Category Archives: The Economy

It’s a boring job, but somebody’s got to do it.

What bears repeating

If there were critical fact-based comment, people would notice that under the “small government” conservatives, government grew by leaps and bounds. Also, they would see that the surplus that “tax-and-spend” liberals handed to cost-conscious conservatives was rendered — by conservatives — into a staggering deficit.

“How American Democracy Isn’t Working,” from way back on March 4th.

Open letter to Virginia legislators

This letter has been sent on e-mail to my Senator, William Wampler,  and my Delegate, Joseph P. Johnson:

Dear (Virginia legislators)

I am writing to encourage you to vote against amendments to the budget bill that cut services in health, support of families and children, and education. I know that these are rough financial times. Rough financial times require us to hold our breath and trust one another, to share our resources so that everyone can come out okay in recovery. This is not the Democrat way or the Republican way. It is not the Christian way. It is not the way of the right or the left. It is in fact the only way to recovery. Nothing else works for hard times.

As a student of history, which I know you are as well, I know that governments are instituted to serve people, to make a good life a possible goal, and to even out the good times and the bad times. Virginia has done well with that, and has maintained a good environment for business and workers. If we cut health, family support, and education now because of hard times, we won’t all come out okay in the recovery. We will in fact all come out worse, because we will downgrade the educational level of our workforce, lower the standard of health for the Commonwealth, and leave families — upon whom society rests — to fend for themselves.

I don’t think people are as mean and greedy as they have been represented in the press, and I don’t think they would be as angry if our leaders, like yourself, would stand up and give them the truth instead of letting them receive their news and views from FOX. Most of us wouldn’t mind a small tax increase if it meant that we could go to bed each night knowing that Virginia’s mothers and children were not hungry or cold or ill and unable to afford medicine. Every Virginian is either a mother or a child of a mother, so every Virginian knows what I am talking about on a very personal level.

I know that you can’t spend money you don’t have, but I also know that people of a democracy or a commonwealth count on government to create and run programs and projects for the benefit of citizens. When a government loses or gives up the ability to raise revenues for essential programs, it can no longer serve its purpose. It changes from being a servant and conservator of the Commonwealth to being an expensive parasite, absorbing resources for its own existence when it can do us no good.

Please vote “no” on additional cuts, and give us a budget that will let us sleep better in the Commonwealth. There will be a great health benefit to that good night’s sleep we get after making sure we have done all we can for the people we serve.

where the disconnect is

The news is full of people telling us how the downturn is going to be worse and the Obama recovery plan is not going to work. They are saying there is a disconnect between the plan and the reality.
The disconnect exists because the top tier of the economy, people who collected the big bonuses and extravagant salary and benefit packages of large corporations, have become accustomed to government handouts while making sure that there are no handouts to anyone who actually needs one. When the government gives to banks and corporations, it is supporting the market economy. When it gives to working people, the middle class, or to the poor that is Socialism.
Here is how the bailout has worked so far: every dime that the Government has given to banks and corporations to spur the economy is still in the pocket it went into. Owners and CEO’s and people in a position to control this windfall are accustomed to entitlement, and they are not going to let go of any of it to restart lending or create jobs or invest in recovery. They are going to put it in their treasure room as a hedge against harder times. This is their reality. This is what caused hard times in the first place, people who had legitimate or fraudulent (or that new hybrid) access to our invested retirement and savings and home equity pulling it out of circulation and socking it away, freezing it for themselves as their security in the coming apocalypse. We all know that greed is a sin, so they will surely be Left Behind, protected by their money when a few of us have been taken in the rapture and the rest have been swept away by turbulence.
That is why, to get lending and investment flowing again, we will have to raise taxes on the wealthy owners and operators of banks and corporations. They will never re-invest the wealth they have bled off, and there will never be any more wealth to bleed off unless we force re-investment by taxing and government spending.

Our money at the pump and on the hill

Did you know that Congress gives Big Oil $6 billion in tax subsidies a year?

Reality surfaces

The Wall Street Journal likes Barack Obama?s economics, and refers to the Fed and Bush treasury?s ?destructive and all but explicit dollar devaluation strategy.?

Free Market

If you believe government should leave business alone because business will do good for people because it makes more money for them if they have good service and good products to offer, you must read this article in The New York Times. If you read it all and still think government should not regulate business, you need to read it again.

Just hold on — the economic stimulus is coming

The New York Times today in a story Retailing Chains Caught in a Wave of Bankruptcies By Michael Barbaro:

Since last fall, eight mostly midsize chains ? as diverse as the furniture store Levitz and the electronics seller Sharper Image ? have filed for bankruptcy protection as they staggered under mounting debt and declining sales.
But the troubles are quickly spreading to bigger national companies, like Linens ?n Things, the bedding and furniture retailer with 500 stores in 47 states. It may file for bankruptcy as early as this week, according to people briefed on the matter.
Even retailers that can avoid bankruptcy are shutting down stores to preserve cash through what could be a long economic downturn. Over the next year, Foot Locker said it would close 140 stores, Ann Taylor will start to shutter 117, and the jeweler Zales will close 100.

When you lose stores because people can?t buy, you lose services because stores can?t stock their shelves and pay their bills:

Because retailers rely on a broad network of suppliers, their bankruptcies are rippling across the economy. The cash-short chains are leaving behind tens of millions of dollars in unpaid bills to shipping companies, furniture manufacturers, mall owners and advertising agencies. Many are unlikely to be paid in full, spreading the economic pain.
When it filed for bankruptcy, Sharper Image owed $6.6 million to United Parcel Service. The furniture chain Levitz owed Sealy $1.4 million.
And it is not just large companies that are absorbing the losses. When Domain, the furniture retailer, filed for bankruptcy, it owed On Time Express, a 90-employee transportation and logistics company in Tempe, Ariz., about $30,000.

And then of course people can?t buy because they lose their jobs when stores and services close down.
If you aren?t big oil or an Iraq war profiteer, you would most likely be a person somewhere in this picture. You could be a person paying more for food because it moves around in trucks that burn gas and paying more for gas to drive to work, and therefore you are less able to buy those shoes you want from Foot Locker or that cool lamp from Sharper Image. Or you could be one of the employees getting laid off because the store you work for is closing. In fact, you could be both. You could even be both of these and a person whose house is being foreclosed ? which if that were me, I know I would be a person going without medical care for stress, which I wouldn?t be able to afford.
I?m just glad our decider has a stimulus package coming down the pike that will fix everything.