Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fiscal Stimulus Hits (Near To) Home

My oldest daughter, Meagan, who is about to turn 38 and is a single mother with a four and three quarters years old son, Charlie, works with disturbed teenagers in the Bay area in CA for an NGO that depends on public funds. Nearly a year ago her hours were cut back so that she lost her health insurance. She phoned me last night to tell me that thanks to an infusion of federal stimulus money, she will be put back on full time employment with her health insurance restored.

I also note that at James Madison University where I teach, the governor of the state mandated a 15% budget cut to us, which would have entailed layoffs. However, thanks to stimulus funds, it will be only about 8%, which although still entailing furloughs and plenty of cutting, will at least avoid any layoffs.


Myrtle Blackwood said...

On the other hand, the bailout, appears to have resulted in yet more corporate mergers and acquisitions.

Of particular concern is the buyup of common water resources (and the political will to privatise water). I can see that the much higher water charges being implemented in Australia will have a distinctly 'anti-stimulatory' effect.

Kaleberg said...

Congratulations. I've seen lots of good jobs saved and created by stimulus money out here. Glad to hear about your daughter. It makes me feel good about my tax dollars again.

I can believe Australia is having some convulsions over water pricing and allocation. Isn't the Darling River running kind of low lately? It isn't quite the 1930s dust bowl, but it can't be good news.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

Yes, congratulations to Meagan and the people she is attempting to assist. I hope that the dollars will extend to badly-needed services for these kids. I know that it has been very frustrating for me when I have tried to refer struggling individuals to advertised services and then discover many of these didn't actually provide what was promised.

A significant number of farmers are committing suicide. The Coorong (at the mouth of the Murray River) has experienced a 50% drop in bird population in the last 12 months due to lack of fresh water. Dust storms are now appearing in the dryer months in the town where I was born (on the Murray). Acid is forming in some parts of the dried out river bed and killing vegetation and fish.

Some observers of this unfolding crisis are writing that many rural towns will lose their economic base and become unviable in terms of sustaining most of the existing residents. Home vegetable gardens are very difficult to keep alive (the dry, the wildlife converging for a feed, the more intense heat and evaporation).