Bobby Jindal and his economic shortcomings

It is always interesting when a conservative publication slams one of its own as The American Conservative publication recently did with an article about Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, presidential aspirant.

The article posits that Jindal has basically destroyed his state’s economy, although he didn’t act alone.

“Is he responsible for the full $1.6 billion?” Mr. Scott asked. “I’d say no. But I’d say he’s responsible for the order of magnitude.”

In a state the size of Louisiana, the shortfall is huge. But it is all the more daunting considering that the governor has unequivocally ruled out any plans for new revenue, bone-deep cuts have already been made to health care and higher education, ad hoc revenue sources that could be found to fill the gap have been all but drained and that robust economic growth, which might cushion the blow, has yet to materialize.

Mr. Jindal’s first term began in 2008 with a heady surplus of around $1 billion, high oil prices and a stream of federal disaster recovery money. He threw his support behind the largest tax cut in the state’s history and, for a time, had reason to boast about an economy that outperformed the nation’s. But oil prices are fickle, and the recovery money dried up and the recession arrived, if late and in a milder strain than in other states. Since 2010, here as elsewhere, middling has been the new normal.”

The article references some Democrats about what Jindal is doing, but also points out they are not alone in their assessment.

“That legislator is a Democrat, but Republicans say the same thing: that Jindal is sacking his own state to preserve his viability as a Republican presidential candidate — specifically, so he can say that he never raised taxes, but rather cut them. Even Quin Hillyer, the conservative columnist for the Advocate, thinks the state’s tax policy, under which the poor pay a greater percentage of their income in taxes than the rich, is a “moral abomination.”

Here’s what Jindal’s office says about his record as a tax-cutter and budget-slasher:

Since taking office, Governor Bobby Jindal has cut taxes a total of six times, which included the largest income tax cut in the state’s history – giving back $1.1 billion over five years to the hard working tax payers across the state, along with accelerating the elimination of the tax on business investment, making Louisiana no longer one of only three states in the country that taxes manufacturing machinery.

Governor Jindal continues to instill fiscal discipline and responsible use of taxpayer money. As the Governor has said, “Pork-barrel spending does not have a place in our budget, and I will veto any projects that do not meet specific criteria.” Following the first regular session, Governor Jindal kept to his commitment and vetoed $16 million in non-governmental and governmental projects. Moreover, when the state faced a $341 million budget shortfall, Governor Jindal chose to make state government more lean by finding strategic costs savings in the budget, rather than making across the board cuts or passing the bill on to taxpayers.”

Some in Louisiana are hoping Jindal succeeds in his presidential bid because that means he will leave the state and then others can begin to repair the damage he has done although they know the ill that can he can produce which would be devastating to a nation.


George Will and Economic Inequality

George Will writes a column and lists the number one problem of economic inequality is freedom.

He writes “The fundamental producer of income inequality is freedom. Individuals have different aptitudes and attitudes. Not even universal free public education, even were it well done, could equalize the ability of individuals to add value to the economy. Besides, some people want to teach, others want to run hedge funds.”

But he doesn’t touch on some of that inequality comes from greed, poor or little regulation to govern those with sufficient wealth to dodge paying taxes or to cheat investors/

And the great Republican supposition about trickle down economics  doesn’t contain any truth, just tried and true rhetoric that repeats tired old phrasing.

Will’s belief that freedom causes some of this is probably true, in that people have freedom of choice. but some folk start out nearer the top of the heap than others and government’s role in helping those to achieve freedom through economics isn’t a bad thing.

His free market puts a higher premium on those that manufacture money through funds and slight of hand economic tricks as opposed to those that put in back breaking hours doing menial jobs or other infrastructure work that “give” comfort to the more affluent.

Those at the top should be grateful for those that clean and do tasks “beneath” them so they don’t soil their hands. And not all people want to be rich, just paid a fair salary for the work they do so they to can raise a family and help their children on to the next stage in life.

Central Committee meeting Wednesday, Oct. 7

The Woodbury County Democratic Party’s Central Committee will meet Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 @ 6pm at the Wilbur Aalfs/Sioux City Public Library at 6pm.
Campaigns with Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders will be there with updates.
 Kim Weaver, candidate for the Congressional District 4, running against Steve King,  will be there to introduce herself.
Hope to see you there!


Gov. John Kasich, a Republican savior?

Some GOP pundits like what they see in Ohio Gov. John Kasich. An even tempered man who has done well by his state. Unless of course you read other stories that indicate otherwise.

A Dayton Daily News article from 2012 shows a different thought process about Gov. Kasich.

The article reports: “As he travels around Ohio, Gov. John Kasich regularly points out that the state’s unemployment rate is a full percentage point lower than the national average, and more than 123,000 jobs have been created under his watch.

But a Dayton Daily News investigation shows taxpayers are paying a high price for some of those jobs. Kasich’s administration approved $487.7 million in taxpayer-subsidized tax credits, grants and low-cost loans for businesses during 2011, a 44.3 percent increase over the $337.9 million approved in 2010.

More than $200 million of the 2011 incentives came in the form of tax credits to companies that simply agreed to keep existing jobs in Ohio after threatening to leave the state, the Daily News found.

Among 16 states with tax credits for job creation and retention, Ohio has the largest number of recipient companies, with 567, according to an April report by Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.-based incentives watchdog group. These incentives give companies tax credits equal to a percentage of their employees’ withheld state income taxes.

The use of such incentives, commonplace across the country, is increasingly coming under fire as companies get breaks for moving within states and, in some cases, within metropolitan areas. Companies that get incentives frequently miss their employment pledges.”

Now in a July, 2015, education piece about Gov. Kasich, the Washington Post reports:

Meanwhile, the Ohio Education Department in Kasich’s administration is in turmoil. David Hansen, his administration’s chief for school choice and charter schools resigned over this past weekend after admitting that he had unilaterally withheld failing scores of charter schools in state evaluations of the schools’ sponsor organizations so they wouldn’t look so bad. (Hansen’s wife, incidentally, is Kasich’s chief of staff, who is taking a leave from that post to work on his campaign.) There are growing calls now for the resignation of the Kasich-backed state superintendent of education, Richard Ross.”

So again we have a conservative trumpeting something but having to fudge numbers or flat out lie about achievements. Can not any of these Folk actually have an honest conversation with the American people and not use mistruths to represent them.

After a while it just gets tiring and any complaints that Republicans have about liberals should first be asked of themselves and their self-righteous leaders who again, paternalistically know what is best for us all.


Gov. Scott Walker hates unions, except

Gov. Scott Walker hates union. That seems to be an excepted fact, and one in which he campaigned on for his role of governor of the state of Wisconsin. He dislikes unions, except for those he doesn’t dislike.

Walker made an exception for firefighters and police unions when he waged his war on public sector unions in his state.

But in a recent Washington Post piece Walker now wants to be rid of all public unions.

The author of the piece writes: “I have no doubt that Walker is sincere in his desire to see every labor union crushed and every vestige of workers’ power banished — or, in his lingo, “flexibility.” I’d also be surprised if any of the other candidates objected to any part of it. So the plan is worth understanding if you want to grasp what today’s GOP is offering today’s workers.

While he doesn’t say so explicitly, what Walker seems to hope for is really a world without any labor unions at all, or at the very least a world where unions are so weakened that they are unable to advocate for anyone. Here are the major parts of his plan:

Eliminate the National Labor Relations Board. Walker says the NLRB is “a one-sided advocate for big-labor special interests,” but the truth is that Democrats appoint pro-labor members to the board, while Republicans appoint anti-labor members to the board. Transferring the NLRB’s authority to adjudicate labor disputes to the courts would probably be a mixed bag in terms of worker rights.

“Eliminate big-government unions.” This is pretty straightforward. You don’t like unions? Get rid of ’em. Today there are around seven million Americans represented by a public sector union, and around one million of those are employed by the federal government (including the Postal Service). If Walker got his way, the latter group could kiss their representation goodbye — and given his record, it’s pretty clear he wouldn’t mind getting rid of the state and local public-sector unions as well.

Institute a national “right to work” law. The phrase “right to work” is a triumph of conservative PR, because how could anyone object to a right to work? What it means in practice, however, is that in places where unions negotiate salaries and benefits for workers, those workers can’t be required to contribute to the union that got them those salaries and benefits (no one can be required to join a union, but where there are no right to work laws, you can be required to contribute when the union negotiates on your behalf). Whenever a right to work law is being debated in a particular state, Republicans argue that because the law would weaken unions, it will draw employers who don’t want to have to bother with the high wages and good benefits those unions can negotiate.”

So Walker does not only dislike unions, he dislikes workers. It’s a wonder when Republicans say people shouldn’t have to pay the union to represent them but then say unions must represent workers  in a workplace with a union. How is that logical. One drives a car but doesn’t believe in car insurance, but is forced to buy it.

Maybe in right to work states employers should negotiate with those workers and their union for their benefits and salaries. But then have to negotiate separately with all the other employees for their benefits and salaries.

The employer is making the choice, and it would as they are so fond of saying, the cost of doing business.



Republicans pursuit of Planned Parenthood

It’s pretty evident by now that Republicans want anything they don’t like or believe helps should be done away with, even if no laws have been broken. They very paternalistically believe what they know is right is right.

The continued onslaught for defunding Planned Parenthood without any laws being broken is pretty evident of this hell hat no fury like Republicans’ angst.


In a recent article by the publication The Hill it is reported:

In more than two months of investigations, members have yet to turn up evidence that Planned Parenthood acted illegally, the same conclusion reached by a half-dozen state investigations. The Department of Justice has so far declined to launch a formal probe. Several Republicans acknowledged this week that they may never find proof of wrongdoing at Planned Parenthood — but said it doesn’t matter.

“I don’t know whether we’re ever going to be able to answer that question, whether it was illegal for them to do what they were doing,” Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) said during the House’s first hearing on the topic Wednesday. “I don’t know if it was illegal … but it was immoral, what was seen on that video.”

Whether one agrees with what the videos showed or not, the law and order party is all about its own law and order.  Which begs the questions how “Christian” Republicans can get along with “Jewish” Republicans since their faith doesn’t necessarily intersect always in a good way.

Again, that party’s paternalistic we know what is better for you than is evident. Interesting that science has proven cancer is bad for a person. Yet the Republican party does not require MRI’s of smokers, forcing them the smokers to look at those images to show how bad smoking is for their body. They don’t do invasive probes to retrieve cells for testing to show those smokers how bad it is for their bodies.

The Washington Post did a recent story about the reality of one Planned Parenthood facility in Ohio. The reporter talks with clinicians and patients alike. The story begins:

“There they were, in a state whose attorney general had recently opened an investigation of Planned Parenthood, in a country where House and Senate members were threatening to shut down the federal government over Planned Parenthood funding, at a time when an anti­abortion group was releasing weekly videos that purported to show the organization’s employees talking about selling fetal tissue for profit — and in a universe where Planned Parenthood had again become a symbol for one of the most divisive moral battles of the modern era.

Moore wrote the prescription, then moved on to her next patient.

This clinic sees nearly 7,100 patients a year, most of them young and poor. The clinicians administer 3,400 pregnancy tests, write 2,900 prescriptions for birth control and provide 13,200 screenings for sexually transmitted infections to the women and men walking into a boxy building between a restaurant-supply store and a used-car dealership. Inside the clinicians’ office, a ­pamphlet on the wall reads “Bomb Threat Checklist.”

The article also states: Like nearly half of Planned Parenthood’s facilities nationwide, Akron doesn’t perform abortions. Three of the organization’s 27 centers in Ohio do; the nearest is in Bedford Heights, where protesters regularly picket. When pregnancy tests come back as unwanted positives, those patients are referred to Bedford Heights, 26 miles away.”

So much angst, so much vitriolic anger. Yet no action to find ways to help these people who come to the Planned Parenthood facility for treatment and their individual healthcare needs.

But it seems Republicans only care about flash and showy kinds of stuff. Wars, the making of a free market with plenty of free money for those willing to work hard.

No effort to help those less fortunate except to say they are not working hard enough. No effort to rein in those unnecessary health care costs. To rein in those unnecessary insurance costs. Of course that might cut into their own source of income. If they tried to regulate the growing costs of health care and insurance costs, they would be upsetting their wealthy friends and impeding the free market place.

The free market place is only free is one has money to spend, and with the current trend of the middle class with less disposable income they may be a lot fewer who are free, in the land of the home and the brave.



2015 Northwest Iowa Labor Council Labor Day picnic

A large crowd turned out for the Northwest Iowa Labor Council’s Labor Day picnic, with support by affiliated unions to celebrate the working man and woman. The picnic lunch and speakers both outline a strong work ethic and need for laborers which seldom seems celebrated by conservatives. Which is interesting, because without labor, businesses would be hard pressed to produce anything. And without a work force able to buy the goods produced, the economy conservatives tout so readily would not exist.

So one day out of the year, the “lowly” worker who does manual labor gets to relax and enjoy the camaraderie of friends and associates with like minds.

Which side of government are you on?

The Washington Post’s columnist E.J. Dionne wrote a thoughtful piece over the weekend.

His piece begins:“Many conservatives and most libertarians argue that every new law or regulation means that government is adding to the sum total of oppression and reducing the freedom of individuals.

This way of looking at things greatly simplifies the political debate. Domestic issues are boiled down to the question of whether someone is “pro-government” or “anti-government.”

He writes about the protection of workers’ rights and the National Labor Relations Board. He talks about franchise businesses and the fact that the corporations that detail and direct everything about the franchises then deny any responsibility to how workers for these businesses should behave, dress and do business.

His piece says: “Among the milestones Scheiber cited was a recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision upholding an Obama-era rule providing minimum-wage and overtime protections to nearly 2 million home health-care workers. They certainly felt empowered by government, not oppressed. So did the employees of contractors and franchises who were granted collective bargaining rights by the National Labor Relations Board.”

He also goes on to write about having protections from financial advisors who actually give advice that help clients and not line their own pockets by pushing certain types of investments that pays them commissions,  but may perform poorly for the investor.

He writes: “The investment-rule battle is a near-perfect example of how the government is plainly promoting free markets — what’s more market-oriented than building an investment portfolio? — but is also trying to make sure that the rules regulating the investments tilt toward the interests of the individual putting money at risk.

As long as there are markets, government will have to establish rules determining how they operate. These necessarily affect the interests of market participants. Many of the choices are not between more or less government. They are about whether what government does provides greater benefit to workers or employers, management or unions, individual investors or investment firms.”

So it is true that not everyone dislikes government and that it is not helpful and stands in the way of people trying to further themselves. And it doesn’t depend on which side of an equation one stands on. Rather how one looks at that help, or for some, hindrance.




Florida’s Republican governor’s inconvenient truth

In the news recently is the fervor of conservative Republicans going after Planned Parenthood, wanting to defund an organization that offers health care to lower income individuals and vilifying it for laws it has not broken.

Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott orders a review of the 16 Planned Parenthood clinics in his state to see if any laws were broken.

It is reported by Politico that the results of the review didn’t sit well with the governor or his staff, in that the review didn’t contain the results any of them were looking for.

“But in Florida, the story is a little more complicated. In response to the fetal-tissue uproar, Gov. Rick Scott (R) ordered a review of Planned Parenthood’s 16 clinics in the state. Politico reported this week that the Republican governor’s office wasn’t altogether impressed with the findings – so Scott aides gave the truth a little touch-up.
Gov. Rick Scott’s office scrubbed a press release written by his own regulators that found there was no “mishandling of fetal remains” at clinics run by Planned Parenthood and, at the same time, said it would refer doctors who worked at those clinics to the state Board of Medicine for possible disciplinary action.
The point of the investigation was to examine Planned Parenthood’s fetal-tissue donations, and as the Politico report noted, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration prepared a press statement making clear the group did nothing wrong on this front.
It was at that point that the governor’s office reportedly “deleted information” recommended by state regulators. 
It’s interesting when Republicans get angry about things that do not necessarily break the law but believe these things should break the law.  And then it gets better when they have to resort to subterfuge to make their point.
But again, that isn’t a new tactic by conservatives either. Governing with faith in what things should be as opposed to what things really are seems to be a re-occuring theme.


Woodbury County Democrats, promoting democratic ideals and greater participation.