Letters to the editor (02/16/13)

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RCA flea market to return in April
Editor:
First of all, the Rio Communities Association thanks everyone who has supported our flea market in the past, committee, vendors and shoppers alike.
We particularly thank the food vendors, as often their participation is a barely break-even experience. We also thank those who bake for the flea market and donate their gently-loved items.
And double thanks to the Flea Market Committee and the guys who put out the signs. And also to VIA for the use of the building, and the News-Bulletin for their timely announcements.  We could not function without the teamwork of all these folks.
The RCA Flea Market will be closed March 2. We  will re-open on Saturday, April 6, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Room 371 of the Valley Plaza Center. We hope to see all of you there.
If you want to volunteer at the flea market, please contact the RCA office at 861-0090 or info@riocommunities.org.
In the meantime, the Pilot Club Sale will remain  open for business from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, March 2, in the Valley Plaza Center.  Enter through Room 371.  See their announcement in the “Noticias” section of this paper.
Again, thanks for your past support and we look forward to seeing you on April 6 and thereafter.

Mary Trefsgar
RCA Secretary

The answer is stimulus, not more layoffs
Editor:
Mr. Travis Thoms recently critiqued a letter of mine for writing style, word choice and lack of citations. I won’t waste anyone’s time wrangling over style, but I generally agree with Mr. Thoms’ other two points.
Referring to yet another letter, I had used the word “astroturf” rather than the more accurate “plagiarism,” mostly to avoid the harsher, more legalistic term. Regarding citations, I’m all for ‘em. The difficulty arises in including citations without running on and on forever.
Also, condensing general information from several sources is not the same as lifting long chunks of somebody else’s work without attribution. Even so, I hope Mr. Thoms will crack down on citation-less writers from all political viewpoints.
But in his zeal to correct my shortcomings, Mr. Thoms ignored the main point — different economic remedies from Democrats and Republicans. Examples from history and from other nations pretty much agree.
In the business journal Forbes, Adam Hartung reviewed the recent book “Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box” by Bob Deitrick and Lew Goldfarb. Hartung says “The authors looked at a range of economic metrics including inflation, unemployment, corporate profit growth, stock market performance, household income growth, economy (GDP) growth, months in recession and others.  To their surprise … they discovered that [Republican] laissez faire policies had far less benefits than expected, and in fact produced almost universal negative economic outcomes for the nation!”
Hartung included a mind-boggling finding. “If you invested $100k for 40 years of Republican administrations you had $126k at the end, if you invested $100k for 40 years of Democrat administrations you had $3.9M at the end”
Other national economies also indicate that, for climbing out of a recession, the typical Democratic policy mix of some budget cuts combined with stimulus spending and tax hikes on the wealthiest works better than the Republican mix of drastic cuts in social programs, deregulation, layoffs of public sector workers and massive tax cuts concentrated on the higher brackets.
England’s wrenching program of austerity has failed miserably. In The New Yorker article “It’s Official: Austerity Economics Doesn’t Work,” John Cassidy says of England’s conservative approach, “Any decent economics textbook will tell you that, other things being equal, cutting government spending causes the economy’s overall output to fall, tax revenues to decrease, and spending on benefits to increase.”
Iceland took a different direction. The New York Times editorial “Fighting Recession the Icelandic Way” begins, “Few countries blew up more spectacularly than Iceland in the 2008 financial crisis. The local stock market plunged 90 percent; unemployment rose ninefold; inflation shot to more than 18 percent; the country’s biggest banks all failed.”
But rather than bailing out their banks and letting citizens sink into foreclosure and poverty, Iceland threw a bunch of corrupt bankers into jail and offered homeowners  “write-offs that would wipe out debt above 110 percent of the property value,” along with other subsidies. And Iceland came roaring back.
Closer to home, let’s look at a couple of U.S. states. California’s economy is looking better than it has in years, and better than the national average.
New York Times writer Adam Nagourney ascribes the success to Gov. Jerry Brown hiking taxes temporarily to avoid up to $6 billion in education cuts, along with deep budget cuts in recent years. Success resulted from a mix of remedies, not just more floggings for the 99 percent.
And finally, there’s our beloved New Mexico, with its gubernatorial layoff policy. In High Country News, Jonathan Thompson describes how our state’s recovery is badly trailing the rest of the nation. “[Albuquerque’s economy] is not only near the bottom in the U.S., but at 282nd place it’s competing with Athens, Naples and Madrid as one of the worst performing economies in the world. It has lost employment, lost GDP and shows absolutely no signs of recovery, remaining in full recession.”
Thompson describes some of our economic challenges — scarce water, extreme income inequality, fluctuating fossil fuel prices, and heavy reliance on government spending.
But the solution is not more layoffs and austerity, it’s stimulus, even if we have to dip into the state’s bloated permanent funds.

Laura Sanchez
Los Lunas