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“This was not a stimulus bill. It was a spending bill.”

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Bach, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Bach

    Bach Benched

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    The Stimulus Shopping List: $1.17 Trillion in Pork Goodies

    Thursday, January 29, 2009 4:00 PM

    By: David A. Patten Article Font Size


    Having trouble putting down that cigarette? The stimulus bill has $75 million for programs to help people quit smoking.
    The $1.17 trillion stimulus bill passed by House Democrats on Wednesday bears little resemblance to the bill originally proposed by President Obama, with less than 5 percent of the funds now going to repair America’s deteriorating infrastructure.

    GOP critics point out the bill is loaded with tens of billions for items ranging from Amtrak subsidies to sexually transmitted diseases to the National Endowment for the Arts -- much of which won’t actually flow into the economy until long after economists expect the current economic crisis to subside.

    In late November, Obama promised: “It will be a two-year, nationwide effort to jumpstart job creation in America, and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy. We’ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges,” modernizing schools and stimulating development of alternative forms of energy.

    Even some Democrats are now objecting that the measure contains too few highway and mass transit projects. Moreover Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com, says most of the infrastructure spending in the plan won’t occur until 2010 or later.

    Provisions of the bill that many legislators are questioning:

    $1 billion for Amtrak, which hasn’t earned a profit in four decades.
    $2 billion to help subsidize child care.
    $400 million for research into global warming.
    $2.4 billion for projects to demonstrate how carbon greenhouse gas can be safely removed from the atmosphere.
    $650 million for coupons to help consumers convert their TV sets from analog to digital, part of the digital TV conversion.
    $600 million to buy a new fleet of cars for federal employees and government departments.
    $75 million to fund programs to help people quit smoking.
    $21 million to re-sod the National Mall, which suffered heavy use during the Inauguration.
    $2.25 billion for national parks. This item has sparked calls for an investigation, because the chief lobbyist of the National Parks Association is the son of Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wisc. The $2,25 billion is about equal to the National Park Service’s entire annual budget. The Washington Times reports it is a threefold increase over what was originally proposed for parks in the stimulus bill. Obey is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
    $335 million for treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
    $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. $4.19 billion to stave off foreclosures via the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The bill allows nonprofits to compete with cities and states for $3.44 billion of the money, which means a substantial amount of it will be captured by ACORN, the controversial activist group currently under federal investigation for vote fraud. Another $750 million would be exclusively reserved for nonprofits such as ACORN – meaning cities and states are barred from receiving that money. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., charges the money could appear to be a “payoff” for the partisan political activities community groups in the last election cycle.
    $44 million to renovate the headquarters building of the Agriculture Department.
    $32 billion for a “smart electricity grid to minimize waste.
    $87 billion of Medicaid funds, to aid states.
    $53.4 billion for science facilities, high speed Internet, and miscellaneous energy and environmental programs.
    $13 billion to repair and weatherize public housing, help the homeless, repair foreclosed homes.
    $20 billion for quicker depreciation and write-offs for equipment.
    $10.3 billion for tax credits to help families defray the cost of college tuition.
    $20 billion over five years for an expanded food stamp program.
    Republican leaders say the stimulus package will add 32 new government programs at a cost of $136 billion. They object that many of the programs, once established, are likely to continue indefinitely.

    Most media outlets are reporting the cost of the package at $819 billion. As Newsmax revealed yesterday, however, the Congressional Budget Office calculates that the interest on the debt generated by the bill’s spending will cost another $347.1 billion, making the total cost approximately $1.17 trillion.

    Of course, the measure contains hundreds of billions in tax cuts and infrastructure projects that conservatives will find palatable. But as House Minority whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., told the media Wednesday, “This was not a stimulus bill. It was a spending bill.”

    http://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/stimulus_pork_spending/2009/01/29/176503.html
  2. TheCount

    TheCount Pixel Pusher

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    Amtrak hasn't made a profit in 40 years? How the hell does a company stay open without turning a profit in 40 freaking years?
  3. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    I was talking in another thread that some of those things WOULD provide SOME stimulus and Jobs...just not as much as some others would.

    For example...

    $44 million to renovate the headquarters building of the Agriculture Department....Would this not cause some jobs in construction. Would it not help companies selling items to do the construction. So it does help...just not as much as other areas would help.


    $32 billion for a “smart electricity grid to minimize waste.... Would this not cause some jobs in construction. Would it not help companies selling items to do the construction. So it does help...just not as much as other areas would help. I think this would also fall into the infrastructure area.


    $87 billion of Medicaid funds, to aid states....Don't see how this would help create jobs or sell items for companies.

    $53.4 billion for science facilities, high speed Internet, and miscellaneous energy and environmental programs...

    Would this not cause some jobs in construction or other areas. Would it not help companies selling items to do the construction. So it does help...just not as much as other areas would help.

    $13 billion to repair and weatherize public housing, help the homeless, repair foreclosed homes...

    Would this not cause some jobs in construction. Would it not help companies selling items to do the construction. So it does help...just not as much as other areas would help.

    $20 billion for quicker depreciation and write-offs for equipment. Don't see how this would help.

    $10.3 billion for tax credits to help families defray the cost of college tuition. Don't see how this would help.

    $20 billion over five years for an expanded food stamp program. Actually this one is kind of odd. Seen somewhere where an independent economic group did a study and they listed some things that brought money back to the economy in a manner where they would say....$1 of money put in to this equals so much money to the economy. Oddly enough they listed $1 of foodstamps hire than some other things like tax breaks.

    I guess it would help stimulate because people would buy more items at the grocery stores so the stores are making money and those that supply the items to the stores would be making money.


    So like I said in another thread, and earlier. Some of this stuff does help in some job creation and stimulus areas...just not as much as some other things might.
  4. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    We constantly give them money... which they turn around and give a good portion to the politicians. They then get more money and then ... well you know the vicious circle...
  5. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    Which is kind of funny because of all the bad press they have gotten due to wrecks over the years. I would have thought many politicians would have distanced themselves from Amtrack because it is not like there are other companies out there flaunting money to politicians.
  6. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Amtrak is a mess but it is the only national passenger rail service.

    With oil issues, pollution concerns et al in the northeast it is seen as a viable option for travel from say DC to NYC. So those politicians love it.

    Politicians in say Texas think it is stupid.

    Its all perspective... as usual.
  7. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    I would argue they all create jobs in some form or fashion. Not that some of that stuff isn't just a joke, but it does create jobs when you pay for crap, even if it is crap. There is always some guy making money shoveling it.

    I will say this... we have tried for 6 years to just offer tax breaks and other progressive forms of stimulus and it hasn't helped the economy climb out of its rut. Probably because we spent the actual money overseas, not here.

    The infrastructure in India has come along way in the past 6 years.
  8. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Shut up and play! Staff Member

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    And that's why Houston, the 4th largest city in the country has such a poor transportation system. There's always constant in-fighting about rail systems.

    City voted for it years ago and all there is to show for it is this 6.5 mi tourist track from the medical center to downtown.

    They believe we should build more highways, even tho the city has expanded so far out, the bus system doesn't service most of the outer areas.
  9. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    yup... its outdated thinking to be sure.

    I live in Dallas and would love a high speed rail connecting Dallas to Houston and San Antonio/Austin. That would allow a great deal of options work wise for 3 major cities connected the way DC and Washington and NYC are.

    I get calls non-stop from Houston and Austin about jobs and always have to blow them off because a 4 hour drive each way isn't manageable.

    In my current position the CTO was from Austin and finally left the company after the weekly commutes and time away from family got to him.
  10. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    agree totally on the main premise of what you're saying, bp, however - (always a however from me huh?) - this is more indirect when we need direct actions.

    why not improve the employment agencies reach and capabilities?
    why not start a program that if you're on unemployment, your time is limited before you must take a temp job a temp agency will find for you to help you either maintain or learn new skills?
    why not offer funding for people to learn new / more marketable skills?
    why not put tax credits in there to bring IT jobs back to the US?

    there are many more ways the money could be *directly* spent to address the issue, but as it is this is just a massive spending bill with some nuggets tossed in to spawn confusion while they play shell games.
  11. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Tax payers!
  12. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Where is the money coming from and what happens after it is gone? Those are some important questions that Obama has not addressed.
  13. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    Well that is bascially what I was saying in another thread...that there are better things to put that money into.
  14. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    damn you for saying things i agree with. : )

    where have all the good times gone!
  15. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    I don't know but Now I am in the mood for old van halen.:D
  16. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    whoah whoah whoah, bp's cryin...
  17. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Shut up and play! Staff Member

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    That's already true in Texas unless it's changed in five years. I was out of work for about 9 mos back in 03. After six months, you have to renew your unemployment application. During your unemployment, you still have to submit a list of jobs you've searched for. After a year, you're supposed to be cut off from unemployment unless you've shown that you earned $2000 gross in that time off. I was actually feeling the pressure. I couldn't get hired for even the most basic of jobs because they said I was over-qualified.


    Temp agencies are ok. They can offer some good opportunities. But it's a mixed bag.

    One temp agency I went to actually asked me: "So what makes you want to take on a $10/hr job? All my contracting jobs prior to then were in the $20/hr plus range.

    I just told her, "I like to eat on a regular basis. Thank you very much."
    All of that is already part of the system. Texas Workforce commission and other unemployment agencies are specifically designed with all those programs. It's just a matter of people taking advantage of them. In addition to that, some of the people who work there aren't rocket scientists either. Glorified data entry people. They just go down a checklist to tell you what you need to do to be in compliance, but not as much consulting on job opportunities for a professional.

    I'm not ranting just that I've had alot of experience with these agencies and they're a PITA.
  18. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    Fixed it for you.:D
  19. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    i don't think you ever rant. you're too busy putting out well thought out information. : )

    well, i mean you're not cut off but maybe the employment agencies work with the temp agencies to get someone *any* kind of work. proving you looked for a job is worthless. i had a roomie that would call someone, ask if they were hiring till he got a "no" and call it a week.

    many of these processes may be there but weak by nature or need help. so i'd rather put $ here to fix this and help people get back to work than creating indirect means of it by revamping a gov office through bidding processes.

    get what you're saying and maybe i'm saying we need to clean this up and focus on it's improvements before we tackle some "grid" problem and hope to be more efficient or teach kids about STD's who've likely learned online or in the back of the chevy by then anyway.
  20. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed...part 2 Zone Supporter

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    man, now i need to put some 80s music into the rotation...

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