November 05, 2012

Good point

We hear a whole lot in this political season about President Obama's "War on Coal," which is basically a cynical way to assign the blame for the industry's woes, many of which are due to basic market forces, on a person who just happens not to be white. The specific political subtext in all this is the assumption that if the president's opponent wins, everything will be all good here all the time.

Meanwhile, nobody around here seems to have noticed that programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which Romeny/Ryan have targeted for gutting, have an even bigger impact on the state's economy than the coal industry.

The folks at the WV Center on Budget and Policy point out here that 2011 approximately $12.7 billion or 20.5 percent of the state’s $62 billion in personal income came from Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The U.S. average was 12.8 percent...

For comparison, only 5.5 percent or $3.4 billion of personal income in 2011 was derived from coal mining and natural gas extraction – two of the largest industries in the state.
I don't mean to belittle the economic hardships in the coalfields. These need to be faced in a proactive way rather than used to score dubious political points. But imagine how bad things would look in places like southern West Virginia if drastic cuts to the bedrock safety net--Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid--went hand in hand with market-driven declines in mining.


A TALE OF TWO STORMS. Krugman does a heckuva job contrasting Katrina and Sandy.

IT'S ALREADY WORKING. Here's a cheer for the Affordable Care Act.


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