By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Word for this week seems to be 'money'

The word for this week has to be “money,” and the federal $2.2 trillion “economic rescue package” clearly was just a first branch on the fast-growing money tree.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

Hundreds of billions of dollars in direct stimulus checks are going out to all Americans, factored by income levels. More hundreds of billions of dollars in grants and loans to small businesses were snapped up so quickly that Congress had to approve Round Two of that funding this week.

That SBA “forgivable” loan program has been reminiscent of the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889, when 50,000 people lined up on horseback April 22 for a mad-dash race to claim 2 million acres of prime land. Ironically, that date now is known as Earth Day.

Nationwide in 2020, the number of unemployment claims related to COVID-19 is approaching 30 million. Eye-popping sums of benefit payouts will continue for months, and Americans are just now learning about the excesses and inequities of that system.

Here’s an example of those inequities based on four people earning $400 for a 40-hour work week:

Employee #1 continues working full time to earn that weekly $400; employee #2, on full unemployment, now gets $1,050 weekly in state and federal benefits; employee #3, reduced to 20-hour work weeks, receives $1,200 weekly in a combination of employer pay and government benefits; and unfortunate employee #4, scheduled for 30-hour work weeks, receives only $600 weekly because he/she “makes too much money” to qualify for any state or federal unemployment benefits.

You can do the social math needed to account for how people feel about the obvious unfairness.

The other side of “money” is the massive sucking sound of business and government revenues disappearing into the black hole of a stagnant economy. Money isn’t moving; businesses aren’t able to take their cut and pass the rest along; state government is paying those unemployment claims; many businesses and institutions are going broke and bracing for difficult decisions about whether they can ever afford to reopen.

Good news is that, with rare exceptions, Oregonians have been spared the toll of misery and death that COVID-19 has rained down on so many people around the globe. Still, the old saying that “at least we have our health” is wearing thin in this spiraling economic failure.

One other ray of sunshine is a heartening response to the “stuff” project teased here in recent weeks. You can read about that in today’s issue — evidence suggesting there really is more to our lives than “money.”

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.



OK. I give up. Where in Friday's (4/24) issue is there mention of the “stuff” project, other than Jeb's "teaser" (once again!)?

Jeb Bladine

OK, Culbert ... you caught us! Last minute the story was pulled from Friday's paper and re-scheduled for Tuesday -- too late to change the reference in this column. But photos of Saturday's first day of "pickups" will accompany the story Tuesday.

Here's a preview: Response was great, and the community project will have a rain-filled first day on Saturday. MacHub and Habitat for Humanity volunteers have 50 or more appointments Saturday, and already 100-plus more for the next round, including many in Newberg.

The first day's "stuff" will be stored at our Oregon Lithoprint print plant, then moved next week to a 4,500-sq.-ft. building donated to hold everything for the next month or two. Community-minded Mike Flanigan is making that possible.

So, no more teasing ... and sorry about the missing story today!

People wanting to donate can email to for an appointment to pick up their "stuff" -- hopefully including some high-value items that can benefit local charities. People wanting to help can email to If things keep going the way it started this week, they will need some more volunteers!

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable