Explaining Southern California's economy

Open Internet: President Obama's Reddit answer that Hollywood won't like

President Barack Obama answering questions on Reddit on Wednesday. Did he come out in favor of the open Internet?

As you've all probably heard, President Obama took to Reddit, the Internet discussion site, to...have an Internet discussion! Which was in no way intended to upstage Paul Ryan's Really Big Speech at the Republican National Convention. Really. In no way.

As KPCC's Tony Pierce reported earlier at our Represent! blog, Obama's arrival at Reddit actually broke Reddit, for a few minutes at least.

What was truly rather Earth-shattering, however, was his answer to the first question he was asked, from "SharkGirl":

Q: We know how Republicans feel about protecting Internet Freedom. Is Internet Freedom an issue you'd push to add to the Democratic Party's 2012 platform?

Obama's A:

Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle - and it will be reflected in the platform.

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Remind me again: Why are we fighting over transportation?

At this point, it's looking like the economy won't fall back into a recession — but it is going to continue its anemic growth pattern. Against the backdrop of this malaise, we have a long-term unemployment problem: uninspiring jobs data is scheduled to be released tomorrow, with our national rate expected to stay around 9 percent and the California rate to remain at or above 12 percent. Can you say "stagnation?"

In Washington, President Obama and Republicans in Congress are playing chicken with legislation that would extend federal transportation funding. Obama says 4,000 jobs are at stake. And this is just an extension of funding that's due to expire on Sept. 30. Another fight looms over the cost of a long-term bill. Democratic Congresswoman Lois Capps of Santa Barbara argues that the parsimonious GOP plan would cost the state 51,000 jobs.

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Does a new econ guy in the White House mean a new hope for jobless California?

We can always hope so. Princeton economist Alan Kreuger was just nominated by President Obama to head the Council of Economic Advisers, the three-person team that provides know-how on the economy to the chief executive. 

This move has been taken as a sign that Obama intends to get serious about unemployment. As the LA Times' Opinion L.A. blog points out, Kreuger is known for his work on labor issues:

Perhaps the research most relevant to his new post…is the recent work he did with Andreas Mueller of Stockholm University examining the efforts by unemployed people to find new jobs. Among their findings: People spend less time looking for work each day the longer they are unemployed, but they don't lower their wage demands significantly over time. This is especially true for younger workers, for whom the long-term cost of a big cut in pay is more severe than for an older worker closer to retirement, the study found.

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