Walter Burien On CAFRs
And The Concept Of 'Surplus'
From <Walter Burien>
Rich Smith forwarded to me the information you sent Carl in Texas about tactics with bond sales. I should have realized it before, but it never struck me just how lucrative those long-term issues could be. I was wondering if you could, when you have the time, outline for us some of the other specific tactics they use so we will be aware of what to look for. I have also found the CAFRman website to be very helpful in getting the big picture.
The poll we took of our Oregon state legislators has been interesting....showing just how ignorant they are. Of the 82 we e-mailed, 9 responded: 8 had no idea what CAFR meant, and the 9th almost knew, but not quite. One legislator's aide did us a big favor by sending me, either naively or intentionally, a copy of a memo that the legislative fiscal office sent to all of them, telling them what to say in response to our exact questions! Of course, it stated flatly that there are no surpluses within the CAFR.
One legislator sent me a rather hostile e-mail (several days AFTER she would have received the memo), accusing me of a lack of honesty as to why we were asking these questions, who I was, etc. Then she displayed her own idea of honesty by reassuring me that she knew what the CAFR was, and that there were of course no surpluses, and "where did you get the idea that there were surpluses?"...but I couldn't help but notice that the sentences she used were virtually identical to the ones in the memo! Apparently her "knowledge" of the CAFR had spanned all of 5 or 6 days.
****************** Bob,
What is a surplus? (sure - plus)
Well, Let's see......
A heroin dealer has 42 kilos. Does he have a surplus? No, he does not. He needs 44 kilos to fill his orders.
Bill Gates has 87 billion dollars. Does he have a surplus? No, he does not. His future plans call for 112 Billion dollars.
The Roman Empire had slaves from the conquered people. Did the Roman Empire have a surplus of slaves? No, they did not. They always could have used a few more.
The wine-o on the street corner has 2 bottles of Ripple. Does the wine-o have a surplus? No, he does not. He's going to need two more bottles the following night.
Local State governments in Oregon have composite revenue totals of about 200 - 240 billion dollars. Do the composite local governments in Oregon have a surplus? No, they do not. There still is more revenue to be taken from the people of Oregon.

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