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We don’t know about you, gentle reader, but we can scarcely believe that a full year has passed since we were preparing for one of the social highlights of the year 2011, the Roane County Heritage Commission’s Annual Gala, but here we are getting ready for the social highlight of 2012, the Heritage Commission’s Annual Gala.
Beyond the food and festivities, we dare-say that one of the great attractions of this annual event is the chance to meet many old friends, and equally, the opportunity to make new friends.
An open smile on a friendly face will almost assuredly guarantee any attendee, even the rank stranger, a warm welcome.
There is usually one member of the community who is chosen to be honoured at the event, and this year is no different.
If we have not been badly misled, the person honoured this year is to be Edgar R. (Buddy) Bowers.
It is certainly fitting that Buddy be recognized inasmuch as his fertile brain served as the incubation chamber for the old original Roane County Historical Society, which in turn spun off the Roane County Heritage Commission, when the old Court House was in danger of being bulldozed in order to make a parking lot!
Buddy is a veritable encyclopedia of historical information, especially the history of the Civil War (to you right-thinking folks, that’s the War between the States, or the War of Northern Aggression, but Buddy, being of the Unionist persuasion, calls it the Civil War, although there was nothing civil about the way his side treated our side, but we forgive, as we should, but we make no promises about forgetting.)
Buddy’s own history is replete with accomplishments. Lawyer, Educator, Corporate Executive, Political Leader (Republican persuasion, but never mind).
Member of various state and municipal boards and commissions, all, no doubt owing to his education in South Harriman schools.
So, if you want to cheer Buddy Bowers, attend the Gala at the Old Court House in Kingston, on the evening of the 22nd next.
Likewise, if you want to jeer Buddy Bowers attend that event, at that time, and at that place.
To paraphrase what we wrote a year ago: Mark your calendar for the Ninth Annual Heritage Gala Evening on the Twenty-second day of September, at 6:30 p. m., in the old Court House, on the Square at Kingston.
The cost for regular tickets is Fifty Dollars ($50) each, half of which is tax deductible. The committee arranging this event would no doubt appreciate knowing who all is going to be there beforehand, and, if you have not received an invitation, just drop your check in the mail addressed to “9th Annual Heritage Gala Evening, Roane County Heritage Commission, P.O. Box 738, Kingston, Tennessee 37763.”
Or, drop by the Old Court House and give your check to one of the fine custodians of the records, etc., either Darleen Trent, or Robert Bailey, and they will take care of getting you on the list.
If you do not determine that you can attend until late, we are sure that you can be squeezed in and admitted at the door.
We hope to see you there.
Turning now to the political scene: As this is published, it is only seven weeks and four days until Election Day.
Many of the self-same prophets, prognosticators, pundits, and seers, whom we have dubbed the “talking heads”, who have been proclaiming so loudly about how close the election is to be, and how strong Romney is, and how weak Obama is, have had an almost “Road to Damascus” epiphany, and now are telling how weak Romney is, and how strong Obama is.
Our personal opinion is, and has been, that no Republican nominee who adhered to the Paul Ryan budget adopted by the House, by an almost unanimous Republican vote of approval, could win, once the Medicare abolition and voucherization was made plain to the public, especially our fellow old-timers.
So, when Romney so foolishly allowed himself to be stampeded into selecting Ryan as his running mate, to us it appeared that his failure was foreordained.
But, we are old enough to know that, as old Ben Franklin opined, “nothing is certain except death and taxes,” and as Robbie Burns wrote: “There’s many a slip twixt cup and lip,” so everything could change in a heartbeat, and Romney win in a landslide, but we think this highly unlikely.
The next act in this national drama is the First Debate on 3 October, and Obama could stumble, as so many have, but we think it more likely that Romney might, especially since his people have already begun to rehearse him for this first debate, almost a month early.
If they think he needs this much pre-debate preparation, they must think he is a mighty poor debater.
In the debates, one topic that we doubt that Mr. Romney will be asked about, and were he to be he would not honestly and openly answer, and that is his IRA account.
As you know, there are strict requirements in the law about how much you can put into an IRA account, and the kind of assets that can be acquired in such an account. Despite all this, Mr. Romney has managed to accumulate an IRA account the value of which is variously estimated to be no less than twenty million dollars, and ranging up to one hundred millions.
If either figure, or one between, is accurate, one can see why he is so desperate to cut upper income tax rates again since withdrawals from the IRA are taxed as ordinary income so that instead of thirteen or so percent tax rate he has been paying, he will have to pay almost three times that amount.
And remember, after age 71 he must withdraw a certain percentage whether he wants to or not. This will be the first time that a candidate for president can be legitimately charged with making policy to benefit himself financially.
However, deplorable as this may be, it is not the primary concern raised by this IRA question.
Romney’s whole campaign has been based upon his economic shrewdness, but this matter shows how little he actually knows, or considers about finance.
The basis for this huge IRA account is supposed to be an investment by Bain and by Romney personally in the Italian publisher of that country’s Yellow Pages, in which they are said to have made something like 1000-percent profit. Now, whether they thought they would make this much, surely they knew they would make a good deal of profit.
That being so, a wise financier, which he claims to be, would have put his shares in his personal account where the tax rate would have been 15 percent on the capital gain, and under no circumstance would this wise financier have put the shares in an IRA where the tax rate on large withdrawals, even on capital gains, is 35 percent.
When dealing with many millions of dollars that would make a huge difference in how much money he keeps.
Such a misstep sort of makes you wonder about his vaunted financial savvy, doesn’t it?