Monday, February 09, 2009

A Nation on Welfare

Let's see, $700 billion for TARP, $410 billion scheduled in more spending this year (omnibus package that I bet most of you haven't even heard about yet), NOW we're at over a trillion in the so-called stimulus package... how much has the government tossed at and/or committed to willy-nilly throwing at trying to fix the problem?

Try this number on for size - $9.7 TRILLION dollars according to an article in Bloomberg today (see below).

Not a paltry trillion like they're talking about in the Senate today... NINE point SEVEN trillion.

The $9.7 trillion in pledges would be enough to send a $1,430 check to every man, woman and child alive in the world. It’s 13 times what the U.S. has spent so far on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Congressional Budget Office data, and is almost enough to pay off every home mortgage loan in the U.S., calculated at $10.5 trillion by the Federal Reserve.

You know, I think I could fix the problems real easy with less money than that. Somewhere in MY stimulus package would be a cut in government spending and government agencies.

While I might send some money out to individuals, it would be judicious. You and I might be able to manage our money carefully and wisely. However, when I think about all those who've won the lottery and ended up in worse shape after they blew it, I'm not inclined to just cut everyone a huge check. We don't need to set up another generation to think thriving means waiting for a government check.

Incentives to work? Help in creating jobs... real jobs, not fixing lawns in D.C. or buying condoms or many of the other programs in the current stimulus.

We've created a monster and rather than trying to kill it or tame it, we're feeding the darn thing.

It struck me recently that we have become a nation on welfare. The government is supporting so many agencies, groups, people, and now industries, that we're dependent. We grouse about the Welfare program and how we've created a welfare mentality, but watch what we're ALL doing. The schools are dependent on government money. How many agencies live and die with government subsidies? The Arts, national public radio, roads, transportation, the list goes on an on. Everyone is clamoring for government grants. What about research? We have government agencies, AND we have private industry research that is dependent on government grants.

Our colleges aren't self-supporting. Even with huge alumni endowments, corporate donations and tuition they are seemingly in dire need of handouts from the government.

The list of government intrusion and life-support goes on and on.

The government doesn't even KNOW where it's spent the money they've thrown at the problem thus far! And the government isn't willing to share what it does know about the spending:
Bloomberg requested details of Fed lending under the Freedom of Information Act and filed a federal lawsuit against the central bank Nov. 7 seeking to force disclosure of borrower banks and their collateral. Arguments in the suit may be heard as soon as this month, according to the court docket. Bloomberg asked the Treasury in an FOIA request Jan. 28 for a detailed list of the securities it planned to guarantee for Citigroup and Bank of America. Bloomberg hasn’t received a response to the request. The Bloomberg lawsuit is Bloomberg LP v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 08-CV-9595, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

I know the lawsuit was filed during the last administration, however, we're now supposedly under a more "open and transparent" administration. They're going to put everything out on the Internet so we can wade through it if we'd like. Nothing is out there yet, private groups are putting the info on the stimulus package out there for us to read ( Even when everything is out on the Internet (assuming it ever happens), do you trust the government to put all the details out there? Can you understand government-speak?

They're good at candy-coating bad bills. Think about the Fairness Doctrine which shuts down free speech, or the Employee Free Choice Act which takes away free choice by stopping employees from voting via secret ballots.

These are two excellent articles and I hope you'll read through them. I didn't even begin to touch on the issues they raise!

Regarding the 2nd half of TARP spending (approx. $350 billion):
U.S. Delays Finance Plan as Officials Debate Debt (Update1)
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner delayed the announcement of the Obama administration’s financial-recovery plan as officials debated proposals aimed at addressing the toxic debt clogging banks’ balance sheets....
...Officials continue to consider a so-called bad bank to buy them, perhaps in cooperation with private investors, such as hedge funds and private equity. It’s unclear how big a role there’ll be for federal guarantees of securities that remain on banks’ balance sheets...
...For now, the government doesn’t intend to ask for more money, while leaving open the option of requesting more later. Most of the second half of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program has yet to be allocated...
...Geithner will try to sell the plan as a clean break from the Bush administration, while offering many of the same programs and policy tools bequeathed by former Secretary Henry Paulson...

U.S. Taxpayers Risk $9.7 Trillion on Bailouts as Senate Votes
The stimulus package the U.S. Congress is completing would raise the government’s commitment to solving the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion, enough to pay off more than 90 percent of the nation’s home mortgages.
The Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have lent or spent almost $3 trillion over the past two years and pledged to provide up to $5.7 trillion more if needed. The total already tapped has decreased about 1 percent since November, mostly because foreign central banks are using fewer dollars in currency-exchange agreements called swaps.
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