Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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March 27, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 3-30-10

I had the opportunity to watch President Obama’s speech at the UI Field House last Thursday. What a great opportunity! I am glad the President chose Johnson County as the location for this event.

Speaking of historic events, one year ago, the Iowa Supreme Court decision in the Varnum v. Brien case legalized same sex marriage in Iowa.

To commemorate the one-year anniversary of this event, a rally will be held on the Pentacrest from 10-11 AM on Tuesday, March 30.

Please note – it has been a year. Hundreds of same sex couples have married. The world has not come to an end. No one has been hurt by the change. There are just a few more people out there with a few more rights. It is all good.

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it! Please take care if you are travelling, and have a safe holiday.

If you are staying in town Easter weekend, please join the volunteers at the Agape Café for a breakfast fundraiser on Saturday, April 3 from 8-11 AM at Old Brick.

For the past 17 years, the Agape Café has served a hot breakfast to low income and homeless folks every Wednesday. Now you can experience the same fine food for a free will donation.

$40 will buy enough groceries to run the café for one week. If you cannot attend, checks can be sent to the Episcopal Campus Ministry at 320 East College Street, Iowa City.

I wrote several months ago about a group of local people who are attempting to create a website that will link folks who can barter their goods and services.

This seems like a great idea, and I am now told that the website has been improved. Check it out at:

An interesting discussion has been taking place at the federal level when it comes to the deficit. GOP lawmakers are quick to voice their concerns that the Stimulus program, jobs programs, and other Obama initiatives include deficit spending.

Big deficits concern many Americans. (If it did not poll well, the GOP would not be repeating it!) Deficits SHOULD concern Americans. We obviously would prefer to have a balanced budget.

But the issue is not so simple. Just as individual families borrow to do big things (such as buying homes), so does the federal government. The whole key is deciding – when is it worth going into debt?

Going into debt to fund an ill-advised war in Iraq made no sense to me then, and makes less sense to me 8 years later.

Personally, I do not have a problem increasing the deficit if it puts people back to work, stabilizes the economy, and creates valuable public infrastructure. This is exactly what FDR accomplished through the large public works programs of the 1930s.

Also similar to the 30s – we need to couple any deficit spending with reregulation of the financial sector, so that future Presidents are not faced with the mess President Obama inherited. Unfortunately, we forgot the 1930s by the time Graham-Leach-Bliley deregulation was signed by President Bush.

The current economic situation in the US calls for a huge jobs program, one that leaves us with a much improved and more efficient infrastructure when it is over.

Deficit spending can work politically, too. In 1982, President Reagan was facing the S&L scandal, 10% unemployment, 14% inflation, and interest rates as high as 21%. Reagan sat at a low 35% approval rating as he approached the 1983 State of the Union.

How did Reagan get out of this mess? In large part, it was deficit spending. He increased government spending to levels never before seen in our Country’s history. The economy gradually improved, Reagan won reelection, and that moment in history is largely forgotten. (The debt took a while to pay off, but no one recalls that today.)

Deficit spending is not my preferred way to go, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. These are desperate times.

DID YOU KNOW? 18% of Johnson County 11th graders report binge drinking in the past 30 days. (Source: ICCSD Iowa Youth Survey data.)

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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