Richard Fulton

Richard Fulton

I read from a variety of source material that turn out to be the sources of the articles I write. Often the stuff I pick up and save for further reference does not provide the basis for a full article.

So today I offer a variety of short takes from a variety of sources.  

The economy seems to be slowing down according to a variety of sources. Of course, it has been quite good the last few years, recovering from that housing crash of 2009 that resulted in a few down years. Trump takes credit, of course, but most economists believe that presidents have only marginal effects on the general direction of the economy.

Still, his tax cuts helped to give a jump to the economy. I happen to think that we will pay for that in trying to deal with the deficits the cuts produced, but the short run has been good.  

The bad news is that the economy seems to be slowing down. It produced only 75,000 jobs last month when 180,000 were expected. And the data for the previous month was adjusted downward 75,000 jobs.  

Indeed, there has been softer job creation in all of 2019 compared to 2018. All the while hourly wages have been steady the last few years. If employment has been high, as it has, then wages should be accelerating; supply and demand. They haven’t.  

An article in the NY Times of June 2 discussed gun ownership, firearm deaths, and the degree of state law restrictions. It is, of course, complicated but a study ranked states on the basis of their restrictions on guns in relation to firearm deaths in the state per 100,000 people.

It is instructive, but not surprising, to note that “states with fewer gun restrictions had higher death rates from firearms.” But before you jump to conclusions the study says, “Most of the correlation is because of deaths from suicide, not homicide.” We often forget that the easy availability of firearms and their instant affect upon use help suicides make short term decisions that are fatal.

California, New Jersey, Hawaii, California and New York are some of the states with strict laws and lower death rates.  States with fewer restrictions and high death rates are Alaska, Mississippi, Alabama, and Wyoming.

Missouri, that loves its weak restrictions, ranks high up with the weak restriction/high death states. With rising numbers of farm and other suicides, Missouri might want to rethink its gun policies.

A quote from Sen. Roy Blunt from February 1999: “There is clear evidence that President Clinton committed perjury on two or more occasions and urged others to obstruct justice. These are serious felonious acts that strike at the heart of our judicial system. Violating [oaths] or causing others to impede the investigation into such acts are serious matters that meet the standard for impeachment.”

We might think about that as the Senate Republicans, of which Blunt is a leader, dismiss Mueller’s evidence of 13 acts of obstruction of justice by our current president.

Last piece of random information. The federal department of Housing and Urban Development has guaranteed mortgages of more than 2,300 nursing homes in America; 61 in Missouri. These cover $20 billion in debt and are for mostly private, for profit homes.  

Rosewood Chain houses 1,100 people in Missouri and Illinois. HUD has been forced to take control of $1 million a month payments to keep them afloat.  Surely there must be a better way to care for our elderly and not break the bank.

Anyway, that takes care of some of my random notes.

Richard Fulton is an emeritus professor of political science.