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No one could have anticipated, Government Shutdown Edition

9:39 am in Economy, Government, Politics by dakine01

I have been marveling these last few days at the whining coming from various news outlets and elected officials, especially those that tend to be a tad more right wing. It seems they believe that President Obama and the Executive Branch are making some decisions of what gets shutdown a little painful. This from Investors Business Daily probably captures the feeling reasonably well:

President Obama has made the public at large feel as much pain as possible from a government shutdown he’s betting will ultimately be blamed on Republicans; meanwhile, he and other politicians shield themselves from the pain.

US Capitol 2

US Capital

My response to this is “WHAT the FUCK else do they expect? When the government shuts down, that means there are no support people available at national parks and memorials. Funding for contracts is stopped. While there may be funds available for some aspects (Social Security for instance), there are not funds to pay the workers. Different pots of money are involved.

A friend sent me a link to this tweet from the last week of September that details the 17 government shut downs that have occurred since 1976. For six of those, I was on active duty in the USAF, working in the Accounting office. As a GI, I went to work regardless. I knew i would be paid, although maybe not on time if the shutdown lasted for too long. Fortunately for me (and my creditors and landlords), my pay wound up not being interrupted. For another three of the shut downs, I was a direct federal employee and for yet three more, I was a federal contractor. Each time, I was involved in some way or another in planning the response to the shutdown. As a GI or Federal employee, my involvement was generally just to be told yes or no if I was to come into work. As a GI, it was yes. As a civilian employee it was no.

However, as a contractor, I was more deeply involved in the planning of what to do for a shutdown. And we would do the “what-if” planning just about every year as we waited to receive our budget for the year, whether there was a shut down or not. A major part of the “what-if” would be structuring the support levels to provide the minimum required support to our client but do so in the way that could cause the most pain to show how indispensable we were.

As I see the various news reports about things such as the response of various Members of Congress to the shutdown of the World War II Memorial or the stopping of death benefits, part of me sees a bunch of Captain Renault moments (I’m shocked, SHOCKED…) but then I realize that many of these same “SHOCKED” Members of Congress are truly clueless as to how the Federal government is involved in day-to-day life in the US. They are truly clueless as to ALL the ways money is spent. If they actually were capable of thinking through the ramifications of their actions, they would have realized from the beginning how bad the optics are that they would receive their salaries during the shutdown while 800K federal employees go without. They can act like only Congress has to pay for a ‘nice house‘ or are the only ones “who need the pay check.”

I am still trying to figure out why the House gym is considered “essential.” But they are making one sacrifice – they are re-using their dirty towels!

I guess it is possible to be both clueless AND disingenuous.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor
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Recovery? What recovery?

10:29 am in Economy, Jobs by dakine01

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This morning (Sunday, April 8) I was at the laundromat here in beautiful downtown Ruskin, FL and picked up a copy of the local, Tampa area Jobs Finder free newspaper. I’m sure most all of you have seen these free papers for your local area.

As I skimmed this paper, it reinforced for me that there is no economic recovery, at least not in this part of Florida. When I picked the paper up, I noticed it was awfully skinny so I counted pages. Eight whole pages. With large ads covering each page so I counted up all the ads. Thirty-nine ads for 8 pages. Then I looked even closer. Two ads were for the paper itself. Another two ads were for “start your own cleaning company” services. Then I counted nineteen ads for various types of training programs. Not for jobs. For for-profit training programs that might, maybe, if you can afford it and complete it, maybe get you a minimum wage job if you can survive to complete the six month to a year plus training program being offered.

No ads for local delivery drivers. No handyman type ads. No manual labor/construction service ads. No help wanted for local businesses and restaurants. No ads for jobs for any of the thousands of job types one usually sees in these types of free newspapers.

Now granted, this is obviously anecdotal but I would wager that in a lot of parts of the country, this is the current norm. It isn’t much better with the ads on Craigslist or Monster or other online job search services. One of the metrics I use to check for job market improvements is the number of job ads from body shop/consulting services/head hunter agencies versus the number of ads from employers directly. My WAG is that the former ads are running nearly 10 to 1 over the latter. Businesses that are hiring directly are still able to be extremely picky about who they interview and hire.

But I guess we are not to worry. Everything must be getting better since the Beltway Village Idiots Pundits and Politicians seem to be in full pearl clutching mode after DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz went on CNN this morning and accused the Republicans of rooting for the economy to fail. Oh the horror of it all. Too bad that it seems to be beneficial to both parties to have the economy in doldrums. They all seem to forget that the 25M to 30M long term un and underemployed are each and every one, living, breathing, feeling human beings and not just statistics on the page full of numbers

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor

Regulations Are an Opportunity for Job Creating Innovation

1:41 pm in Uncategorized by dakine01

"Opportunity Center" by {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester} on flickr

"Opportunity Center" by {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester} on flickr

Author’s Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

It is an article of faith among Republicans (and far too many Democrats) that all those pesky “regulations” are to blame for the lack of jobs today and the ongoing economic slowdown. Just the first of this month, McClatchy had an article where they had surveyed small business owners across the country and the consensus was that in fact regulations are not the problem for small business but lack of demand is:

When it’s asked what specific regulations harm small businesses _which account for about 65 percent of U.S. jobs — the Chamber of Commerce points to health care, banking and national labor. Yet all these issues weigh much more heavily on big corporations than on small business. 


None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it. Some pointed to the lack of regulation in mortgage lending as a principal cause of the financial crisis that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-09 and its grim aftermath.


Other small firms say their problem is simply a lack of customers.

My bold and I think we see where the folks complaining about regulations are really coming from. While the small businesses are struggling to make traction and find customers, the big businesses are squeezing every penny out of their operations in order to meet the quarterly demands of Wall St. Read the rest of this entry →

Is There Possibility Of A Glimmer Of A Clue?

1:55 pm in Economy, Financial Crisis, Government, Jobs, Media, Unemployment by dakine01

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Clue Game 1960

Clue Game 1960 by Thrift Store Addict, on Flickr

No. It probably isn’t. Probably just some more wishful thinking on my part. Nevertheless, I was quite surprised this morning to see a few pieces around the web pointing out that a “new Republican Jobs bill” was just another tired rehash of the same failed policies of the last thirty years. Ezra Klein at the Washington Post, Paul Krugman at the NY Times, Steve Benen at Washington Monthly all pounded on the Republican “Plan” and for good reason. From the Klein link:

The best evidence that Washington has forgotten about the jobs crisis is to look at the plans emerging to address it. Yesterday’s House GOP plan was a perfect example. It was, as MIT economist David Autor told me, a classic case of “now-more-than-everism”: Everything on the agenda was also on the GOP’s agenda in 2006, in 2002, in 1987, etc. It’s lower taxes, less spending, fewer regulations, more trade agreements, more domestic oil production. You can argue about whether these proposals are good for the economy. But as Autor says, there’s “no original thinking here directed at addressing the employment problem.” 

Actually, you can argue whether those “proposals” are good for the economy as we have thirty years of evidence that they are not good for the economy.

Krugman points to how foolish it is to try to negotiate with the Republicans on these issues (as does Blue Texan at FDL this afternoon). Krugman said:

Anyway, the new “jobs plan” illustrates, once again, the foolishness of believing that we can reach any real bipartisan agreement on economic policy. The GOP stopped thinking a long time ago; all it knows how to do is parrot Reaganite rhetoric over and over. And there’s so little there there that the document — look at it! — has to rely on extra-large type and lots of pointless pictures to bulk it out even to 10 pages. 

Benen is even less forgiving than both Klein and Krugman:

As we discussed yesterday, the jobs agenda, such as it is, is practically a conservative cliche: the GOP wants massive tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation, more coastal oil drilling, and huge cuts to public investment. Republicans are confident this will work wonders, just as they were equally confident about the identical agenda in the last decade, and the decade before that, and the decade before that. 

Indeed, the most glaring problem with the GOP jobs agenda is that it won’t work, but nearly as painful is the realization that it’s already been tried, over and over again, to no avail. They either don’t care or can’t understand the famous axiom: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The agenda is the agenda: tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation, cut public investments. Good times and bad, deficit or surplus, war or peace, it just doesn’t matter.

It’s as if someone bought an iPod, uploaded one song, and hit “shuffle.”

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An Unusual Source Speaks The Truth

9:49 am in Economy, Financial Crisis, Government, Jobs, Media, Unemployment by dakine01

tell truth

tell truth by arimoore, on Flickr

Today (Monday, April 25) CNN has an opinion piece from former George W. Bush staffer David Frum that shocked me, and not in a Capt Renault kind of way.

Technically speaking, the U.S. economy is recovering right now. GDP growth has been positive since the summer of 2009. Employment is growing. If you like, you can say the recession is over.

But don’t say it too loud. With 13.5 million people out of work — 6.1 million out of work for 27 weeks or more — the odds are high that one of them may hear and take offense.

The recovery is weak, and job creation is slow. Everybody knows that. But here’s something that we don’t know, or anyway don’t think about enough: Isn’t it weird that in this dismal economic situation, neither of the two great U.S. political parties is offering a plan to do anything about the job situation?

Frum goes on to note that the Republicans at least have a “plan” (Rep Paul Ryan’s “budget”), even though the “plan” does nothing to help the unemployed, nor does it actually do anything on the budget. He also notes that the Democratic “plan” consists primarily of blasting the Ryan plan.

The administration does however have a political plan: Blast the Ryan plan. Since the Ryan plan is highly politically vulnerable, the blasting will likely hurt the GOP and help President Obama. The blasting will not, however, do much for the unemployed. But then we’ve all sort of given up on them, haven’t we?

I have to give credit when it is due and right now, Frum seems to be one of the few members in presumably good standing of the Village who is actually seeing something close to the reality faced by millions of us within the US today. Annie Lowrey of the Washington Post almost got it correct yesterday before reverting to Beltway cheerleading. The rest of the Very Serious People though are ever so serious as they toil away in the alternative world where the budget deficit is the ultimate problem in the world today. From Robert Samuelson at the Washington Post we get this. Of course in Samuelson’s world, everything is the fault of social spending. How else to explain these two little ‘nuggets’?

Who deserves government subsidies and how much? About 55 percent of spending goes to individuals, including the elderly, veterans, farmers, students, the disabled and the poor.

How much, if at all, should social spending be allowed to squeeze national defense?

Social spending is squeezing national defense? Seriously? I guess if you believe that we need a few more aircraft carrier groups, more nuclear submarines, more advanced fighter jets costing billions each, all relics of the Cold War, then I guess taking care of “the elderly, veterans, farmers, students, the disabled, and the poor,” that’s a squeeze. Enjoy life in that bubble Mr Samuelson.
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Budget Cuts Equal Job Cuts

9:20 am in Economy, Government, Jobs, Unemployment by dakine01

As we see more and more information about the Republican plans for for “austerity” and the budget cuts, we see more and more that all they are offering is the same one-trick pony that they have proposed to solve economic problems since the days of St Ronnie of Raygunz.

Now why would I put the term “austerity” in quotes? Because every time the Republicans make a proposal to cut spending, they also demand a tax cut. From Reuters:

(Reuters) – Republicans in the House of Representatives united on Friday behind a 2012 budget plan slashing trillions of dollars in government spending while cutting taxes — two achievements conservatives say are necessary ingredients for a deal to raise the U.S. debt limit.

In fact, we have quite abundant objective, verifiable evidence from the last thirty years that cutting taxes does not increase revenues nor does cutting taxes cause businesses to create jobs. Yet for some strange reason, the people who continually propose cutting taxes because “it increases revenues and creates jobs” are considered “very serious people” by the Beltway Village Idiots Pundits. However, if tax cuts created jobs and increased government revenues, the past decade would have been a decade with some of the greatest job growth in the history of the US as well as shown a continued decrease to the national debt instead of the exact opposite.

Friday’s (April 15) NY Times had this article describing the impact of the recent budget deal:

It may have kept the federal government from shutting down, but the budget agreement that President Obama struck with Congress will make it harder for some struggling cities to keep their police stations and firehouses staffed.

A program that helps cash-starved cities hire police officers — which has become highly sought-after in recent years as the economic downturn has forced cities from Camden, N.J., to Oakland, Calif., to take the rare step of laying off police officers — was cut by $52 million.

The reduction means that the program, under which the Justice Department awards cities grants that pay the full salary and benefits of new officers for three years, will be able to pay for roughly 200 fewer officers this year than it did last year, when it paid for 1,388 officers.

The budget deal also changed the rules governing a similar program that helps struggling cities hire firefighters — reducing the grants so much, union and city officials said, that many cities may find themselves unable to take advantage of the program.

Fewer cops. Fewer firefighters. Fewer jobs. Reuters presented it this way:

The resolution to keep the government running for the rest of fiscal year 2011 reduced Community Development Block Grants by 16 percent.

Cities, towns and counties rely on the relatively small program to fight homelessness and blight. For months they have campaigned to preserve every cent of the grants as states pull back on aid to local governments.

The cut of roughly $600 million threatens the economic recovery in many places because it will end job-creating projects, said a coalition of groups representing local governments, including the National League of Cities and the Conference of Mayors.


Mostly, states leaders are worried about cuts in spending on services their residents heavily use and they fear they will have to step in with their own funds to make up for the reduced dollars.

The Washington Post today had this article on the cuts to Jobs Training programs:

Facing recession-weary audiences across the country, President Obama frequently highlighted the possibilities of job training for the unemployed.

The new fields of green technology, advanced manufacturing or clean energy would require new skills that job training programs could provide. More education would bolster the workforce and the economy. And at a community college “summit” in October, Obama touted the colleges’ role in providing workers with skills to take advantage of new opportunities.


But details of the budget compromise this week between the president and congressional leaders show federal funding for job training programs has taken a significant hit — more than $870 million in all. Included are cuts to occupational training grants at community colleges, green jobs classes and a program to help low-income older people acquire work skills.

Now I happen to believe that the problems with the economy do not stem from people not having the necessary skills but fall on the lack of demand for goods and services. Even so, if the Republicans actually had a jobs plan of some sort and actually believed that it was a lack of skills causing the high un and underemployment we’re experiencing, then it would seem that creating and maintaining viable training programs would be at the top of the list.

New York Representative Joe Crowley really said it all on the floor of the House the other day – and never opened his mouth.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy

How Many Suicides Will There Be?

10:32 am in Economy, Financial Crisis, Government, Jobs, Unemployment by dakine01

Bread and Circus

Bread and Circus by TRiver, on Flickr

While I was surfing through the various news sites this morning (Friday, March 18), I came across this story from the Los Angeles Times about the apparent suicide of a maintenance worker for Costa Mesa, CA. It seems that Costa Mesa is laying off nearly half of its employees and intending to outsource the work. Of course, the layoff notices have gone out, even though the city is still trying to figure out exactly what they are doing.

Costa Mesa has sent layoff notices to nearly half of its employees in a dramatic austerity program being closely watched by other cities struggling with ballooning pension obligations.

The move was sharply criticized by union leaders, and it stunned city employees, one of whom apparently committed suicide by jumping off Costa Mesa City Hall hours after layoff notices went out Thursday.

City officials said the cuts were the first step in a plan to outsource many services to the private sector and significantly reduce the number of workers at City Hall.


The man reported to have committed suicide, a 29-year-old maintenance worker, was expecting to receive a layoff notice, authorities said. His identity has not been released pending notification of relatives.

Employees were shell-shocked upon receiving the notices Thursday, even before news of the suicide spread.

This article is on the heels of this one from Wednesday’s NY Times on the unemployment rate in El Centro, CA:

For two years, El Centro has struggled with the highest unemployment rate in the country. The latest official figures put it at 28 percent, an improvement from the peak of 32 percent last summer. At unemployment centers, often the most bustling places in town, it is something of a competition to talk about how long a job search has lasted.


California’s agricultural heartland has been hit particularly hard in the downturn — 8 of the 10 metro areas with the highest jobless rates are in the state, in central inland cities like Fresno, Modesto and Merced. But the only area that comes close to El Centro’s unemployment rate is Yuma, Ariz., another border town about 55 miles east of here.


For some people, the unemployment numbers are more of a nuisance than anything. Some relatively well-heeled residents say they do not know anyone without a job. If anyone is not working, they say, it must be because they are not really looking. They point to the large hiring banner in front of the International House of Pancakes.

There has long been a promise that the heat and sunshine will provide work. Local leaders speak excitedly about geothermal plants and solar projects bringing more jobs. Several training programs offer courses to develop skills for that kind of work. But Jesse Aguilar, who completed such a class last year, said that of the 30 in his class, only two have found jobs. Both of them are at fast food outlets.

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Tax Cuts and Gutting of Environmental Regulations Create Jobs?

11:05 am in Economy, Financial Crisis, Jobs, Unemployment by dakine01

Well, well. According to today’s (Thursday, March 10) NY Times, Republicans are becoming a bit sensitive at charges that they really have done virtually nothing to improve the employment situation in the US; especially after having run as jobs creators. Matthew Desmond at offers a pretty good list of what the US House has been doing instead of working on jobs for the un and underemployed but as I noted previously, a lot of their efforts have been primarily directed at destroying jobs related to government service. So what are they going to do? From the Times article:

Mr. Camp said Republicans were strongly encouraging the Obama administration to move forward with free trade pacts that could lead to 250,000 new hires. He noted that half of the eight hearings held by his panel this year were devoted to simplifying and overhauling the tax code to stimulate economic growth. He said he had been in touch with Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, about moving forward with tax law changes.

“Fundamental tax reform is key,” Mr. Camp said. “It is a critical issue for us to work on.”

Mr. Upton said the chief job-creating focus of his panel had been to identify and move to block regulatory efforts by the Obama administration, and specifically the Environmental Protection Agency, that he said would strangle the economy.

Free trade agreements. Tax cuts. Blocking the EPA from protecting people and the earth. Yet there are people who will believe it against all the evidence otherwise. Just last week, Princeton Economics professor Uwe Reinhardt, used a post on the NY Times Economix blog to try to justify Free Trade as overall good for the world without addressing all the ways it is bad for the US. This post was in response to one he had written in February extolling global free trade.

Many readers reminded me, properly, that the American worker who loses a good job would have paid taxes to the United States government that buys the myriad of services, including military defense, that people in our nation enjoy. If the worker who gained a job in Shanghai or Bangladesh pays taxes, they are not paid to our government.

Others mentioned that these displaced workers had contributed in many ways to local charities.

Surprisingly enough, he did admit that a true free trade system would also have free flowing of labor across borders as well.

One Canadian reader, in his comment, wondered why economists who advocate free trade in the flow of goods and capital do not also advocate the free movement of labor among countries.
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February Jobs Reports Coming Out

11:16 am in Economy, Financial Crisis, Jobs, Unemployment by dakine01

Since today (Wednesday March 2) is the first Wednesday of the new month, Automatic Data Processing (ADP) has released their monthly report estimating the new jobs for February for the private sector. As always, the economists were surprised. From Reuters:

(Reuters) – Private sector employers added more jobs than expected last month in a sign of steady improvement in the labor market, ahead of the closely watched non-farm payrolls report from the Labor Department on Friday.

Employers added 217,000 jobs in February, the ADP Employer Services report showed on Wednesday, above expectations for a rise of 175,000. January’s figure was revised higher by 2,000 to 189,000.

Economists said the private-sector hiring indicates improvement in the labor market, though they noted the month-to-month changes in ADP’s report are not always good predictors of Friday’s larger jobs numbers.

There is a quite simple explanation for why the month-to-month changes in the ADP report do not predict the larger report from the DoL Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS reporting includes jobs from all levels including the public sector which has been laying people off even as the pace of hiring has picked up a bit in the private sector.

Of course, even as there was some new hiring in February, layoffs also continued with Reuters also reporting this morning on a report from consultants Challenger Gray & Christmas on an increase in February of the numbers of planned layoffs:

(Reuters) – The number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms rose in February to its highest level in 11 months as government and non-profit employers let workers go, a report showed on Wednesday.

Employers announced 50,702 planned job cuts last month, the highest level since March 2010 and a jump of 32 percent from January’s 38,519, according to the report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. Layoffs were 20 percent higher than the 42,090 announced in February of last year, marking the first year-over-year increase since May 2009.

This doesn’t even begin to get to the jobs that will be lost with the budget cuts pushed by the Republican controlled House of Representatives. According to a report by Moody’s Analytic’s Mark Zandi (via the Washington Post), these cuts will mean 700,00 jobs lost from now through 2012:

A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday.

The report, by Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, offers fresh ammunition to Democrats seeking block the Republican plan, which would terminate dozens of programs and slash federal appropriations by $61 billion over the next seven months.

Zandi, an architect of the 2009 stimulus package who has advised both political parties, predicts that the GOP package would reduce economic growth by 0.5 percentage points this year, and by 0.2 percentage points in 2012, resulting in 700,000 fewer jobs by the end of next year.

Being the good little doobie that he is, the Benbernank is quoted by Reuters as testifying earlier today that the cuts will cause only 200k jobs to be lost. Now isn’t that special. From the Reuters report:

(Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday a Republican spending cut plan would not cause a big dent to U.S. economic growth, but could cost around 200,000 jobs.

Bernanke said that a $60 billion cut along the lines being pursued by Republican in the House of Representatives would likely trim growth by around two-tenths of a percentage point in the first year and one-tenth in the next year.

“That would translate into a couple of hundred thousand jobs. So it’s not trivial,” he said in response to questions from members of the House Financial Services Committee.

Don’t you just love the parsing of his words there. The cuts won’t make a big dent but they aren’t trivial. Nothing like trying to please everyone and pleasing no one.

Of course, things are also not helped when the Law of Unintended Side Consequences comes into play as it has with the recent extension of the Bush (now Bush/Obama) Tax Cuts. It seems the tax cuts are also hitting state budgets to the tune of $5.3B.

Struggling states could lose as much as $5.3 billion in tax collections during the next few years in an unintended consequence of one of the lower-profile federal tax cuts that President Obama signed in December, according to a report released Tuesday.

The tax-cut package the president signed in December is best known for extending the Bush-era tax rates for two years and giving a one-year payroll tax cut to most Americans. But it included a business tax cut that could blow a hole in state budgets: a provision allowing businesses to deduct the full value of new equipment purchases from their taxes through 2011.

That cut, intended to spur the economy by encouraging businesses to spend more money on equipment, could end up costing 19 states as much as $5.3 billion in lost revenue over the next few years, according to the report, by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a research organization based in Washington.

The 19 states stand to lose money because they link their state tax laws to federal tax law. So the newly allowed federal tax deductions that businesses in those states take will lower their taxable incomes, which would in turn have the effect of driving down state corporate and income tax collections.


So we wait until Friday for the official BLS Jobs Report. I usually don’t put a number on the figure of new jobs since I’m not an economist that is always surprised that my figure is wrong. I will however make the bold prediction that the number of new jobs reported Friday for February will be less than half the 217k reported by ADP today. But we shouldn’t worry, Tom Brokaw tells us that all we need are new skills and all will work out in the end.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy

Life Is Not Zero Sum. And Especially Not Marriage Equality

9:44 am in Government, Media by dakine01

I will admit that there are a legion of topics that I have no comprehension of. A lot of things in the hard sciences just escape me. Maybe I don’t have the proper brain connections to understand some topics. I also understand that a lot of things get presented to the public in ways designed to obfuscate a topic rather than to enlighten people. But regardless of how it is presented, for the life of me, I do not understand how Marriage Equality can be considered a zero sum effort yet it is seemingly constantly presented as such.

For the record, I am a hetero male. I love women. I will admit that the vestigial remnants of sexism sometimes manifest in my appreciation of smart, talented, beautiful women. But I do not understand how my love for women is impacted in any way shape or form by Marriage Equality. If I were to find and fall in love with a beautiful woman, a marriage between two men or two other women would have absolutely no impact on my love and possible marriage.

Yesterday there was the news of the Appeals Panel at the 9th Circuit Court deferring their ruling on the Proposition 8 Constitutionality by asking the California Supreme Court if the Defendant Intervenors had standing in the case. FireDogLake coverage of all the Prop8 information is available here.

What some folks may have missed (or forgotten) over the past year is that the state of New Hampshire had legislatively passed a Marriage Equality bill that was signed into law in June of 2009 and effective January 1, 2010. This was after having previously enacted a Civil Unions law a couple of years earlier. After the initial law took effect last year, there were a couple of attempts to repeal the law that were defeated by the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Oh what a difference an election makes. Republicans are once again a majority in both houses of the New Hampshire legislature and have promised to not only repeal the law but to inact a Constitutional Amendment so that it can not be brought back later. From Sunday’s (January 2, 2011) Concord Monitor:

Same-sex marriage was passed by a Democratic-led Legislature in 2009, mostly along party lines. Democratic Gov. John Lynch signed it into law that June, and the first couples were married Jan. 1, 2010. When the gay marriage bill was first introduced, few expected it to pass, and the stunning votes in the Legislature gave activists little time to prepare.

Now, however, the legislative calculus has flipped, with Republicans winning 19 seats in the Senate and 298 seats in the House. It seems likely that a gay marriage repeal will pass the House and Senate. The major question is whether opponents of same-sex marriage will have the two-thirds vote necessary in both chambers to override Lynch’s promised veto. This time, local and national advocates have ample time to prepare their strategies.


For now, there are at least two proposed repeal bills in the Legislature and one constitutional amendment. Only the constitutional amendment has the potential to go on a statewide ballot, but not until 2012. Rep. David Bates, a Windham Republican who proposed two of the bills, said he anticipates moving forward with a repeal bill this session but perhaps not pursuing the constitutional amendment until 2012. A constitutional amendment would require a majority vote of 60 percent in the House and Senate, and a two-thirds’ majority of the state’s voters. The governor would not have a role.

The anti-Marriage Equality groups are pretty much the same ones as with Proposition 8; the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage among the leaders.

As always, this type of fight is a marathon battle and not a sprint but I would like to request the folks who have friends and family in New Hampshire to talk to them about fighting these repeal efforts. We do not need to take away rights from people. According to the Monitor article linked above, there have been 975 same sex marriages in New Hampshire in the last year. The law establishing Marriage Equality also allowed for the previously established civil unions to convert to marriage on January 1, 2011 raising the total of marriages to roughly 1500 (per wiki). Let loving couples and established familes stay as loving couples and families without further interference.

Two articles from AmericaBlog here and here on the topic.

New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition

And because I can: