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Fletcher: A little bit of this, little bit of that

May 15, 2012
Stephen Fletcher , The Alpena News

A very small number of people have asked me why there was no column last week. The answer is pretty simple. The events at the city council were proceeding so fast that they overran the appropriateness of the column. It just wasn't timely any longer and the period before a publication deadline was too short for me to prepare another piece.

This submission is a potpourri of just "stuff" that has been lingering in the recesses of my mind for some time. Since none of the items are really very related, I'll just take off on them.

Often, bikers have no where to go. If we head to the shoulder gravel we are much more likely to fall as the gravel surface is very unstable under our narrow, high pressure tires. If there is traffic on-coming and behind us that has an overwhelming need to get by absolutely right now, then the road gets very narrow between the parties trying to use it simultaneously. It's dangerous for everyone.

If you hit a biker at speed, the biker goes to heaven and continues biking under divine conditions. However, the automobile driver gets to meet a bunch of new friends including ambulance drivers, policemen, prosecutors, judges, and a new roommate. For the driver there is a nice accommodation with bars on the windows and a structured environment for a period usually measured in years.

I think the biker gets the better deal so please, for the summer biking season, cut us some slack on the road by slowing down and moving over. I know this behavior can be annoying but it's only for the summer.

Yes, the numbers are better but there is a numerator-denominator phenomenon happening also. The total labor force - the denominator - is declining, but not as fast as the rate of change for the unemployed. These numbers are not all good news. In our data collection area we have lost 500 more out of the labor force when compared to last year, even as our unemployed numbers dropped by 1,800. We still lead the state with 13.4 percent unemployed.

We still have a large number of families in trouble here in the north. We appear to be in an unending bout of stagflation which is no economic growth, coupled with inflation. The classic way out of stagflation is to use fiscal policy as your tool. This means that taxes should be lowered to stimulate job growth.

Stephen Fletcher was graduated decades ago from Cornell University with an A.B. in Economics and from Michigan State University with an M.B.A. He has lived and worked in the decades from graduation until now in the Alpena area. He thinks economics is fun and interesting.



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