November 20, 2008

Senator Conrad details efforts to rescue failing economy

By ALLAN TINKER, *with excerpts from a press release by Christopher Gaddie

At a community roundtable meeting in McClusky at the City Community Center on Nov. 12, Senator Kent Conrad and local leaders from McClusky, Goodrich and Turtle Lake discussed a range of issues of importance to Sheridan County, including efforts to revive the nation’s weakened economy. "We are facing a serious crisis. America’s leading financial experts are warning of a financial meltdown that threatens our jobs, our homes and our nation’s economic future - even here in McClusky," Senator Conrad said. "We needed to take action to try and restart the national economy." He noted that there is lots of blame to go around and that serious mistakes were made, with a loose monetary policy. There have been five years of record high deficits along with the loose fiscal policy he said. He compared it to a seed bed from which "bubbles" form. Those bubbles were housing, energy and commodity bubbles that later burst. "They created economic wreckage," Conrad added. He also noted that many of these bad fiscal behaviors do not apply to most North Dakota banks and other state financial businesses. "They (ND) didn’t do risky lending: lending without background or employment checks, not requiring any down payment, lending on inflated values." He noted that currently, in California, 10 percent of home loans are worth more than the houses for which they were made. He also noted that Bob Ruben, former Secretary of the Treasury, had recognized these instabilities in December of 2007 and had a "real concern" for them.

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