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Archive for March 18, 2017

At Least One Iowa Congress Member Cares

about Iowans and making health care actually available.

Once more – Thank You Congressman Loebsack, for fighting for Iowa and Iowans!

Repairing What Republicans Break May Be Impossible

“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Til it’s gone
They pave paradise and put up a parking lot”
Joni Mitchell “Big Yellow Taxi”

Who knows what people who voted Republican in the last election were thinking. One thing I doubt they were thinking about was how to repair the systems that the radical Republicans who are now in charge at all levels will destroy.

Maybe those voters sent out a protest vote to let other Americans know that they ‘weren’t going to take it anymore.” What they most likely were thinking was that Republicans were going to stand against progress made by immigrants and minorities. What they didn’t realize was that they what they got in the bargain was a party hell-bent on destroying much of the progress that had been achieved for ALL Americans in the past century.

That would include a litany of progressive programs that many Republican voters are now watching circle the drain. As they see the radical congress and state legislature take the hatchet to things like education, social security, the ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, workman’s compensation not to mention many things that are integral to the commons such as environmental protection, national parks, research of all varieties, weather forecasting and data gathering just to name a few. Now it appears even “Meals on Wheels” that many seniors depend on to survive is on the chopping block.

All for tax cuts for the rich.

Once these programs are destroyed or radically altered restoring them to their former functionality will not be as simple as electing members from the opposition party and then expecting them to put things right back the way they were. No, once broken it will take decades to restore things if it is even possible.

We have the recent example of the major recession, near worldwide depression caused by fiscal mismanagement by the Republican Party. Conventional wisdom would make a person think that restoring the economy to it’s previous state and providing safeguards to keep us from being driven into such a situation again should have been the number one priority of both parties.

Yet following the Republican recession of 2008, Republicans let it be known that they were vested in keeping the economy as sluggish as they could through their opposition to any and all efforts of Democrats and the Obama Administration to enact programs to address problems that many Americans were facing.

Even during the Great Depression – also brought on by Republican policies – Republicans in congress opposed most everything that the FDR Administration attempted to pull the country out of the Depression.

If Republicans respond to the clear and present crises of severe Recessions and Depressions with obstruction tactics created out of thin air, what would make a person think that they would do anything but obstruct the restoration of anything resembling that which they worked so hard to destroy?

Republicans have worked hard for over eight decades to tear down the New Deal. They have spent the nearly four decades since Ronald Reagan not only working to chip away at anything that helped common Americans, but at the same time undermining the very foundation of our democracy – the faith in our government and ourselves.

As we watch the administration and congress in Washington and the legislature in Des Moines take proverbial sledge hammers to what has taken decades to build, remember that is it much easier to destroy a life’s work than it is to build it. Once this is gone it will most likely never be restored unless resistance is tong and unflinching before it is torn down.

“And all the king’s horses
And all the king’s men
Could not put Humpty-Dumpty
Back together again.”

IPP And Senator Dvorsky On The Budget Shortfall

Last Monday Mike Owen the Executive Director of the Iowa Policy Project and Research Director Peter Fisher gave a presentation at the Moral Monday meeting March 13th.

This video is about 40 minutes long. It is all very self-explanatory except for the reference to “REC” in the beginning. REC in this instance means “Revenue Estimating Commission” I believe. This is the second estimation that predicted a major shortfall in revenue. You may recall the first one resulted in across the board cuts.

IPP and its partner have been discussing this possibility for years.

When the news out of Des Moines doesn’t seem to add up despite the assertions of Republican politicians, the Iowa Policy Project is the place to turn to for analysis that breaks through the crap and tells the truth.

Times should be far from disastrous right now. As Barack Obama left office he left behind a robust economy. When states like Iowa and Kansas are having fiscal problems in good general economies most likely the wounds are self inflicted.

Senator Dvorsky

In his weekly newsletter Senator Bob Dvorsky had this observation on the budget shortfall:


Iowa has a revenue problem that must be addressed. The latest evidence came this week when Iowa’s Revenue Estimating Conference, a panel of nonpartisan budget experts, met to assess state revenues and expenses. They reported that Iowa has a shortfall of $131 million this fiscal year, which ends June 30; and less growth than expected for the fiscal year that starts on July 1.

This announcement comes on the heels of prior midyear budget cuts totaling nearly $118 million. To address the last shortfall, legislative Republicans pushed through a massive de-appropriation that hurt our regent’s institutions and community colleges by stripping them of $20 million. That cut also took millions out of the Department of Corrections, the Department of Public Safety and the Judicial Branch, which has a direct impact on safety for all Iowans. Fortunately, the decision has been made to use the “rainy day fund” for the current shortfall — a reserve that the state has for situations just like this budget shortfall and the last one.

With budget shortfalls like these, it is time we work in a bipartisan fashion to realign our budget with what is good for Iowa. In 2018 alone, the State of Iowa is projected to give out almost $70 million to major corporations via one tax credit, the Research Activities Credit or RAC. That is money that could be used to benefit all Iowans, not just large corporations. Senate Democrats stand ready to work with legislative Republicans and the Branstad-Reynolds Administration to restore fiscal stability to our state budget by investing in local schools and job-creation initiatives, and re-examining out-of-control spending on tax credits.

We must make commonsense decisions that balance the state budget and grow Iowa’s economy.