Oregon Magazine

State Rep. Matt Wingard (Wilsonville/rural Washington County) Reports on the Economy:
U.S. Debt-to-GDP A Serious Problem
Only Growing Worse

2008 U.S. GDP (Gross Domestic Product): $14.5 Trillion
2008 U.S. National Debt: $10.6 Trillion
2008 Debt as a Percentage of GDP: 73%

Projected U.S. GDP in 2009: $14.6 Trillion (or less)
Expect U.S. National Debt in 2009: $12.6 Trillion
Debt as a percentage of GDP one year from now: 86%

Obama's Projected Deficit in 2009: $1.2 Trillion (+$814 Billion in Stimulus)

Why is this important? Only during WWII has our debt-to-GDP ratio been this high and that was a temporary spike. Can the same be said of today's debt problem?  Credit markets are rational. A reckoning is inevitable.

NW Economic Indicators Sobering

Oregon Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (+1.8 Points Above National Average )
National Unemployment Rate: 7.2%
NW State Rankings by Unemployment:

Idaho: #19 (5.7%)
Washington: #31 (6.4%)
Oregon: #47 (9.0%)

Rank Among the 49 Major U.S. Metro Areas:

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue: #16 (5.8%)
Portland/Vanc: #38 (8.1%)

The overall effect:

Movie Gallery shuts Wilsonville facility, OHSU may cut 1,000 jobs, Microsoft cutting 5,000 jobs, Eddie Bauer cites 'brutal' fourth quarter, Saks lays off 1,100, Clear Channel plans job cuts, home sales near record lows, Xerox lays off 50, Gannett orders companywide furloughs, Precision Castparts unit to lay off workers, Boeing to lay off 4,500 ,
Seattle Post- Intelligencer is up for sale  and there is sobering news from Intel

Bringing the above data and observations home, Wingard's newsletter says:

As Oregon's unemployment level moves beyond 9.0%, my staff is here to help anyone facing layoff or home foreclosure.  Please contact my office if you need assistance accessing unemployment benefits.  This week's newsletter also contains information about help with home re-financing. I have also included helpful links to assistance programs for families in need.
Unfortunately, based on recent economic briefings I've received, it appears that 2009 will be a very rough time for Oregon families.  Unemployment is expected to rise into the double digits with Oregon's rural areas hit the hardest.  As a result of the recession, I anticipate that State revenue for the biennium that begins in July will be down by about 5%.
This will create real hardships for many Oregonians who depend on state services including the elderly, the mentally ill and public schools to name just a few.
During national recessions, Oregon is usually one of the first states in, and one of the last states out.  We must break that cycle and jump-start investment activity throughout Oregon.
That's why I'm supporting the "Main Street" economic stimulus program to help all Oregonians.  The bill would give a 50-100% tax credit to any homeowner or business who begins an improvement project on their property by September 1, 2009.
On my desk at the Capitol, I keep newspaper clippings of recent layoffs by companies in my district.  They are there to remind me of where the money in Salem comes from--your income.  I am committed to supporting policies that will get my neighbors back to work as quickly as possible. 

(text from newsletter and other emails under Matt Wingard's signature)