** Senator Dean Heller (R-American Bankers Association) is much perturbed about the publicity he’s getting from joining that small coterie of Nevada Republicans disinclined to move from their office spaces. [LVSun] The explanation du jour is that his aide was making a “joke,” and none of the flap should be taken seriously.
“According to unnamed sources cited in the article, Abrams told a staffer for Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss that Heller might have to start giving campaign funds to Chambliss’ Republican challenger in his 2014 election if Chambliss tried to take the office. The conversations took place before Chambliss announced he would retire at the end of the current congressional term.
Heller was incensed by the article, blaming “petty politics,” “petty politicians,” and “petty reporting” for turning Abrams’ conversation into a political football — or as the Nevada Democrats painted it, a “scandal.”
Heller was careful to say that when he was complaining about politicians, he did not mean to slight Chambliss or any sitting senators, merely criticize their staffers.” [LVSun]
OK. Petty, petty, and petty. But, of course, NOT to include politicians like his cohort Senator Chambliss, thus the major Petty must be for the reporters who first published the story. And, perhaps the professional flack catchers otherwise know as Staff.
** Nevada Governor Sandoval is pleased to tell us that the unemployment rate drop in the Silver State must be due to ongoing efforts to diversify the Nevada economy [RGJ] Nevada’s overall unemployment rate fell to 9.7%, while the YOY job growth is now at 2.5%. The U.S. unemployment rate is currently 7.9%. [DETR] Before we become too enamored of our economic recovery, there are some caveats to note:
(1) Some of the good news is that the worst didn’t happen. For example, initial estimates for job losses were that 22,600 jobs would be lost based on historical trends. Happily only 16,000 were eliminated overall. However, here comes the kicker — 2,400 jobs were added in the Las Vegas Metro area, another 600 added in Reno, but 300 were lost in the Carson City region. Those would most likely be public sector (or private sector jobs related to public sector employee spending). [NLDB ppt]
(2) The chart for job growth by sector shows we’re still primarily dependent on traditional Nevada business activities:
Leisure and hospitality (gaming to us, gambling to our visitors) showed the most job growth. Trade, transportation, and utilities is the second highest blue bar, with construction showing job growth as well. However, look what’s happened to the bottom blue bar — professional and business services. We seem to have lost ground in that sector.
(3) We do need to look a public sector hiring, since no one’s yet come up with another formula for calculating gross domestic product/aggregate demand for the state of Nevada (or the nation for that matter.) DETR notes from July 2012 (pdf) offer some cause for concern, especially for local governments. Local government jobs were down by 15,000 as of July 2012 from their peak in October 2008. We’ve lost about 2,000 more state jobs since early 2011. There are those who would view these numbers with glee, and as an indication we’re shaving off those idle, lazy, bureaucrats lounging at taxpayer expense in comfortable offices. However, job descriptions don’t match the mythology — these are more often teachers, firefighters, police officers, health inspectors, highway maintenance workers, public health nurses, social workers, employment counselors, data entry specialists, IT personnel, DMV staff, archive and record keeping specialists, accountants, actuaries, statisticians….
There are numbers associated with these categories. Nevada had lost 4.08% of its state workforce, and another 10.77% of its local government workforce between January and April 2008. [Governing.com] However much privatization forces and their minions may wish to raise a clamor about public sector employees being “over-paid” or redundant, the hard truth remains that their spending power is part of the equation by which we calculate our gross domestic product for Nevada, and that spending doesn’t fall into a Black Hole, it forms part of the aggregate demand for goods and services usually purchased from local retailers and service providers.
** The Sin City Siren posts a comparative piece on the Ryan Budget and its Senate counterpart from Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). Water, Water, and the SNWA can be followed at the Nevada Progressive. The Nevada Rural Democratic Caucus points out that by the lights of the Not-So family friendly Family Research Council, “Unmarried people should be denied birth control and punished for having sex..” which should come as something of a shock to the 80% of unmarried Christian evangelicals who report they have performed the beast with two backs?