Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

The year ahead

By
From page A4 | January 03, 2014 | 22 Comments

Most economists are pointing to 2014 as a pretty good year for the economy. That is likely to translate locally as “could be worse,” but there remains optimism in the air about the local economic outlook. Not that anyone is going on a hiring binge.

Some hopeful signs at the end of 2013 point the way toward 2014. The El Dorado Irrigation District collected $1 million more in hookup fees than it had budgeted. That leads one to be optimistic about new construction picking up the pace in 2014. One caveat here, though, is the self-appointed development scolds who call themselves the Measure Y Committee.

The El Dorado County General Plan is generally a conservative growth plan that should be allowed to do its job. It was approved by a vote of the electorate. With carpool lanes built all the way from Cameron Park to Watt Avenue, we see no reason not to consider new subdivisions in the west end of the county. Freezing the population in place will only mean the cost of everything from fire service, ambulance, water and sewer service is going to become more expensive for existing residents. A growing population means spreading the basic costs of government service among more people, thus lowering the basic cost per person. More people will mean water rate hikes being lower or close to none.

Nationally, the stock market ended the year on an up note and finally the Federal Reserve Board began winding down its bond buying spree. Maybe banks will start paying savers a better interest rate.

Another hopeful sign is that the Social Security Administration has finally got control of its administrative law judges that were handing out Social Security Disability claims like Halloween candy. The SSA is rewriting the job description for  those judges from “complete independence” to”subject to supervision and management.” That followed a 2011 Wall Street Journal report that found, “Dozens of judges awarded benefits in more than 90 percent of their cases, while others were much less likely to find someone unable to work, denying benefits in more than 80 percent of their cases, data showed.”

While the average SS Disability award was 67 percent in 2010, by 2013 it was 56 percent. That’s the power of the press in shining a light on what had become a backdoor welfare program for those whose extended unemployment had run out and didn’t want to move to where the jobs are. Meanwhile we are stuck with the bill. In 2003 SSA paid $71 billion in disability claims to 7.6 million people. In 2012 it paid $137 billion to 10.9 million people.

We’ll really know the recession is behind us when the birth rate ticks back up. Keying on U.S. Census Bureau information, the Washington Post reported Tuesday that the U.S. population grew only 0.7 percent in 2013. The last time the country grew more slowly was the Great Depression from 1932 to 1937.

The real drag on the economy in 2014 and beyond is going to be the unaffordable health care act. With more than 5 million individual policies canceled because they don’t have the bloated and irrelevant benefits and outrageously high deductibles of Obamacare, the country is going to be staring into a health care abyss. With only a tad more than 1 million signing up for expensive Obamacare plans or Medicaid, despite deadline changes and other shifting administrative changes to the law, it is looking like an economic disaster for the health insurance industry, doctors, hospitals and patients. And the economic bloodbath hasn’t hit the employer insurance market yet.

Sorry to end this editorial on a downer. The general economy looks promising as GDP is predicted to grow 2.6 percent in 2014, according to the Kiplinger Report. But the government chokehold on the one-sixth of the economy related to our health care will keep the economy from hitting on all eight cylinders.

Mountain Democrat

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Discussion | 22 comments

  • Wmwelty@gmail.comJanuary 03, 2014 - 9:51 am

    "A growing population means spreading the basic costs of government service among more people, thus lowering the basic cost per person. More people will mean water rate hikes being lower or close to none." Since we're just talking platitudes, without facts, suffice it to say that water rates will increase if you run out of water to distribute and need to mine for more. And, ignoring Measure Y and the public's preference for low growth pursuant to expanding the base undermines confidence in governance. We need a real economic analyses of impacts of slow growth, lower TIM fees, etc., before making policy decisions that would ruin the county forever. Bill

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  • Jack MartinJanuary 03, 2014 - 10:01 am

    The economy is not going to grow at the rates many optimists are predicting. The reason is that it will take a few months into 2014 to BEGIN to realize the impact of Obamacare on the economy. Right now, the economy is seeing a few positive markers, but those will turn south as the Obamacare's practical impacts ramp up. It's only logical: Healthcare represents 1/6th of the US economy, how can tearing it apart and re-making it (poorly, by all reliable measures) NOT impact the economy? http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/07/31/who-can-deny-it-obamacare-is-accelerating-u-s-towards-a-part-time-nation/

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  • EvelynJanuary 03, 2014 - 8:09 pm

    Here the M.Dem. laments taxpayer burdens. Elsewhere (same edition) it calls Sacramento taxpayers resisting a $304 million City debt to subsidize downtown developers and Kings owners"a selfish minority".

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  • cookie65January 04, 2014 - 8:16 am

    The year ahead will follow the same path of destruction we have been on for the last 5. Aside from the quaint warm fuzzy slogans used to inoculate the koolaid drinkers, leftism's end game is what North Korea is today.

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  • cookie65January 04, 2014 - 8:42 am

    The obama regime is staying the course on their path of destruction. kim jong un has some competition. http://dailycaller.com/2014/01/03/happy-new-year-feds-list-141-new-regulations-in-only-3-days/

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  • EllenJanuary 04, 2014 - 8:55 am

    "The El Dorado County General Plan is generally a conservative growth plan that should be allowed to do its job." Exactly; Measure Y policies are part of the General Plan, and part of what keeps the growth conservative. ...and... "With carpool lanes built all the way from Cameron Park to Watt Avenue, we see no reason not to consider new subdivisions in the west end of the county." You are suggesting that the law be disregarded. Per Caltrans (the Hwy 50 authority...), the carpool lanes will not eliminate the level of service F. It does not matter if YOU do not see the reason for large subdivisions; the LAW - and our General Plan - does not allow them to continue to be built.

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  • EvelynJanuary 04, 2014 - 10:15 am

    "The Case of the Missing Recovery" - HERE

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  • Dink LaneJanuary 04, 2014 - 10:39 am

    El Dorado County is the 5th wealthiest in the state. But you look at the jobs in this country and it's government and film industry jobs. This country has to "encourage" MORE JOBS!.... not new homes.... ..... The MD is doing a 3-part series about water..... and we want MORE residents in a tight-water battle?.... Cookie and Evelyn say "No revenue"..... Revenues comes from people buying things, businesses moving INTO EDC and logging companies processing their own logs (The harvesting of logs goes OVER-SEAS)....... Timber sales support this county..... Look at Google Earth..... There is harvesting going on..... It's NOT environmentalist..... It's Corporate $$$$$ GREED -- workers aren't the enemy..... Tax-Breaks are.... ...... Ask Sierra-Pacific-Industries how they made Record Profits IF they aren't harvesting???............TAX-BREAKS going over-seas.......... This county should focus on JOBS, JOBS, JOBS,.....

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  • EvelynJanuary 04, 2014 - 11:51 am

    Dink: Did you read the article I posted?

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  • Phil VeerkampJanuary 04, 2014 - 12:34 pm

    Dink, why is EDC any better than Ventura for business? ~~~ LINK - A Milestone to Celebrate: I Have Closed All My Businesses in Ventura County, California

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  • James E.January 04, 2014 - 11:01 am

    Dink, Tea/Republicans don't want jobs. They want the economy to limp along so they can accuse President Obama being responsible for no jobs. This would have changed had Mitt been elected. With Mitt, it would have been more jobs, but slave jobs with the minimum wage being abolished so $2.00 an hour would be the norm. Profit first, people second. Wow, legal slaves, think of it!!

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  • Dink LaneJanuary 04, 2014 - 12:56 pm

    Evelyn: Yes, and I agree somewhat.... 1. Doolittle told a group of us from El Dorado County that we "Needed to hire a lobbyist" to voice our concerns.... so he's close to right.... 2. Ever notice the ONLY people charged -- Madoff and Sandford -- with a crime ...... were those who ripped off the Wealthy!..... My retirement in the Stock market sucked up to 1/2 of what it once was..... thanks to financial advisers....

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  • Dee#1January 04, 2014 - 1:08 pm

    More proof of global warming--------US Coast Guard ice breaker to assist ships beset in ice in Antarctica------- The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has requested the US Coast Guard’s Polar Star icebreaker to assist the vessels MV Akademik Shokalskiy and Xue Long which are beset by ice in Commonwealth Bay.------------- The US Coast Guard has accepted this request and will make Polar Star available to assist.-------- The Polar Star has been en route to Antarctica since 3 December, 2013 – weeks prior to the MV Akademik Shokalskiy being beset by ice in Commonwealth Bay. The intended mission of the Polar Star is to clear a navigable shipping channel in McMurdo Sound to the National Science Foundation’s Scientific Research Station. Resupply ships use the channel to bring food, fuel and other goods to the station. The Polar Star will go on to undertake its mission once the search and rescue incident is resolved.

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  • Dink LaneJanuary 04, 2014 - 1:23 pm

    And that's NOT a "Change"?........ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/04/northeast-snow-storm_n_4541126.html

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  • cookie65January 05, 2014 - 7:36 am

    dink, ever hear of WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER AND FALL?

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  • Dink LaneJanuary 04, 2014 - 1:25 pm

    Or how about this for "Change" ...... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/03/cold-us-temperatures_n_4538827.html?ref=topbar

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  • Dink LaneJanuary 04, 2014 - 1:29 pm

    Or how about a RECORD Typhoon last month...... or a RECORD Tornadoes last fall....... or Hurricane Sandy in OCT so far up the coast........ NONE of this is CHANGE? ..... Are the American people that stupid?

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  • PatriceJanuary 04, 2014 - 3:01 pm

    Some are that stupid, Dink!

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  • Dee#1January 04, 2014 - 7:19 pm

    Dink,"My retirement in the Stock market sucked up to 1/2 of what it once was..... thanks to financial advisers."-------Let me get this straight you make enough money to put some away for retirement but you aren't giving that ill gotten money freely to the government for the poor and desperate. You actually invested that money in the "Stock Market"? A gambling enterprise that depends on (horror) profits of businesses to increase their worth for YOUR PROFITS? But of course the loss is not your fault, it is the fault of your financial advisers. Hypocrisy lives well in your brain.-------Oh, by the way, my family arrived on the Maryland shores in 1635.

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  • ObservationJanuary 05, 2014 - 6:54 am

    It is motherhood and apple pie to expound on the need for more jobs, but no growth is a path to no job growth. The growth of Sacramento is a curse and a blessing for the extreme western edge of the county. EDH and Cameron Park were developed and grew because they were and still are largely bedroom communities of the upwardly mobile. It is more than a little ironic that people choosing to live in manufactured cultures, some form of a planned community, tout no growth. This is an ideology that if successful 10, 20 or 30 years ago would have denied many of them their existence in the community today. The "in" county jobs created on extreme western edge of the county over the past 50 years were largely construction and retail neither of which are any better than low to moderate compensation. Small business growth continues to occur, but the success stories are built on servicing the upwardly mobile, those same wealthy transplants. Recruiting new businesses or creating new jobs organically requires investment to grow and construction is a component to that equation. A place to live, an opportunity to own a home in this county for middle income earners and the working class is a real issue and a barrier to significant business recruitment. Even today, where does the front line staff excluding management of BC/BS or DST which constitutes +/- 2000 people actually live?? There is a reason that these companies located on the edge of Sacramento and not in the heart of El Dorado County. Obstructionists of local projects often rationalize that they are not no growth. However, the unanswered question always remains: If not in my backyard, then where? Development and construction are not solutions by themselves, but neither is no growth. The conversation needs to shift to get to solutions.

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  • Dink LaneJanuary 05, 2014 - 1:27 pm

    EDC's Board of Supervisors....... Republicans...... Right? (Even Nutting)....... Taxes EDC's Small Businesses on their tools & equipment... EVERY Month...... So tell me how Republicans are Encouraging Small Businesses AGAIN..... Oh, it's the Tax-Credit breaks to small businesses who pay to provide their employees benefits.......... Not the MONTHLY TAX-Charges paid to this Republican County set up by the Republican Board of Supervisors.... Right?..... Why don't you FIGHT for Small business on that issue????? Both sides consider Small Businesses as their personal Bank.... Republican slip this **** in and then tell you it's the Democrats ...

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  • cookie65January 05, 2014 - 7:35 am

    France is suffocating under socialism. They are destroying the economic engine that funds leftist idiocy. I am not sure exactly what dinky is whining and sniveling about, this is the utopia he votes for. http://www.newsweek.com/fall-france-225368

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