Monday, January 26, 2009

Stimulus Round Up

If you think your voice doesn't count think again. If enough of us call, write, fax, email it's possible we might, just might be able to impact this so-called stimulus package. Go to and click on the spread sheet they've provided and / or read the text of the actual bill if you can handle government double-speak in print!

Here are some interesting articles and commentary re: stimulus package.

States to win big in stimulus sweepstakes
The House bill allots almost one-quarter of the $825 billion recovery package to states and localities.,44m9,er,a7nj,g6m3,mbr4,k497


Fed May Gain More Financial Oversight
(By Neil Irwin and Binyamin Appelbaum)


Republican Leaders Don’t Like Stimulus Plan, but No Filibuster Expected
( – Three top Republicans agree that they cannot support the Democrats’ economic stimulus package as written. But aside from expressing the hope that Republicans’ suggestions will be incorporated, none of them said they would work to block the plan beyond voting “no.”


Nationalization of banks around the corner?
Yesterday Nancy Pelosi publicly indicated nationalization was on the table (Nancy Pelosi - Nationalization of Banks a Good Idea? Yep.).

Nancy Pelosi - Nationalization of Banks a Good Idea? Yep.
Nancy Pelosi was on ABC this morning with George Stephanopoulos. The entire interview was a dance and dodge performance, but even with all the flowery non-answers there were some whoppers that should have fiscally conservative, anti-socialistic, freedom loving Americans up in arms.


Nationalization Gets a New, Serious Look
Only five days into the Obama presidency, members of the new administration and Democratic leaders in Congress are already dancing around one of the most politically delicate questions about the financial bailout: Is the president prepared to nationalize a huge swath of the nation’s banking system? Privately, most members of the Obama economic team concede that the rapid deterioration of the country’s biggest banks, notably Bank of America and Citigroup, is bound to require far larger investments of taxpayer money, atop the more than $300 billion of taxpayer money already poured into those two financial institutions and hundreds of others, The New York Times’s David E. Sanger reports.


Treasury's demands on banks seen as nationalization
WASHINGTON — The U.S. government's decision to pledge billions of additional dollars with strings attached to Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. may be nationalization by another name, according to former bankers and regulators. Faced with pressure from lawmakers, banks have shaken up management, eliminated executive bonuses and staff and canceled conventions. They'll be forced to do monthly reports on how they've boosted lending while slashing quarterly dividends to 1 cent a share for three years.


Pelosi Advocates Greater Government Investment in Banks: ‘Some People Call That Nationalization’
( - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, describing the U.S. economy as “dark, darker, darkest,” indicated that further nationalization of American banks may be necessary, although she shied away from using the word “nationalization.” Pelosi also told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that investing in food stamps and unemployment insurance would be more effective in stimulating the economy than any tax cut would be.


Editorial: Congress Must Stop the Stimulus
The $825 billion economic “stimulus” plan now being proposed by President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats could well result in a federal deficit in excess of $2 trillion for 2009. Which means that it is now up to Senate and House Republicans to make certain that the American people are not consigned to a future of permanent serfdom to foreign creditors.
That is, if those creditors will continue to even service the national debt, now totaling nearly $10.7 trillion.


The Heritage Foundation's Morning Bell:
A Conservative Alternative to Obama's Permanent Spending Plan

Last Friday we told you that even by the left's own ideological criteria, President Barack Obama's trillion dollar spending plan would fail to stimulate the economy because nothing about the massive spending increases in the bill was temporary. This Sunday, the Washington Post wrote an editorial essentially agreeing with us:

[S]ome in Congress and the new administration apparently see the country's
present recession as an opportunity to change the federal government's spending
priorities more generally or simply to reward loyal political constituencies.
... [I]t's risky to make new, multiyear commitments in the middle of a crisis
without debate over competing priorities -- and without paying for them through
some means other than borrowing.

Helping hire, equip and pay police, a $4 billion item under the bill, might
be a good idea, but writing checks to individual households for the same amount
would do more to stimulate the economy. Ditto for $16 billion in Pell Grants for
college students, $2.1 billion for Head Start and $50 million for the National
Endowment for the Arts. All of those ideas may have merit, but why do they
belong in an emergency measure aimed to kick-start the economy?...Fiscal
stimulus can be a part of the solution, but only if it is "targeted, timely and
temporary." The efforts so far don't quite match that description.

Our only quibble with the Post's assessment of Obama's trillion dollar spending plan is that it is not quite stern enough. There is nothing "targeted, timely and temporary" about the massive and permanent spending increases in this bill. And the Post left out some of the most flagrant examples. Among the hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending is hundreds of millions of dollars for contraceptives. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) unrepentantly defended this money as stimulus on ABC's This Week:

Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. ... One of
those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce
costs to the states and to the federal government.

Got that? If you want to help stimulate the economy, then Nancy Pelosi believes you should not have any more children. Apparently having less children "will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."

National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers turned in a similar performance on Meet the Press, defending the above mentioned Pell Grants and police hiring as "good investments."

Neither of these stimulus defenders even bothered to claim that these spending increases would be temporary in any way. The deficit for 2009 is already projected to exceed $1 trillion. If deficit-fueled government spending was effective, then our economy ought to be in recovery already. Obviously that is not the case. An alternative is needed.

The American economy does not rise and fall with the level of aggregate demand or deficit spending. There are normal processes that launch a recovery and drive an economy. These processes involve individuals and businesses responding to opportunities and incentives. Lower marginal tax rates stimulate the economy because they improve the incentives facing individuals and businesses to work, invest, take risks, and seize opportunities. The centerpiece of an effective stimulus policy should involve two elements

- Make the 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts Permanent: The American public faces a massive tax hike in 2011 when all of the tax relief enacted in 2001 and 2003 expires. It is difficult for the economy to gain its footing when facing the threat of a punitive tax hike.

- Reduce Marginal Tax Rates for Individuals and Businesses: Cutting tax rates by 10% for individuals, small businesses and corporations will reduce the cost of doing business in America and make it easier for Americans to create new private sector jobs.

According to an analysis performed at the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation, using the widely respected Global Insight U.S. Macroeconomic Model, these policy changes would strengthen the economy significantly this year. Adopting the Heritage tax proposal would mean that 500,000 more Americans have jobs by the end of 2009, and, by the end of 2010, employment would increase by a million jobs. This two-step tax policy would reduce tax receipts relative to current policy by about $670 billion over five years, a number significantly smaller than Obama's $850 billion and growing spending plan.

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