Archive for March 27, 2010
U. S. Senate Candidate Tom Fiegen on Fiegenomics
Tom Fiegen, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate is an eastern Iowa attorney with a Masters Degree in economics from the University of Iowa. He has developed a set of economic policies he calls “Fiegenomics.”
Fieg•en•om•ics: an economic set of policies that advocates i) the use of federal fiscal policy to create full employment; ii) providing access to health care for all members of society regardless of income, and iii) banning financial piracy on an individual and national level.
We are hovering at 10% unemployment. Last week (the week ending March 13, 2010) 432,166 people applied for unemployment for the first time in America. Almost 15 million of our fellow citizens are out of work as of February 2010. Another 8.8 million are involuntarily working part-time. Another 2.5 million have become what economists describe as “discouraged workers” and have stopped looking for work. Combined, these workers amount to 1 in 6 of our fellow working Americans.
New housing starts were down 6% in February 2010 compared to January and almost exactly where they were a year ago in the depths of this recession. Plus pending home sales were down 7.6%.
On top of that, according to RealtyTrac, 1 in 7 homeowners are in default and proceeding towards foreclosure. A year ago it was 1 in 10. Home foreclosures are not expected to peak until December 2010.
Like the 1930s, banks are failing and they are not making many loans. The FDIC closed 7 banks last Friday (March 19, 2010) bringing the total closed to 36 for 2010. They closed 140 banks in 2009 and expect to close more this year. My clients who are good business people are having a hard time getting operating capital. For firms that I have met with in Iowa, sales are only 60% to 70% of what they were in 2008.
Our financial system is still a mess despite the announcement of a combined NINE BILLION DOLLAR fourth quarter 2009 profit for Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase. Speaking of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase, I am against the pirates on Wall Street who speculate on a product making more money on that product than the workers who produced that product.
47 million of our fellow citizens have no health insurance. An even larger number, like me, to use a technical term have “crappy” insurance with high deductibles, high co-pays and lots of exclusions. Medical costs increased five times as fast as inflation in 2009 and are literally crippling many of our businesses. The new health care reform bill is a step in the right direction, but we need to do more to control costs and provide access to affordable health care for all Americans.
On top of ALL of that the pirates on Wall Street took our nation hostage in the 2008 with credit cards, sub-prime loans, credit default swaps, and exotic derivative investment scams.
We find ourselves in this mess because of the Republican policies of tax cuts for millionaires, deregulation of the banks, and incompetence and frankly GREED. Two words make the point: Bernie Madoff.
I’m campaigning for the United States Senate based on three economic principles that I call “Fiegenomics.” They are:
To read the rest of Tom Fiegen's Fiegenomics policy statement, click here.
~Tom Fiegen lives in Clarence, Iowa and is a bankruptcy lawyer and economics professor. He is a Democratic candidate to be
the junior United States Senator from Iowa. He faces Bob Krause and Roxanne Conlin in the Democratic primary on June 8. To learn more about Tom Fiegen, check out his web site fiegenforussenate.com
Steve King Challenger Matt Campbell Talks to Blog for Iowa
This week Blog for Iowa interviewed Matt Campbell, a Democratic candidate for U. S. Representative from Iowa's 5th Congressional District. This is the first of a two part series. Read part two by clicking here.
BFIA: Why did you decide to run for congress in Iowa’s 5th District?
CAMPBELL: The 5th Congressional District has always been my home. I grew up in Manning, Iowa on a century farm established in 1880. I care very much about the district.
Representative Steve King has a poor record of accomplishments, has not written one bill since he has been in congress despite having a staff of 18 people. This does not seem very effective. King also says objectionable things, which does not represent the values of western Iowa. I am talking about common decency. When I heard of the racial slurs directed at members of congress, King said he didn’t think that that was anything. I found it outrageous that he did not denounce the statements. There is no place for that in American politics. What King is doing is dangerous. It plays to some of the fringes of our society and caters to hate-mongering more than to what we need to do to make society better.
King has a responsibility to speak out on acts like that. His failure to lead and not writing a single law is not what America or the 5th Congressional District needs with the critical issues the country faces.
BFIA: As you know, BFIA is a progressive blog. Where do you see yourself on the political spectrum?
CAMPBELL: I see myself as a centrist, moderate. I have worked on complex international business needs to enable businesses to operate in an environment where they can be successful and create jobs. I believe Democrats have done a better job of running the country.
BFIA: What is your reaction to the health insurance reform bill just signed by President Obama?
Campbell: I am very supportive and excited about it. There is a lot of disinformation out in the public. It is a complex bill and there are a lot of good provisions in the bill. Once people get to know the provisions of the bill I believe they will like it. We have been paying for health care inefficiently because of the uninsured. There is disinformation on the Medicare provisions. It’s like the President said. If you eliminate waste in your household budget are you going to budget the old number? The cuts to Medicare are related to the waste and fraud. The General Accounting Office has said that Medicare Advantage is an inefficient system.
BFIA: Where do you stand on financial system reform?
CAMPBELL: Business cannot operate in an unregulated environment because it is prone to abuse. The collapse of the economy last year indicates that financial reform is necessary. Regulation of the hedge fund industry would be prudent. The same thing is true with the derivatives market. Some say there was not enough capital in the system. The 2004 Securities and Exchange Commission’s Net Capital Rule changed the debt to equity ratio from 15:1 to 30:1 and this contributed to the financial collapse. Companies couldn’t service their debt obligations.
BFIA: The incumbent speaks often of the economic philosophy of Adam Smith as outlined in Wealth of Nations as contrasted with Keynesian economics. What is your economic philosophy?
CAMPBELL: Economics is an inexact science. I believe in a free market system, but government must sometimes intervene. I would like to see the government intervene as little as possible. The infusion of cash into the economy by the federal government last year prevented another great depression. Representative King’s view was “let the city burn.”
BFIA: What are your ideas for reducing the federal deficit?
CAMPBELL: I share the concern about the deficit. Democrats are concerned, Matt Campbell is concerned. Tax cuts to wealthy Americans do not help us. Unfunded wars did not help. President Bush added more to deficit than all past presidents combined. Republicans blame the deficit on fiscal stimulus, yet the Democrats were implementing the policy of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen. Regarding reduction of the deficit, I believe the time has come for the line item veto. I also support Senator Harkin’s Let Wall Street Pay for the Restoration of Main Street Act.
Read part two of our interview with Matt Campbell with his views on corporate media, Varnum vs. Brien and the primary and general elections by clicking here. To learn more about Matt Campbell, visit his web site at campbellforcongress2010.com.
Contribute to Campbell's campaign by clicking here.
The START of a New Obama Narrative
“Hundreds of articles about the New START Treaty agreement between Russia and the United States have been published in the past week in media outlets around the world. This one by Joe Cirincione, President of the Ploughshares Fund, published on Huffington Post is worth reading. It is a good follow-on to the president's successful trip to Iowa this week.”
by Joe Cirincione
Days after scoring his biggest domestic policy win, President Obama
secured his first major foreign policy victory. He's on a roll.
The new treaty with Russia, dubbed New START, makes the world a
little safer. It verifiably reduces the threat posed by the only
weapons that can destroy America. It shrinks, at least a little, the
dangerously bloated U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles. But it does
much more than that.
It helps reset the relationship with Russia, whose cooperation is
necessary for progress on Iran, the Middle East, global warming,
European security and many other issues. But it does more than that.
This treaty is the gate through which Obama had to pass to get to the
rest of the new nuclear security agenda. Now, he can move forward
aggressively on agreements to lock up nuclear materials from terrorists,
to stop new nations from getting these weapons, and to begin planning
for a new round of negotiations to go from thousands of nuclear weapons
To read the rest of the article on Huffington Post click here.
Cirincione joined Ploughshares Fund as president in March 2008. He is author of
Bomb Scare: The History and Future
of Nuclear Weapons
and served previously as senior vice president for national security and
international policy at the Center for American Progress and as director for
nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace for eight
years. He worked for nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives as a
professional staff member of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee
on Government Operations, and served as staff director of the bipartisan
Military Reform Caucus. He teaches at the Georgetown University Graduate School
of Foreign Service and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.