Pomeroy discusses economy at DSUNorth Dakota has one of the strongest economies in the 50 states. That was part of the message given by Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), during an address to an economics class at Dickinson State University Friday.
By: Beth Wischmeyer, The Dickinson Press
North Dakota has one of the strongest economies in the 50 states.
That was part of the message given by Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), during an address to an economics class at Dickinson State University Friday.
Pomeroy spoke to a group of about 60 people, comprised of students and faculty, and discussed a variety of topics including the stimulus package and the state of the U.S. economy.
“The world, as we are seeing it through this economic downturn, is completely and economically linked together,” Pomeroy said. “We’re seeing terrible ramifications all across the world. I believe the economic downturn we are experiencing is extraordinarily serious.”
Pomeroy said that job loss is at a rate of 600,000 to 700,000 a month.
“The recession began officially in 2008,” Pomeroy said. “Through the first 10 months of the year we lost 1.2 million jobs. We’ve now lost 600,000 jobs in November, another 600,000 jobs in December, and in January we lost another 600,000. It looks like in February we will lose about 750,000 jobs. We are on a frightening trajectory.”
The recession, he added, has not begun to see it’s bottom yet, but Pomeroy feels strongly that North Dakota will not suffer as much as other states.
“We are plugged into the national economy,” Pomeroy said. “But we’re going to be somewhat insulated from some of the worst parts of it.”
Pomeroy said in today’s economy, people suddenly feel poor and afraid financially.
“Nobody’s spending money anymore,” Pomeroy said. “The things we used to buy, we aren’t buying anymore. We feel poor. Our economy was driven 70 percent by consumer spending.”
Housing, Pomeroy said, is something people have attributed to the economy.
“Some say this all began with the housing crisis,” Pomeroy said. “Housing values were appreciating rapidly this decade. A driving force behind that phenomenon was the fact that it was cheap to borrow money and loans were extended on very generous terms. If we didn’t have any information about how much money you were actually making, you didn’t have to provide any information. Lenders were lending money on what is called undocumented loans.”
Pomeroy said he supports the economic stimulus package, although he acknowledges it’s not perfect.
“There are very few perfect bills out there,” he said. “The stimulus package was absolutely essential to getting federal money out there, jobs created and projects done that we need anyway.”
North Dakota will receive $490 million dollars out of the stimulus package, he added.
DSU freshman Li Xuefen, a China native, said she was interested to hear Pomeroy discuss the U.S. economy, as in China, it wasn’t discussed often.
“It’s interesting and useful to learn about the U.S. economy,” Xuefen said. “I’m interested in the stimulus package. I know many people have different opinions about it, some say it costs too much. I’d like to know what parts of the package that they think costs too much.”
Pomeroy said he’s glad to have the opportunity to address classrooms on topics about the economy.
“They are the ones that will be out there taking it over one day,” Pomeroy said. “These are some serious economic circumstances and I’m a big believer that you can’t solve things unless you acknowledge them.”