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Harrop: Roy Moore poisons Alabama's business climate

In 2006, a Chicago schoolteacher was sentenced to three years in prison for molesting teenage girls. He was 34 at the time and, according to news accounts, had slipped his hands under the shirt of a 17-year-old and fondled her breasts.

That’s how a moral America deals with men who molest underage girls. Roy Moore apparently did the same at age 32, except that one of the girls was 14 and his hands roved down to panty level.

Every society has its Moores—sick predators who hide their perversions in a thick cloud of religiosity. Not every society would elect them to any office, much less a high one like the U.S. Senate.

It will be interesting to see whether the voters of Alabama find justification for letting such an individual represent them to the world. Alabama’s business community is alarmed that they may.

Alabama has had great success luring foreign manufacturers. Mercedes-Benz, Airbus, Honda and Toyota are among the corporate giants based in other countries now employing over 87,000 Alabamans. The state last year attracted $1.5 billion in foreign investment.

Would multinationals feel secure locating to or expanding in a state that chooses a leader who traffics in the most primitive racism, homophobia and xenophobia—never mind his stalking of underage girls at a local mall? The bigger question here is not Moore himself but the civic culture that finds him OK.

These companies employ specialized workers from all over the world. Few have forgotten the horrific shooting of two engineers at a suburban Kansas City bar because they were dark-skinned foreigners. The engineers, one of whom died, were Indian nationals working for the tech firm Garmin.

The gunman had demanded to know whether they were in the country illegally. The engineers were working legally, plus they were educated in the U.S. The gunman shouted, “Get out of my country!” Then he fired. People back in India were so furious that the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi had to issue a statement condemning the “tragic and senseless act.”

It’s no secret that hostility toward foreigners has risen since the election of Donald Trump. State and local leaders who don’t fight the poison—or who, in Moore’s case, pour more on—will be shunned by large businesses with multiethnic workforces, which most of them have.

Moore’s lawyer made reference to MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi’s Indian heritage in some bizarre defense of the candidate’s sexual misconduct. Velshi is from Canada, actually.

Birmingham has been aggressively vying to win Amazon’s second headquarters and the 50,000 jobs that would come with it. If Moore gets elected, Alabama can kiss that idea goodbye. But even if he loses, Amazon must confront the reality that the state’s dominant party chose Moore over a normal conservative by 9 percentage points.

Moore is an intestinal disease for Alabama’s business leaders. The Business Council of Alabama has not endorsed him, nor has the state’s senior senator, Richard Shelby. Alabama may offer enormous taxpayer subsidies to attract manufacturers, but so can other places.

To overcome the state’s fraught racial history, economic development officials place prominent pictures of blacks and whites working together on their promotional literature. But it would require quite a package to overcome the drawbacks of a state where the political leadership insults the workers they want to hire, not to mention activates local nut jobs who would do them harm.

This election, in the end, isn’t a referendum on Moore. It’s a referendum on a society that will decide whether he reflects Alabama values. There aren’t enough advertising dollars on Madison Avenue to counter the reputational damage that a Moore win would bring.


Letters
Your Views: Bah humbug to bundles of advertising circulars

Is it possible to have The Gazette delivered to a subscriber’s home minus all the advertising circulars, especially like the $1.50 batch we received in the Nov. 22, issue, all of which went immediately into the indoor recycling receptacle and, later in the day, into the city recycling bin?

Then on Nov. 24 came another batch pitched to promote Black Friday sales; on Saturday, Sunday and Monday came further bundles promoting Cyber Week--all of which circulars experienced the same fate: quick transferal from indoor to outdoor recycling. I also subscribe to the Wisconsin State Journal, which means I get hit with a double whammy of circulars!

I find this barrage of advertising promoting commercialism/consumerism discouraging, especially during a holiday season supposed to be honoring other values. And there is more to come as we approach the Christmas season, which really now begins the day after Thanksgiving. And then comes Valentine’s Day, then Mother’s Day, and so it goes. Such a waste.

As William Wordsworth so aptly expressed it, “The world is too much with us: late and soon,/ Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers…”

DANIEL M. ATWOOD

Janesville


Other_views
Guest Views: Small provisions speak volumes about tax plan

Republicans in Washington insist that their new tax plan will benefit all Americans, but it’s no secret that it is especially good for some.

The less affluent among us will see significantly smaller tax cuts that disappear after a few years.

The more affluent see bigger tax cuts for longer, and corporations fare best of all with a dramatic and permanent drop in their tax rate.

But to understand just how disingenuous Republicans are when touting tax reform—and just how little they think of some Americans—you need to dig a little deeper into the bills the House and Senate have passed. There you’ll find small provisions, exemptions and carve-outs that show who Republicans have crafted this bill for—and who gets left out.

Take, for example, teachers. In the House bill, educators who have to buy supplies for their classrooms would no longer be able to deduct them on their tax forms. The Senate bill does not eliminate that deduction.

The House and Senate had no disagreement, however, on making expense rules much more generous for businesses. The tax plan makes it possible for businesses to fully expense new equipment for at least five years.

Graduate students aren’t so lucky. Republicans want to count as taxable income the tuition waivers that graduate students receive for working as researchers and teaching assistants. That, along with provisions that eliminate student loan interest deductions, will put graduate school financially out of reach for many.

But if you’re wealthy enough to afford a private school education for your children? Republicans are here for you. The tax plan would allow parents to save money tax-free for K-12 private school tuition, as well as expenses associated with home schooling.

Senate Republicans even tried to pass a tax break that could be applied only to small Hillsdale College in Michigan, which has ties to people in the Trump administration. The Senate struck the provision after it was discovered, but there’s still some wrangling to come over which affluent private schools might get to avoid paying a tax on investment income.

Republicans also all but eliminated the estate tax for America’s wealthier households, yet managed to fight off efforts to slightly expand a tax credit for low-income families with children. All of which contributes to most every analysis, including the non-partisan Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, determining that the tax plan is essentially a transfer of wealth to the rich.

Republicans say that will lead to job growth, although history shows tax cuts don’t prompt job creators to create more jobs. But Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa hinted at something else in an unfortunate moment of candor over the weekend. Speaking about the estate tax, he told the Des Moines Register: “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing. As opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

In other words, Republicans don’t think very highly of everyday Americans. Neither does their tax plan.

—The Charlotte Observer


Other_views
Web views for Friday, Dec. 8

From online story comments and Facebook

On seclusion incident at Milton elementary school: Although I disagree with how the situation was allegedly handled, I would still hope that the young man was lectured about respecting his teacher when she first requested he give her the Play-Doh. A lack of respect at this age is only a precursor to greater issues further down the line.

—Vickie Bullis

Sometimes all you can do is isolate. Trying to calm a child doesn’t always work. They get too overwhelmed and putting them by themselves is the best approach, in a secure room where they cannot harm themselves or others.

—Sarah Stanton

Sounds like the boy has a parenting problem to me if he is acting like this. If he is not disciplined at home, the school must do something or remove him from public school. I am guessing this is not his first time.

—Truthtelller

You have to do something with an out of control kid, but the closet would not be the answer. There must be a room or an office the kid could sit in, and if he was violently out of control, the school should have called the police.

—Joe From Wisconsin

On Sunday story, “Janesville policy changes aim to make downtown a destination”: This is fabulous! Stay positive and progress forward!

—Sue Duesterbeck Burkart

The pop-up store idea is interesting. What is it going to take to actually make this happen?

—Chris Masse

Well, until they get people living downtown, it will still be a desert. All those empty, upper floors in those buildings should be turning into condos that people buy, not rent.

—Delford West

I’ve got an idea! Since Milwaukee Street changed to two-way, and Court Street is about to be, let’s take it one better. The Rock River flows north to south. Change it so that it flows both ways! Just think what that will do for downtown’s prospects!

—Bill Schuldt

People who keep complaining about the two-way streets should just move, stay on Milton Avenue or settle in at the Huntington Place. If you can’t handle it, you probably shouldn’t have a driver’s license in the first place.

—Rainman

On Hedberg Library expanding access to 1.3 million more items: Compliments to the Hedberg Library and everyone who works there. They are professional and courteous and among the greater assets of Janesville.

—gazettefan

On Walker’s plan to drug test food stamp users: I can see the traffic jam headed south from Milwaukee to Chicago already.

—jp53545

It’s a great idea. A lot of employers require a drug test prior to hiring. Why should a hard-working individual subsidize a drug user’s grocery cart?

—witaxman

Witaxman, I agree. Let’s start with our top employee, Scott Walker, and work our way down from there. They are our employees, and I think a lot of you may be surprised.

—NewUser

On Trump endorsing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore: So according to our great leader, the morals of a man don’t matter—only the way he will vote. This is why we are in the mess we are in now. Welcome to the new swamp!

—non_grata

No surprise here. Typical sickening politics going on with both parties. At least Trump is being upfront about his reasoning.

—hdonlybob

The “morals” of the other candidate, Doug Jones, pale in comparison to “allegations” from 40 years ago against Moore (that have yet to be proven). On Oct. 3, Jones stated that a woman should have the right to an abortion all the way up until the day before the baby is delivered. Where are the “morals”?

—wislady

On Badgers loss in Big Ten championship: Badgers can hold their heads up proud. If they hadn’t stumbled in the first half, it may have been a different story. But, hey, that is football.

—hdonlybob