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Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Economy and Budgets

A few good articles:

First, word the much-maligned financial bailout will actually end up making taxpayers some money.  I was one of those folks who reluctantly supported the idea, but it's nice to know that is also ended up doing no harm to the taxpayers. 

Of course, it's sad to realize that the bailout has helped return a lot of corporate America to profitability, but still leaves millions of Americans unemployed.  The linked article is one of the few with a progressive view on the economy (read: is more about how the average American is doing rather than the average stockholder).  And naturally, since business profits have recovered, a lot of states are already thinking about ending unemployment benefits, even though unemployment rate is still 3 percentage points higher than it was at the start of the recession.

Finally, the federal budget.  A shutdown - that would have hurt the economy and the federal budget - was narrowly averted, as were a lot of ridiculous Republican demands such as cutting off money to Planned Parenthood (whose family planning services help reduce abortions).  Furthermore, the "budget" (for those who have budgeted, you understand we use the term loosely) proposed by Rep. Ryan actually increases the federal deficit while at the same time severely slashing health care programs (Medicare and Medicaid) that help provide critical medical assistance to the elderly and poor.  And Paul Krugman, nobel economist, points out the numerous "unicorns" in Ryan's budget, such as assumptions of incredibly low unemployment and a massive housing boom.

Nicholas Kristof sums up our Congress pretty well:
What does all this mean? That we’re governed by self-absorbed, reckless children.

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