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July 6, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Lawmakers wrong on economic fixes

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I don’t see how our elected officials can get the solution to our anemic economy so wrong. In the first place, with our ever-increasing population, there is really little need to reduce budget expenditures in view of the steady and significant reduction of debt as related to total gross national product since Barack Obama became president. Secondly, how can anyone be opposed to reductions in tax loopholes and subsidies as a partial means of reducing our deficit?

Also, why do the politicians not recognize that the most effective way to spur the economy is not by spending cuts but by increased spending? Do we want to leave our future generations decaying bridges and transportation systems when we could eliminate much of our unemployment by rebuilding bridges and leaving our children infrastructure that could make us proud? Another project like the Hoover Dam could go a long way to help our clean energy program while putting people back to work. Can’t we all accentuate the positive rather than dwelling on the negative?

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  1. The most recent census showed that US population growth is slowing and stands at its lowest rate since 1940. It also showed an aging population.

    I don't have a problem with closing tax loopholes, even after the President got a tax increase he favored. However, to say we don't need to reduce spending because our population is growing is 'a bridge too far'.

    It amazes me that Americans are so complacent. Washington DC lets the sequester take place; we have a 16 trillion dollar debt, Medicare is heading for trouble.... and John Kerry announces we are giving 250 million dollars to Egypt, even after the comments Morsi made about America.... and what do Americans do? They yawn!



  2. While government may not create jobs, government spending does. We spent most of 2012 arguing about job creation and the first step seems to be job furloughs and layoffs. Go figure!

  3. Jim et al:

    By all accounts the furloughs and layoffs will affect Federal government employees and contractors inside the Washington DC beltway. This is one if not the only sector of the economy that has been immune from the financial tsunami since 2008 while the rest of the country and its workers have not. I'm not sure what the exact percentage of the DC economy is to the rest of the country. But, I opine a day off for all government workers once a month, and fewer consultants and contractors in DC for the next 9 months, will have little if no negative effect on the nation's economy as a whole. In fact as Gramm Rudman Hollings [the first government sequestration] proved in 1986 and 1987, if combined with tax cuts, it actually invigorates the rest of the economy.

    Maybe, just maybe the House GOP has it right this time and the President and Senate ought to listen. On a positive note, even the mainstream media, like the Washington Post and NY Times, President Obama allies, pushed back the President and his Administration on their gloom and doom forecasts for sequestration.


  4. That's a fair and accurate observation, Mr. Freeman. But it only tells half the story. Let's look at how wealth has been distributed in this country over the last 30 years:

  5. There are plenty of people on the right that scare me, but Brtaylor and others like him on the left scare me too.

    The wealthy don't want to destroy the middle class. They are not stupid and know their wealth is derived from having a middle class that buys stuff. Likewise, the middle class should also know that wealthy people are also necessary for a vibrant economy.

    Do the wealthy want to advantage themselves? Absolutely? So do people in the middle class. There is nothing wrong with this.

    The problem isn't the wealthy. The problem is that our legislative branch (with a disinterested public, no term limits, out of control lobbying and no public financing of campaigns) is ripe to be corrupted and is totally and completely corrupted.

    That is what we need to fix. Brtaylor and others need to understand that in a Capitalist system with a free market economy, there are always going to be people with wealth and power who try to advantage themselves by manipulating our government.

    The Framers of our Constitution set up a pretty good system to protect us against abuse. The problem isn't those that try to gain advantage. They will always be there. The problem is that our legislative branch must be changed to better deal with forces that try to corrupt it.


  6. "Obama was inept." Future

    On many matters he is BUT not all. He is the consummate politician from Chicago. That's great for campaigning. Not so much for governance. President Obama shares many ideological and philosophical beliefs with President Lyndon B. Johnson. Both are teachers, both liberal Democrats, both ardent believers in the big government state as the equalizer for the poor and downtrodden. Sadly, President Obama lacks the political experience and wisdom to forge alliances and partnerships with the opposition to move the goal posts.

    So instead, President Obama will sit on his hands for the next two years and use money [Organization For Action, his old political campaign] and ramp up the political rhetoric to defeat the House GOP control in 2014. Thinking that a Democratic Senate and House will push his agenda through in the last 2 years of his Presidency. Risky at best.


  7. Let's cut through the baloney little bit. If you talk to 100 different economists like myself you're going to get 100 different answers on what should be done with the economy. It's not that simple.

    Global growth has slowed to 3% which is very close to a worldwide recession. Europe is in recession with unemployment averaging 10% on the continent. It's a very difficult slow growth period in world economic history.

    That being said the economy is a lot stronger than it was a few years ago, the stock market is closed all time highs and Americans have gotten trillions of dollars back that they lost in the financial crisis. In addition banking, insurance, and real estate are all back on a firm footing. These were the industries that suffered most during the crisis

    The lingering negative is that all of that wealth is being concentrated in the hands of very few people and wealth distribution is at Third World levels in the United States. I think we are between Turkey and Chile. The few million millionaires can take care of themselves. I'm not sure what's going to happen to the other 300,000,000+ people going forward.

  8. I agree with Carmine's above statement. There is way too much politics and Republicans and Democrats need to work together. Sky high medical costs are driving bankruptcies, the deficit, and starting to reduce life expectancies. Of the roughly $70 trillion in unfunded liabilities going forward the vast majority is in Medicare and Medicaid. Something has to be done about medical inflation.

    In addition water shortages are wreaking havoc on the Western United States and Texas. These regions are responsible for a large portion of the countries output. If a state like Texas or California were to go dry the economic dislocations would make the financial crisis look like child's play. We have to work on infrastructure and get water to where it is needed. Trillions of gallons of water are wasted just do to leaky infrastructure.

    I personally could care less about the deficit. Large debts never get paid back. It doesn't matter whether it's governmental debt, corporate debt or individual debt. Bankruptcy, reorganization, inflation and other forms of manipulation take care of debts in the long run. My opinion is in the minority. If people are concerned about the debt pay it down. There's going to be close to one quad- trillion worth of economic activity in the United States in the next 50 years. The $16 trillion is a tiny fraction of anticipated economic activity. If people don't like the debt pay it down. With a national sales tax you could get rid of the debt in a few years if you wanted to.

  9. "There is way too much politics and Republicans and Democrats need to work together." Gerry Hageman

    I opine Congress will in the next two years move the goal posts on debts/deficits, tax reform, immigration reform, jobs, the economy, and gun controls. Congress knows all too well it's approval rating is at all time lows. And President Obama's approval rating has tanked 13 points due a bad week he had. Some, like me, say the worse week in his Presidency. I'm not so sure the President's will rebound UNLESS he changes. I am sure Congress' will rebound.


  10. That's not a fair comparison, Mr. Freeman -- and I think you know that. A better question would be what to do about these numbers:

    A. $14,500 per year (2000 hours x the $7.25 federal min. wage)
    B. $51,000 per year (the mean income in the U.S.)
    C. $717,000 per year (the average income of the top 1%)


    Is it fair that our country asks people in Group B to pay a greater percentage of their income in taxes than those in Group C?

    Obama is spending like mad. Really!! The economy is growing slow because the world is either in recession or decelerating. It is a world wide phenomenon and there is very little that can be done about it.

  12. One can only assume that John Maynard Broselow was being sarcastic.

  13. "How much the top 1 percent of wage earners earn has no bearing on whether the bottom 20 percent can move up."

    How our economic system distributes income has EVERYTHING to do with upward mobility. This country has adopted policies over the last three decades specifically designed to move enormous amounts of wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer people. The result -- by design - has been to squeeze working and middle class families, who have seen wage stagnation or decline for decades.

    The U.S. now has, by far, the worst income inequality in the developed world, and upward mobility in this country now trails France, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Finland, Canada, Norway and Denmark.

    Who are we still beating? Try Argentina, Chile, Brazil, China and Peru -- and we're just about tied with Pakistan.

    Is that your version of the American Dream?


  14. Wrong. Government pulling funding out of our income and/or deficit spending has/have negative impact on our economy. Free enterprise stimulates the economy by supplying the demands of what we want to buy, what we want badly enough to work for. Giving things away does the opposite and assaults economic expansion. Deficit spending results in money printing and devaluation of our wealth.

  15. Our population is declining because so many Americans are hesitant to have kids they cannot support--while illegals invade and chuck out lots of anchor babies. Sure, SOME Americans have kids they can't and won't support but those Americans who participate in American values and culture, do NOT.

  16. Stan opens with "I don't see how our elected officials can get the solution to our anemic economy so wrong."

    Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that one of our political parties has decided to subordinate its members mandatory oaths of office with a purely voluntary oath to Grover Norquist.

    One party has decided that drastic spending cuts are the ONLY possible way to fix our economy and is willing to execute a scorched earth, take no prisoners policy to achieve that aim with no regard to the effects of their actions on the country overall, and without regard to the fact that other countries with ailing economies have tried the same path and found it leads only to ruin. That party has a voting majority in one house of Congress - the only one permitted to initiate revenue increases - and a minority in the other house that has proven it willingness and ability to to throttle any action.

    I won't argue whether spending cuts are possible, or desirable, or not. I will simply note that multiple actions increase the chance that at least some of them will help. I will also note that, if our national debt is too great a percentage of our GDP, there are at least FOUR ways to fix that - cut spending, raise revenue, actually do something to raise our GDP as we did to clear our horrendous debt from WWII, or (probably the best option) some combination of all three. That, of course, would violate the oath to Norquist taken by members of one party, even though it would uphold their oaths of office in the process.

  17. The only groups building substantial wealth are families earning over 250K a year. We are in the neighborhood of Chile and Turkey in terms of how the countries wealth is distributed. If we don't get people earning and saving more our economic model will collapse. Half the elderly die broke. Millions of young and elderly live in poverty.
    We spend way too much time worrying about the wealthiest and not enough time preparing the youngest for a competitive world.
    In Germany kids come out of high school with skills to land a 50K job. Here it's McDonald's and Walmart at 8 bucks an hour.

  18. "Carmine......

    You said maybe the GOP has it right?

    HA, HA, HA, HA, HA.

    The GOP never has it right." Teamster

    A broken clock is right twice a day. A blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile if it digs long and hard enough. You're a one trick horse. You can't accept reality because you are a one party loyalist.


  19. "In Germany kids come out of high school with skills to land a 50K job. Here it's McDonald's and Walmart at 8 bucks an hour." Gerry Hageman


    The US should follow the German lead and teach more trades before, during and after High School. The graduates who don't want to go on to higher learning institutions will have a trade and a job.

    80 percent of the Wal*Mart managers and executives go through the retailers' store ranks starting at little more than minimum wage. Enlisted men in the US military, especially married, earn so little to start out, they qualify for food stamps and welfare. The issue is not starting pay, it's job mobility and advancement.


  20. RefNV (Re Freeman) at 4:04 p.m. you compared the "top 20%" to the "bottom 20% in "family income." Why the changes? Most common comparisons are between the per capita income of the top 1% or even the top 0.1% vs the rest of us. You don't include your sources so I can't check - but is it possible that restricting yourself to the per capita income of the top 1% would not have returned the results you need?

  21. "Oh, by the way! I wonder if Carmine knows that unions are alive & well In Germany." El Lobo

    Germany has about 80 million people. The USA has 215 million. Big difference.


  22. Correction: 315 Million.


  23. "We union workers are the salt of the earth." Teamster

    I agree. I was one. Chief Steward for AFSCME. Their leadership leaves alot to be desired in the "smarts" department. The reason in part the union membership is at an all time low in the US and still declining. Losing the fight for jobs to right to work States, public opinion, and employees. Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and soon Michigan.

    BTW, how's the "GM is alive" bumper sticker working for Detroit?


  24. "For a guy who CLAIMS to have been an important cog with in the union, you sure spend a lot of time knocking unions......" El Lobo

    Wrong. I knock the union leadership. I earned the right.