It’s mid-term election time and around the country the angst against incumbents will be put to the test. Every two years there seems to be a “throw the bums out” mentality amongst voters. This year is no exception unless you look at the reasoning behind what some perceive as unusual intensity.
Democrats are taking the lion share of the heat, having voted for the investment and commercial bank bailout in the fall of 2008 and President Obama’s healthcare initiative in spring of 2010. With a record budget deficit and national debt around 90% of our national output, Americans are expectedly angry.
Atlantans are no exception. Atlanta and the surrounding metro area have been ravaged by foreclosures and bank closings. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, unemployment for the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is at 9.9%. The latest gross domestic product data for metropolitan Atlanta from the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that metro Atlanta’s output fell from $234,000 million in 2007 to $231,288 million in 2008 or 1.1%. I expect that metro Atlanta’s GDP to fall further when the next report comes out in February 2011.
The question is, is our national congressional delegation representing and advocating for national policy that can help Atlanta address its slowdown? The answer is no.
Representatives John Lewis, David Scott, and Hank Johnson have voted to pass the financial reform bill that recently came out of conference committee. This bill provides for a consumer protection agency, restrictions on derivatives trading, and creates a mechanism to dismantle banks that are too big to fail. The bill is also designed to prevent another financial meltdown from happening again.
Sorry, but I just don’t see how a bill that is designed to punish Wall Street for paying its executives too much money; prevent banks from trading their own money that they made from bank fees; and establish an agency that ensures that the fine print on a finance agreement is large enough is going to increase capital stock, increase incomes, and hire more workers. This excessive regulation has no connection to the creation of consumer demand that is necessary for creating and sustaining a recovery.
Unless our representatives are going to advocate for legislation and policy that can turn around Atlanta’s growth prospects, then Atlanta should expect to go it alone in its attempts to get out of this recession and consider voting for congressional representation capable of supporting and advocating for policies that will work.