Cheese Sandwich Regurgitation

Government_Surplus_CheeseI can’t lie –  I was pretty pissed off when I first heard of the Albuquerque Public Schools cheese sandwich debacle a few months ago.

Growing up in Southeastern New Mexico as a child in a low-income family, I know how it feels to have to eat a free lunch and be scorned by other students for not being able to pay for it.  Yet, APS took it to a whole other level when it began punishing students because their parents didn’t pay their lunch tab.

Yet, now we just learned from APS Superintendent Winston Brooks that the district had money to cover the lunch debt all along.  In fact, the $140,000 lunch debt reported by the district seems rather insignificant when compared to the $16 million that APS just “discovered.”

But this is not to say that that the lunch debt is the biggest issue here.  It just automatically came to mind because this “discovery” of money could have led to many APS children eating healthier and not being degraded as a result of eating the “poor kids” lunch.

Let’s face it…

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What’s the big secret?

So, the Treasury Department, under the threat of subpoena, finally agrees to release the contracts for institutions that are receiving bailout money or TARP funds to a senate subcommittee (link). But, Carl Levinson, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee on investigations, has made it known that he doesn’t plan on exposing them to the public but has yet to give a reason. Considering that the TARP program was meant to stimulate the financial sector and encourage increased lending, which hasn’t been happening, I do believe that it makes sense for the public to be aware of the conditions that these institutions are supposed to be held to.

See also TPM Muckracker.

Transparency, Got to Love It

As I am constantly reading about the proposed $775 billion dollar stimulus package that is being developed by the Obama administration the word that immediately comes to mind is transparency. At this point, most seem to agree that drastic measures need to be taken, but the extent of those measures is up for debate. Obama, however, has done a very good job at rolling out compromises by attempting to include a balance between tax cuts and new spending. Continue reading

The Economic Czar

The recent naming of Larry Summers as head economic advisor to President-elect Obama was met with different reactions. Some progressives expressed concern about his role in the deregulation drive of the 1990’s, while some conservatives were probably alarmed by his ideas about straightening out inequality.

I must admit, I have mixed feelings about Summers. Notwithstanding his inartful comments regarding women and science, and despite his role in pushing deregulation of the financial markets, he displays two important traits – traits too often in short supply.

First, and take this with a grain of salt because I actually don’t know the guy, he appears to have learned from both his own mistakes and the mistakes of other countries. His revised position on deregulation, as well as his position on countries facing a credit crisis shows me he is not an ideologue. Continue reading

Green Jobs: A Fresh Opportunity

As the election craze winds down and we all start to take a breath and look at the new turn our country is taking, it can be pretty difficult to settle with complete optimism. A major issue that we still face is the growing unemployment rate our nation is facing.

As of October, it was reported at 6.5% but is projected to rise up to 8% in the next year. People are losing jobs, layoffs are rampant across industries, and for most underemployment is another major concern as it stands at a rate of 11.8%, its highest in 14 years according to the Economic Policy Institute. Continue reading

Firing up the Forum

Last Thursday, we held our first Clearly New Mexico online forum. The topic for the evening was all things “economy” and our featured guest was Professor Melissa Binder from UNM’s economics department.

I must say, I really didn’t know what to expect. I was uncertain about our technology selection (U Stream). And, I really had no idea about attendance, or if participants would be willing to get actively involved.

Boy, was I pleasantly surprised! Continue reading

Countdown to the Economic Forum

This evening, Clearly New Mexico will sponsor a virtual economic forum. The forum will be broadcast live, right here on our website, and will feature University of New Mexico Economics Professor Melissa Binder.

Regardless of your views on the economic crisis, regardless of your position on the federal bailout, we invite you to join us for the discussion.

Professor Binder will open with a short statement and then we will open the floor to forum participants for questions and comments. If you choose, you can also chat with other forum participants via our U Stream chat function.

This will be a bit of an experiment for Clearly New Mexico, but we certainly look forward to it!