Category Archives: Economy

The Fox Is Guarding The Hen House

Could it be any more ironic that Patty Murray was named as co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction? If there was ever anyone in Washington, D.C. who loved to spend other people’s money more than Murray, I can’t think who it might be. Ted Kennedy, maybe.

People were calling for her to resign her position as Chairman of the DSCC practically within minutes of her new appointment. Not just people on the right, either. Of course, she didn’t resign because being liberal means never having to feel as though anything you do is wrong, because what you say is so right.

As one of Murray’s lucky constituents, I’m regularly treated to her delightful e-mail communications. Today’s was positively schizophrenic. With a subject line of “Joint Select Committe on Deficit Reduction,” she discussed not only her commitment to (1) reducing the deficit but also to (2) her lastest piece of legislation, the “Workforce Investment Act.”

Yep, she went there…Patty is committed to spending money on a new program! Really committed as in she’s fighting to get it passed. She’s also sponsoring “career pathways legislation.” Now I don’t know for sure but I’m going to guess that career pathways legislation isn’t free either. The only hope taxpayers have that Patty won’t be successful in picking their pockets yet again is the abysmal success rate of legislation she sponsors.

But looking at the big picture, if she doesn’t understand the irony of this e-mail, I’m not holding out any hope that she’ll take a serious look at real budget cuts.

Appendix A

From Murray’s e-mail:

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

I am deeply humbled that Leader Reid asked me to serve as co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. It is so important that we address the critical issues facing our nation and work together to find solutions for our budget, our economy and our country. In a time when millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet, this Committee needs to work together to report out a balanced and bipartisan plan with the shared sacrifices this moment calls for. I will be working hard on this over the next few months, and I welcome your input and thoughts as we move through this process.


Addressing Our Country’s “Skills Gap”

Skills Gap Press Conference Over the past two weeks I toured local businesses throughout Washington state and discussed my efforts to give local workers the skills they need to fill local jobs. I talked about the Workforce Investment Act that I’m fighting hard to pass, which is critical to retraining workers, including those who have recently been laid off. I also talked about my career pathways legislation that would help young people in high school get skills training, as well as other efforts to get workers the skills and training they need to move into
21 st century careers.

According to a report released by the Washington State Employment Security Department, statewide job openings were up 31% last fall compared to a year earlier and there are an estimated 41,889 vacant positions. It is more important than ever that we fight to fill these jobs with people who are struggling in these tough economic times.  Touring these local facilities provided me with a first-hand look at some of the skills and experience that potential workers would need for local jobs.

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Filed under 2012 Senate Races, Economy, Hypocrisy, Patty Murray

There’s That Word Again

Which word, you say?

“Unexpectedly.” Yeah, that’s the one.

It seems like in more and more cases, events affecting the economy are unexpected, leading me to believe that the “experts” must be among the most obtuse of people. Take this story, for example. I know next to nothing about the housing market or the mortgage business, but even I could have predicted that most people wouldn’t be all that hot for home loans that take two years to close.

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How Do You Know Food Prices Are Getting Bad, Really Bad?

Food heists, that’s how.

I'm sitting on a gold mine here!

Late last month, a gang of thieves stole six tractor-trailer loads of tomatoes and a truck full of cucumbers from Florida growers. They also stole a truckload of frozen meat. The total value of the illegal haul: about $300,000.

Snip…

“I’ve never experienced people targeting produce loads before,” said Shaun Leiker, an assistant manager at Allen Lund, a trucking broker in Oviedo, Fla., that was hit three times by the thieves. “It’s a little different than selling TVs off the back of your truck.”

The rising prices are driven partially by increased fuel costs and rising demand, such as the diversion of food products for ethanol production.

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Filed under Economy, Environmentalism

How The Hell Did Paul Krugman Get To Be So Stupid?

I scoured the internet looking for news of major head trauma and came up empty-handed so I’m at a loss to explain how he could support anything as stupid as this:

The excesses of the bubble years have created a legal morass, in which property rights are ill defined because nobody has proper documentation. And where no clear property rights exist, it’s the government’s job to create them.

That won’t be easy, but there are good ideas out there. For example, the Center for American Progress has proposed giving mortgage counselors and other public entities the power to modify troubled loans directly, with their judgment standing unless appealed by the mortgage servicer. This would do a lot to clarify matters and help extract us from the morass.

The added emphasis is mine. Yes, Paul Krugman thinks it’s a good idea to give disinterested third parties the ability to modify troubled loans.

I don’t think it takes a fancy-pants degree in Economics to see that banks are going to be very reluctant to make home loans if they can’t be sure that a mortgage counselor won’t modify the contract terms somewhere down the road. This sounds like an excellent plan if your goal is to discourage lenders from making home loans and driving up interest rates but maybe not so good if you’d like to encourages home ownership.

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The Social Justice Aspects Of Our Current Spending Binge Are Escaping Me

It’s nice to hear a voice from another country say something nice about the United States and an encouragement to know that there are freedom loving people around the world who support us as we struggle to maintain that spirit of American exceptionalism that Nick Adams describes in such moving terms.

As I absorbed the impact of Adams’ words, I recalled another speech, calling on my parents’ generation to defend freedom.

If all of this seems like a great deal of trouble, think what’s at stake. We are faced with the most evil enemy mankind has known in his long climb from the swamp to the stars. There can be no security anywhere in the free world if there is no fiscal and economic stability within the United States. Those who ask us to trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state are architects of a policy of accommodation.

snip…

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.

Reagan’s words are particularly meaningful to me; when he speaks of “our children’s children,” I picture my three, beautiful grandchildren. The oldest is six; the youngest, one. They’re barely old enough to have bank accounts, let alone credit cards, but they’re already carrying a crushing load of debt. Where’s the social justice in that?

For Congress to continue, and for the President to continue to campaign for, their course of reckless deficit spending is nothing short of selling our grandchildren – my grandchildren! – into slavery. I guess they wouldn’t be smiling if they could feel those chains.

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Filed under Economy