Category Archives: Economics

Victoria Steele & Jim Love Compete to be Tucson’s State Senator

Candidates Jim Love and Victoria Steele for Tucson's state senator.

Candidates Jim Love and Victoria Steele vie to be Tucson’s state senator.

Progressives have two excellent choices in Victoria Steele and Jim Love to be the candidate for the Arizona Senate in northern Tucson’s Legislative District 9.

The Democrats aim to fill the shoes of widely-admired Steve Farley (who is off to unseat the Governor).

Even though only one can prevail, Steele and Love are friends. He once worked for in her successful campaigns for the state House, where she represented District 9 from 2012 to 2016.

Love: trouble keeping teachers

Love has been an elected member of the Flowing Wells School Board for 17 years. “Republicans continue to cut education,” Love said. “I am having trouble keeping teachers in Flowing Wells. The problem is that the budget for public education comes from the general fund. We need to find a dedicated source of funding for education.”

Arizona is dead last nationwide in elementary school teacher pay and 49th in the country for secondary school teacher pay, thanks to Gov. Ducey — who has proposed a miserly .4 percent pay raise for teachers.

Love has worked over recent years in the Arizona State Legislature with Democrats and Republicans to have bills written to support public education. “We get kids who want to get a four-year degree but have no way to pay for it,” he says. “They cry because they can’t afford to go to the University.”

“Our schools are doing a darn good job,” said Love, a respiratory therapist. “But how can we keep teachers if we don’t pay them a living wage?” More info about Love is available online.

Steele: emphasizing the five “E’s”

Steele, a professional counselor, spoke shortly after the Florida mass shooting. “I support a bill that makes it a felony for parents if they keep a loaded gun in the house and a child uses the gun to hurt themselves or others,” she said. “That makes perfect sense to me.” Her campaign emphasizes the five “E’s”:

  • Education
  • Environment
  • Economy
  • Equality
  • Eliminating gun violence

“I am running because I’m tired of seeing kids used for target practice by a shooter who can get an assault rifle legally,” she says. “We need to ask candidates where they stand on gun safety.”

She successfully sponsored a bill to fund mental health first aid training with $500,000. Out of the 300 bills in the state legislature that were signed into law, only eight were Democratic bills ─ and two of those eight were Steele’s bills.

“I’m your voice in the legislature. We need someone with the experience, enthusiasm, and heart to do this work,” she said. “I am that woman.” More info about Steele is available online.

Tucson Legislative District 9

Tucson’s legislative district 9 encompasses 214,000 people in the Foothills, north Tucson, Flowing Wells, Casa Adobes and Marana.

Medicare is Not an “Entitlement.” It’s an “Earned Benefit.”

Social Security and Medicare

The GOP likes to portray Social Security and Medicare as undeserved handouts.

As I read about the current GOP attacks on Social Security and Medicare, they are referred to as “entitlements.” This clever word choice by Republicans suggests that the programs are welfare — a free handout to undeserving, lazy people.

What you call something makes a big difference. It’s a way to frame the discussion so that it leads to a pre-determined outcome.

Social Security and Medicare are “earned benefits.” I have paid into both programs every day of my working life. Anybody who has made it to age 65 has paid taxes to support both programs. I have worked for 50 years and resent the notion that these programs are freebies or giveaways.

Attack on Social Security

Social Security was enacted in 1935, when the lifetime savings of millions of people had been wiped out. It supports 59 million Americans over age 66. Social security is not going broke — it is projected to deliver full guaranteed benefits until at least 2037.

Well into the 1950s, Republicans tried to repeal Social Security. They continue to attack this earned benefit in Trump’s 2018 budget proposal by cutting Social Security by $72 billion. This includes explicit cuts to Supplemental Security Income programs and Social Security Disability Insurance programs, both managed by the Social Security Administration.
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Evil GOP bastards reject the will of the voters on Minimum Wage Initiative (Prop. 206)

Rep. Paul Gosar is Arizona’s most embarrassing member of Congress, but in the Arizona legislature, there are a multitude of challengers for the title of most embarrassing member of the legislature.

A perennial contender is Sen. Sylvia “Earth is 6,000 years old” Allen (R-Snowflake), a theocratic Dominionist Christian Reconstructionist whose heretical views of Christianity too frequently influence the legislation she advances.

Sen. Allen’s latest dog bone to chew on is the Minimum Wage Initiative (Prop. 206) overwhelmingly approved by Arizona voters in 2016. She believes that you the voters were “immoral” in approving the Minimum Wage Initiative, and she wants to reverse the will of you sinful voters. You’re all going to Hell!

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Senate committee passes resolution to repeal state’s minimum wage:

A resolution sponsored by Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, would ask voters to undue much of Proposition 206, a citizen-driven initiative that boosted Arizona’s minimum wage from $8.05 to $10 in 2017, $10.50 in 2018 and eventually to $12 by 2020. Allen’s resolution would also repeal mandated paid sick time and a provision that allows domestic violence victims to take paid sick leave to handle issues caused by the violence.

Allen, who in the past has described the notion of minimum wage as “morally flawed,” wants voters to freeze the minimum wage at $10.50, repeal state laws requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, and adopt a new law prohibiting cities, counties or towns from adopting their own minimum wage if it’s higher than the state’s.

Mandating a minimum wage is like “pulling money from one person to give to another person,” she told the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee on Monday.

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Magical thinking Monday from delusional Don

The White House will release two documents on Monday: its much-ballyhooed infrastructure plan and its 2018 budget. Readers should file both documents under the genre of “science fiction.” The White House’s week of magical thinking.

The Washington Post reports, Trump’s big infrastructure plan has a lot of detail on everything but how to pay for it:

President Trump is poised to unveil a long-awaited plan Monday that aims to stimulate $1.5 trillion in new spending on the country’s ailing infrastructure over the coming decade, but many lawmakers in both parties say the president isn’t providing a viable way to pay for his initiative.

A year in the making, the proposal is an attempt to fulfill a marquee campaign promise and would rely heavily on states, localities and the private sector to cover the costs of new roads, bridges, waterways and other public works projects.

The plan calls for investing $200 billion in federal money over the coming decade to entice other levels of government and the private sector to raise their spending on infrastructure by more than $1 trillion to hit the administration’s goal of $1.5 trillion in new funding over 10 years. It also seeks to dramatically reduce the time required to obtain environmental permits for such projects.

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I’m Sick of John McCain’s Healthcare Hypocrisy

Don’t shed a tear for Senator John McCain. As he spends his dying days enjoying the best health care the government can buy, he is in favor of gutting health insurance for 11.8 million Americans who get health insurance via the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer on July 19, 2017. For him, healthcare is free.

Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer on July 19, 2017. For him, healthcare is free.

McCain became a quasi-hero last year when he voted against the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare, but don’t be fooled. He votes with Trump 83% of the time and he’s solidly in the “repeal and replace” camp.

The GOP Congress has worked to sabotage the health care law by killing the individual mandate to have insurance, cutting the sign-up period in half, slashing the ad budget and stopping billions in subsidies to insurers.

Despite that, 43,499 people in Arizona enrolled in coverage for 2018 on Healthcare.gov. McCain, who is dying of brain cancer, gets free healthcare as a US Senator and Navy veteran — but he would take away the guarantees and protections that the health care law provides for everyone else.

McCain’s appalling reply

Recently I wrote McCain, calling on him to support the Affordable Care Act. His letter back was appalling:

Since the enactment of Obamacare more than seven years ago, American’s across the country continue to see the consequences of this disastrous law. In Arizona alone, the cost of midlevel health insurance plans on Obamacare’s marketplace increased by 116 percent on average last year. Worse still, before Obamacare, Arizona had 24 insurance companies selling plans on the individual market. Today, there are just two companies and 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties have just one insurer. That is not what President Obama promised when this bill was signed into law, and why the status quo is simply unacceptable.

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After Aqua Buddha shutdown, Congress passes bipartisan CR spending bill; Senate to take up DACA next week

You may have missed it overnight while you were sleeping, but we had the second government shutdown in history under one-party control of the government, this time due to the antics of Senator Aqua Buddha, Rand Paul (R-KY).

Aqua Buddha used the arcane rules of the Senate that allow a single senator to hold up business in the chamber to inveigh against the GOP embracing deficit spending (after he voted for the GOP tax bill in December that guaranteed deficit such spending). The dumbest shutdown ever:

Incensed that a bipartisan budget deal would balloon the national debt, Paul delayed a roll call on a long-term budget agreement until after the midnight deadline to fund the government.

That set in motion a shutdown that ultimately lasted just over six hours — even though Paul’s protest didn’t change a single word of the document, and he knew it wouldn’t from the very beginning.

“When Rand Paul pulls a stunt like this, it easy to understand why it’s difficult to be Rand Paul’s next door neighbor,” Rep. Charlie Dent told Politico. “The whole delay and filibuster exercise on the budget agreement is utterly pointless.” (The congressman was referring to an incident last year in which Paul’s neighbor Rene Boucher attacked Paul, breaking multiple ribs, in a landscaping dispute).

After Aqua Buddha’s publicity stunt finally ended, the Senate moved to pass the bipartisan budget deal. The House followed suit early this morning. Congress votes to end government shutdown:

The Senate passed the measure on a 71-28 vote shortly before 2 a.m.

The House vote, around 5:30 a.m., was 240-186. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) had urged her members to oppose the bill over the GOP’s failure to resolve the standoff over 700,000 Dreamers, but her efforts ultimately fell short. Seventy-three Democrats ended up backing the bipartisan package, which came after months of closed-door talks.

The defeat was a bitter one for Pelosi and other top Democrats, who have sought for months to tie a resolution of the fight over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the budget caps negotiations.

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