NH Steward

Back to NHSteward.org

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Talk About "Bad Debt"

This morning’s New York Times story on some Republican governors supporting the Obama administration’s stimulus plan—specifically, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont, Gov. M. Jodi Rell of Connecticut and Gov. Charlie Christ—is certainly written by reporter Jackie Calmes with a certain villain in mind: House Republicans who voted against the bill.

Well, we suppose that is one way to look at it; through the prism of who won the news day, who’s up, who’s down. But let’s take a step back and look closer at one of those states: California.

The Golden State has no budget. Its unemployment is at 9.3 percent. The governor today will layoff up to 20,000 state employees and suspect 275 public works projects already underway. Only a weak—or deliberately partisan—mind would fault the Republicans in Congress, and seven Democrats, who think the president’s bill is the wrong way to stimulate the economy.

A much more sophisticated analysis would delve into how California’s leaders have so mismanaged the state’s finances that it needs an emergency $42 billion to stay afloat. And they’re not alone. Forty states in the U.S. are unable to balance their budgets. What could the leaders of these states have been doing over the past few years to create such a toxic economic environment?


  1. The amount of selfish greed is astounding. I personally know of people in AIG making salaries too obscene to mention. If AIG were allowed to fail do you think these people would be making these obscene salaries? This is "bailout money" being used in the worst way - completely non-productive, and a perfect example of gov't created inefficiency. As far as state budgets go; this is what happens when out of touch bureaucrats get to use the "public's credit card". Some of these people are complete sociopaths with no conscience. Come on people; would you run your own finances this way? Would you even be allowed to get yourself this deeply into the red?

  2. Personally, I would not get myself that much in the red. But it's not much of a challenge to create such debt as an individual- starting when one turns 18 and takes on the burden of student loans and education. Being fiscally wise as an individual, a government, or even a corporation has become an old-fashioned idea. On the other hand, those with grossly inflated salaries have had drastic effects on the lack of balance with social classes and the gross inflation on the housing market (whether or not the company has faced strife this year). It's a country run on the egoic power of acquisition and consumerism and that doesn't change until one hits rock bottom. Whether it be an individual or a corporation. On an aside, it's good to see CEO's that aren't consumed by personal greed, such as Leonard Abess Jr. who sold his majority stake in the Miami-based City National Bancshares and spread his 60 million dollars in the form of bonuses to 399 employees. That's rare.

    But with or without the bailout, these fiscal problems still exist. What's the solution for that? And what is the target of Steward in all this? Other than promoting awareness, are there ideas or solutions or is it meant to make the elected officials come up with them? I checked out the site as well and am curious to the key target of the campaign. It seemed vague- are small business owners meant to hop on board? Or American citizens? I'd imagine it's hard for most Americans to feel a strong identification with the cause when the media spin was that 100k was spent to spread the ideas. In times like this, it may not stir the greatest reaction in those who couldn't afford to spend an extra 100 or even 20 dollars to get their opinions heard. It's makes it hard for the "fiscally" responsible message to the government to be heard when American citizens may see the "100k for an opinion" spin to be an irresponsible spend.

    Most people don't want to feel angry or helpless in these daunting problems, when the immediate concern is survival right now. Obama rode a campaign trail of optimism and change and in order to really get Americans excited in monitoring the government and demanding more of their representatives is to get them to feel passionate and positive, not just angry and powerless.

  3. Check out www.recovery.gov for Obama's commitment to accountability.