Skip to content

Rhode Island Tip Sheet: Trickle-down austerity

November 7, 2011

STATE OF THE STATE: The subject was Europe’s economic crisis and DC inertia in this Sunday NYT piece by David Leonhardt, but the central problem of getting by with less and a traditional aversion to tough choices certainly resonate here in Rhode Island . . . . A closed House Democratic caucus takes up the pension topic this afternoon at 4, with possible committee action anticipated as soon as later this week . . . . In his weekly essay, Scott points to a crying need for civility and mutual respect in getting the pension overhaul done . . . . Unions are set to rally Tuesday at the Statehouse (3:30-5:30) against aspects of the pension overhaul.

MUST-READ: Columbia professor Thomas Edsall on the politics of austerity. He raises the possibility of  it becomes a Mobius strip of frustration:  “In many respects, austerity feeds on itself. If the country needs to invest in education and rebuilding infrastructure to regain competitiveness, as many economists of varying ideological stripes argue, those initiatives are in large part precluded in a political environment that places top priority on deficit and debt reduction. Retrenchment, in effect, becomes a noose, choking off prospects for growth.”

FALLOUT 2012: Because of this economic miasma, the WaPo (not surprisingly) finds a mood of discontent among the electorate with less than a year until the next presidential election. That’s tough not only for President Obama, the paper says, but also Mitt Romney, who remains the Republican to beat while failing to generate much widespread enthusiasm.

THE ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE: Nate Silver has an interactive feature charting possible paths for the presidential hopefuls.

MEDIA: What happens a newspaper disappears from a community? Tom Fiedler writes about his findings.

DRUG WAR: John P. Walters, a former US drug czar, will take part in a Brown University discussion 4 pm Thursday on the question of “What if the US legalized all drugs.” Tip Sheet got an ironic chuckle out of this, because it was more than 20 years ago when he covered a Boston debate on the same question between Alan Dershowitz against then-US Attorney Frank McNamara.

CICILLINE: The freshman rep sat down for coffee near Wayland Square with one his potential Democratic primary rivals — on Halloween, no less, reports Ted Nesi . . . . David Scharfenberg reports on how beating Cicilline could be tougher than some suspect.

ON THE WATERFRONT: PBN reports on the scaling back of plans for Providence’s industrial waterfront.

ON THE TOWN: Providence City Counci Majority Leader Seth Yurdin is having a time Tuesday evening at Bacaro (5:30-7:30). Suggested donation: $60/$120.

BIRTHDAY: Erin Arcand; Lisa Carnevale; Reza Clifton; Richard McCaffrey; Trudy Coxe.

Subscribe/unsubscribe: idonnis [at] wrni [dot] org 

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mister Guy permalink
    November 8, 2011 1:05 am

    “‘In many respects, austerity feeds on itself. If the country needs to invest in education and rebuilding infrastructure to regain competitiveness, as many economists of varying ideological stripes argue, those initiatives are in large part precluded in a political environment that places top priority on deficit and debt reduction. Retrenchment, in effect, becomes a noose, choking off prospects for growth.'”

    This highlights the absurdity of heavy-handedly combating our nation’s fiscal imbalance while in the middle of a slow economic recovery. It’s absolute silliness for the feds to not borrow money now to fix the super huge amount of things that need to be addressed in our nation’s infrastructure when interest rates of all kinds are exceedingly low levels. Heck, I heard a few years back that RI could spend $10 Billion per year for a decade on infrastructure projects alone & then *maybe* get back to where it needs to be in terms of safety & the bare minimum that’s needed for more economic growth. Having an I-95 (one of the main corridors in the Northeast Megalopolis) bridge in desperate need of repair in Pawtucket is an absolute embarrassment to the Ocean State!

    The expectations of many in the American public are way too high when it comes to this ongoing, slow economic recovery period. The next worse economic downturn to the recent, so-called “Great Recession” is literally the Great Depression, which took the better part of a decade & the start of a World War for the USA to get totally out of. Expecting a massive amount of economic growth in just a 2-3 year time period is ridiculous given that historical context.

    From the above, highlighted article:
    “passage of the $900 billion health care reform act”

    …which was completely & totally paid for BTW.

    “As the national debt grew from $10.6 trillion when Obama took office to $13.7 trillion on Election Day 2010”

    …but that’s not the full story. The publicly-held level of debt in late 2010 was around $8.2 Trillion, and it’ll be less than $10 Trillion by the end of this year. Intragovernmental debt is basically just money that the federal govt. owes to itself.

    http://www.usgovernmentdebt.us

    The GOP only seems to care about debt & deficits when a Democrat is in the White House!

    “the Paul Ryan ‘path to prosperity’ budget with $4 trillion in cuts”

    …ending Medicare as we know it.

    “and the subsequent Aug. 2 debt ceiling agreement”

    …which was a complete & total joke, since it only cut $10-20 Billion in federal spending while increasing the total amount of federal debt over the same time-period by more than $1 Trillion!

    “Congress faces self-imposed deadlines of Nov. 23 and Dec. 23 to approve a deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion over 10 years, or accept across-the-board cuts of $1.2 trillion.”

    Let the so-called “Super Committee” fail, since the entire basis for its existence was based on a pile on nonsense.

    “”Our message — ‘We want fewer budget cuts, more taxes’'”

    …on the rich is exceedingly popular with the American people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: