In the U.S. Senate these days the debate is all about cutting spending, reducing the debt and balancing the budget; all aimed at strengthening the economy and creating jobs which will reduce the economic stress level that impacts most of the country.
Nebraska is not like most of the country because our economic stress level is very low. In fact, according to the Associated Press, Nebraska is ranked number two in the country as having the least economic stress in America.
The AP says that economic stress has eased in Nebraska and other regions whose work forces lean toward agriculture, mining, wholesale trade and finance. By contrast, states where many workers are employed in the retail and real estate industries suffered higher distress.
North Dakota was the least stressed, as it has been since the recession began in December 2007, with a score of 3.67. The AP calculates the scores from 1 to 100 for each state based on unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates. The lower the score the better when it comes to this list. North Dakota was followed by Nebraska (5.15), South Dakota (5.4), Vermont (5.89) and New Hampshire (6.54).
By comparison, the AP's top 20 most economically stressed states are Nevada with a score of 19.31. It led the nation in unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies. It was followed by California (15.07), Florida (14.11), Michigan (13.47) and Arizona (13.46).
The news story listed the 20 least economically stressed counties in the entire country with populations of at least 25,000. Of those 20, 6 were in Nebraska. That's more counties than any other state in the least economically stressed category.
The 6 Nebraska counties that made the least economically stressed list are Buffalo, Madison, Lincoln, Adams, Lancaster, and Platte.
That certainly speaks well for Nebraskans and our values of hard work, responsible spending, conservative investments and balanced household budgets. Those values have kept our state and our citizens from being hit as hard by the slow economy as other states that have not been as conservative.
These are Nebraska values that carry over to our government where the state Constitution requires a balanced budget. This is how Nebraskans live their personal lives and the way they want the government to carry out its business.
These are values I am working to inject into the budget debates going on in Washington. My focus is on cutting spending, not finding new revenues. I want a serious package of spending cuts and that can be done while still protecting Medicare and Social Security. We've made a promise to seniors and I intend to keep it. I will fight efforts to make them pay for the lack of fiscal discipline in Washington.
With a strong work ethic and responsible spending Nebraskans are in the enviable position of having a healthy economy, thriving businesses, low unemployment, and relatively few bankruptcies and foreclosures. It's because Nebraskans live their lives responsibly and they expect their government to do likewise.
It all helps reduce the economic stress level and is just one more reason why we like to say, "Nebraska -- the Good Life."