Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why I Will Vote For Haley Barbour

I'm no big fan of Haley Barbour and I think he represents the "Country Club" faction of the Mississippi GOP. Nevertheless, I plan to vote for him. I strongly believe he deserves another term as Governor. I disagree with his stand on the tobacco-grocery tax swap, but I respect his stand of not raising taxes.

I know there are still problems with the Hurricane Katrina Recovery. But he showed extraordinary leadership on August 29, 2005, when the hurricane hit. He was on top of the tragedy and he did a yeoman job in getting relief to the Gulf Coast. I don't like the slow recovery, but that's government for you---slow as molasses. His leadership was in strong contrast to Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blank-o and the New Orleans Mayor EmptyRay Noggin.

John Arthur Eaves, Jr. slams Barbour for his blind trust and getting money from his lobbying firm. That's a fair criticism. But what about Eaves? He's a trial lawyer who has made millions from the agony and tragedy of others. He gets fat contingency fees and sues at the drop of a hat if he thinks he can make a buck. I'm not crazy about lobbyists, but I have raw contempt for trial lawyers. I still remember years ago about some trial lawyer in another state suing McDonald's because some lady spilled hot coffee on herself while driving her auto.

Another strong criticism is his lack of knowledge of basic economics and accounting. In one of his ads (and they are very good ads), he accuses "Big Oil" (Why not "Big Law"?) of gouging consumers and the government does not do a thing. Perhaps he needs to understand a little accounting. Most oil companies use FIFO--First In First Out--inventory pricing. Let's say Exxon sells a barrel of oil for $100. Under FIFO, the cost of the oil would be the oldest inventory. So let's say the barrel cost $50. So, Exxon had made a profit of $50. But that is a fictitious profit because the replacement cost is $88 a barrel. In reality, oil profits are only 4.6% of revenue. The normal profit margin for all industries is 5.4%. And I'll bet it's a lot lower than the profit at Eaves' firm. Eaves strikes me as ignorant about economics and the free market. Barbour does know business and the marketplace. And his lobbying connections just might bring more industries and jobs to the state.

While I admire Eaves' fundamentalist Christian values and exhortations, I was turned off when he held up that big Bible and ripped into Barbour, talking about Eaves' serving the little people and Barbour serving the powerful. Yeah, lobbying firms are powerful. But what about those trial lawyer firms like Dicky Scruggs? They aren't powerful?

I also have doubts about Eaves' statement his proposal that every child be covered by health insurance. He said it won't raise the cost of medical care in this state. Where have I heard that before? Back in 1965 when Medicare was being debated, the liberals said Medicare would cost only $10 billion in 1990. In 1990. Medicare cost over $100 billion--ten times the projection! Do you honestly believe Eaves' plan won't raise medical costs? If you believe that, I strongly suggest you look at other plans in other states--especially Illinois. In EVERY case, health costs were much larger than originally projected.

Eaves also slammed Barbour for investing in Toyota and not investing in Mississippi companies. First of all, I don't have a problem with Toyota coming to Tupelo any more than Musgrove's bringing Nissan to Canton four years ago. After all, these are Mississippians working in those plants. I do tax returns for some of those employees and they get great benefits and wages. And the money is spent in Mississippi. Secondly, what Mississippi businesses would Eaves have the state "invest" in? What criteria will be used? We had a real turkey with that beef plant. Will we have more turkeys?

While Eaves has never said it, I get the gut feeling Eaves would have no qualms about a 6% personal income tax bracket. That idiot State Rep. John Mayo introduced that in the State House a session or two ago. I am bitterly opposed to raising the personal income tax. I have a gut feeling he'd raise the income tax to pay for his health programs.

There's only one candidate for Governor who can lead Mississippi forward and continue the progress we have made in the last four years--especially after the horrific effects of Hurricane Katrina. And that man is Republican Governor Haley R. Barbour.

2 comments:

Patrick said...

I just have a quick comment on your post. Why do you "have raw contempt for trial lawyers." The majority of your posts are lucid and well thought out but it seems that in this one instance you allow the actions of a extreme minority of trial lawyers corrupt your view of the whole profession.

While I admit there are unethical and unscrupulous trial lawyers there are also unethical and unscrupulous mechanics, doctors, CEOs, CPAs, accountants, lobbyists, professors, coaches, district attorneys, senators, congressmen, etc you name the job or profession and there are bad apples in the lot. Yet you allow your image of a handful of attorneys sour your image of the whole profession.

We all remember the Worldcom and Enron scandals that happened just a few years back. Now one could reason, pursuant to your logic, that all CEOs, accountants and CPAs are corrupt and solely motivated by money and literally steal the pensions of many hardworking people. Based on your logic a person could have a "raw contempt" for CPAs because of Enron and Worldcom.

BUT is it fair to view all CEOs, CPAs and accountants in such a negative light because of the actions of a few? Of course not. The overwhelming majority of CEOs, CPAs, and accountants are just ordinary people trying to pay their bills and save a little so they can retire one day. And I challenge you if you talk to a few trial lawyers you will see the majority of us are far from millionaires, we represent people who have been legitimately harmed, and are just trying to pay our bills and help our clients.

As an aside you mentioned the McDonalds case. If you care to research the actual case the woman who burned herself was an 79 year old woman who suffered 3d degree burns on her inner thighs. Prior to being burned by the 180-190 degree coffee McDonalds had received over 700 complaints by customers who had been scalded by the coffee McDonalds served. The woman asked for 20,000 to pay for her medical bills but McDonalds refused. The jury awarded the woman 160,000 for her damages and pain and suffering and 2.7 million in punitives (later reduced to a total 480,000)to punish McDonalds for knowingly and willfully selling coffee that was so hot a person could not drink it without scalding their mouth.

While there are examples of frivilous lawsuits and abuse of the legal system (as well as examples of abuse of any type of profession) the infamous McDonalds coffee case was an example of the system our founding fathers created (the civil justice system) working at its best.

Trial lawyers are not evil and you should not have contempt for them. Unethical and unscupulous trial lawyers are the problem and I have just as much contempt for them as you do, because they besmerch the whole profession.

JOHN said...

Patrick,

I might have been hasty, but Dicky Scruggs, Richard Schwartz and Donald Evans have given the profession a bad rap. There are a lot of fantastic lawyers out there and I greatly admire them. The ones I have contempt for are those who take advantage of the little guy who gets crumbs while the trial attorneys become millionaires or even billionaires like Dicky Sruggs.

Believe me, Patrick, there are scumbags in my profession as well. I have ice-cold contempt for them just like the public does. In fact, I'd like CPAs to stay out of selling mutual funds, insurance, stocks and bonds and concentrate only on accounting. Indeed, I'd like to ban CPAs from doing bookkeeping and tax returns if they audit the client.

My apologies if I offended you, but I really have a problem with trial lawyers and a lot of their frivolous lawsuits, their sue-happy attitude, and making big bucks while their clients get peanuts.

Thank you for your comments and I appreciate your reading my blog.