Wednesday, July 30, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

The year ahead

By
From page A4 | January 03, 2014 |

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.

Comments

comments

Mountain Democrat

.

News

 
District 2 candidate statements tell of goals

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Sand Fire nears containment: 66 structures destroyed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Tails wagging over dog park approval

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A3

Quarter-acre fire in Kelsey

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3

 
Schedule for Highway 50 blasting closures

By News Release | From Page: A3

.

Opinion

My Turn: Privatization of public services

By Mark Belden | From Page: A4

 
Policy book

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Private property gets no respect

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
GDPUD management report

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

District 2 supervisorial special election

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Piano replaced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Comments sign-in policy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Save the Guinea Worm

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Large bangs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
.

Sports

Taz pull through for SSL trophy

By Patty Pope | From Page: A8

 
Ex-Bruin lends a helping hand

By Steven Shaff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Sierra Sharks finish middle of the pack

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

 
Roundup: July 29, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

.

Prospecting

Nuns discover a pleasant place

By Lexi Boeger | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bargains can be found everywhere

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

At a glance: Game time

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Barbecue dinner to benefit Blue Star Moms

By Mount Aukum Winery | From Page: B2

Stagecoach story takes riders on a trip

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B3

 
Help needed to make cool ties

By Sew 4 | From Page: B3

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings planned

By Life Line Screening | From Page: B3

 
Gold Rush Days activities cancelled this year

By Sacramento Convention And Visitors Center | From Page: B4

Master Food Preservers: Tomato time

By Monique Wilber | From Page: B4

 
Build an author platform at the Library

By El Dorado | From Page: B5

 
Sacramento area museums offer summer fun

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B5

.

Essentials

Weather stats 7-29-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Building permits 6/2-6/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

Crime Log: July 17

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Merlyn Wilbur Adams

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Lisa Oliver Rose

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

.

Women’s Health

Love the skin you’re in

By Noel Stack | From Page: WH4

Dump stress and improve your health, productivity

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: WH7Comments are off for this post

Women’s Health Expo

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH8

Find the confidence you need to fight back

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH12

Our choices directly affect our health

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH14

They’re NOT your mother’s hearing devices!

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH17