Conservative politicians of both parties are frequently guilty of hypocrisy when it comes to the issue of government’s role in job creation. Most of the time, these pols parrot the market fundamentalist line that government can do nothing to promote economic growth — except, that is, when the issue is a government program or expenditure in their district.

Think Progress posted some new and classic examples late yesterday. of conservative politicians trying to have it both ways.


This morning, Raleigh’s News & Observer was kind enough to publish an essay I wrote that details some of the history of unemployment insurance in the United States, its importance in making our economy work more effectively and the recurring, counter-productive efforts by various misguided groups to undermine it. Unfortunately, space limitations forced the elimination of  a couple of passages from my original draft.

Happily, the folks at NC Policy Watch (for whom I hope to be contributing on an occasional basis in the days to come) have been kind enough to allow me to publish the entire piece below. I hope you will enjoy it.

Unemployment compensation: A win-win for business and families Read More


From this morning’s Charlotte Observer:

“WEDDINGTON — The Union County School Board reluctantly decided Tuesday night to slash more than 400 classroom positions in July, to deal with a $10 million budget shortfall.

In a meeting at Antioch Elementary School, the board voted unanimously to eliminate about 55 teaching positions and more than 350 teacher assistant jobs. The cuts will go into effect at the start of the 2012-13 fiscal year, July 1, and will be felt in classrooms when school starts in August.

Superintendent Ed Davis said the budget shortfall is caused, in part, by the end of federal stimulus money.”

The story might have noted further that House Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger et al. knew that the federal stimulus money was ending (heck their allies in DC made it happen!) and still pursued their reckless and counter-productive tax and budget cuts.


For some people any government spending is full of “waste, fraud, and abuse”. For these people no matter how the government operates, no matter how we spend our tax money, there is “waste, fraud and abuse”.

One of the things I have learned is that there is always ‘waste and abuse”, and probably a little “fraud” in the way any organization from the largest corporation to the smallest not for profit, from small town governments to big states. If we spent the time to get rid of all of the “waste”, we would be “wasting” time making certain we weren’t “wasting” money, which means we would be “wasting” money.

We need to be sure that the money is spent the way we want it to be- creating jobs- not enriching the same contractors and companies who have done business with the governments forever. We need to be less concerned about traditional “waste, fraud, and abuse” and more about making certain that the money does what it is intended to do – take care of the average American, give people good jobs with liveable wages.

So as federal, state, and local governments spend our economic stimulus money, we need to hold the governments accountable. The stimulus spending must live up to the accountability that President Obama and Governor Perdue have promised. We need to ask how the money is being allocated, who is getting contracts and subcontracts.

Take the time to ask the questions. Go to the websites–, and see if what shows up on the web matches what you see in your community.