Kit Menkin's Leasing News
www.leasingnews.org Thursday, September 12, 2002
Accurate, fair and unbiased news for the equipment Leasing Industry
--posted daily at www.leasingnews.org---
Wednesday Leasing News posted at 1:30 pm PDT
at www.leasingnews.org----other features, such as classified ads,
are posted at different times of the day-----
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Pictures from the Past
Classified Ads here are four from:
Senior Management: Hicksville, NY
Senior equipment leasing and banking executive with credit, collections, marketing and operations
experience. Background includes development of new business, risk management and budgeting.
Senior Management: Irvine, CA
Senior Manager at Enterprise Leasing Software Company. 10 yrs programming, 15 yrs system/ network,
and 15 yrs management experience. Working Experience with 12 Leasing companies.
Senior Management: Chicago, IL
Sr. biz leader/ 20 years exp. in vendor leasing seeks challenging position w/strong Chicagoland
area lessor. Excellent business development, sales/vendor management exp./ solid references
Syndicator: Wilmington, NC
Ten years experience/contacts placing debt & equity for middle market end-users for transactions
$75K - $10MM. Can relocate or telecommute. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
### Denotes Press Release
Please send to a colleague as we are trying to build our readership.
No advertising, inside news, less press releases, more truth.
Dolsen Leasing Company in Washington is back in business; they
closed down in June of 2001 to handle their delinquent accounts and
evaluate their portfolio performance. In mid-2002, the Dolsen family
decided to reopen for new business and John Nelson was hired as Sr. Vice
President and General Manager. John has extensive experience in the
business; he spent the last 20 years with Seafirst/Bank of America in
various positions such as Vice President in Credit, Corporate Finance
Dolsen Leasing Company is an independent funding source that specializes
in equipment financing for small to medium size businesses in the
Northwest area, and is the oldest independent leasing company in the
state of Washington. While DLC is quickly re-establishing old broker
relationships, they look forward to adding new broker business.
Contact: Joanie Dolsen at 800-959-4002 or Joanie@dolsenleasing.com.
Dolsen Leasing---- June 14,2001 Report:
"Word has it that Dolsen Leasing in WA is gone. Still answering phones and servicing accounts but no new business. National Association of Equipment Lease Brokers Listserve brought this fast response: "Just spoke with Joanie, she confirmed that they have pulled back for now, and are not accepting any new broker business. They will continue to write deals for current lessees (referring back to the broker if it was broker generated). "They laid some people off, and are just regrouping. No problems with bank lines, etc., just taking some time off from funding new deals until they can get a handle on their delinquent accounts.
"Jeffrey M. Bob, CLP
800-255-7430 ext. 15
"( We understand the company is basically "family owned," several branches, in good financial
shape, just cutting back to keep going in this economy. editor }"
Good News!!!! They're back!!!
WRONG NUMBER IS: 215-547-8176
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE THE ABOVE NUMBER CAME FROM?
C. ROGERS CHILDS, JR.
DIRECTOR, WHOLESALE ORIGINATIONS
LEAF FINANCIAL CORPORATION
1845 WALNUT STREET
PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103-4709
WEB PAGE: http://www.leaf-financial.com
(Yes, from your press release:
Resource America, Inc. Announces $50M LEAF Fund
PHILADELPHIA----Resource America Inc. (NASDAQ:REXI) (the "Company") announced that a registration statement filed by Lease Equity Appreciation Fund I, L.P. (the "Fund"), an equipment leasing limited partnership sponsored by the Company's wholly owned subsidiary, LEAF Financial Corporation
("LEAF"), was declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, August 15, 2002.
The Fund's registration statement pertains to a public offering of a maximum of 500,000 units of limited partnership interest in the Fund. The Fund is a Delaware limited partnership that will seek to raise $50,000,000 to invest in a diversified portfolio of business necessary equipment and to lease the equipment to small and midsize companies.
To a lesser extent the Fund may acquire existing equipment lease portfolios.
The units will be marketed through a group of selling broker-dealers obtained by Anthem Securities, Inc., a subsidiary of Resource America, which is acting as the dealer-manager for the offering.
For more information and to obtain a copy of the prospectus, please contact LEAF at (215) 547-8176 (correct number is: : 215-717-3393. editor)
Resource America Inc. is a proprietary asset management company that uses industry specific expertise to generate and administer investment opportunities for our own account and for outside investors in energy, real estate and equipment leasing industries.
Resource America, Inc., Philadelphia
Pamela Schreiber, 215/546-5005
source America, Inc., Philadelphia
### ################################## ####################
( By the way, Leasing News always tries to publish all telephone numbers or contacts.
We note that others who print press releases rarely put the contact information, even
if a media contact, plus do not like to print telephone numbers. While we are bragging,
they also print only a few paragraphs---or when the press release refers to an item,
they ignore it, as if they don't read what they print, just post the first several paragraphs.
We don't have an "automated" process. "Hand Wash." editor ).
"American Medical Capital is or was operated by Tony Rico and the address
is 18552 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 103, Irvine, CA 92612 Phone #
1-800-381-4469 when dialed says this "the number you are calling cannot
receive calls at this time". Same for local # 949-794-9722. According to a doctor in Charleston, SC that we did a working capital
loan for in mid-May, he skipped out with a $2,500 security deposit."
Tony Rico is Jerry Rico's older brother. Jerry Rico was the president of
Rockford Industries, that was sold to American Express Business Finance.
There were reportedly problems with the portfolio.
According to a broker who original sent us a bulletin board complaint, he is
owed $2,600 on a commission, but has been informed to make his request
to a bankruptcy court.
October 5, 2002 San Diego United Association of Equipment Leasing
Annual Conference and Exhibition "Top Gun"
Leasing News will present two workshops
9:45am "Top Gun Salespeople"
11:00am "Tom Gun " Sales Managers
The first session will include the Urban Legend Jim Raeder, star of stage, screen,
and outer space. Many people are jealous of his success and started rumors about
him. Ex-salesmen who worked for him love him or hate him. At one time,
he had salesmen making $750,000 and a million dollars a year in commissions.
This is not talk or brag, but confirmed by talking to several of his ex-salesmen.
It was not uncommon for salesmen trained by Raider and his partner Mark
McQuitty to make a minimum of $250,000 a year.
He is a man with charisma, knowledge, and power. His biography:
1986 seems like forever and a day ago but that was the year I first came to realize that financing equipment was more lucrative then selling it. While working for NCR Denver and trying to earn a degree in Boulder, it soon became apparent that adding a few basis points over a long lease term was money in my pocket. A leasing career was launched.
1988 found Denver in a major recession with California's hot job market beckoning my sales talent. As a new recruit for a Publicly held leasing company in Southern California, my real introduction to leasing began. It wasn't long before I was able to make an HP sing and learn the talent of how to increase yields through creative structuring.
Sales and revenue enhancing structures in Mid-ticket transactions:
Buyouts and wraps
Step up and step down interest reduction plans.
Capitalized cost reductions.
Interest indexes with rate increase protection.
Vender blind discounts.
Vender term discounts.
Equipment supplier/ VAR discounts.
Annual and semi annual payment plans.
Staggered installations/ Pre-funding
And last but not least, Residual sharing
1989 was a time to apply Mid-ticket leasing logic to the small ticket arena. Joining a new
Start-up Leasing company with only Denrich Leasing and LeaseFirst to offer proved to be an excellent move. With buy rates starting at 18.5%-24%, the ability to earn a living by adding 10 plus points to these rates was a test of courage and an exercise in true salesmanship. I proved it possible with consistently hitting Top Producer of the Year two out of three years with Balboa Capital. Being edged out by my dear friend and partner Mark McQuitty one of those years was motivating to say the least. As the catalyst to their great success, it was clearly time to test our skills in the real world.
1992 the California economy was skidding to a halt with housing prices dropping faster then the fall of Enron, WorldCom and First Sierra's stock. Starting a business at this time would have been considered insane to a rational man but to Mark and I it was opportunity knocking In seven short years we purchased six properties, had over 200 associates, named to the Inc. 500 twice, nominated to the Orange County Entrepreneurs of the Year award, and produced the highest paying sales associates in the industry, with certain individuals earning in excess of $600,000-$800,000 per year. In 1998 the company was sold at the highest multiple ever paid for a private leasing company in history. Unfortunately the new owners knew as much about Leasing as Enron knows
about Generally Acceptable Accounting Practices!
2000 was a year to wind back up the machine again. Unfortunately California was having an energy crisis along with the capital markets shutting down liquidity to public and private finance companies alike. This was not an uncommon place for my partner and I to be in. Challenged by the economy and the lenders flight to credit quality, a change in the sales approach was in the shop for a tune up.
Emerging from the shop was a highly refined and unique vendor partner sales approach, which has raised the CapitalWerks Leasing Machine as a frontrunner in the origination process. CW has increased monthly originations to over $7,000,000 per month with numerous products in Medical Leasing, Venture Leasing, Auto Leasing, Working Capital, Inventory Financing, Consumer Lending, Portfolio Servicing, Recovery and Asset Management, Small Portfolio Acquisitions, Bulk Whole Loan
Sales, Investment Banking Services, and of coarse "GOOD OL' FASHION SMALL TICKET LEASING."
Although Leasing consumes 75 hours a week, I do get the opportunity to spend time with my seven year old son, Jimmy, and my triplets: Jenna, Katie, and Jake. After 16 years of playing Rugby, I prefer to spend the weekends fishing, smoking cigars, and telling stories.
DID I MENTION WE'RE HIRING? LEARN FROM THE BEST.
----- Friday is the last day for the Regular price to attend the
United Association of Equipment Leasing San Diego Conference
and hear "FOR THE FIRST TIME" from Urban Legend Jim Raeder,
one of a panel of four "Top Gun" Salesmen.
Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!
By John M. Berry
Washington Post Staff Writer
The U.S. economy continues to grow in fits and starts rather than on a smooth upward trend, the Federal Reserve said yesterday in its latest survey of nationwide economic conditions.
Most of the reports gathered by the Fed's 12 regional reserve banks found "slow and uneven economic growth."
Even if economic growth is slowing at the moment, many forecasters nevertheless are predicting the economy will grow at an annual rate of 3 percent or more in the July- September period. It they are correct, third-quarter growth would be well above the second quarter's lackluster 1.2 percent annual rate. Unusually strong sales of new cars and light trucks in July and August, which pushed automakers to increase production, are a key reason growth accelerated, even if only temporarily, analysts said.
Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan is expected to address some of these seeming contradictions today when he testifies before the House Budget Committee. Analysts generally expect Greenspan to signal that the economy is doing well enough that there will be no change in interest rates at a Fed policymaking session Sept. 24.
The nationwide survey found that retail sales were "generally mixed," but with strong sales of home furnishings, appliances and new motor vehicles in many areas. And home sales and construction activity was strong almost everywhere, the summary said.
In contrast, reports from manufacturing firms showed "little or no growth in July and August," it said.
But consumers have been able to increase their spending substantially in recent months, thanks to wages rising faster than inflation and extra cash from mortgage refinancing and home-equity loans.This is the main reason many economists believe economic growth will reach or top a 3 percent annual rate in the current quarter. For example, Macroeconomic Advisers, a St. Louis forecasting firm, last week revised its growth prediction slightly upward, to a 3.6 percent annual rate, on the basis of the latest figures for vehicle sales, construction and business spending for new equipment.
Meanwhile, the nation's housing market, buoyed by very low mortgage interest rates, also remains strong. With the low rates making homes more affordable, applications for mortgages reached a record level last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Many homeowners are refinancing existing mortgages, which can lower monthly payments and at the same time allow turning some equity into cash to finance other spending or pay off debts.
"The general sentiment is that America's economy is on the road to recovery," said Thomas Miller, an analyst at Manufacturers and Traders Bank in Buffalo. "There are analysts out there predicting blips, of course, and others calling for outright disaster -- a bubble in the housing market being on the leading edge of bad scenarios -- but despite those concerns most analysts see consumer spending remaining firm and business picking up."
So do several Fed officials. On Tuesday, Cathy E. Minehan, president of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, told a Massachusetts audience that "consumers remain resilient" despite "relatively soft" labor markets in the wake of last year's recession.
"But a larger share of the labor force remained employed through 2001 than in most recessions, and these workers are being paid well for their contributions to corporate productivity," Minehan said. "Their levels of confidence about the future remain solid, as evidenced by their willingness to spend on homes, cars and other big-ticket items at rates that continue to surprise. Even with low interest rates, and big discounts on automobiles, it is hard to imagine consumers buying such long-lived assets without having some confidence in the future."
Given all the cross-currents in the economy, however, the Boston Fed president remained cautious about the economic outlook.
"Recently, auto sales were estimated at an 18.7 million-unit annual pace in August, up solidly from a strong July reading. But how long can this last, particularly as at least some of the demand has been spurred by aggressive pricing and financing deals that are eating into automakers' profits?"
Minehan asked. "Indeed, if a further slide in equity markets were to occur, or if unemployment rises, on the heels of poor profit pictures, consumer confidence, spending and borrowing patterns would clearly be at risk."
On the other hand, Minehan noted, "both monetary policy and fiscal policy remain simulative." The Federal Reserve lowered its target for a key short- term rate 11 times last year, responding to the nation's economic downturn and the shocks from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, taking interbank rates to a 40-year low of 1.75 percent. The Fed has left rates unchanged this year. Meanwhile, she noted, tax cuts and increased federal government spending continue to spur growth.
According to the Fed survey, manufacturing, the part of the economy hardest hit by last year's recession, continues to face significant difficulty.
"Some industries have struggled with sluggish orders while others have experienced moderate gains," the survey summary said. "Several reports noted that positive attitudes still prevail, but manufacturers have become less optimistic than they were earlier in 2002."
The survey also found little in the way of new hiring, "although some signs of a pickup were noted for August," it said. For example, the Boston and Richmond reserve banks said demand for temporary workers had improved in their districts, the latter of which includes the Washington and Baltimore areas.
BY ANDREW COUNTRYMAN
First, there was the tech stock bubble.
Then came fears about a real estate bubble, although the jury is still out on that one.
Now, economists and stock market experts are floating the idea of a debt bubble, in which swelled levels of household and corporate borrowing force an already squishy economy into a longer-lasting,and more punishing, downturn.
Burgeoning household debt is a familiar story, closely watched by economists because they fear it will dampen consumer spending, which has been a vital bulwark against a deeper recession.
But as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and others point to revived business investment as a key to a sustained recovery, those growing corporate debt levels are receiving increased scrutiny:
More money devoted to servicing debt means that much less for investment, and more debt overall means more skittish lenders.
"I've been saying there was a debt bubble for about two years," said Jane D'Arista, director of programs at the Fed-watching Financial Markets Center think tank outside Washington. She said the Fed has made the situation worse by fixating on inflation as debt swelled to unprecedented heights.
"The Fed has paid no attention to credit," she said. "This is as bad as having inflation, in terms of what it's doing to the economy."
There's no disputing that, in sheer dollar terms, debt has ballooned. Household debt, including mortgages, has more than doubled since 1991, reaching nearly $7.9 trillion at the end of the first quarter, according to the most recent Fed data. Corporate debt has mushroomed almost as fast, topping $4.8 trillion. Add the debt from other businesses and nearly $10 trillion in debt from the financial sector, and the total exceeds $24 trillion.
That, of course, is more than twice the annual gross domestic product of roughly $10.3 trillion, and dwarfs the ever-popular federal debt, which checked in at a paltry $3.4 trillion at the end of the first quarter.
But debt is a double-edged sword. Companies, for example, have a tax incentive to fund expansion with debt - investments that, of course, can pay for themselves many times over and promote economic growth.
The issue, then, is not necessarily the absolute size of the debt, but how much it strains the borrower.
And by many of those measures, the situation is much less ominous, although hardly ideal To assess overall debt levels, the Fed, for example, tracks the debt of non-financial companies as a percentage of their net worth. Although it has ticked up slightly since the mid-1990s, it has plateaued at roughly 75 percent over the last four quarters, and is well below the levels of the early `90s, when it topped 90 percent.
A measure used by many economists to assess how well companies can handle their debt burdens - interest cost to cash flow ratio - shows a similar pattern.
"Debt levels today are somewhat elevated, but not out of the range that has been experienced" over the years, said Richard DeKaser, chief economist at Cleveland-based National City Corp. "I don't think we're in that bad of shape."
That, DeKaser said, helps explain why total business bankruptcies - even with the high-profile corporate failures of recent months - have fallen sharply in recent years, even as debt levels grew. The number of personal bankruptcies has soared, setting a record in the 12 months ended in June, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, but business filings have fallen by more than 25 percent from the 12 months ended in June 1997.
Not coincidentally, household debt payments as a share of disposable income has crept ever higher in recent months, and at the end of last year approached its highest level in two decades DeKaser, who has extensively studied factors associated with corporate bankruptcy, said the debt service ratio is "far and away" the most important factor, more so than leverage, liquidity and other measures of corporate health.
But D'Arista is concerned about what the future holds.
"The problem is, how are you going to repay that debt? It has to be rolled over, refunded or repaid," she said.
She said there's no guarantee that companies can maintain their cash flow. Huge debt loads restrict money for new investment, which retards growth in jobs and personal income. Facing heavy debt loads themselves, consumers are less likely to increase their own spending, which further crimps corporate revenue and profit growth.
"It is a self-fulfilling cycle," she said.
Paradoxically, growing concern about corporate debt comes at the same time many economists are encouraging Greenspan and the Fed to cut interest rates even further to encourage more borrowing. The economic slowdown has done little to curb companies' debt accumulation - overall levels actually shrank during and after the last recession, the Fed data show, but have continued to swell this time around. The $4.8 trillion corporate debt outstanding at the end of the first quarter is up 4 percent from the year-earlier quarter, and up 12 percent from the 2000 first quarter.
In recent years, companies have increasingly turned to the bond market rather than bankers for loans. As the Fed cut rates, new corporate debt issuance jumped last year, according to the Fitch rating service, topping $1 trillion.
But defaults also have soared - reaching 10 percent on speculative-grade debt, according to Standard & Poor's, up from less than 2 percent for much of the just-ended record economic expansion. Although Fitch reported in August that the pace slowed in July, the rising defaults mean the Fed rate cuts haven't been fully passed on to borrowers, with spreads between government interest rates and bond yields rising sharply.
It's clear that growth in corporate debt has been spread unevenly. Despite all the incentives and rock- bottom rates for the best clients, some companies are finding it all but impossible to borrow, and some CEOs have no interest in boosting spending in such a dicey economic climate.
"Loan demand continues to be very weak, simply because money is relatively cheap and relatively available, but only to certain borrowers," said economist Donald Straszheim of the California-based Straszheim Global Advisors consulting group. "There's a major borrowing segment that is shut out of the markets right now."
Indeed, although a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. study earlier this year found that business credit overall was more available last year than in previous recessions, a National Association of Manufacturers survey at the same time found that a third of small and medium-size manufacturers said credit had grown more difficult to obtain.
The experience of Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based SigmaTron International Inc. illustrates all too vividly how low interest rates don't necessarily translate into increased investment spending.
The small manufacturer of printed circuit boards, like so many companies, saw its stock price climb sharply after its 1994 initial public offering, but its growth slowed in the late `90s, and the company found itself in violation of elements of its lending agreements.
Last fiscal year, the company was able to return to profitability, and this spring it successfully renegotiated its loan agreement.
But it hardly received carte blanche. Banks commonly include limits on capital spending in loan agreements, for example; the new deal, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings, allows SigmaTron to spend only $1 million on capital expenditures per fiscal year. That's down from a $5 million cap in the initial 1999 agreement, and well below its purchases of machinery and equipment in six of its past eight fiscal years.
SigmaTron officials declined to discuss the effects of the new deal or its financial situation beyond the regulatory filings, but these capital-spending limits could crimp growth at a company that had shed more than 700 jobs from 1999-2001, but added 200 in the fiscal year ended April 30, according to its annual report.
And while corporate debt levels may seem abstract, that, D'Arista said, is the rub.
"The household sector simply has to have disposable income - it has to repay debt as well," she said.
"The only answer is more disposable income, and that's wages. Where is that going to come from?"
By Sue Kirchhoff, Boston Globe Staff
On Sept. 10, 2001, House Republicans were drafting legislation that would have required lawmakers to cut spending by several billion dollars to avoid dipping into the Social Security trust fund.
On Sept. 14, 2001, Congress voted in favor of $40 billion in emergency funds to combat terrorism and rebuild New York City and the Pentagon - making the Social Security ''lockbox'' a relic of a more peaceful time.
Since the attacks, Congress has approved $75 billion to $100 billion in terrorism- related spending (White House and congressional figures differ slightly), including military and security measures and aid to rebuild New York and the Pentagon. Less than half of the money allocated has actually been spent.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects antiterrorism spending could reach $443 billion or more over the next decade. Those figures do not include a possible invasion of Iraq, which analysts say could cost from $50 billion to $100 billion, depending on how long it lasts. The 1991 Gulf War cost about $60 billion, but US allies picked up most of the bill.
The spending increases of the past year were ''a way to demonstrate that the United State was not only going to clean up the mess and deal with the emergency, but the president indicated we were going to go to war against terrorism, and here was the check to start the war,'' said House Budget Committee chairman Jim Nussle, an Iowa Republican.
''There was a symbolic effect that opening the Treasury of the United States wide had at that moment, on the markets, on the terrorists,'' Nussle said.
But while the response to Sept. 11 clearly strained federal resources, and made deficits
politically acceptable, it is not the sole reason the nation is facing years of deficit spending. Nearly two-thirds of the deterioration in this year's budget picture, for example, was due to a slowed economy made worse by the terrorist attacks and lower tax revenues, not direct antiterrorism spending, analysts said.
''The terrorist action from last year clearly contributed to the budget deficit, but it's not the only factor,'' said Brad Stone, head of the US market strategy group at Barclay's Capital.
Stone and others added that Sept. 11 had a secondary, troubling effect, however. By effectively ending the debate over whether to use Social Security surpluses for other programs, they think it loosened political restraints on spending and made it harder to move back to a surplus.
''The [budget] discipline that had existed prior to a year ago has significantly eroded, and it seems that it's only beginning to creep back into the dialogue,'' said Stone, who expects deficits until 2007, and a deeper budget hole next year - $200 billion - than the government is predicting.
The Congressional Budget Office projection of a $313 billion surplus in 2002 has now been lowered
to a $157 billion deficit. President Bush's $1.6 trillion tax cut accounts for about $50 billion of the 2002 drop, though it has a much larger effect on the long-term budget picture.
A 10-year surplus estimated at $5.6 trillion when Bush took office is now pegged at $300 billion. Senate Democrats say spending for the war on terror accounts for 11 percent of the long-term surplus reduction, lagging far behind the tax bill and what turned out to be wildly inaccurate revenue projections.
''People have been so absorbed in trying to recover from these [terrorism] threats that it's
distracted them from facing up to the fiscal threats. But it's there, it's looming, and it's got to be dealt with. You've got to deal with both sides of the equation,'' said Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat.
Conrad said Congress must look at both spending and the Bush tax cut, which he calls the main culprit in the deficit picture.
Despite increased security needs and evaporating tax receipts, Congress has so far shied away from hard choices. And many of the tough decisions ahead will come not as the result of Sept. 11 or Bush's tax bill, but the unexpected reduction in revenues, which can be explained partly by the stock market fall and lower capital gains receipts.
''We're going to have to take a fresh look at everything, in my opinion, because I've concluded that the revenue models we've been using aren't accurate,'' said White House budget director Mitch Daniels, talking about future spending. He said most public and private forecasts of long-term tax receipts have been off by double-digit percentages.
''This is one piece of the change that is not charged to Osama Bin Laden,'' Daniels said.
The White House has proposed a 10 percent increase in terrorism-related spending for 2003, and just 2 percent growth in other parts of the budget, saying Congress must focus on security. Bush last month rejected a $5 billion spending measure.
At the same time, the White House wants to make the $1.6 trillion tax bill permanent, Bush has signed a farm bill dramatically increasing spending, and the president signaled he could support a Republican Medicare prescription drug plan that is more expensive than he wanted.
House Republicans agreed to hold the line on domestic spending in 2003, but Republican leaders now find themselves unable to muster the support to pass annual spending bills. Lawmakers in tough reelection races don't want to vote to reduce or freeze aid to education or other programs, which would be required under the White House proposal.
The Democratic Senate is starting to move annual spending bills, but at higher levels than the White House wants. If anything, the appetite for both guns and butter is increasing this election
The Senate yesterday brushed aside White House objections and voted 79-16 for about $6 billion in drought aid to farmers and ranchers. Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy announced he would press for another $4 billion in education spending for next year, on top of the $4 billion already added to Bush's request.
Even if the White House prevails in holding the line on annual spending bills, it would make only a small difference in an enormous federal budget. Most domestic spending comes through automatic entitlements, such as Social Security and Medicare, which Congress does not vote on every year.
White House officials ''talk about controlling runaway spending. There is no runaway spending on the domestic side. ... The fight is about the size of the cut'' in education and other programs, said Richard Kogan of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank.
Budget analysts said the deficits did not yet pose a threat to the financial markets. As Barclay's Stone said: ''$200 billion really isn't what it used to be in the context of an economy that's grown significantly'' since the last big-deficit era, the 1980s.
Sue Kirchhoff can be reached at email@example.com.
By Len Pasquarelli
In a stunning move, but one that he said came after "a lot of thought and consideration,"
Heisman Trophy winner and St. Louis Rams rookie receiver Eric Crouch is retiring from football.
Eric Crouch didn't feel he was making a smooth transition to receiver.
The former Nebraska star, who thanked the Rams organization and its fans, will officially leave the game on today, Thursday.
"I've played a lot of football from the time I was eight years old, benefited from this game and the opportunities it gave me, not to mention the friends I've made around the world," Crouch said
late Wednesday from the offices of St. Louis-based agents Jim Steiner and Ben Dogra. "But I cannot in good conscience take a spot on this team."
Crouch, 23, said he is retiring primarily because injuries have prevented him from playing at the level to which he has been accustomed. He plans to return to his home in Omaha.
A third-round choice in this year's draft, Crouch was attempting to make the transition from quarterback to wide receiver and, despite battling through injuries in camp, Rams coach Mike Martz insisted the rookie would develop in time into a quality pass catcher. Crouch was more pragmatic about his chances at the new position.
Martz told The Associated Press on Wednesday night that Crouch informed him of his decision last Friday. Crouch did not make the trip to Denver for the team's regular- season opener Sunday and has not practiced with the team since then.
Martz has closed practices for the first three weeks of the season, and the Rams had not made an announcement.
"This has caught us all by surprise,'' Martz said. "He came in Friday and told me the news.''
Steiner said that Crouch first broached the possibility of retirement to him last Friday and
emphasized that his client had discussed his decision with Martz and senior Rams officials.
"I was certainly surprised when he first told me about it," Steiner said. "We have talked about it for many hours and he is comfortable with the decision. Obviously, it was a difficult thing, but it's the right thing for him."
Crouch appeared in 42 games for the Cornhuskers and started 38 of them. He is one of only 13 players in college football history to both rush and pass for over 1,000 yards in a season. Crouch is one of only three players at the Division I-A level to throw for 4,000 yards and run for 3,000 yards in his career, and he also holds the NCAA career record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
In addition to the Heisman Trophy, he also captured the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award for 2001 and the Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award. He is the most decorated quarterback in Nebraska history and is one of the most prolific offensive players in recent history of the college game.
At Nebraska, Crouch completed 312 of 606 passes for 4,481 yards, with 29 touchdown passes and 25 interceptions. Crouch carried 648 times for 3,434 yards and scored 59 rushing touchdowns during his college career.
Crouch signed a three-year, $1.3 million contract that included a signing bonus of $395,000.
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We gathered beneath the flag outside and each of us told about the time
they heard about the planes crashing into the twin towers. We learned how
their children experienced it, and the ceremony at school, how many cried
this morning along with Tom Brokaw, who felt the pressure of the day, too.
How we feel, and summing it up, as Jeanette Vaccarrelo said, " It isn't
While there were three speeches that we quote: Patrick Henry, Gettysburg, and
President George W. Bush, this one is perhaps as appropriate, if you substitute
"terrorist" for "Japanese government." It is important that we stand as "one" behind President
Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our
interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack
by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
December 8 1941