Taking on some popular misconceptions

It’s Friday, time for a few unpopular opinions.

Why Friday?

Why not?

Bank of America imposes a $5 debit card fee? Get over it.

Debit cards are quick and convenient, and most banks have been offering them free for years.

The banks paid for that service by charging fees, both large and small and mostly nonsensical, on other things, particularly small overdrafts.

Congress set limits on those fees, which cost the banks millions of dollars. Plus, it restricted what the banks could charge retailers for the use of the cards.

To make up for the things they can no longer charge for, the banks are putting fees on things they can. Bank of America has chosen debit cards.

People keep complaining that the bank is charging them for access to their own money.

Think of it this way: You’re being charged for the convenience of swiping a piece of plastic and receiving an instantaneous transaction that occurs with amazing regularity and accuracy.

Is that a convenience worth paying for? BoA’s customers will decide that, because they do have alternatives: switching banks, writing checks or carrying cash.

Pick one and stop griping.

Hank Williams Jr. compares Obama to Hitler. Get over it.

The problem with this little controversy is that he really didn’t.

He said Obama playing golf with House Speaker John Boehner was like Hitler playing golf with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He was comparing two sets of dissimilar people to draw a contrast.

But the mental image, stretching as it did across generations, was so jarring that most of us needed a moment to wrap our minds around it.

What he clearly meant was two enemies playing a game together. At least that’s what we hope he meant.

At any rate, the guy is clearly not the brightest star in the galaxy. Tell us again why he is being interviewed about politics?

Here’s a suggestion for Williams and, yes, the rest of us, offered by Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post: “Retire the name Hitler for all time except when specifically discussing World War II and/or the Holocaust.”

Great idea.

Expecting successful American corporations to hire people to end the recession. Get over it.

We hear this over and over from politicians and TV reporters: Companies are sitting “on oodles of cash” and they should simply use it to hire the unemployed.

The idea shows a complete misunderstanding of economics and the nature of a recession.

No successful business merely adds employees because it has the money on hand to do so.

The reality is that businesses only add workers reluctantly, when there is no other alternative and when they have legitimate work for those people to do.

The pernicious nature of a recession is that businesses do not have enough customers, so they cut workers. When businesses cut workers, those people stop being customers. On it goes, round and around.

Traditionally, it has been the role of the federal government and the Federal Reserve to break that cycle and stimulate the economy — the government through massive infrastructure projects and the Federal Reserve by cutting interest rates.

The scary thing is, we tried both and neither worked.

Now we are going to do the exact opposite: can lots of government employees and cut federal infrastructure spending.

How that will work, we don’t know, but Republicans swear it will.

Let’s hope they’re right.


The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Nice job of explaining the

Nice job of explaining the Hank Williams thing, Rex. Unfortunately,with few exceptions, it falls on blind eyes and closed minds. The tribe has already spoken, "Hank Williams said obama was Hitler". Ask them, they'll tell you.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Hank Williams Transcript for the record:

HANK WILLIAMS: Remember the golf game?


HANK WILLIAMS: That was one of the biggest political mistakes ever.


HANK WILLIAMS: That turned a lot of people off. You know, watching, you know, it just didn’t go over.

GRETCHEN CARLSON: You mean when John Boehner played golf with President Obama?

HANK WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah! Yeah. And Biden and Kasich, yeah. Uh-huh.

GRETCHEN CARLSON: What did you not like about it? It seems to be a really pivotal moment for you.

HANK WILLIAMS: Come on. Come on. It would be like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu, OK?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Dan, Did I miss some of Mr.

Did I miss some of Mr. Williams’ dialog? If yes, then what is it? Bring it forth, or perhaps you are looking for something that is not in the text.

Mr. Rhoades is correct. This was just a simple comparison of two extremes - perhaps a bit in bad taste but nothing more.


Mark Gravel

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Mr Rhoades: “Now we are going

Mr Rhoades:

“Now we are going to do the exact opposite: can lots of government employees and cut federal infrastructure spending.”

Three decades of deficit spending and a $14 Trillion debt leaves us with few degrees of freedom. That is, there is little room for “Traditional” methods.

Moreover, those massive projects of the past are still being paid with our yearly interest payments on the national debt.

It is self-evident that spending beyond our means must end at some point, perhaps that day is today.

Mark Gravel

Steve  Dosh's picture

Taking on some popular misconceptions

. ..posted ƒlyday . Nice ? Hahahahah . ...Hey !
1) We liked BofA when they were still the Bank of Italy . They were , too , even after WW II . Why do they call them the P I G S ( Portugal , Italy , Greece , and Spain ) anyway ? Or is it Ireland . We dunno' and don't really care . Great acronym though . Y'all know what Fiat ® stands for , right ? A : " Fix It Again , Tony "
2) Hank Williams Jr. compared Obama to Hitler ? Uh , okay , Henry . That's a bit - or byte - like comparing Apples ® to oranges or Dells ® or Gateways ® or HP's ® . One thing about country , Rex : you always know where they are coming from . . ..and where they are going to . Country - Western ? We play 'em both ?
3) The Great Mancession drags on . .and on .. .and on . The Great Bush - Cheney Mancession . At least the 00's are dead and over with
Mahalo for your editorials , /s, Steve :D

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"The Great Bush-Cheney

"The Great Bush-Cheney Mancession"? When the hell does oBAMa get to own any of this crap, Stevo? It's been 3 years, man.

David  Cote's picture

Very true, Dan

If I was in ESPN's shoes I'd have fired him as well. But as decisions like this are made by corporate America to protect their image, I wonder how it is Madonna is scheduled to perform during the next Super Bowl despite her comparison of John McCain to Adolphe Hitler? I'd like to think the National Football League would show the same zero tolerance.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Some of us preferred ESPN

Some of us preferred ESPN when they focused on sports and stayed out of politics and causes.

David  Cote's picture

Doesn't matter what the intent was

Fact is, Mr. Williams opinion is protected under the first amendment of the constitution. He has every right to express it. Sorta like someone calling the Governor of the State of Maine "Taliban Paul" repeatedly?

MARK GRAVEL's picture



Wow, so you’re clairvoyant and can know everyone’s intent. You should be able to make a lot of money with that talent. Just peak in your wallet to see how that is going!

You don't know what's in peoples hearts; neither do I, so let's not make those claims. Judge the words people say.


PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Williams said,"obama and

Williams said,"obama and Boehner playing golf together is like hitler and Netanyahu (spell?) playing golf together", or words to that effect. What, exactly, does that make Williams guilty of, except perhaps a lousy choice of names in his analogy? If he had said ...."Is like Rosa Mayer and Sadam Hussein playing golf together"... would that have meant he was comparing obama to Sadam Hussein?


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