Monday, August 3, 2009

Be Your Own Siskel & Ebert

(This was written 6 months ago when the President presented his Stimulus Bill. I did not see how it would work. Six months later, has it?)

I been in the right place
But it must have been the wrong time
I'd of said the right thing
But I must have used the wrong line-Dr. John

Remember that scene in Jaws when Chief Brody is tossing out the chum and the big shark comes swimming by? "Your gonna need a bigger boat", Brody mumbled in awe.

Brody saw that the tools they wanted to use against the shark were ineffective.

Well, I just delved into the President's economic Stimulus Package that he wants the legislative branches to pass pronto. If Chief Brody were around, he would evacuate Washington rather than have this thing pass.

Now I know many of you support the Stimulus package. But tell me honestly, have you read the thing? If you have, can you explain to me how this will revive the economy? If you haven't read it, and support it solely because Obama proposed it, you need to put down the Kool Aid. It's government for the people, not the sheeple.

Just as you would never tell someone "I loved Gran Torino" when you didn't see the movie, how can a person be in favor of a piece of legislation without knowing what it says? Now, I am not saying that you need to go through the actual proposal line by line, just know the highlights, and evaluate them in connection with what the bill is supposed to address. Is that so hard to do, or ask?

I know a couple of people on here that have told me that Clarence Thomas is a horrible Supreme Court Justice, and yet they admit they have never read one of his Supreme Court opinions! Ignorance, like Tiki Barber against the Redskins, runs wild.

Now, I began drafting a dull & dry response against the Stimulus Bill. And I ripped it up.

So basically, let me put it in a nutshell: it spends on the wrong things and at the wrong time.

Let's first focus on the wrong time aspect of the bill.

People are losing jobs now. Industries are dying now. Unemployment is out of control now.

Now look when the spending takes place in the Bill. Less than 20% of the spending takes place in 2009. In fact the Bill allocates huge spending thorough 2018! Much more is spend from 2012 through 2018 than 2009.

How does that help the economy now? I thought the stimulus is to get us out of a current rut, not to project 9 years down the road. Let's say the economy recovers in the next 2 years. Do we really want this massive influx of spending built into a just recovering economy?

One thing we know about the future is we don't know about the future. Dot com busts, Enron, Wall Street Research Scandals, World Com, Accounting Fraud, 9/11, Katrina, Bernie Madoff-all in the last 10 years. You don't know what is going to happen. To lock into massive Soviet-Style long term spending is more reckless than accepting a ride from Jim Leryitz at the end of happy hour.

So the big question I have is: Can someone break it down to me how huge amounts of cash spent in dubious areas (see next section) in the years 2012-2018 will create jobs today? How does that get people back to work?

Which brings us to what the President wants to spend the cash on. Remember, this is being labeled as an Economic Stimulus Bill. But when you look at where the money is going, 90% has nothing to do with the economy, or job restoration. Instead, it is a win-for life lotto ticket worth billions for government directed social programs.

Here are the areas that are getting at least $10 billion each:

  • $20.0 billion to increase the maximum benefit under the Supplemental Nutrition Assurance Program (i.e., Food Stamps)
  • $18.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs
  • $20.4 billion for programs administered by the Department of health and Human Services
  • $20.0 billion to renovate elementary and secondary schools
  • $17.6 billion for Pell grants and other student financial assistance at post-secondary institutions
  • $29.1 billion for other elementary and secondary educational programs
  • $30.0 billion for highway construction
  • $13.1 billion for other transportation programs
  • $11.2 billion for housing assistance programs administered by HUD
  • $19.5 billion (minimum, could be higher, as per Title XIII) for education grants to states
  • $27.1 billion for increase unemployment benefits
  • $13.3 billion to increase health insurance for unemployed workers
  • $11.1 billion for “Other Unemployment Compensation”

What does this sound like to you? It sounds to me like a wish list for the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Other than the highway and school building, how exactly do any of these things stimulate the economy? (And even these are not permanent jobs, they end when the last shovel is out of the ground.)

Clearly, any fair-minded reading of the bill will show the the bill is FDR-LBJ styled social programs bill.

Granted I am no economist, but flooding the nation with food stamps, wind mills and elementary schools will not get Americans their jobs back.

Yet, the President calls this an economic recovery bill. Trust me, he knows better.

Do you?

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