Froma Harrop - Trump presidency would sink all boats

Hello, investors. Come join the foreign policy experts in daily panic attacks over what a President Donald Trump would mean for your world. What does one do about a candidate whose tax plan would send America into the fiscal abyss — who flaps lips about not making good on the national debt?

Should we be investing in the makers of Xanax and Klonopin? And on the personal side, are there enough benzodiazepines to go around?

We're not talking just about the very rich. Anyone with a retirement account or a small portfolio has something to lose. The economic consensus is that a Trump presidency would sink all boats. And that certainly applies to Trump's own economically struggling followers in the least seaworthy craft.

"Most Rust Belt working-class Americans don't get it," Bob Deitrick, CEO of Polaris Financial Partners in Westerville, Ohio, told me. "The working class thinks he's going to stick it to the elites."

The facts: The Trump tax plan would deliver an average tax cut of $1.3 million to those with annual incomes exceeding $3.7 million. The lowest-income households would get $128. (No missing zeros here.)

Folks in the middle would see federal taxes reduced by about $2,700, which sounds nice but would come out of their own hide. Medicare and other programs that benefit the middle class would have to be slashed. So would spending on science research, infrastructure and services essential to the U.S. economy.

Or we could skip the very deep spending cuts and see the national debt balloon by nearly 80 percent of gross domestic product, calculation courtesy of the Tax Policy Center.

Some might think that Trump's tax plan — including the repeal of the federal tax on estates bigger than $5.43 million — would impress the income elite, but they would be wrong. In a recent poll of Fortune 500 executives, 58 percent of the respondents said they would support Hillary Clinton over Trump.

Most in this Republican-leaning group are undoubtedly asking themselves: What good is a fur-lined deck chair if the ship's going down?

Then there are the others.

"Do middle-class Americans have any idea what could happen to the economy or the stock market if our president ever vaguely suggested defaulting on the national debt?" Deitrick asked. (His clients tend to be upper-middle-class investors.)

He recalls the summer of 2011, when a congressional game of chicken over raising the federal debt ceiling led to the possibility of a default. The Dow lost 2,400 points in a single week. And taxpayers were hit with $1.3 billion in higher borrowing costs that year alone.

Trump said on CNN that he is the "king of debt," which in practice means he frequently doesn't honor it. That's why many major lenders shun him, talking of "Donald risk."

Speaking of, Trump famously said in a Trump University interview, "I sort of hope (the real estate market crashes), because then people like me would go in and buy."

But he also predicted that the real estate market would not tank — shortly before it did. Perhaps he never figured out there was a housing bubble. Or it was part of a clever scheme to peddle real estate courses with brochures asking, "How would you like to market-proof your financial future?"

Imagine a whole country taking on "Donald risk."

The business community runs on stability. It can't prosper under a showman who says crazy things and denies having said them moments later. A Trump presidency promises more chaos than a Marx Brothers movie — and you can believe it would be a lot less fun.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

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Bob Meade - Make the government compete with private enterprise

If a person starts a small business, and fails to meet a market need, it will not make a profit and will go bankrupt and be out of business. But, if the company does meet a market need, it can make a profit, stay in business, and perhaps grow and expand.

Our government structures are different as they do not require a department to effectively meet the market need for which they were established in order to continue. In fact, history has shown that quite often, when a bureaucratic department fails to meet the needs for which is was established, it simply demands more tax dollars to grow and expand . . . and that process is repeated time after time. That's how we get bureaucratic bullies who ignore the demands of our legislators.

President Franklin Roosevelt warned of having federal unions with bargaining rights. People didn't heed his warnings and now we have out of control bureaucrats who can't be fired, and when they do get "punished" for bad behavior, they are rewarded with an extended paid administrative leave.

Using education as an example, in 1977 President Carter established the Department of Education. In doing so, the federal government usurped a right that the Constitution left to the states. Since that time, billions and billions of dollars have been, and continue to be spent every year, in an attempt to provide our youth with the best, high-quality education that is possible. However, the results have been going the wrong way . . . the desired objectives are not being met.

The Programme for International Student Assessment, (PISA) has shown that we are not meeting our "market needs," but are showing mediocre results as compared to other developed nations even though our annual per pupil dollar investment is at the top of the list. For example, a recent PISA report showed that our performance is continuing to decline . . . we dropped from 24th to 29th in math, from 19th to 22nd in science, and from 10th to 20th in reading. How do we react to that? President Obama's FY 2017 Budget provides for $69.4 billion in discretionary funding and $139.7 billion in new mandatory funding for the U.S. Department of Education. Is that rewarding failure?

As part of that new mandatory spending the department is requesting new preschool programs for 4-year-olds with $1.3 billion in mandatory funding in 2017, and $75 billion over 10 years to pay for the president's "Preschool for All" proposal. This is somewhat alarming as it somewhat quickly follows mandatory kindergarten, which increased school teacher ranks by 8.3 percent. This new proposal would add another 7.7 percent to the teacher ranks; a 16 percent increase in teacher union membership during the current administration. According to the National Center for Education, our annual el-hi education cost is $621 billion, or $12,401 per pupil. A 16 percent increase could result in public school costs increasing by over $99 billion annually.

There should also be some serious concern over the "indoctrination" of the child at such impressionable young ages. At those young ages, the values to be taught should be in the hands of the parents.

Another serious concern is whether our children are being used as sop to the unions for their political support. Just think, what will a possible 16 percent increase in union dues "buy" our politicians?

Another issue concerning education is the high school dropout rates. Graduation rates had been running at about 70 percent nationwide, with a great number of urban areas only registering a 50-50 split between graduation and dropout numbers. The government is patting itself on the back for achieving an historic 81 percent graduation rate. However, it appears that the bureaucracies may have done some "cooking of the books" to achieve that number. A report by New Hampshire Public Radio turned up evidence that some schools don't report dropouts as dropouts, but classify them as having left the country, or as being home schooled. Others provided low credit "diplomas" that are not accepted as qualifying for entry into a state college, and another provided "appeals," granting diplomas to students who simply could not qualify academically. Sounds something like the Veteran's Administration scandal . . . if you can't meet the objectives honestly, just pretend that you did. After all, the headline still reads that an historic achievement had been reached. Here is the link to the NHNPR report:

Consider setting uniform standards that "must" be met for both public and private schools, and then having a per pupil cost of 75 percent of the existing amount follow the pupil. If the parent's choose the public school, that school gets that amount. If the parent's opt for a private school, including parochial schools, those schools get that amount. We shouldn't be afraid to let "free enterprise" compete with our bureaucracies, both will perform at a higher level than they do now . . . and, the children will be the beneficiaries.

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

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Jim Hightower - A new species of jumping beans

When I was about six years of age, my uncle showed me something that made my eyes bug and my mind boggle: four beans that moved on their own. Leaping legumes!

It wasn't trickery, but an odd twist in the natural world that creates the novelty of "Mexican jumping beans." They're not beans — they're brownish seedpods from a desert shrub in northwest Mexico. A larva from a small moth invades the pod, attaches itself to the inner wall with a silk-like thread, and waits in relative coolness for its metamorphosis into mothdom. When you hold the "bean," however, the warmth of you palm discomforts the larva so that it twitches and pulls on that thread, causing the pod to "jump."

Decades later, I find myself wide-eyed again, astonished by the odd movements of a news species of Mexican jumping bean I've named corporados greedyados. Far from being a creation of the natural world, these jumpers are enormously profitable. Native to our land, they've long reaped the benefits of U.S. corporations, including having high-skilled and loyal blue-collar workforces, corporate-friendly labor and consumer laws, publicly funded education and training, an interstate highway system, extensive tax breaks, on-call police to safeguard their corporate order, military defense of their worldwide commercial pursuits, and more. But now they're twitching in the conglomerate pods and abruptly jumping to Mexico. Giving no more notice than a cursory shout of adios, they're leaving U.S. workers, communities, the future of our middle class, and our unifying ethic of fair play in the dust of their corporate greed.

Perfidious corporations have been jumping to cheap-labor countries for years, particularly since the North American Free Trade Agreement, China's admission to the World Trade Organization, and other polices incentivizing corporations to export our blue-collar jobs. Since NAFTA was signed in 1994, over 50,000 U.S. factories have closed and more than 5 million jobs have been lost to offshoring.

Unfortunately, that was just a warm-up. During the past decade, corrupted and compliant legislatures, courts and regulatory agencies have effectively removed our society's reins on these profit seekers. Not since the robber barons of the 1800s have those in the executive suites felt so free and entitled to work their will on the rest of us. And they're not hesitating. The corporations' recent surge in abandonments of the Good Ol' U.S.A. is different from the offshoring of only a decade ago — bigger, cruder and wholly narcissistic.

The real difference is a fundamental, regressive shift in the ethos of the elites who run major corporate empires. These investors and executives believe that what they think and do is what's best, and everyone else should get out of their way. This has led them to adopt a thoroughly unethical code of social irresponsibility, unilaterally decreeing through a hokey doctrine called "shareholder hegemony" (shareholder hegemony asserts that corporations exist strictly to benefit shareholders — i.e., maximize profits no matter what this costs everybody and everything else) that they and their corporate entities owe nothing to the country and the people who have nurtured them, even coddled them.

Consequently, we're witnessing the murder of our country's manufacturing prowess by our industry's own leaders. CEOs of America's most iconic brands have gone bonkers, asserting a "moral duty" to shut down factories here, dump the workers, desert our hometowns, and hightail out of the country to any low-wage, low-environmental-standard refuge on the map.

Of course, the beneficiaries of this Kafkaesque doctrine of shareholder supremacy include not only the large stockowners, but also the very CEOs whose paychecks and bonuses depend on jacking up stock prices at our expense. It's a socially suicidal system, proving both an irresistible incentive and a moral excuse for executives to commit corporate treason, even as their moves expand the ever-widening chasm of inequality that cleaves our society. And, by the way, CEOs and billionaire shareholders aren't moving south with their bottom-wage factories, preferring instead to enjoy their life in America the Beautiful. Apparently unaware that their elimination of middle-class wages is eliminating their own customer base, they also expect you and me to continue being the primary buyers of their now foreign-made products.

And The Powers That Be wonder why an angry populist rebellion is spreading like a prairie fire. To learn more about rebuilding a strong manufacturing economy in the USA, visit:

(Jim Hightower has been called American's most popular populist. The radio commentator and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture is author of seven books, including "There's Nothing In the Middle of Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" and his new work, "Swim Against the Current: Even Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow".)

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Lakes Region Profiles — Become an island dweller (865)

by Mary O'Neill

Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group


"The island had come to seem one of the places seen from a train that belong to a life which we shall never take part." These words of author Arthur Ransome reflect the notion that living on an island is a sublime fantasy reserved for the fortunate few. However, the islands on Lake Winnipesaukee make this way of living a reality for thousands. Countless homes and camps dot the shoreline on many of the over 250 islands on the lake, from around 200 residences on the largest unbridged island (780-acre Bear Island) to Welcome Island, where, according to, its one home is said to cover 99.9865 percent of the island.

Winnipesaukee is New Hampshire's largest lake and covers 72 square miles. The number of islands it contains is a constant source of debate. Currently there are thought to be around 261. According to Bizer, a company that makes navigational maps of the lake, the combined shoreline length of all the islands is over 100 miles. The largest is Long Island, covering over 1,100 acres, and the smallest is Becky's Garden, which is only about 10 feet wide, though this varies with the water level. The other largest islands include Bear Island (780 acres and the only one with its own church), Cow Island (522 acres), Governors Island (504 acres), Rattlesnake Island (368 acres), Welch Island (187 acres), Little Bear Island (143 acres), Timber Island (136 acres), and Mark Island (102 acres). Six islands are connected to the mainland by bridges, including the largest (Long) and exclusive Governor's Island, which was a royal grant to Provincial Governor John Wentworth in 1772 ( Rattlesnake Island has the highest elevation on the lake – the rocky summit is about 900 feet high ( There are three Cove Islands, 3 Loon, 3 Rock, and 6 with the word "pine" in their name (

With titles like "Upper Shoe," "Gichigumi," "Little Whortleberry," and "Scavenger," one may wonder how some of these islands came to be called by their present name. Each probably has a story behind it, such as Horse Island. As the tale goes, many years back a summer resident of Center Harbor had to transport his horse by boat to the Weirs. A sudden storm came up and the craft sank. Unfortunately the man disappeared, but after days of searching the horse was found living happily on the island (Heald, 2001).

In the 1800s, Diamond Island featured the Diamond Island House, a popular destination for summer guests which included a restaurant and bowling alley. At a later date the structure was moved across the ice to the Weirs and became part of the Hotel Weirs ( It is believed that Guernsey cows were first brought to America in the 1840s. According to reports, Cow Island received its name because it was used to quarantine this first herd of Guernsey cows. In fact, many of Winnipesaukee's islands were once used as safe pastureland for cows and sheep, including Mark, Bear, and Timber Islands (Hopper, 2011,

Stonedam Island is a breathtaking 112-acre wildlife preserve protected by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. There is docking on the northeast shore, a beach, picnic areas, and a beautiful network of hiking trails. The island derived its name from an old stone causeway that at one time connected it to the mainland on Meredith Neck. The remains of the causeway are still visible when the water levels are low. Today the waters around the old causeway are known as Sally's Gut. It is a notoriously difficult area to navigate ( Inevitably, the more you read about the history of the islands, each one begins to take on a personality.

On Winnipesaukee, there is an island property to appeal to anyone's idea of the idyllic island life. Large family compounds with bunkhouses supporting the main house provide an escape where family and extended family can gather to enjoy summer rituals. You can still find rambling, nostalgic residences that hearken back to old New Hampshire summers filled with simple pleasures. Many seasonal camps command stunning private shoreline on countless islands. Parcels of land are available and provide the perfect excuse to build a custom getaway exactly as you imagined. And then there are the private islands with only one residence – the ultimate retreat for those fortunate enough to own them. Winnipesaukee's variety of island homes is vast. Even tiny Becky's Garden has one minuscule New Englander, porch and all – literally only big enough to accommodate Barbie and Ken.

In his book, Lake Winnipesaukee, author Bruce Heald writes, "Winnipesaukee lacks nothing that pleases the eye of the outdoor its glorious ensemble there is water, mountain, island, river, meadow, wilderness, cloud effect, and sunrise and sunset pictures – the most beautiful imaginable" (Heald, 2001). For those blessed to live on one of Winnipesaukee's many islands, this description is all the more significant. In the words of author M.T. Anderson, for island dwellers "life in all its operations seems unspeakably generous."

Please feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 603-366-6306.



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Sanborn — Summer selling season tips

By Roy Sanborn


Another Memorial Day is in the books. We honor and thank all of those that have served our country in such heroic fashion! Memorial Day is also the Indy 500, the Coca Cola 500, hockey and basketball. It is cookouts with friends and family. It's the start of hot dog season, when, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a whopping 7 billion hot dogs are eaten. Imagine that! It is also considered the start of the summer season and really the start of the summer home-buying season.

Memorial Day also seems to be the start of the serious gardening season for many people. All you have to do is visit Pedal Pushers, Apple Tree Nursery, Cackleberries, Agway, or Lowes to see how busy they are with homeowners filling their trunks, trucks, and trailers with everything from mulch to begonias and pansies to roses. I know, I was there. Homeowners want their properties to look great for the summer. And, home buyers are attracted to homes that look nice. Curb appeal gets buyers in the door. I don't know how many of the people I saw at the garden center were actually selling their home, but I am sure there might have been a few. If you are thinking about selling your property this time of year, here are some tips to dress your house for success and get someone to notice you.

Housekeeping...on the outside is the number one task. Just like on the inside, declutter the landscape of your home by weeding, pulling out the dead plants, and trimming back the overgrown bushes. Home buyers like to actually see the front of the house. Hedges and bushes that have overtaken the front of your home not only hide your house, they also can cause harm to the exterior of the home. Trees with branches overhanging your roof should be trimmed back. If the outside of your property looks like a dying rain forest, why would anyone believe the inside is as nice as you say it is? Make sure you edge your gardens to create a clean definition between your lawn and the garden. If you are a Redneck, you should also remove any of the more unusual items like old snow machines, truck tires, and discarded front fenders from that '56 Ford you once owned. You may not be able to take the garden out of the Redneck, but you certainly can take the Redneck out of the garden.

You don't have to go crazy, but pick up some nice colorful new plants that will make your gardens pop a little. If you don't know anything about plants or which one to buy to put where the staff at the garden center will help you out and tell you the best choices. Not everyone has a green thumb, but putting some new colorful plants in the ground might give you some extra green in your wallet. And, that is the goal.

Freshen your flower beds with new mulch which will help make your plants stand out. Mulching inhibits weeds from growing, which are not only unsightly but also rob moisture from your plants, and it also keeps the ground from drying out. A few cutesy garden ornaments can add whimsy and appeal to the garden but don't overdo it. I would stay away from the Travelocity style garden gnome... that might give a prospective buyer the idea that you've already booked your around-the-world tour and are eager to move. You don't want to give a buyer any unnecessary edge.

If you have a nice deck or patio, this is another area to spruce up and make into a great entertaining space that buyers will love. Go out and get some potted plants, new or freshly painted patio furniture with colorful cushions, and maybe even a new grill to replace that old 55-gallon drum cooker that you have had for the past ten years. These are all things that will make your home look great, and the best part is you take it all with you when you sell the place.

So, that's it. Get busy and make your yard look great. My best advice now is to do all of this on a cool day. Memorial weekend was way too hot and days like those should be reserved for grilling and enjoying the Lakes Region.

As of June 1, there were 999 residential single family homes on the market in the twelve towns covered by this report. The average asking price was $577,633 but the more meaningful median price stood at $275,000. The total inventory is up from the 921 homes on the market as of May 1, but down from the 1,158 homes on the market last June 1. The current inventory level represents a 10.7 month supply of homes on the market.

P​lease feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 6/1/16. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012

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