WBEZ | government spending http://www.wbez.org/tags/government-spending Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Do more jobs mean more government spending? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-08-19/do-more-jobs-mean-more-government-spending-90840 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-20/121225585.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama's bus tour across the Midwest this week could probably be summed up this way: jobs vs. deficits. Americans are clamoring for action on both, but action on jobs might mean more spending, which is a toxic word in Washington, as well as for many small-business owners.</p><p><strong>Difficult decisions</strong></p><p>Terry Frank and her husband own a shop that sells everything from sandwiches to desserts on the Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge, Tenn.</p><p>Frank has been running Nature's Marketplace for 20 years. She and her husband have three boys, two of whom are in college. She tells Laura Sullivan, guest host of weekends on <em>All Things Considered</em>, that since the recession began in 2008, she's had to cut down on her full-time employees.</p><p>"No employer ever wants to cut somebody back or let them go," Franks says, "but then when it's also your livelihood and, you know, my husband and I have to take care of our family and our mortgage payment."</p><p>Frank says she wants to hire more employees and grow her business, but she's afraid.</p><p>"People like me and my husband, we're going to be smart," she says. "We're not going to try to expand or do anything like that if we don't know what tomorrow holds, if we think maybe the other shoe is going to drop and it's all going to implode."</p><p><strong>Government spending</strong></p><p>Frank is an example of the kind of person President Obama was trying to reach during his bus tour this week: Americans who are nervous about government growth and spending, and are therefore too anxious to invest their money to create new jobs.</p><p>Frank sees the government as the source of the current economic problems.</p><p>"I'm not an economist but I know that a lot of the people that I have conversations with know that the government can't continue to spend and the economy grow and do well. It just doesn't work," she says.</p><p>Economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin says he understands Frank's frustrations. He was chief economic policy adviser to Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and today he's president of American Action Forum, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.</p><p>Holtz-Eakin believes that it is possible to create jobs without spending, thus relieving some of the stress that small-business owners like Frank are experiencing all across the U.S. He believes that the answer lies in reforming programs such as Social Security.</p><p>"If we did Social Security reform, nothing would happen today. No current retiree would be affected a bit. Future retirees would know what they're going to get, so they'd be more confident about what they have to do," he says. "The world would see the United States fixing a major entitlement program, have greater confidence in our ability to manage our finances, no more Standard &amp; Poor downgrades, and business would say, 'Yeah, yeah, Washington's not broken. They fixed something that needed [to be] fixed. Great, I feel better about the future, let's go.'"</p><p>Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, sees things differently.</p><p>"We want to spend money. We want to create demand for businesses so that they want to add to their payroll," says Burtless, a former economist with the Labor Department.</p><p>Burtless says the government needs to spend money in order to create more jobs and ultimately calm the fears of consumers and business owners. Some of the governments' spending, he says, could come from borrowing money from foreign governments.</p><p>"The world is willing to buy government debt, and the government — if it's willing to spend this money — can create additional demand to put people to work," he says.</p><p><strong>Obama's jobs proposal</strong></p><p>The president will present a new jobs proposal after Labor Day, and there is a good chance that might require some more government spending.</p><p>NPR's Scott Horsley, who was on the president's bus tour, says he noticed that Obama had begun to express more forcefully his concerns that cutting government spending in the short run is not necessarily the path to prosperity.</p><p>"What Mr. Obama is arguing instead is that the government should spend more money now to try and rev up the economy," Horsley says, "and then recoup that cost later with bigger savings and maybe additional tax revenues down the road."</p><p>Horsley says that while we won't see anything on the scale of the stimulus bill that President Obama signed his first year in office, his proposal will reflect some more modest measures such as extending the payroll tax cut and government help for public works projects.</p><p>"The White House strategy is basically — 'Let's put something on the table that shows the president is thinking about jobs.' If it works, great, and if Republicans keep it bottled up, well, that will be fodder for next year's re-election campaign," Horsley says.</p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Fri, 19 Aug 2011 17:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-08-19/do-more-jobs-mean-more-government-spending-90840 Possible GOP presidential contender visits Chicago http://www.wbez.org/story/2012city-club-chicago/possible-gop-presidential-contender-visits-chicago <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/108639518.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some potential Republican Presidential hopefuls are commemorating President Reagan's 100<sup>th</sup> birthday by heading to Illinois. Reagan was born in Tampico, Ill and spent most of his childhood in Dixon, Ill. One of those Republicans is Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota. He took a break from touring for his new book, &ldquo;Courage to Stand&rdquo; to give a campaign-like address to the City Club of Chicago.</p> <div>Despite being on President Obama&rsquo;s home turf, Pawlenty said he's not intimidated by Chicago or the rest of the predominantly Democratic state.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;This is a hugely important city in a hugely important state,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And if you want to get a pulse on what&rsquo;s going on in the country you gotta see the whole country and that includes Chicago and certainly includes Illinois.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Pawlenty discussed the challenges he faced as a Republican governor in a historically blue state. He also focused his speech on the need to reduce government spending, reform health care and simplify the tax code, which he called a &ldquo;ridiculous, awful system.&rdquo; &nbsp;He said he will make a decision in the next few months on whether he will enter the 2012 presidential race. Meanwhile former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich is also in Illinois today. He is promoting his new book and documentary about Ronald Reagan.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 04 Feb 2011 22:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/2012city-club-chicago/possible-gop-presidential-contender-visits-chicago The lame duck Congress loads appropriations bill with earmarks http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/lame-duck-congress-loads-appropriations-bill-earmarks <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/pork_barrel_graphic.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at </em> <em>1:07 p.m. on 12/15/2010</em></p><p>It looks like the lame duck Congress isn&rsquo;t ready to give up its piggy bank just yet. Over 1,900 pages packed with earmarks and pork-barrel spending provisions arrived on the floor Tuesday.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The omnibus appropriations bill combines more than $1.2 trillion worth of unfinished budget work, combining 12 spending bills into one comprehensive package. Thousands of pet projects are scattered throughout the bill. The so-called earmarks came from both sides of the aisle, despite a recent call for a moratorium on the provisions from Republicans.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>To understand why earmarks, which account for less than 1 percent of the federal budget, are garnering so much attention, &ldquo;Eight Forty-Eight&rdquo; spoke with two Illinois legislators: Democratic <a href="http://jackson.house.gov/" target="_blank">Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.</a> who represents the 2nd District of Illinois and Republican <a href="http://shimkus.house.gov/" target="_blank">Congressman John Shimkus</a> from the 19th District.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Rep. Shimkus said that while he&rsquo;s supported earmarks, after two consecutive years of trillion-dollar spending and the current $13.5 trillion national debt, his feelings have changed. He said excessive spending gave rise to the Tea Party movement.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Cuddy pointed out that some critics argue that eliminating earmarks won&rsquo;t begin to make a dent in the massive debt given their limited share of the federal budget.</p><p>In response, Shimkus argued that this drop in the bucket is a much-needed catalyst for a larger overhaul.</p><p>&ldquo;We have to start somewhere,&rdquo; Shimkus said, &ldquo;And this is a sign that we&rsquo;re now at least starting to get serious. There&rsquo;s a lot more work to do but to say it&rsquo;s irrelevant is not fair.&rdquo;</p><p>But Rep. Jackson said addressing the deficit can only come through tough decisions on overall taxing and spending. This means looking at things like entitlements&mdash;adjusting Medicare or Social Security benefits, military spending and weapons programs, addressing the retirement age and taking a long look at the tax side of the deficit to find responsible ways to raise revenue.</p><p>Jackson further emphasized that earmarks enable members of Congress, not bureaucrats, to ensure funding for vital programs and projects in their districts. When he was elected in 1995, Jackson was able to pointedly place an earmark within an agricultural appropriations bill to provide fresh water for Ford Heights.</p><p>Yet, a recent <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2010/12/10/earmarks-congressional-addicts-in-denial/print/" target="_blank">Harvard Business School study</a> found cause for concern in its conclusion that public money, especially from earmarks, impedes private spending and investment.</p><p>Shimkus accounts the inverse relationship to a lack of the private capital or risk that&rsquo;s generally involved in a good business model.</p><p>But Jackson countered that without an initial public injection, the private sector has no incentive to go into low-income communities.</p><p>&ldquo;Why would the private sector ever choose a low-income community? When does a low-income community ever get water? When do they ever get roads?&rdquo; Jackson asked Shimkus.</p><p>But Shimkus called a lack of confidence in bureaucracy an &ldquo;indictment&rdquo; on our national government and that perhaps such uncertainty is a call to scale back.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 15 Dec 2010 14:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/lame-duck-congress-loads-appropriations-bill-earmarks