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Lariat Letters: Palin's popularity, employment outlook

Jan. 22, 2010

Palin's celeb status: not a problem

I am writing in response to "What you may have missed while away" (Jan. 20), in particular the section titled: "Palin joins Fox News team."

The question: "Has Palin's celebrity overtaken her credibility as a politician?" is posed three-fourths of the way through the article. The author asserts that it has indeed. The question, however, is a false choice.

Perhaps in 2000 it was a negative to be a celebrity going into a presidential election, but Barack Obama's election last year proved the opposite.

Before Election Day 2008, Obama had written and marketed two major books, appeared on the cover of Time no less than seven times as well as appearing on the covers of GQ, Vanity Fair, Men's Vogue and Rolling Stone.

Time is certainly not as celebrity-oriented as inTouch. GQ, Vanity Fair and the like, however, definitely lean toward celebrities.

As August dawned, Republicans and Democrats alike were worried about the mass amount of Obama coverage and the odd mixture of politician, speaker and celebrity that was the nature of his public persona.

The Republicans (rightfully so) saw Obama vastly overshadowing McCain. While the Democrats (less rightfully) feared that Obama would become over-exposed by all the publicity.

When the votes came in one fact among many was clear -- that celebrity and politician are a deadly mixture, at least when it comes to campaigning. Palin's celebrity status should not discount her as a conservative politician or a possible 2012 presidential candidate.

Rather, it should bolster her chances.

Jeffrey Vitarius
Economics, 2011

Poor employment prospects for 2010

Ten percent. The nation's unemployment rate remained at 10 percent in December. Total employment shrank by 85,000. The unemployment rate would have increased were it not for the fact that 600,000 simply quit searching for jobs.

The employment outlook for 2010 and beyond is not encouraging. The repercussions for young Americans, including those now in college, are immense.

Yes, continued implementation of the Stimulus Act will create or save some jobs. On balance, however, Democratic policies are depressing for private-sector job creators. For the geese that will hopefully lay the golden job eggs, 2010 will bring higher taxes, more regulation, greater uncertainty, a shaky dollar, and continued public ridicule from left-leaning politicians.

Dr. John Pisciotta
Associate professor of Economics