CommunityPam's House Blend

DKos: Jim Neal on the economy's alarming vital signs

(UPDATE: the diary is up to over 100 comments, with Jim answering questions in the thread.)

Head over to Daily Kos and read NC U.S. Senate candidate Jim Neal’s Recommended Diary, If it’s about the economy…..the vital signs are alarming.

Here’s what scares me about our economy. The facts are pretty clear cut: the collapse in the mortgage/ derivative securities market has begun rippling through the economy. Only $50 billion of the estimated $400 billion in losses sustained by investors in exotic mortgage/derivative securities have been accounted for. Our largest financial institutions have been weakened. Given the rapid decline in the value of the dollar during the Bush Administration’s unchecked stewardship of our economy, there is a very real concern that the Euro may displace the dollar as the gold standard held by investors and central banks worldwide. Should that happen, the dollar would weaken even further and, to put it simply, our economic strength would be undermined dramatically.

What does this all mean for the average American? For one, it means that at least 2 million middle-class Americans are going to lose their homes to foreclosure. It means that consumer spending, the engine that drives our economy, is going to significantly tighten, slowing our economy and putting people out of work. It means that homeowners will face continued depreciation in the value of their homes. It means that those same homeowners won’t be able to tap the equity they once had in their homes as an ATM.

MIA Senator Liddy Do-Nothing Dole has to go. Jim Neal knows that the fact that he’s running as an openly gay is historic and newsworthy, but he also knows that ultimately it is secondary to the fact that he’s stepping up to ask to serve the economic interests of Tar Heels — something Dole hasn’t been doing, and voters are ripe for change.

And his diary shows what needs to be done. Read below the fold.

When markets go through periods of shock and realignment, the last line of defense for middle class Americans at risk should be their elected representatives in Washington. That’s not the case today. Much of Washington has lost touch and isn’t listening to the people that sent them there.

I have some thoughts about what Washington should be doing.

   * Expand the scope, local participation and lending limits of the SBA’s new and innovative Micro-Loan program. Creating, building, and supporting local companies and entrepreneurs engenders what I like to call home-grown wealth. The money stays home and translates into higher tax revenues, consumer spending, sustainable local jobs, and economic opportunities for working and middle-class families.

   * Invest in alternative sources of energy (wind, solar, geo-thermal), making the U.S. a global leader in the creation and development of alternative energy technology, reducing energy costs, and the creation of sustainable jobs. By repealing the tax breaks we dole out to big oil and investing in alternative energy sources, not only will our economy improve, but our national and environmental security will as well. Economic and social innovation builds stronger communities.

   * Universal Health Care for every man, woman, and child in America. Quality, affordable health care should be a right and not a privilege. In crafting a Universal Health Care program, incentives must be set for the delivery of health care, not sick care. We simply must drive the numbers down across the board: patient expenditures, provision of services, prescription drug prices, health care insurance and a simplified Medicare system. The real problem, however, isn’t health care providers, drug companies and insurances companies. They are the culprits-but the blame rests squarely with politicians who have not forced change. I understand that in order to change, you must do things differently.

   * Invest in Education by restoring Pell Grant funding, reforming and funding NCLB, and wide ranging investment to attract our youth to public service, especially public school teachers, through financial incentives and loan payback programs.

These steps aren’t going to be easy. We need to have serious discussions in this country about our priorities. The principal body which is elected to initiate these discussions and forge solutions is the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is time that we, the taxpaying public, hold our elected officials to a higher standard of accountability.

Surf over and engage in the comments. Jim Neal’s in it to win; it’s too bad that the DSCC doesn’t like a level playing field if that candidate is out of the closet in a southern state. Charlotte Observer:

Schumer and the national Democrats, who boast of their party’s inclusiveness, effectively ignored Neal, who is openly gay. After he announced his campaign in October, he telephoned Schumer. The call wasn’t returned. Neal was the first Democrat to step up to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Instead, Schumer, of New York, called Hagan, who had taken herself out of the race, and encouraged her to jump back in. She later did.

…Neal, however, falls into a coveted category of candidates: self-funder, someone who will sink a chunk of his own wealth into the race. Such candidates typically get at least a courtesy meeting from their party’s national political committees, particularly in the state where former U.S. Sen. John Edwards showed that an unknown with a lot of money can succeed.


* Recap of the Pam’s House Blend live blog with U.S. Senate candidate Jim Neal

Jim Neal’s official campaign web site is here. His ActBlue page is here.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding