Saturday, April 18, 2015

There’s Plenty of Money. Really.

Don’t think for a second that congressional Republicans sincerely believe draconian cuts in federal spending stimulate the economy.

I know. They uniformly claim that spending cuts spark growth. But consider this.

During the 15-day shutdown of the federal government one and a half years ago, the United States lost some $24 billion in economic activity, according to a 2013 Standard & Poor’s report. Only Texas senator Ted Cruz and the conservative wing wanted the shutdown, while the rest of the Republican Party bore the brunt of cratering public opinion polls.

So when House Budget Committee chair Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, introduced a plan last month to cut more than $5 trillion in spending to balance the budget in nine years, take it for what it is — a purely political ploy to arouse conservatives in preparation for 2016.…

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Transit Proposals In Congress Threaten Projects, Jobs, Critics Say

By Curtis Tate, McClatchy Washington Bureau (TNS)

WASHINGTON — Rail and bus systems across the country could lose nearly half their funding under two proposals in Congress to end federal grants for transit projects.

The legislation, sponsored by Republican Representatives Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Mark Sanford of South Carolina, also could affect more than 750 companies in 39 states that produce rail and bus transit components, including manufacturers in those two states.

According to the American Public Transportation Association, eliminating federal transit funding would put 66 projects at risk. They include light rail and streetcar projects in Charlotte, N.C.; commuter rail in Fort Worth, Texas; and bus rapid transit in Fresno, California.…

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Frac Sand Industry Feels The Effects Of Low Oil Prices, Less Drilling

By David Shaffer, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (TNS)

MINNEAPOLIS — Low oil prices and reduced drilling in shale regions like North Dakota are hurting the once fast-growing frac sand industry, slashing demand and forcing price cuts that have led some players to reduce jobs.

U.S. sand mines, including 63 in Wisconsin and six in Minnesota, are projected to ship significantly less sand to oil drillers in 2015, compared with last year, when companies like Fairmount Santrol, U.S. Silica, and Superior Silica Sands set production records, industry officials say.

“This whole ripple effect has taken hold and it is going to continue,” Richard Shearer, CEO of Superior Silica Sands, a Texas-based company that operates sand mines in Wisconsin, said in an interview with the Star Tribune.…

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