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economic stimulus

Democrats getting our messages crossed

by Eric Ferguson on June 13, 2017 · 0 comments

trump12Go ahead, get the snark out of the way. “Isn’t that always the case?” Maybe, however, we’re talking about a specific matter where different Democrats put out messages that don’t go together.
This is something I’ve noticed during the last couple monthly jobs reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (the most recent report is always here). Different Democrats reacted in ways to indicate there are two schools of thought on how we should frame the economy. One tries to pick out weaknesses, like a dropping amount of jobs created each month or a decline in the rate of participation in the labor force, to show how the economy is weakening since Trump got hold of it. The other, and I subscribe to this other (or should I say still subscribe), holds that the economy is currently strong and we need to emphasize that Trump inherited this economy.


I understand where the other side is coming from, because there are weaknesses in the last jobs report, but that’s always the case. Even the strongest economy has weak spots, so of course it’s tempting the emphasize the weak points. The problem is an economy with an unemployment rate around 4.5% is pretty good, and it looks ridiculous to argue otherwise. Yes, there are always some regions and occupations that aren’t sharing in the prosperity, and there are long term problems and potential problems. That doesn’t mean the unemployment rate isn’t low because it’s high in some places. That’s just a variation that always occurs, like some regions and industries got spared the 2008-2009 recession, even as awful as it was.


310952_198054950263563_135828199819572_502690_1214174047_nOne reason that I like to share items like this, is as a reminder that most people are still far more likely to be “informed” by the rich man’s whimpering, groveling propagandist curs in corporate media. That needs to change.

In Washington, politicians were quick to distance themselves from the stimulus package; at the same time, most of the stimulus was negated by all of the forced austerity at the state level. By 2010, both American and European politicians of every major party were burnishing their austerity credentials.
Meanwhile, academic economists began to seriously revisit how to measure the effectiveness of fiscal stimulus for the first time in a generation. Researchers have devoted more attention to studying the effectiveness of fiscal policy in the wake of the Great Recession than at any other point in the past 50 years. Experts in the field have created richer datasets, more-precise measures of policy changes, and new theoretical and empirical techniques. Informed expert opinion has moved in the opposite direction from politicians in both parties: In academic departments across the United States, economists have come to the conclusion that stimulus is actually more powerful—and austerity more harmful—than even many stimulus proponents thought a decade ago. Economists have also significantly shifted their thinking about what happens to the U.S. economy after recessions, and many have come to the conclusion that failure to stimulate the economy and push out of recessions has irreversible, negative, long-term effects on the economy…
The takeaway for policymakers is simple. Fiscal stimulus is a much more powerful tool in today’s economy than we previously thought, and the austerity policies we have been pursuing are even more costly. Most importantly, the comforting belief that policymakers can, without causing harm, do nothing while they wait for the economy to rebound is mistaken. The failure to break out of the deep recession and the anemic growth still engulfing Western economies has resulted in significant long-term damage to them. That damage continues to pile up as policymakers ignore the need to get their respective economies back to full employment.
(Center for American Progress)


imagesqtbnANd9GcRhlLTHok0fDiQpsx_IVQRQg-lVMpygkf1rEyJsns1mZT-bzjRXI suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when a far right wing former KSTP radio host turned State Senator makes a ridiculous statement to current KSTP host and reporter Tom Hauser on the KSTP evening news that goes unchallenged, as if it made sense, when it doesn’t.


Hauser starts out with the premise that it is hard to get Democrats and Republicans to agree that government spending creates any jobs, and largely goes downhill from there.


There IS NO QUESTION that public spending on public projects with taxpayer money creates jobs. PERIOD. That is a right wing myth, a conservative ideology LIE that is as fact-averse as denying evolution or global warming.


We’ve certainly seen that be true in the false denials about job creation from the stimulus.  However, the projects that are at issue in the proposals in the legislature and by Governor Dayton are about public projects to do things like making structural repairs to the state capital that are desperately needed to preserve that particular piece of our public infrastructure, and for other projects, including flood mitigation. In other words, the public is effectively buying goods and services needed by the public for the public use and benefit. This is not simply about spreading money around to create jobs.  After first ginning up the idea of an exaggerated controversy between parties, the interview goes on to show Democrats stating that job numbers can be calculated using a variety of different formulas and that numbers should not be the issue in this spending.


Jumpstart the Economy with Obamacare

by CynthiaMiller on October 23, 2012 · 8 comments

My sister brought me a pin from the DFL booth at the Minnesota State Fair that says, “I ♥ OBAMACARE,” and I was proud to put it on.  We have a friend with a serious precondition, who would be struggling without health insurance if it weren’t for the passage of this long-overdue program.

I also wish I had a pin that says, “I HEAD OBAMACARE” with an icon of a functioning brain.  From my perspective as a self-employed person, the problem of finding affordable health care has become painfully acute over the past decade. I have seen more than one friend who would rather freelance take full-time work, because it was the only way to get health insurance for their families. I’ve heard a friend who’s a manager in a small business tell about the resentment shown to employees who get sick, because of the impact on the company’s premiums.  And I’ve felt the anxiety of those who know they’d better hide a diagnosis, since if word got out, it could render them unemployable.

All of which raises the question: To what extent is the current health care morass holding the economy hostage, because it’s interfering with risk taking? It’s not a big leap to imagine what would happen once we begin to subtract health insurance from the jobs equation. Individuals would have more freedom to risk starting their own businesses. Companies would have more flexibility to take the risk of hiring, including older workers and people with disabilities. It would be easier for everyone to look for jobs and start businesses in different states, without worrying about state-by-state health care provisions.

I’m not saying Obamacare is going to solve all this nation’s problems. But it’s a big step in the right direction and could be exactly the economic stimulus we need.



What do you know about watersheds here in Minnesota?  Want to bone up?

Two watersheds in the First Congressional District are receiving stimulus funds to help farmers conserve soil, and help keep water clean. A Press Release from Congressman Walz’s Office:  

“This is a voluntary effort that provides necessary technical and financial assistant resulting in significant water quality improvements, reduction in soil erosion and enhancement of wildlife habitat. Such watershed efforts have proven to be very successful investments to assist our livestock and crop producers,” concluded Walz.

Some local coverage of the west from the Worthington Daily Globe…

In other news Pipestone’s Nature and Quarry Trail is getting some renovation courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

What is Pipestone National Monument?

“Behold this pipe! Always remember how sacred it is…” Black Elk

Pipestone National Monument offers an opportunity to explore American Indian culture and the natural resources of the tallgrass prairie. Established by Congress in 1937 to protect the historic pipestone quarries, the site is considered sacred by many American Indians. Spanning centuries of use, American Indians continue to quarry pipestone which they carve into sacred pipes.

And random factoid:

Did You Know?
Joseph Nicollet and John C. Fremont, famous 19th century explorers, visited Pipestone National Monument in 1838 and carved their initials into the Sioux Quartzite cliff.

Full text(s) after the break.…

WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Tim Walz today announced that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is sending $420,000 to parts of Nobles, Olmsted, Rock, Wabasha and Winona Counties through the American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) Act of 2009. The funding will come through the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and will be specific to the Kanaranzi-Little Rock and Whitewater Watersheds.

“This announcement represents a renewed investment in conservation in rural Minnesota at a time when our farmers need the assistance most,” said Walz. “These dollars will have a positive impact on the environment and the local economy in targeted watersheds.”

The funding is in response to local sponsor requests in both the Kanaranzi-Little Rock Watershed (Nobles & Rock Counties) and the Whitewater Watershed (Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona Counties) and will be administered through the local watershed boards.

Both the Kanaranzi-Little Rock and the Whitewater Watersheds are approved USDA land treatment watersheds, and will once again be able to assist landowners install conservation practices such as waterways, terraces, water and sediment control basins, diversions, and more as a result of this special funding.

Farmers can receive up to 65% cost share assistance to install these conservation practices on their farms.

“This is a voluntary effort that provides necessary technical and financial assistant resulting in significant water quality improvements, reduction in soil erosion and enhancement of wildlife habitat. Such watershed efforts have proven to be very successful investments to assist our livestock and crop producers,” concluded Walz.

The ARRA funding has been broken down between the two watersheds with $200,000 and $220,000 allocated to the Kanaranzi-Little Rock and the Whitewater watersheds respectively. Signups for this financial assistance is now underway at local USDA Ag Service Centers in the affected counties.…

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Kanaranzi-Little Rock Watershed District, located in portions of Nobles and Rock counties, will receive $200,000 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) Act of 2009.

Kanaranzi-Little Rock Watershed will assist landowners install conservation practices such as waterways, terraces, water and sediment control basins, diversions and more as a result of this special funding.

Farmers can receive up to 65 percent cost share assistance to install these conservation practices on their farms.

“This is a voluntary effort that provides necessary technical and financial assistant resulting in significant water quality improvements, reduction in soil erosion and enhancement of wildlife habitat,” said Congressman Tim Walz, D-Minn.

Signups are underway at local USDA Ag Service Centers in Rock and Nobles counties.…

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Congressman Walz announced that U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar will send $148,000 in Recovery Act funding to replace a 1.2 mile Nature and Quarry Trail in Pipestone. The National Park Service will invest $750 million in nearly 800 projects across the country to stimulate the economy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Our National Parks are one of our nation’s greatest treasures,” said Walz. “This investment will put people back to work in Pipestone and rehabilitate a trail for future generations to enjoy.”

Projects will preserve and protect national icons and historic landscapes, improve energy efficiency and renewable energy use, remediate abandoned mine lands, and provide $15 million in grants to protect and restore buildings at historically black colleges and universities. Additional funding through the Federal Highway Administration will improve park roads for millions of visitors.


Gotta love it when Congresscritters go a-twittering…

‘Stimulus’, huh? Gotta put the air-quotes around the word “stimulus,” right?

John Maynard Keynes is the devil John Maynard Keynes is the devil John Maynard Keynes is the devil John Maynard Keynes is the devil …..

Mr. Paulsen apparently has the same aversion to Keynesian economics that newly installed RNC chair Michael Steele does when he says ridiculous things like “Not in the history of mankind has the government ever created a job.”

I’m sure that’s a new piece of information to all the scientists and engineers who have ever worked at NASA. Or all the construction workers who build our roads, bridges, and rail lines on government contracts.

The simple fact of the matter (and it is a fact, not a political spin factor) is that direct government spending provides stimulus to the economy. When that spending is focused on infrastructure, manufacturing, and job creation as most of President Obama’s stimulus bill is, it provides a positive rate of return — that is, for every dollar spent, more than a dollar of taxable economic activity is created. To be fair, when tax cuts are instituted, that causes economic stimulus too — but for every dollar spent, less than a dollar of economic activity is created.

Erik Paulsen ran on a single central statement that wasn’t an attack on his DFL opponent: “Government is broken, and I know how to fix it.” By obeying his partisan masters’ idiotic talking points, Paulsen isn’t showing the kind of independent, thoughtful representation his constituents (myself included) demand.


Madia: FISA bill ‘put cart before horse’

by Joe Bodell on July 14, 2008 · 0 comments

At a brunch event in Maple Grove Sunday, DFL-endorsed congressional candidate Ashwin Madia said he would have voted “No” on the recent FISA amendment bill, saying it “put the cart before the horse” in providing immunity to the telecom corporations before their actions on behalf of the Bush Administration have been investigated.

The attorney and Iraq veteran added that “Congress diminished probable cause, a standard for search and seizure that’s held for 200 years.”

He also responded to the Republican Party’s recent charge of weakness on Iran by sticking to his message that Iran is a concern, not a threat, and that aggressive diplomacy should be used first: “I think it’s troubling that they [Iran] launched missiles recently, but I’m a little unclear on why it’s so important for some people to focus on the semantics instead of policy, and why they’re so excited about a military showdown with another Middle East country. I’ve always said all options should be on the table, but the military option should be the last option.”

More after the break
One of the major things that’s impressed me about Madia as a candidate has been his willingness to listen. Most bloggers are more than willing to offer their opinion on any given issue, but the event was as much a two-way conversation as a press availability, especially on the issue of banking and mortgage regulation. Both the candidate and his campaign manager, Stu Rosenberg,  were on message and made clear that while they would have a rock-solid field operation and would have the financial resources they need to get on the airwaves early and often. Unfortunately, the only info we could get from them on Madia’s Q2 fundraising progress was when the related press availability tomorrow will be held.

Other important issues addressed:

The economic stimulus package passed earlier this year: “I think that was backwards. We should be creating incentives for people to invest in long-term securities, so we can grow our economy.”

Inevitable Republican attacks: “I think they’ll try to brand me a tax-and-spend liberal; I don’t think that’ll stick.” [Madia noted that during the DFL endorsement campaign, he ran to the moderate side of his main opponent, State Sen. Terri Bonoff, on most issues] “I think they’ll try to brand me as inexperienced — I’ll stack up my experience against Erik Paulsen’s any day of the week.”

Iraq: “It looks like conditions on the ground are improving, and that’s a great thing. I think that’s a great reason to transfer more responsibility to the Iraqi government, especially since they’re making noise about wanting us to leave.”

I’ll link up the other bloggers who were in attendance as their posts appear so you can get a complete picture of the event (including photos from Gavin).