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Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor   
Thursday, 25 July 2013 10:15
Ed Reiter (left) speaks to an audience at the BG Chamber Mid-Year banquet Wednesday at the Stone Ridge Golf Club in BG. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
A lighthearted and sobering look at the U.S. debt and four awards focused on positive aspects of the community highlighted Wednesday’s Mid-Year Meeting of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce.
Ed Reiter, retired CEO of the former Bowling Green-based Mid Am Bank, talked about several "solutions" to the U.S. debt, most of which he said would not work or could be worse than doing nothing.
"What makes the most sense to me is the fact that government owes the debt to the Federal Reserve. They just trade it back and forth. The answer seems to be 'charge it off.' Just get rid of that debt."
Other 'solutions' he mentioned would be to create five million new jobs but the drawback there would be "the Federal Reserve would quit buying bonds and interest rates would go up. The interest on the debt would go up. It's a Catch 22."
Another solution would be to follow the example of Greece and raise taxes. "You see all of the Greeks in the street? Those people are not happy."
Then there is the platinum coin plan. "What's the Federal Reserve going to do with three large platinum coins worth $3 trillion?' Other ideas floated were having the Federal Reserve buy the debt, declare bankruptcy or devaluing the currency, maybe 80 cents on the dollar.
Reiter said he needed 90 minutes to work through his program back to the end of World War II. Instead he started with the economic issues from the Vietnam War era, when certificates of deposit were paying 15 percent and anyone looking for a loan was paying 20 percent interest.
"The savers are the first people to feel the struggle with the debt," Reiter said.
Today's interest rates mean the government does not have to compete for the debt. Savers are lucky to get one-tenth or two-tenths of a percent interest.
Reiter offered to give his full program "An Easy and Lighthearted Discussion of the Real Facts About the U.S. Debt" at a future chamber program, if anyone was interested.
Wendy Stram, Executive Director at the Bowling Green Ohio Convention and Visitors Bureau, is seen with a custom art piece in downtown BG. Stram was awarded the Bowling Green Chamber’s I Love BG Award during the organization’s mid-year banquet.
The chamber uses the gathering to name recipients of the I Love BG Award, Small Business of the Year Award, Outstanding Customer Service Award and present its scholarship winner.
• Wendy Stram. executive director of the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau, received the I Love BG Award, a custom watercolor by Rebecca Laabs.  "The leadership of this person steered the organization from its shared office space with barely a separate identity, to an organization that is a truly visible dynamic cheerleader of our community," said Melanie Stretchbery, representing last year's recipient, Wood Lane.
• Evans Home Loans and Evans Insurance, received the Small Business of the Year Award. Founded in 2004, the business expanded to add insurance in 2008 and diversify in the face of the economic downturn. Michelle Evans and Josie Cotterman accepted the award.
• Main Street Ace Hardware received the Outstanding Customer Service Award. Floyd Craft and Carol Tolles accepted the award. Craft said the customers have made the business fun and "we hope we pay that back. Carol is fantastic in every way. She has the answers, runs the store and does the hiring and buying. We appreciate all of our customers."
• Logan Krieger received the $1,500 chamber scholarship. Logan plans to attend Bowling Green State University and when finished become a police officer in Bowling Green. He was an active student at Bowling Green High School and is a frequent volunteer at community events, umpires youth baseball and is certified in first aid and CPR.
Photos of the Small Business and Customer Service awards will be published on Monday's business page.

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