Top Stories

Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Harkin hopeful unemployment extension will pass tonight

By Lynda Waddington | 07.01.10 | 10:13 am

Another vote on a bill to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits for the long-term unemployed may come to the floor of the Senate as early as Thursday night, according to U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

“I hope that we can get this done — we only missed it by one vote yesterday — I hope we can pass it tonight before we go home for the 4th of July,” Harkin said early Thursday during a conference call with reporters.

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa (Lauren Victoria Burke/WDCPIX.COM)

The final Wednesday night tally on the $34 billion bill was 58 to 38, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., switch his vote to “no” to allow the measure to be reintroduced. Republicans as well as a handful of moderate Democrats voiced opposition to the bill because it was not offset and would increase the national deficit.

Such opposition, Harkin said, doesn’t make sense in light of the current recession.

“Moody’s Analytics says that the biggest bang for the buck we can get for government spending during a recession is food stamps because people spend that money right away. Second only to that are unemployment insurance benefits,” Harkin said.

The study he’s referring to from earlier this year found that extending unemployment benefits generates $1.63 in economic activity for every $1 spent by the government.

“[P]eople are using the money to make their house payments, car payments, buy clothing, buy food, get their kids in school, pay medical bills and all of those kinds of things. It simply spins around a lot in the economy,” Harkin said.

“Quite frankly, the worst thing I think we can do in the recession that we are in right now is to not extend unemployment insurance benefits. That will drag the economy down every further.”

Caution in relation to the deficit was heightened this week when the Congressional Budget Office released its long-term budget outlook, noting that the federal government has been “recording the largest budget deficits, as a share of the economy, since the end of World War II.”  While Harkin acknowledges that the bill, as written, would increase the deficit, he also notes his belief that the alternative would offer far worse immediate economic harm and the perceived hypocrisy of some in Congress.

“We just did a change in the way we pay for this financial services bill that allows some of the big hedge funds off the hook, but it increases the deficit. So, for a lot of people here in the Senate, it is okay to increase the deficit to help the hedge funds, but it is not okay to increase the deficit to help those who are unemployed,” he said.

Harkin also expressed dismay over recent news reports that U.S. businesses and banks are holding onto large cash balances instead of reinvesting them.

“I just saw a report … that businesses in this country right now are hording over $1.8 trillion in cash. They are not investing. They are not loaning. They are putting in new equipment or hiring new workers,” he said.

“Some really tough questions have got to be asked of the business community in this country as to why they are holding on to all of that money without investing it and starting to invest in new technologies, renewable energy systems — all the things that put people to work and which we need in this country. At the same time they have all of this money, the length of time for people being unemployed is longer than at any other time since we started measuring in 1948.”

Follow Lynda Waddington on Twitter


  • rjcqh
  • crazymad

    Whatever it takes but it is insulting to know that the best argument for helping out needy Americans is that they can make money off off the unemloyed if we give them some money to spend. Once again everybody but the needy are being concidered; the grocery store will make money, the electric company will make money.
    Hello! We need help! Don't try to find a good deal on life preservers and figure out how you can make a profit from it before throwing in to the water.

    “Moody’s Analytics says that the biggest bang for the buck we can get for government spending during a recession is food stamps because people spend that money right away. Second only to that are unemployment insurance benefits,” Harkin said.

    The study he’s referring to from earlier this year found that extending unemployment benefits generates $1.63 in economic activity for every $1 spent by the government.

  • David Zickau

    Back in the day, we only agreed to “disagree” for so long, then some fed up crazy bastard would do what we were all thinking. J.F. Kennedy. Robert Kennedy. Martin Luther King. George Wallace.Larry Flint. And less successfully, Ronald Reagan. The time for passive resistance is over.The world is a horrible place to live, but don't go out alone. Take a republican with you when you go.

  • David Zickau

    Back in the day, we only agreed to “disagree” for so long, then some fed up crazy bastard would do what we were all thinking. J.F. Kennedy. Robert Kennedy. Martin Luther King. George Wallace.Larry Flint. And less successfully, Ronald Reagan. The time for passive resistance is over.The world is a horrible place to live, but don't go out alone. Take a republican with you when you go.

  • kukularoo

    People dont care about some phoney deficite crap. Just give us our money like the banks, insurance companies, and car companies got.
    In fact they got our money, how come we can't have any of our own money?

  • Michael

    Well I'm a 38 year old, worked my adult life paying taxes until a lay off took me out and I've never recovered, I went down with the united states economy! Too boot, my tier 1 ended last month and I'm nearly homeless here in Los Angeles. And have a heart condition and no healthcare.
    I hate to ask for a handout, but I'm in bad shape.

    Funny how fast our government bails out Wall-Street.
    Outsourcing is un-American. Now there's 100 + people interviewing for even the most menial job.


  • alleycat59

    i'm in Los Angeles too, been layed off since November '08….no jobs calling back, no interviews in over 8 months, i was even bumped aside at wal-mart for younger applicants (i'm 50)….my blood pressure meds, diabetes meds, all run out in two weeks and i have no money for refills or the doctor appointment to get refills, the county hospital down the street is bursting at the seams…..i need the extension just to live……i'm very desperate.

  • hosilver

    Perhaps we should require an IQ test of all politicians or a mental health exam–they make no sense at all.

  • Susan Nunes

    What in the world is Harkin smoking? Many if not most of the senators have already left town for their “break.” They can't doing anything about it for two weeks at least.

  • AbigailAdams1

    What the Republican Senators do not understand at all, is that there are millions of registered Republicans voters, who through no fault of their own, are now unemployed. For the Republican Senators to continue to show, week after week, no mercy, no sympathy, neither empathy, nor consideration to the plight of members of their own voting base, who are barely surviving on the $450.00 a week they receive in employment insurance is unforgivable and now diabolical. I am so absolutely disgusted with my own Republican Party, that for the first time in my life, I would not only vote for a Democrat replacement Senator this fall, I would vote straight ticket Democrat all the way and call it a day!
    The deficit of an unemployed household is horrifying and I can assure you heartless Republicans in Congress that it is much more terrifying to the unemployed then the National deficit is to you. Tell me, how can a family of five survive on $450.00 and now nothing thanks to you? How can we go to the grocery store and get a week’s worth of food, plus fill the gas tank up to go job hunting, take the kids to school, take one child to a doctor, that we now pay for in cash since we lost our health issuance, get the prescription filled, buy dog food and set aside the left over pennies for rent, utilities, car repairs, braces payments, etc?
    My family has never asked for a hand out. For three months of last year I went to a food bank and stood in line for five hours to get a box of random canned goods, and still have not thought of applying for food stamps! To think we used to hold Republican precinct meetings in our home. What home now, the banks home? I have worked tirelessly on multiple Republican campaigns and for what, abandonment, disgrace and disregard? When you Republicans voted No the last three consecutive times to not extend unemployment benefits, you have taken the food right out of my three children's mouth. There is nowhere for us to cut back. I am a fiscal conservative for God’s sake!
    I wish like hell we could vote your arrogance out of office and then you could try to live on $450.00 a week and support your wife and three kids on that. But what I wish for more than anything is that I could then vote to take it away from you without warning! If you Republicans believe in the same God I do, I pray He resigns down on you an Eye for an Eye. And because I have faith the size of a mustard seed in Him, which is 1000% more faith that I have left in your heartless folly, I know that He will.

    Sincerely Yours, One of a Million+++ Disenfranchised Republican Unemployed Voters.

  • AbigailAdams1

    My husband and I were lifelong, very active Republicans. THAT HAS FOREVER CHANGED TODAY!!! You disgusting Washington Politicians and the financial rapist on Wall Street all share the same bed. Since my husband lost his unemployment extension three weeks ago by the complete and utter incompetence of our Republican Senators and their complacent failure to remedy and recognize a National working class crisis, we have endured the deficit changes to our budget by your actions in the following way. I had the braces removed 6 months early from my 13 and 14 year old children’s teeth. My car got repossessed since I chose to pay the rent instead of the car to keep a roof over our heads. I emphasize the word RENT, because we already LOST our FAMILY HOME of 13 YEARS to FORECLOSURE!! As a result of losing my car, I have had to stop working at the bedside of a 90 year old Hospice patent with congestive heart failure because I can't get there! Her family says she is declining since my abrupt absence and she can’t understand why I’m not coming anymore. Neither can I! Now myself and my husband are both unemployed!
    Now that I don’t have a car, I have applied for Medicaid for my three children. And since we don’t have a car, they now qualify. In the last two weeks, I have saved money by not buying frozen concentrate juice from the grocery store. Instead I have hand squeezed over 52 lemons, which I picked myself from a lemon tree in the yard of our rented house, to make lemonade for my children to drink in lieu of buying store bought fruit juice. THANK YOU REPUBLICAN SENATORS FOR MAKING ME FEEL LIKE AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT IN MY OWN COUNTRY!!! I have negotiated with a doctor for his best cash price to see my daughter who had fallen ill, only to get to the pharmacy and find his prescription was $62.00 when the doctor’s visit was only $50.00. I had to have the doctor call the pharmacy and prescribe something available from Wal-Mart’s $9.00 generic brands.
    This is just a glimpse in the life of one of the over 1.5 million Americans you have affect in just the last 3.5 weeks by your blatant neglect. I only wish we could all AFFORD the GAS to drive to the steps of the Capital to hold you Republicans accountable. Before this Depression set in, my husband was the Manager of a thriving construction company, after having worked in the construction industry for over 20 years. Construction is no longer an Industry, it’s a charity. He was laid off along with every other employee that he worked with and supervised, all now on unemployment. His former employer is completely out of business after 30 years of outstanding service and workmanship. THANKS TO THE REPUBLICAN SENATORS WE ALL FEEL LIKE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN OUR OWN COUNTRY!!!

    I cannot strongly agree with economist Nouriel Roubini (Doctor Doom) when he said, “When Americans lose everything, they lose it.”

  • AbigailAdams1

    The Senators let us hang out to dry for their Memorial Day vacation. Now it's the Fourth of July. I am a proud and very angry American.

    But we unemployed Americans can't celebrate our independence from Tyranny on July 4th because of the Tyrants.

    The Tyrants will take a 7 day vacation from doing NOTHING! When will we revolt? WHEN? After they have starved us to death and we are too weak to fight or even speak! What the hell are we doing AMERICA?

    Our Declaration of Independence was founded on the concept that any civil government depends on the consent of those who are governed, which may be withdrawn at any time.

    On this Independence Day, are you able to celebrate your consent to be governed by people who chose to let you and your family starve while they take their second 7 day paid vacation in a month?

    Can you image having two 7 day paid vacations in the span of just 30 days?
    They just got back from their Memorial Day vacation on June 7th (Memorial Day was Monday, May 31st) refusing to act to prevent your extension from expiring on June 2nd, 2010.

    Ask yourself, is our government acting reasonably?

    I argue they are as unreasonable as Marie Antoinette. What should we eat at our Independence Day cookout, Cake?

    Shame on us if we continue to do nothing. Shame, shame on us if we do not withdrawal our consent to be governed by this reckless government.

    Our founding fathers had no phones, cars, internet to communicate between each other their dissatisfaction with being governed unreasonably.

    Instead they used invisible ink and rode on horseback in the dead of night, up and down the entire East Coast including the interior southern states no less, to communicate between each other their dissatisfaction regarding their government’s unreasonable behavior.

    Their horseback trail later became the route for the first postal service.
    What is the matter with us that we are so feeble that we would accept this as reasonable behavior from our government?

    On this Independence Day, ask yourself if you are going to continue to do nothing by giving your consent to be governed by this horrendous government?

    I beg of you, would any reasonable person consent to this?

  • AbigailAdams1

    Dear Reader and Fellow Americans,

    Please cut and paste the link below into your browser. It is a map of your country that tracks the national unemployment rate per county, per state, in a shaded map for the last 3.5 years from 2007-2010. The darker the area / region gets the higher the unemployment rate.…

    To all the Republican Senators who just voted NO for the fourth time and have refused to SAVE your fellow unemployed Americans who have giving you your job, I ask that you find a spare moment during you Independence Day vacation and just take a look at the map of your country. Find your state and your voting district. Than just take a wild guess as to many of your constituents are involved here. Good luck to all of you in November, we can't wait to return your vote NO!

    And to my fellow citizens who are lucky enough to still be currently employed and feel this matter does not affect you, please find your state and county on the map above and see just how really close you are to being next in line at the unemployment office.

Switch to our mobile site