# Economy



The U.S. economy is broken. Time for a New West!

Richard Sherzan (full bio below) is a lifelong Democrat now living in Coralville, who supports the principles of individual freedom, dignity, and happiness, which were advocated by John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Cesar Chavez.

I. Where are we? Economic underinvestment and economic decline

In my view, the Biden-Harris economic policies represent the same, old, outdated, and weak policies, which have spurred America’s economic decline since the 1970s. They helped Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election on a promise of an “America First” approach. 

New economic ideas and actions are needed, not only for the Democratic Party’s future political success, but for the American people to have a strong and prosperous 21st-century economy.

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A rose by any other name would not smell as sweet

Silvia Secchi is a professor in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences at the University of Iowa. She has a PhD in economics from Iowa State University.

What’s a farm? Who is a farmer? These are political questions.

They are important questions for Iowa, as so much of the state’s identity is wrapped around its historical role in U.S. agriculture. The questions also matter for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which implements policies that strongly favor Iowa’s farm and agribusiness sectors. The higher the number of farms, the more legitimate it is to keep claiming that “Iowa feeds the world.” Funding depends on that number too.

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Iowans join Congress, Biden in forcing bad contract on rail workers

Every member of Congress from Iowa voted this week to force a five-year contract on the freight rail industry, as President Joe Biden had requested to avert a possible strike on December 9. It was the first time since the 1990s that Congress exercised its power to intervene in national rail disputes.

Four unions representing tens of thousands of rail workers had rejected the tentative agreement, which U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh helped negotiate in September. The main sticking point was the lack of paid sick leave. Instead,

The deal gave workers a 24% raise over five years, an additional personal day and caps on health care costs. It also includes some modifications to the railroads’ strict attendance policies, allowing workers to attend to medical needs without facing penalties for missing work.

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Senate Democrats are running ahead of Biden. Will it be enough?

Dan Guild is a lawyer and project manager who lives in New Hampshire. In addition to writing for Bleeding Heartland, he has written for CNN and Sabato’s Crystal Ball, most recently here. He also contributed to the Washington Post’s 2020 primary simulations. Follow him on Twitter @dcg1114.

This post will present the state of play in the U.S. Senate races as of November 4. The data includes all polling available at 7:00 am Eastern; polls are released so frequently that it is impossible to analyze the situation without stopping.

Before we get to the survey numbers, though, we need to consider the environment in which these elections are taking place.

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Governor's action cost Iowans $141 million in food assistance

Iowans who qualify for federal food assistance received $141 million less in benefits from April through August, due to Governor Kim Reynolds’ action earlier in the year, according to data the Iowa Hunger Coalition released on October 12.

After Reynolds ended the state’s public health emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowans lost access to the emergency allotments in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. The Iowa Hunger Coalition calculated that the total amount Iowans received through SNAP dropped by 43 percent from March to April.

Without the emergency allotments, the coalition reported, “On average, households have been receiving $200 less in benefits every month. The average SNAP benefit per meal for individuals in Iowa was $1.56 in August 2022.”

The federal government entirely funds the SNAP program, so the state of Iowa saved no money by depriving food-insecure Iowans of extra benefits.

On the contrary: the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service has calculated that each $1 issued in SNAP benefits generates $1.54 in economic impact. (When people in need receive more food assistance, they can spend more of their limited resources on other goods and services in their community.) So the $141 million Iowans did not receive from April through August could have increased Iowa’s gross domestic product by $217 million.

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Book Review: The Hidden History Of Neoliberalism

Paul Deaton is a lifelong Democrat living in Johnson County whose first political work was for Lyndon Johnson’s presidential campaign.

Thom Hartmann’s latest in the Hidden History Series, The Hidden History of Neoliberalism: How Reaganism Gutted America and How to Restore Its Greatness, is scheduled for release on September 13. Well-written and timely, it takes a deep dive into neoliberalism with direct application to life in Iowa.

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