Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Government

November 30, 2012

There was little suspense about the topics when U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein spoke to a group of business and community leaders recently. Both the Senator and her audience are well aware of the pressing federal issues facing California and the rest of the country. Feinstein came prepared with exhibits to illustrate the changes in spending and revenues between 2001 and 2012 and projected federal outlays for 2012. From 2001 to 2012, defense and war spending increased 64 percent, while tax revenues declined 13 percent. Mandated federal outlays in 2012 (entitlements and interest on the national debt) account for 64 percent of federal expenditures.

These figures would be sobering facts in any situation, but the looming threat of sequestration makes the current budget woes seem to pale in comparison. Feinstein has been working with Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics to develop a compromise approach that would enact half the cuts (approximately $109 billion) and reduce the projected impact on GDP from three percent to one percent of GDP. She compared the current plan to using a hard cleaver that would throw the U.S. back into recession. Feinstein is advocating for a more targeted approach that she likened to using a scalpel rather than a meat ax.

As part of the Senator’s visit to San Diego, she also met in a small group with leaders from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, CONNECT, San Diego Regional EDC and other local organizations. The briefing included an update on the progress of the Cali Baja Bi-National Mega-Region initiative, initially funded with an Economic Development Administration grant. Feinstein must have been impressed because she said she would like to come back to see more of the mega-region, including a first-ever official visit to Mexico.

Senator Feinstein recognized San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, saying he had accomplished much in his time in office. She also had high praise for the sponsoring groups – EDC, the Chamber and CONNECT – saying that the fact that these groups work together for the region is one of the reasons San Diego has been so successful. Her closing comment was that she rated the San Diego business community AAA+++…