Email letters, Oct. 1, 2012

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Michael Higgins’ on line-letter – “Though government may create jobs, public sector pays for them” – is a perfect example of “conservative” Republicans “taking factual information and twisting it to fit their narrative of where government should be in everyone’s life” and to thereby disingenuously avoid the implications of those facts. 

Nothing in Jim Spehar’s opinion piece suggested that “all we need to lift us out of this bad economy is more government jobs”.  Rather, Spehar simply cited local employment figures to demonstrate undeniably what Higgins readily admits—but most Tea Party reactionaries do not – that not “only the private sector creates jobs”.

While Higgins disparages President Obama’s economic policies as “Owebama”, he ignores the fact that virtually all of our $16 trillion national debt was generated by his Republican predecessors – “Owereagan” and the “Owebushes”.  In fact, Democratic President Bill Clinton was the only president in 30 years to generate a near surplus.

However, while President Obama’s American Jobs Act of 2011 sought to preserve 300,000 public sector jobs (teachers, police, and – yes – firemen, etc.) and to create 1+ million infrastructure-related private sector jobs by “printing money” (i.e., deficit spending when interest rates for such investments are at an all-time low), unpatriotic Republicans obstructed him at every turn.

No one (including Spehar) disputes the validity of Higgins statement that “while government may create jobs, it is the private sector that has to pay for them”.  But it is also the private sector that has to pay for the “VooDoo Economics” and “trickle down” fantasy that caused the current downturn and to which Republicans would have us return.

The fact is that Higgins entirely ignorers the fact that the Census Bureau calculated that some 700,000 small businesses were destroyed by the Bush recession and near collapse of the financial system.  President Obama’s policies have been designed to rekindle that private entrepreneurship by stimulating demand, but Romney-Ryan would increase taxes on job-creating small businesses netting between $100,000 and $250,000 annually.

Unfortunately, Higgins and a lot of Republican “Fiscal Conservatives in Name Only” don’t recognize this and continue to repeat Reagan’s pernicious mantra that “government is the problem”, when government is (and always has been) part of the solution (not “the answer to everything” by “spending money we don’t have”).

Higgins’ red herrings should go well with strawberry Kool-Aid.

              Bill Hugenberg

Roland Reynolds on line letter – “Sentinel readers need explanation of how to keep good jobs in the valley” – demonstrates the “stinken’ thinking” of “conservative” Republicans who take factual information and twist it into an unrecognizable narrative that merely obfuscates all meaningful distinctions in order to avoid the clear implications of the facts.

Thus, contrary to Reynold’s contention, if you “follow the money”, it remains a fact that government allocation of tax revenues can indeed “originate job creation” – or can be used for non-job-creating destructive purposes (as for the War in Iraq).  As Jim Spehar’s fact-based column suggests, the self-evident fact that all tax revenues and most charitable contributions can eventually be traced back to private enterprise of some kind is wholly irrelevant as to the current economic condition of Mesa County – else the terms “public sector”, “private sector”, and “non-profit” lose all meaning.

Indeed, the Sentinel’s front page listing of the top 25 local employers on September 22 answers Reynolds’ own questions.  Thus:

1)  Halliburton is no longer in the top 25 because the market price of natural gas is too low – not because “state and federal hassles” are too burdensome – to make local natural gas plays profitable.  In North Dakota, they are drilling for oil (at $100/barrel), with natural gas as a sideshow (at $3/unit).  In Pennsylvania, natural gas is much closer to market, thereby saving the transportation costs of piping western gas to the East Coast.

2)  Even absent Halliburton, and even with the Affordable Car Act, not-for-profit medical field employers are thriving.  Of the 12,617 jobs encompassed by the top 25 employers, almost 50% are “public sector”, only 20% are “private sector”, and the remaining 30% are non-profits – including Rocky Mountain Health Plans.  Thus, the key to :keeping good jobs in the valley” is diversification – regardless of the “category”.

“Instead of creating confusion on this issue” by muddling all meaningful distinctions, Reynolds should explain why he strains so hard to discount good high-paying (public and non-profit) jobs here – when what is clearly needed is an “all of the above” strategy.

                Bill Hugenberg

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