Former WA governor: raise taxes to keep services. Plus: stimulus specifics, insurance for real life, health care reform, “saving” Social Security, childcare unions, and pension insurance trouble

February 17, 2009 | Aaron Keating

Former WA Governor John Spellman: Washington should consider tax increases: Support for a saner, more balanced approach  for dealing with the growing state budget deficit—one that would include consideration of tax increases—is coming from some unlikely places. For instance: John Spellman, the last Republican governor of Washington State, appeared on TVW recently and pointed out that when he confronted a crushing revenue shortfall—a $1.6 billion deficit at a time when the entire budget was $6 billion—he implemented a large tax increase that ensured government continued to provide adequate levels of key services. | Publicola

$6.7 billion for Washington – how does it stack up?: The Olympian reports the state will receive more than $6.7 billion from the $787 billion package that was passed by Congress on Friday night and is awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature. And the News Tribune breaks down some of the specifics, including tax cuts, foodstamps, highways, schools, jobless checks, credits to home-, car-buyers, $250 for retirees.

Susan Nielsen: We need insurance for real life: Your husband suffers a heart attack. Your baby’s due any minute. Your elderly mom needs hospice care. This is life, in any economy. | The Oregonian

Work-Life Balance Issues At Risk in the New Economy? Legal protection in the work-life balance area is limited. Unlike most other industrialized nations, pregnant workers in the United States are afforded no special protections; employers are required only to treat pregnant workers no worse than other temporarily disabled employees. | Work and Family Network

Health care reform efforts in Washington: Even as the state faces a gaping budget deficit, two state senators, one Democrat and one Republican, have introduced bills that would radically reform the way health care is delivered in Washington. Though health reform advocates concede this may not be the year to take on the complex task, they are pressing the state to commit to affordable health care for all by 2012. | The Columbian

Dean Baker: The Economists Who Missed the Housing Bubble Are Coming After Your Social Security: Word has it that President Obama intends to appoint a task force the week after next which will be charged with “reforming” Social Security. According to inside gossip, the task force will be led entirely by economists who were not able to see the $8 trillion housing bubble, the collapse of which is giving the country its sharpest downturn since the Great Depression. This effort is bizarre for several reasons. | Huffington Post

Froma Harrop: Social Security: One thing that’s working: “Round up everybody that can ride a horse or pull a trigger,” John Wayne says in “Chisum.” “Let’s break out some Winchesters.” That’s how I feel every time someone calls for “saving” Social Security. Conservatives have been likening it to the Bernie Madoff scandal. Some call it a Ponzi scheme, as MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough did recently. And even Democrats talk of fixing the program. | Wenatchee World

Child care staff seek unions:  It’s ridiculous, Susan Baker says, that her friend’s 17-year-old son earns as much managing a pizza shop as she does managing a child care center. “Most people who come to do this work do it because it’s valuable and they want to make a difference in the lives of children,” Baker said. “That’s why they stick around in spite of pay.” | The Columbian

Government pension agency braces for recession:  The deepening recession spells trouble for a little-known government corporation that insures the pensions of 44 million workers and retirees. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. already has an $11 billion deficit that seems sure to grow larger as Corporate America suffers through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. | Seattle Times

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Posted in Early Learning, Education, Health Care, Retirement Security, Social Security, Tax and Budget, Work & Family

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