80,000 nonfarm jobs over the past year.

IDES analysts say the Illinois’ high unemployment rate is due to slow job growth and more people entering the workforce without immediately finding jobs. Unemployment rates only include people who are unemployed and actively looking for work, so those who have stopped searching aren’t included.

Senior economist at BMO Capital Markets Robert Kavcic told the Chicago Tribune the numbers may show fewer people have given up:

Despite the rise in the unemployment rate, “the good news is that recent gains reflect more people moving back into the labor force, and continued gains in the participation rate would suggest gradually firming underlying labor market trends,” Kavcic said.

While the leisure and hospitality industries saw the largest job gains in March, manufacturing was the hardest-hit, losing 3,100 jobs. Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Sean McCarthy says manufacturing has not bounced back since the recession — the industry lost 7,500 jobs over the past year.

“Unemployment in Illinois continues to rise as our state fails to keep pace with the rest of the country in job growth,” McCarthy said in a press statement. “Industries like manufacturing continue to struggle to regain jobs lost since 2008 — in March alone, 100 manufacturing jobs per day were lost; that’s 100 middle-class families every single day facing the financial stress, hardship and uncertainty of losing a well-paying job. We need to take action on structural reforms that will make Illinois as competitive as it should be to curb the loss of middle-class jobs.”

Here are the states with the highest unemployment rates in March 2016:

7) South Carolina

5.7%

6) Washington

5.8%

6) Nevada

5.8%

5) Louisiana

6.1%

4) Alabama

6.2%

4) New Mexico

6.2%

3) Mississippi

6.3%

2) West Virginia

6.5%

2) Illinois

6.5%

2) Washington D.C.

6.5%

1) Alaska

6.6%

Source: Will County News

Break up the Banks?!? Get Real

Break up the Banks?!? Get Real…
By Briton Ryle | Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My apologies to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Minneapolis Fed president and former TARP director Neel Kashkari, but breaking up America’s largest banks is a really dumb idea.

The reasons each of these three wants to break up the banks are pretty consistent.

Kashkari says: “I continue to think that the largest banks in the country are too big to fail.”

Sanders says: “All you need [to break up the banks] is the secretary of Treasury to determine which banks, if they fail, will cause systemic damage to our economy.”

And from a recent Warren tweet: “5 US banks are big enough that any one could crash the economy again if they failed & weren’t bailed out. It’s a very big deal. It’s scary.”

Obviously, they are all referring to the financial crisis of 2008–9, when America’s biggest banks nearly failed and sent the economy into a tailspin. We all remember how scary that was. And I’m sure we were all plenty pissed off that the government had to step in and provide a few trillion in bailout money and guarantees to keep them, and the economy, afloat.

It’s pretty easy to just blame the banks for the financial crisis. After all, they were the ones that way overleveraged into mortgage-backed securities, even when they knew these securities were not the safe investments they appeared to be. So when mortgage default rates spiked higher, it all came crashing down.

Unfortunately, saying that the financial crisis was all the banks’ fault is just too simplistic. There were many, many culprits that helped grow that house of cards bigger and bigger until the only thing it could do was fall apart.

As far back as the late 1970s, there was a government push to encourage more Americans to become homeowners. In 1995, under president Bill Clinton, banks were required to make a certain number of loans to low-income borrowers. Lending standards were lowered, and not by the banks. Between 2001 and 2006, under George W. Bush, the percentage of mortgage loans that were subprime jumped from 7% to 18%. The Perils of Easy Money 

You could get a mortgage loan with no money down. And then there were the infamous “no-doc” loans, where you didn’t even have to provide proof of your income to get a mortgage loan. There were plenty of stories of low-income people claiming they made $150k to get a big loan making the rounds.

If you remember, housing prices were going up so fast that people fully believed they could buy a house for $300K and sell it for $400K in less than a year…

But then home prices fell, people couldn’t afford their payments, and they walked away, leaving the banks (and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) holding the bag.

It should be pretty clear by now that when you make money too easily available, bad things start to happen. Just look at how much student loan debt is out there…

Interest rates were also an issue. Greenspan left rates too low for too long, and that made mortgage loans even more attractive. Plus, it encouraged banks to make riskier loans so they could charge higher interest rates. That’s a big reason why subprime mortgage securities got so popular: banks could make more money.

We could also point to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act that allowed deposit-based banks to also become investment banks and trade with deposit money as a big contributor.
As the financial crisis hit, America’s big banks were leverage 30 to 1, on average. That means they had $1 in actual cash for every $30 they had in assets. And please note, that’s not so different than a person putting down a minimal down payment for a house. Inmates Running the Asylum 

So the banks had an asset — the mortgage-backed security — that they still owed a lot of money on. But because these are bonds, they get to be treated like cash. Not to the extent that Treasury bonds are cash, but they could still count the mortgage-backed security as an asset and borrow against it.

Now, with the amount of subprime loans ballooning, and the bigger and bigger interest payments that could come with the mortgage-backed securities, you might wonder why no one said, “Hey banks, maybe it’s not a good idea for you to take on so much leverage and risk?”

Well, the people who are supposed to ask that question are called “bank regulators.” It is their job to make sure banks don’t get too risky. But they didn’t really do their job. Part of the reason they didn’t do their job has to do with the ratings agencies, like Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s.

The ratings agencies were routinely giving mortgage-backed securities very high grades, so they appeared much safer than they actually were. It seems the regulators often took the ratings agencies’ rankings as gospel. They literally didn’t know what the mortgage-backed securities actually entailed.

Plus, banks could insure their assets with companies like AIG. So the bank could tell the regulators that they would get paid even if the mortgage-backed securities went bad. AIG wrote hundreds of billions of dollars in insurance policies (called credit default swaps) for banks. And it looked great: AIG made money, the banks looked safe, the regulators didn’t have to work so hard…
To ignore all these factors that contributed to the financial crisis and simply blame the banks is just wrong. If you’re worried that they are engaging in risky behavior, pass laws and get your regulators on it. In fact, we have passed a stronger banking regulation law: Dodd-Frank. New Basel banking regulations require all banks to have more cash on hand to back their assets. And the Federal Reserve now conducts annual stress tests to gauge their health. The Big Scapegoat

In response, bank leverage is down, cash reserves are up, and banks have had to abandon much of their trading activity. There can be no doubt that banks are truly healthier than they were ahead of the crisis.

And besides all that, we actually need big banks. We need large, stable banks that can actually back a billion-dollar line of credit for a corporation. Bank of America, for instance, has $21 billion in energy loans. Something like $8 billion is considered “at risk.” Bank of America is big enough that it can support oil company borrowing needs. And it can weather losses in a way that regional banks simply can’t.

Break the banks up, and big companies could lose an important source of liquidity. (Though actually, it’s likely that foreign banks that hadn’t been broken up would step in to fill the need, taking potential business from U.S. banks.)

Big banks will also have a better ability to lower costs for their customers. It wasn’t your regional bank that started free checking accounts.

Big banks have a greater ability to be geographically diversified. Regional banks in an agricultural area might have greater exposure to farm loans and might be more vulnerable to, say, a bad drought or a natural disaster.

There are a lot of reasons big banks are a good thing. Simply labeling them “too big to fail” and blaming them for the financial crisis ignores the fact that they had a lot of help in bringing down the U.S. economy. But of course, politicians don’t want to admit that…

They don’t want to tell their voters that maybe they got a little greedy with a no-doc loan; they don’t want to admit that maybe they voted for some laws that helped push the housing bubble. They’d much rather make the banks the bad guy, pander to you about how you’re a victim and how they are ready to ride in and save the day… just as soon as they get your vote.

Until next time,

brit''s sig

Briton Ryle

Source: Will County News

Press Release: Homer 33C Student artwork now on display at Homer Township Library

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

 

For Immediate Release:

April 22, 2016

 

Student artwork now on display at Homer Township Library

Stop by the Homer Township Library to see some examples of artwork by our talented and creative students at Homer Junior High.

Students in Judy Brunzelle’s art class were invited to display their work in the library’s KidZone through May 13.

Visitors will see about two dozen pieces of two- and three-dimensional artwork, including drawings, paintings, printmaking, collages and sculptures.

The pieces are on display in a glass case as you enter the KidZone.

The library is open 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; and 4-8 p.m. Sunday.

 

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Source: Will County News