Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: February 25, 2014”

Introducing … podcasts …

We'll see how this goes ... but the plan is to start posting podcasts here from time to time. We're trying out a service called Spreaker.com, and if it works well our hope is to start including here the voices of a number of people, most (not necessarily all) associated with Ridenbaugh Press.

This first is really just a tester; don't judge it too harshly. Keep watch and we should be back with more, and better soon.

Not honorable, but right in some ways

trahant MARK
TRAHANT

 
Austerity

President Obama’s next budget, due to be released soon, will be good news for Indian Country.

The Washington Post describes the plan this way: “With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans. Instead, the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections.”

So does this mean austerity will end in Indian Country? Unfortunately, no. But this budget is a new approach -- and it will have many implications in Indian Country.
Let me explain. It starts with this whole business of “austerity” or a government that shrinks itself and the economy.

The problem, essentially, in recent years is that Democrats have bought into the premise of austerity. There is this idea that a smaller government will somehow right the economy because the private sector will then create more jobs. Nonsense. There is far more evidence that when government invests in the economy there will be growth ahead.

The president’s budget adds an important twist to this debate by calling for sharp reductions in military spending. This will not be popular with Republicans (even though the U.S. spends $600 billion a year, more than the next ten nations combined on defense.)

There should be little debate among tribal governments about austerity. There is not much of a private sector in tribal nations to pick up the slack. So any significant reduction in government, whether it be welfare payments or support for law enforcement programs, reduces the number of jobs at home.

Spending for programs that directly benefit American Indians and Alaska Natives -- such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service -- are from the portion of the budget that’s considered discretionary spending. Every dollar has to be appropriated by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the president. There has to be a “deal” to spend the money.

And discretionary spending is shrinking. Last year it totaled about $1.2 trillion and is projected to drop by $7 billion, less than 1 percent, in 2014.

The budgets that are growing are “mandatory” spending, money that’s automatic, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. (more…)

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Ex-wife of Sen. McKenzie won't be charged (Boise Statesman)
Job losses at Maximus call centers (Boise Statesman)
Increases in school funding unlikely (Boise Statesman)
Assessing college degree value (Moscow News)
WSU Floyd contract continued (Moscow News)
Lamar running for Latah commission (Moscow News)
Simplot closure at Nampa (Idaho Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Expansion at Plexus electronics plant (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nuclear research, guns on campus (Pocatello Journal)
Rangen water call held off (TF Times News)

Redesigning Henley Elementary (KF Herald & News)
Temporary manager at fair (KF Herald & News)
Eugene city looks at sick leave (Eugene Register Guard)
Lane County audit released (Eugene Register Guard)
OR House would allow local pot bans (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
TriQuint Semiconductor will merge (Portland Oregonian)
Legislators work on metro land use deal (Portland Oregonian)

Arlington losing its Olympic theatre (Everett Herald)
Naturopath's cancer practices questioned (Seattle Times)
Spokane won't oppose tribal casino (Spokane Spokesman)
Protesters try to stop deportations (Tacoma News Tribune)
New CEO at MultiCare Health in Pierce (Tacoma News Tribune)
Clark County may outsource some labor work (Vancouver Columbian)