Tag Archive: Potosnak

Congress is failing to get the job done; The Supercommittee is Not so Super.

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In Article One of the Constitution, the Founding Fathers required Congress to control debt and spending.  Our current Congress is failing.  In fact, 535 Members of Congress could not agree on how to get spending under control and failed to meet their Constitutional responsibility, shirking this obligation and delegating it to a small supercommittee of six to do what they couldn’t do.  This supercommittee came up on its deadline, and also failed.  Meanwhile, our families and businesses are suffering at their hand.

How did we get here?

The Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, a.k.a. the “supercommittee,” was formed as a result of a congressional battle over whether or not to pay our current obligations.  The compromise to raise the debt ceiling included the creation of the supercommittee to identify ways to reduce the deficit.   It was signed by President Obama on August 2nd.  Failure to raise the debt ceiling would have had dire consequences to the American economy, including default on our treasury obligations.

In an effort to get something passed and avoid default, the legislation punted spending reductions to the supercommittee composed of twelve legislators whose goal was to find specific cuts to make up $1.2 trillion of the $2.1 trillion in deficit reductions by November 23. If Congress did not approve the agreement, the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts will automatically be divided equally against defense and non-defense spending, excluding Social Security, Medicaid and some low-income programs.  

On September 8, the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction had its first official meeting.  I remained hopeful that this select group could have moved beyond partisan politics and come to an agreement, but unfortunately they failed again.

It’s important to put the current debt crisis into historical perspective.  When George W. Bush took over the responsibility of the budget from Bill Clinton, the budget was running a surplus.  The deficit crisis we face now is the result of the failed policies of the Bush Administration, and I am afraid this new Congress is trying to take us back to those broken policies.

In 2008, Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimated the total cost of the Iraq war at $3 trillion, including both direct expenses and the war’s detrimental effect on the economy.  It’s worth noting that, at the beginning of the war, George Bush estimated the cost at between $50 billion and $60 billion.  In 2010 Stiglitz called his own estimate too low.  Some of his additions included ongoing medical care for our troops, the war-generated increase in oil prices, and the neglect and lengthening of our commitment in Afghanistan.  Let’s not quibble about the details and call it an even $3 trillion.  That’s still a lot of money to have spent in order to deal with imaginary weapons of mass destruction, as compared to the $2.1 trillion that the supercommittee needs to cut.

When President Obama signed the agreement forming the supercommittee, the Republicans immediately declared victory.  And as is all too often in Washington, politics as usual began, and the political rhetoric from both sides was hurling across the Capitol.                                                

An important factor in understanding our economic crisis is to know just how much financial damage the current recession has done.  According to the Pew Economic Policy Group, real estate wealth decreased $3.4 trillion in the United States during the period from July 2008 through March 2009.  During this time, stock wealth decreased by $7.4 trillion, wages lost amounted to $360 billion, and the Gross Domestic Product was reduced by $650 billion.  Add to it the cost of the stimulus packages, the cost to the FDIC to bail out failed banks, the cost of bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and so on. In human terms, 5.5 million workers lost their jobs early in the crisis, and the vast majority of those jobs have not come back.  Lost jobs result in lost wages, which means the loss of tax revenues for the government.

The bottom line is that we need to get people back to work.  The best way to address the debt is through a strong economy with full employment.  I will create jobs.  As a small business owner, and teacher, I understand the challenges our families and businesses face, and I will work everyday I am in Congress to implement solutions to our problems and get people back to work.

If it weren’t for Bush’s war in Iraq and the Republican generated financial meltdown, the current deficit and unemployment problems would not exist. The Republicans who caused these problems are less

extreme than the Tea Party that has a stranglehold on our country, and are standing in the way of sensible policies to spur job creation and improve the economy.  Hopefully, the election in November of 20

12 will reverse this trend and usher in a Congress that can get the job done.

Amazing Race for a Soon to Be Non-Existent 7th District

The 2012 cycle finance numbers are finally out for the second quarter of 2011, and I kniow you all have been waiting with bated breath for the news.

There’s only one race in New Jersey as of right now, and it’s a two-fer.  But before we get to that, let’s look at the rest of the state.

Every incumbent is raising money, though some slower than others. Chris Smith (R-4) and Albio Sires (D-13) each raised less than $100K this quarter, but neither is really in trouble.  There’s little talk that either of them could be districted out next year.  

Scott Garrett (R-5) is the winner, pulling in a whopping $703,681for the quarter first half of the year, outpacing the number two William Pascrell at $489,056 and Frank Lobiondo at $486,271.  Updated: I give you the first half numbers because the FEC pages are not being helpful in parsing things out by quarter yet.end update

Those are the highs and lows, but the real interesting one right now is the 7th.  Most folks out there suspect that the 7th will be the one to disappear.  It’s the weirdest looking district, an easy win for the Republicans most of the time but recently got more Democrats registered than Republicans.  It borders on Democratic districts (6, 10, 12 and 13) and Republican districts (5 and 11) into which it could be subsumed.

The 7th has also never made any sense at all, with the urban and hyper-Democratic east combined with the more rural and hyper-Republican west. more…

I’m Sorry Mother Earth

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Today is Earth Day.  While I’d like to be able to say “Happy Earth Day” I can’t in good conscience.

I am extremely concerned at the lack of headway to protect our environment and ensure our future generations have access to clean air and water.

In just under 3 months, the new GOP led House of Representatives have undone years of progress taking us in the wrong direction and setting a course for unprecedented misuse, abuse, destruction, and peril.

House Republicans illustrated their disregard for the environment when they canceled a recycling and composting program in the Capitol. The program employed the best practices in sustainability.

After switching from paper to plastic, the GOP passed legislation to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate green house gases and gut its budget.  These efforts will undermine the agency’s ability to enforce our environmental laws to keep our air and water clean.

The Republican Majority puts corporate profits ahead of protecting American families from toxic chemicals.

The GOP is taking its cues from special interests representing the logging, mining, oil, gas, and nuclear industries and protecting the profits of these corporations instead of protecting our natural resources.

A fracking drill in Wyoming Via the Examiner (Credit: Western Citizen)

Hydraulic fracking is a drilling process used to extract natural gas from shale by injecting large volumes of water laden with hazardous and carcinogenic chemicals.

NJEA Loser Mentality Strikes Again

Yes, this is true. NJEA failed to endorse NJ-7’s Ed Potosnak. I don’t get it either. A few facts: Ed has a graduate degree in education from Rutgers, where he also taught student teachers & teachers retooling their skills how to use technology to get kids more excited about science lessons. This is something he put in practice himself as a chemistry teacher at Bridgewater-Raritan HS, which is where he won an Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship and used it to work on federal education policy with Rep. Mike Honda of California. Hello?  

– – promoted by Rosi

Cross posted at Jersey Jazzman.

You have got to be f*&!ing kidding me:

(Morristown) – October 1st, 2010 – On Friday, the New Jersey Education Association’s 125-member political action committee voted to endorse Douglas Herbert for Congress in New Jersey’s Eleventh Congressional District. Douglas Herbert is the only New Jersey Congressional challenger that they chose to endorse.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for Herbert’s candidacy, and I think he’d be far, far better than Little Lord Frelinghuysen, who is such a “moderate” that he voted to impeach Bill Clinton.

No, my issue – once again – is how the NJEA can get behind Herbert but can’t muster up support for the clearly superior candidate in NJ-7, Ed Potosnak – a TEACHER in the district!!!

Barbara Keshishian, the NJEA President, said, “Each of our endorsed candidates has distinguished himself or herself by advocating for great public schools, public school employees, and for the 1.4 million New Jersey schoolchildren our members educate.”

Yeah, and the one you DIDN’T endorse actually teaches those kids!

Honestly, Barbara – what the hell? Potosnak’s opponent, Leonard Lance, said teaching jobs saved by the recent federal funds were “negligible.” Are you OK with this?

I met Ed last month, and he is a great person and will be a great congressman. Get your act together, NJEA, and get behind this guy.

Note from Rosi: mquigby and Kelsey17 both wrote about Doug Herbert’s NJEA endorsement.

More Political Ineptitude From the NJEA

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Cross posted from Jersey Jazzman.

Leonard Lance in the 7th District just voted against getting $268 million in federal funds for NJ schools. What’s the NJEA’s response?

Refuse to endorse his opponent – A FORMER TEACHER!

The group did decline to endorse some Democrats. In the 7th Congressional District, they made no endorsement, even though Democrat Ed Potosnak, a former science teacher at Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School, is running against freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance.

“As a teacher, I never took my voting cues from them, and I leave it up to teachers of the 7th District to decide who will represent them in Congress,” Potosnak said in a statement.

NJEA spokesman Steve Wollmer said the PAC may decide to endorse more candidates later on, including in the 7th District.

“I think there may be further discussion on that one,” he said. “A lot of things come into consideration, not just whether you’re an NJEA member… Some of that gets subjective because you also have to assess a non-incumbent’s electability.”

Yes, we can’t take the risk of standing on principle against a guy who votes against the interests of teachers and is in the party of Chris Christie because… well, he might win (especially if his opponent doesn’t get our endorsement).

They did this to Linda Stender a few years ago as well when she ran against Mike Ferguson; how’d that work out for you, NJEA?

Is it too early for a drink?