Three news items from yesterday:
The State of Michigan, which has a constitutional requirement for a balanced budget, was briefly shutdown when there was no budget on October 1. The legislature passed an emergency 30-day extension of the prior budget to get things moving again, but another standoff is likely, with the controlling party in the house adamant that there will be no tax increases and the governor insisting that the proposed cuts are too deep and tax increases are necessary. This is the second time this has happened in three years. The problem is that our politicians are more concerned about being right than they are in doing what is right for their constituents.
On the national level, the increase in joblessness took a higher than expected jump. It seems that businesses just aren’t willing to hire more people — and I don’t blame them. They know that any healthcare reform is going to cost them more for each employee — they just don’t know how much more. So until a bill is passed or the issue killed, they will likely sit tight on more hiring. It is ironic that increasing employment will be what pulls us out of the recession, but our elected officials seemingly take every opportunity to blame, vilify, and regulate businesses, making it more difficult for them to do just that.
Internationally, the city of Chicago lost its bid to host the 2016 Olympics, being eliminated on the first round. President Obama made an unprecedented appeal for his home town. I suspect that it backfired with the Olympic committee who likely wanted to avoid the perception that they were influenced by the “most powerful man in the world.” It would be interesting to know the outcome had the president stayed home — it certainly wouldn’t have been any worse.
So in one day, politics got in the way of a balanced budget, increasing employment, and hosting the Olympics. Let’s hope for some better news next week.