Thursday, February 05, 2009

Bungling

The more I study (insofar as I can get what appears to be valid information) this stimulus plan, the more I become disgusted with our government, including its executive. This thing is small thinking writ large.

It includes a project in DC which creates 280 jobs, and another which creates 180 jobs in Los Angeles. It commits large millions to expanding broadband internet access, but doesn’t give so much as a skeleton framework of what that consists of as a project. There is more spent on tax cuts than on job creation, and the main thrust of Congress seems to be making people buy homes and cars, recreating the bubble that burst and caused the problem to begin with.

Tax credits piled upon tax cuts. $1500 if you buy a car, $15,000 if you buy a house. $1000 just for being married, and $500 for being single. Tax credits for businesses, which sounds more like Bush than like what I voted for.

If I buy a house and a car and get married, I can pay $17,000 less in taxes. Except that I'm already married and I don't have a job, so I can't buy anything and I'm not paying any taxes anyway. Oh well.

Liberal bloggers are bemoaning the sense that Democrats are not defending this bill as the Republicans attack it. They are not defending it because, while this bill is possibly better than nothing at all, there is not much of anything in it to defend.

President Obama has been telling us that he wasn't going to say much in detail about his plan because his economic dream team was working behind the scenes on the details. And this is what they came up with, apparently. This agglomeration of the unimaginative.

There is nothing whatever in this bill that is new, nothing that commits the nation as a whole to any kind of concerted effort, nothing behind which the nation can unite. There is nothing that provides any kind of national “cause.” This is not a stimulus, this is a basket full of Band-Aids. To believe that this is the answer to our economic collapse is to believe that one can kill an elephant with a shotgun loaded with birdshot.

Former administrations came up with Rural Electrification, Works Progress, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Civilian Conservation Corps. More recent ones created the Interstate Highway System and things like the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The wisdom of the latter can be debated, but at least it was big.

Today we get a sewer repair project in Washington, DC. Jeez.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like your analogy of a basket full of band-aids. This is really a basket full of mini-projects, gimmees, pet projects/issues, etc.

A lot of what they (congress and BO) want to do are rolled up in this and have nothing to do with "stimulus" - other than what pornography would have in "fulfillment", or sniffing a banquet would have in fulfilling your appetite.

The tax cuts are designed to 1) get money directly &/or faster into peoples hands and 2) get them to buy stuff. The problem with 1) is it's too little and they are not likely to spend it on anythign other than paying bills or food or necessities. Ditto with (2) - I'm married, and not in the market for a car so 2 strikes right there. Buy a house? maybe - if I had more income and less debt and there was something affordable in my area (to be clear, prices and availability are better, for sure)

But aanother issue, a longer term one, is tax cuts = less revenue + spending ==> huge deficits - that the future generations will be paying for, over and above what they are already are paying for. Sometimes deficit spending is necessary to get through problems. But this cannot be sustained in the long term or even short term with all that is going on.

And politicians STILL don't really have a grasp of "it's not free money". That pisses me off with all politicians at every level - and the constituents (individuals and groups) that want everything and don't realize it has to be paid for with a finite supply of money. Econ 101 people....

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