December 16, 2008
—Carl E. Person, JD
Editor’s note. The following article was submitted by Attorney Carl E. Person after several months of correspondence between him and RCM. Mr. Person’s local bailout package is a provocative concept. “Radical” would be another way to describe it. As would “populist” (in no way a pejorative word). Anyhow, read it and see what you think. Post your comments, below.
If there is sufficient interest in Mr. Person’s proposal, RCM would be willing to invite Mr. Person to Malone to make a formal presentation at a public forum and before the village and town boards. His contact information can be found at the end of the article.
The Town and Village of Malone have many of the same problems being experienced in most other towns and villages in the US, which is a declining standard of living. You and I can probably agree on various reasons for the decline, but I’m not interested in any debate on why. Instead I want to open up your mind to how Malone can easily (yes, I said, “easily”) reverse the decline and become a boom town and a model for other towns and villages in the US to follow.
Here is my four part “bailout” package for making Malone a prosperous and model town. But first, a few things about myself, so you can better evaluate what I propose for Malone and you.
I am a high school dropout, and a Harvard Law School graduate. I have practiced law in New York City for more than 40 years, mainly in antitrust, intellectual property and civil rights litigation. I work more than 70-80 hours per week. (But what is “work” and “non-work” is sometimes difficult to say. For example, the writing of this article for you to read and decide to do something to bring prosperity to Malone in these difficult times.) I’m a college graduate (magna cum laude) from Long Island University (Brooklyn campus), was president of the student body, and ran for NYS Attorney General in 2006 (but wasn’t able to get on the ballot).
I created the paralegal field back in 1972, and owned and ran a paralegal school for 18 years, and know almost every dollar that is required to run a school. I am currently (as plaintiff) suing Google® for monopolization of the search advertising market, and the only person in the world doing so.
I have written approximately 100 websites, mainly in the areas of politics, business, law, criminal justice system and whatever else I wanted to write about. You can access most of my websites through www.lawmall.com and www.carlperson.com.
Finally, I am not making any money out of my efforts to help Malone, but will be expending money for which I probably will not be reimbursed. I am doing this because I want to demonstrate that there are things that an enlightened town can do to pull itself out of the financial quagmire that has been caused by greed and corruption at the federal and state levels of government. I believe that reform has got to start at the lowest level of government, where everyone in the community can learn what they need to know and act in their own best interests.
With that as my preliminary statement, here are the four parts of my package for Malone:
(1) Tuition free equivalency college
This can be set up at no significant cost. When you get right down to it, a college needs little more than classrooms, student-type desks, a blackboard or tablet-easel, a good instructor, and students. I know. I set up a school from scratch during 1972. Here is the order in which I set it up:
(a) I got the idea (a paralegal training program which would admit college graduates only).
(b) I sketched out the curriculum and made a list of the books and materials I wanted to use.
(c) I wrote radio copy for 1-minute commercials on CBS and WOR Radio in NYC and ran the ads.
(d) I signed up students from my apartment near NYU.
(e) After having signed up the minimum number of students I wanted to have, I looked for and obtained classroom space in an office building in lower Manhattan.
(f) I advertised for, interviewed and hired lawyers as instructors.
(g) I started the classes on a “rolling admissions” basis, so that new students could come in to the program at weekly intervals instead of only 2 or 3 times per year.
Setting up a college is pretty much the same. Because the tuition (and books) will be free (or almost free, more about this later), admissions must be restricted to residents of the area supporting the college (to avoid getting too many students from around the U.S. who want to obtain a free college education). Malone has a (2-year) community college, SUNY’s North Country Community College (1,595 fulltime enrollment), charging tuition (including various fees) of about $4,000 per year for residents. Obviously, $4,000 per year for college is a bargain, but it is not a 4-year college. The nearest 4-year colleges are 47-63 miles away (Plattsburgh, Potsdam and Canton). This indicates to me there are probably 2,000 potential students for a tuition-free college in Malone.
The value of a tuition free, 4-year college in Malone is that a higher percentage of Malone residents will be able to obtain a good (4-year) college education and not be broke for the rest of their lifetimes paying off loans or student loans needed to finance a more expensive 4-year college education at a distant institution. Perhaps 50% or more of the costs of attending college away from home are avoidable by attending a local college. Prospective employers in the area would be pleased to have educated job applicants who are not going to be financially overwhelmed trying to pay off huge student loans, and will probably find it necessary to have 1 or 2 part-time jobs to try to make ends meet. This isn’t good for the main employer, or for the employee. The employee will not be satisfied with the main job because it doesn’t pay enough to cover the student-loan obligations. The employer will see an employee who cannot give everything to the main job because of the need to work elsewhere.
Anyway, I can help Malone set up a tuition free, 4-year equivalency college. Possibly we (meaning you and Malone’s political leadership) will decide to charge $2,000 per year in tuition to get the college started most expeditiously. Remember, we’re going to have what I called “rolling admissions” so that students can enter the program every week or perhaps every other week, instead of only 3 times per year. The tuition-free aspect involves having a number of wealthy senior citizens in your area agree to have a $1,000,000 life insurance policy on their lives (at an investor’s expense). The investor will pay $30,000 to the Malone Tuition Free College at the moment the insurance policy is written; or, if the college wishes to wait 2 years (until expiration of the two-year period for contestability) the college would receive $100,000; or if the college waits until the insured dies, the college would collect the full $1,000,000. The insured would be given credit as a benefactor of the college, but would have no expense to pay concerning the insurance.
Additional information about the tuition free college is available at my website www.election-issues-us.com/equivalency.php.
The importance of a free, higher education cannot be over-emphasized. If you and others in Malone want to be competitive with others in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, you should make sure you have a good education. You will need it to become and remain competitive. India recognized this years ago and set up the India Institutes of Technology, a group of 7 colleges spread through India which provide a truly world-class education in computers and programming, with graduates in demand throughout the world, and many of them coming to the United States to obtain jobs that really should be going to American citizens and residents. Also, for you to maximize your personal financial interest in my www.myclads.com website (to be explained below), you could use website building and marketing skills, which undoubtedly you would be able to learn at your new tuition free college, along with many other useful things, such as how to bring back or create manufacturing and manufacturing jobs for Malone.
(2) Free healthcare through a Town Attorney General
Although you are attracted to this second part of my four part package because of the promise of free healthcare or healthcare insurance coverage, the main part of the idea is the Town Attorney General concept.
Many of the evils now facing the country, including you and Malone, are derived (in my opinion) from lack of enforcement of law by our elected and appointed officials, especially at the federal level. I have created the concept of the Town Attorney General to take the awesome power of the State Attorney General and bring it down to the local level. I want to be Malone’s Town Attorney General to enforce the rights of what I consider my “protected group,” consisting of the following groups and others: citizens, residents, small business owners and their businesses, homeowners, unemployeds, underemployeds, retirees and pensioners, employees, middle management and persons charged with criminal conduct — to enforce their rights at government expense.
We have too much of a federal and state bureaucracy enforcing the duties of these people, but what about enforcing their rights? By the governments’ failure to enforce our rights at public expense, we have left law enforcement to individuals who do not have the resources to do the work needed for enforcement. Remember what I said above, about being the only person in the world suing Google® for monopolization of the search advertising market. This isn’t right, but this is the way things work, until we can get people in towns and villages to gather together, appoint a legal representative (whom we’ll call your “Town Attorney General”) and give such person the task of defending your rights and interests.
For example, I propose to sue any firm that sells Malone jobs and moves them outside the area. There are various legal theories which can be employed starting with “clawback” provisions in agreements by which Malone or other governments in the area may have provided funding or benefits to encourage a company to set up a plant or warehouse in or near Malone, only to see someone else offer additional money to have them move their operations elsewhere.
By enforcing your rights against companies that have injured you and others in Malone, and Malone itself, you can recover monies which Malone can then use to provide healthcare coverage for underinsureds or uninsureds, broadband service for all, prescription drugs, and lower rent and real estate taxes. In effect, Malone’s Village Attorney General would be the new sheriff in Malone, but doing battle in the courts instead of with a six-shooter. Probably Malone’s legal expertise at this time is centered around zoning, but in a sophisticated economy with derivatives, Enron, naked short selling, securitization of mortgages and sale of these interests to non-caring foreign banks or others, you have got to wake up to the fact that your financial interests are being wasted because you have nobody protecting you.
You need a Village Attorney General to do this, and one of the courses to be offered at the Malone tuition free college could well be a course on what a Village Attorney General could do for Malone, to educate the public in understanding what Malone and you are losing by not having a Village Attorney General.
For more information about my concept for a Town Attorney General, see my websites www.townattorneygeneral.com and www.election-issues-us.com/townattorneygeneral_2.php.
(3) Area-wide Payroll Administrator for small businesses and households
If you never had to meet a payroll, you may not really understand what this third element of my program is intended to do. Anyone in small business with one or more employees will tell you right away that the idea is great, trust me.
The benefit of setting up a payroll administrator is that it will boost regular employment in Malone by about 20%. By this I mean that classic-employment jobs with payroll deductions and, in many cases, some benefits will increase by 20%. The reason for this is that because of the relatively high costs of starting up and maintaining payroll for 1 or 2 employees (even 3-5 employees), many small businesses decide not to hire at all, to avoid having to go through the weekly payroll horrors, from having insufficient funds on hand in the bank to cover both payroll and the monies supposedly being withheld; the costs of purchasing a required workmen’s compensation insurance policy as well as an unemployment insurance policy and having to submit to one or more audits if you decide to end payroll, only to have additional high startup costs if you decide to put people back on payroll.
Many small business owners don’t have themselves on payroll for these reasons, and lose out on Social Security benefits as a result. Just ask some of them.
What I’m proposing to set up is a cooperative to administer payroll for the area’s participating small businesses as well as any households in the area hiring one or more domestic workers. Each business or household would pay its own actual costs involved. The employees would be hired by the cooperative and the cooperative would function something like an office temp service, except that it would not have any expenses of looking for or interviewing prospective employees. It would merely accept whatever employees were designated by the businesses and households participating in the cooperative.
The most important benefit is freeing up small businesses in your area from the shameful, wasteful, costly drudgery which small businesses have to endure when they have employees (or themselves) on payroll. We can free up many hours and dollars and put them to use more constructively, for the benefit of the small business, and Malone.
Additional information about this proposal is available at my website www.election-issues-us.com/localbusiness.php.
(4) $25,000 to $50,000 per year for each participant in my “tasks” marketplace (www.myclads.com)
This part of the four part package is the best of all. It provides a way for individuals to offer and sell their unused hours doing high hourly rate “tasks.” I want every resident of Malone to the extent they want to (and have the capacity to) earn money to list for free and forever as many different “tasks” that they would like to perform for money (or for love or for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter).
Most will and should list to earn money. For example, I expect to see (keyword) ads such as “mow lawns,” “tutor quantum mechanics, high-school level,” “assemble IKEA® desk model D55886 $75,” “replace dashboard bulbs in any car,” “myclads consultant” and “manufacturing consultant.” My website has a 50-mile ZIP Code radius search capability so that someone in Nicholville NY (21 miles away) would retrieve Malone resident ads if using a ZIP Code radius search of 25 miles, for example. There are millions of “equivalency jobs” out there waiting to be taken, but these “equivalency jobs” are broken into components, and you will have to figure out the components you would like to perform, and list these components on www.myclads.com.
When Malone is able to obtain, say, 40% of the eligible residents of Malone to list their tasks on the website, Malone would then invest a few dollars in its residents by placing advertisements in low-cost local media (cable television, radio, television and newspapers) covering a radius of about 25 miles around Malone (equal to 2000 square miles) to generate leads, task employment and sales for the Malone participants.
My own interest is that I would like the people who purchase these offered tasks to become website advertisers themselves, to bring in money to Nicholville and other surrounding towns as well. We don’t have to wait for Wal-Mart to employ us; we can create jobs at the lowest level of business — the individual. Remember, it is small business that creates most of the new jobs in the US, and it stands to reason that the smallest businesses in America (i.e., you, potentially and hopefully) will join www.myclads.com and create more task employment.
I see no reason why someone in Malone who diligently works on defining the tasks he/she is to offer (such as 500 tasks, with URL’s to website pages which show the interested person from Nicholville your experience, references, prices possibly, contact information and possibly a picture of yourself) cannot earn $100 to $200 per day for 5 days per week, or $25,000 to $50,000 per year, without any deduction for withholding or other payroll taxes. Such person would be a legitimate independent contractor, and making far more as an individual than he/she would be making at Wal-Mart, for example.
If Malone can deliver $25,000 to $50,000 in annual income to motivated, participating residents, I can predict that there will be far fewer mortgages in default in Malone, and so many people wanting to move into Malone that real estate prices will increase.
In summary, if Malone residents can obtain a low cost four-year college education, and start selling their available hours as task employment, Malone will become prosperous once again. And if the cooperative payroll association is started up, regular employment will also grow.
We need to protect Malone’s prosperity or move to prosperity with appropriate legal counsel, the Village or Town Attorney General, and this will give us the money we need to provide healthcare insurance for those without adequate coverage, and money for free broadband, reduced prescription drugs, and reduced real estate taxes and rent.
I need help in Malone to make this happen. Most importantly, I want the help of your local elected officials. I would like to meet with them and answer any questions they may have. For example, in the long run, I believe it is best to have the Village/Town Attorney General be an elected official, but that’s in the future. For now, the Village/Town Attorney General would and should be controlled by Mayor Brent Stewart and the Village Board of Trustees. Or, if done at the town level, by Town Supervisor Howard Maneely and the Malone Town Council.
We have a four-part program to implement in Malone. I believe each part is important. There are additional things to be done (such as get free broadband to every household and resident in Malone), but first things first.
I want to make Malone a showcase for every other town and village in the US, to make each of them want to do the same thing. We don’t have to wait for the new administration in Washington to set up a tuition-free college for Malone. You and I know that this would never be done. Washington is not going to bail out Malone, but is going to come to Malone and its residents to bail out Washington. We will have to set up the tuition-free college for ourselves. The same thing is true about the rest of the reforms. Either do it yourself, or do without the reforms.
I would enjoy talking with anyone interested in any of these four ways to make Malone and its residents prosperous. You can reach me at my office in NYC at 212-307-4444, or by email to email@example.com
Carl E. Person, JD
Antitrust, Intellectual Property and Civil Rights Attorney
New York, New York