Archive for May, 2010

Baker’s Dozing Podcast

Suffice it to say that GOP candidate for MA governor Charlie Baker leaves us amused and disdainful. For a bit of background, check Ryan’s Shocker: Charlie Baker’s a Liar.

We got into his asinine attempts to try to prove the untrue…repeatedly. Fortunately for him, many voters will surely pass on any gubernatorial debates, wherein his misstatements and mistakes will be far too obvious. Unfortunately for him, incumbent Deval Patrick can easily disprove such absurd assertions as that government grew, that Patrick (killer recession or not) blew a huge budget surplus, and more. The media and bloggers are already fact-checking Baker onto the stool and into the dunce cap.

Also, very unfortunately for Baker, there’s his own personal history, a Gen. Sherman style march across Massachusetts. As financial head of the administrations  planning and executing the Big Dig, his efforts saddled all of us with outrageous, poorly financed debt and smothered the MBTA in the process. As CEO of both iterations of Harvard Pilgrim, he played a zero-sum game of slashing jobs and steeply and continually jacking up medical and insurance costs. Sure, with state funds backing him and those draconian schemes, his company did well, but again, all of Massachusetts continues to pay massively.

Baker wants credit for anything good that happened around him and no blame for all the bad that can be directly attributed to him. Well even with the poor memories of most voters, we’d have to say, sorry, Charlie.

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Treasurer Candidate Polito Podcast

No candidates or podcasters were hurt in the broadcasting of today’s show. GOP nominee for treasurer of the commonwealth and receiver general Karyn Polito joined us to say why she was interested in and qualified for the office as well as what she would do.

Time note:  She enters the show at 15:25. You are welcome to hear the three of us talk about yesterday’s primaries first, but catch her then.

Polito said she looked forward to debates for the office…as soon as the Dems have their convention and produce one or two candidates. If there’s a primary, that would be she with Steve Grossman and Steve Murphy.

Particularly with Grossman, thinks that “there’s a very clear choice.” He defines his vision for the office as that of an activist treasurer. She sticks with fiscal conservative and said that her role in the office would be to “get the highest rate of return with the least risk” for the pension funds she would control. “There is a very clear choice” between candidates, she added. She doesn’t think the treasurer has the authority to take political stances, such as she has done in the past decade as a state representative.

She did describe the political angle to the office. While she notes that she would come in as an independent treasurer, the office has become a “political catchall.” That is with the lottery, alcohol control board and numerous other money-related functions, the treasurer has inherited a variety of seemingly mismatched duties and authority.

A symbolic way Polito intends to illustrate independence would be to refuse a pension. She hopes that sets the tone for newly elected officials. She believes civil servants should receive pensions but not so pure politicians. She wants to set an example.

For her primary role as overseer of the $44 billion in pension funds, she would like to use those as models for efficiency as well. She thinks the many millions we pay annually in management fees are likely unnecessary. She favors passive index funds to simultaneously get good returns in safe investments with no fees.

icon for podpress  Karyn Polito [56:12m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Polito in Treasurer Trifecta

Karyn Polito

We complete our chats with those who would be Massachusetts treasurer with Karyn Polito. Join us at 2 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, May 19th for the live stream here. If you can’t catch it live, listen later at that URL or here on Left Ahead.

Polito has been in the House for nine years. She is a Republican who became her party’s candidate at its recent convention.

She makes it clear she is “a fiscal conservative.” She has already set herself up as opposed to Dem candidate Steve Grossman‘s call for an activist role for the office.  Assuming Dem Steve Murphy gets on the primary ballot at the party convention next month, she’ll be up against the winner of that contest in the November general. She has no GOP opposition.

Polito’s Priorities on her campaign site are fairly general so far. We’ll ask her to expand on how she wants to implement her calls for 1) accountability and transparency, 2) fiscal responsibility, 3) basics, 4) leadership by example, and 5) security, stability and trust.


Aggressive Treasurer Podcast

Steve Murphy joined us to describe his credentials and how he would take a more aggressive approach to being treasurer of the commonwealth. He and Steve Grossman are headed to the June 5th Democratic convention, with the likelihood that each will get the required 15% of delegates and face off in the September primary. The winner of that would go into the general in November against the GOP’s Karyn Polito.

Murphy sees the office as a place to create jobs and keep businesses perking. He differs from Grossman in wanting to set aside a half billion dollars of state pension funds to seed company expansion and jobs growth directly. He says the treasurer “has not been aggressive enough” in this role. He said that he first proposed such a plan before this great recession, in 2002, when he ran unsuccessfully for treasurer in a field of four Dems. His idea of funding such an effort solely with state money would be “not to buttress banks but to be the bank.” Rather than meld money from banks in such an effort, he said his approach would be “cleaner and neater.”

Murphy portrays himself as the only working-class candidate in the field. That’s important, he said, in that the treasurer should thoroughly understand “the world of finance, but not be intrinsic to it.”

Listen in as he talks of how the state can help municipalities make up the loss of revenue sharing from the state and federal levels. This includes gambling (he favors House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s  casino/slot plan). He also wants serious health-cost reform, particularly of insurance, to help cities as well as individuals.

icon for podpress  Steve Murphy [53:54m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Candidate for Treasurer Murphy 5/11

Part two of the MA treasurer candidates is tomorrow, Tuesday, 5/11, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. Democrat Steve Murphy joins us to stake his claim on the office.

You can listen to the live stream then.  After the show, you can go to the same URL or return here to listen on demand.

Murphy is a city councilor who has chaired Boston’s ways and means committee and has been deeply involved in 13 years of the city budget process.

He goes into the party convention to get a shot at the primary against last week’s guest, Steve Grossman.  We have yet to get a response to our invitation to host the sole GOP candidate, Karyn Polito.

5/11 Update: Polito’s staff did reply and she’ll join us 5/19 at 2 p.m.

Murphy says he is a financial expert by education, training and experience. Listen in to hear why he thinks he’s best for the office.


Activist Treasurer Podcast

 The avowed activist treasurer candidate, Steve Grossman joined us today. He has a very fresh and different take on the role of the commonwealth’s money person.

Listen in the hear his view of how that office should use the power of MA’s money and a bully pulpit to the benefit of the commonwealth and its citizens. He describes his detailed six-part proposal to create jobs, get financial institutions lending and much more.

We figure this should make for some intriguing debates. He put his ideas and direction right out on the table. He has one Republican and one Democrat contender for the office. We haven’t seen a response yet, but he says he isn’t worried that he has set himself up by showing all his cards so early.

To do justice to all he thinks the treasurer can help happen to make us flourish out of this great recession, you need to hear him.

Related links: Steve suggested Commonwealth‘s piece on gambling as it unfolded in Bethlehem, PA.  Mike’s recap of the kickoff press conference is here.

icon for podpress  Steve Grossman [60:39m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download