Sunday, February 08, 2009

Economic Stimulus: That WAS The Whole Point

Lesson To Be Learned From the Stimulus Wrangling: The GOP Will Be Known By That Which They Destroy.

Clearly, it's hard for Republicans to change. All those GOP Congresspeople watched the election returns, and they also heard Barack Obama's inaugural speech. That's when he pointed out to them, "the ground has shifted." He explained that Americans "have chosen ... unity of purpose over conflict and discord [and] ... the time has come to set aside childish things." President Obama offered to "extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." (Well, that line ostensibly was directed at foreign leaders. But many fists are still clenched in Washington.)

What Does The ‘Gang Of Moderates’ Gain By Slashing Education Funding In The Stimulus?:

This compromise entails making devastating cuts to the proposed education funding in the bill, a significant portion of which is aimed at low-income, disadvantaged students. A draft of their proposed cuts includes:

- 50 percent of Title I funding, which goes to disadvantaged students ($6.5 billion)

- 50 percent of Head Start funding, which goes to low-income families ($1 billion)

- 50 percent of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funding ($6.75 billion)

- 100 percent of state education stabilization funding ($24 billion)

Update: The Nelson and Collins gang is also proposing cuts in funding for Food Stamps, firefighter and police hiring, and child nutrition.

New ‘Gang of Moderates’ cuts target women and children again:


Head Start, Education for the Disadvantaged, School improvement, Child Nutrition, Firefighters, Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, Prisons, COPS Hiring, Violence Against Women, NASA, NSF, Western Area Power Administration, CDC, Food Stamps

Senate Dems Compromise Away Best Parts of Recovery Plan:

In order to get the votes of two Republican (Maine's Susan Collins and Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter) and perhaps another (Mainer Olympia Snowe) that were needed to undermine the threat of a GOP filibuster, Reid surrendered $86 billion in proposed stimulus spending. In doing so, the Democrats agreed to cut not just fat but bone, and to warp the focus and intent of the legislation.

The Senate plan is dramatically more weighted than the House bill toward tax cuts (which account for more than 40 percent of the overall cost of the package). This is despite the fact that there is a growing consensus -- among even conservative economists and policy makers -- that tax cuts will do little or nothing to stimulate job creation in a country that lost almost 600,000 positions in January alone. [...]

The Senate's increased emphasis on tax cuts comes at the expense of the aggressive spending in key areas that might actually get a stalled economy moving.

Spending for school construction that would actually have put people to work -- while at the same time investing in the future -- has been slashed. (Almost $20 billion slated for school construction is gone.)

Money for Superfund cleanup, Head Start and Early Start child care, energy efficiency initiatives and historic preservation projects -- all of which create or maintain existing jobs -- has been cut.

Supplemental transportation funding has been hacked.

The House's proposal to help unemployed Americans maintain their health benefits has been chopped down.

Axed, as well, has been $90 million that was to have been allocated to plan for and manage a potential flu pandemic that economists and public health experts worry could shutter remaining businesses, bring the economy to a complete standstill and throw the country into a deep depression.

The bottom line is that, under the Senate plan:

* States will get less aid.

* Schools will get less help.

* Job creation programs will be less well funded.

* Preparations to combat potential public health disasters -- which could put the final nail in the economy's coffin -- will not be made.

In every sense, the Senate plan moves in the wrong direction.

At a time when smart economists are saying that a bigger, bolder stimulus plan is needed, Senate Democrats and a few moderate Republicans have agreed to a smaller, weaker initiative.

The Senate “centrists,” led by Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-NE), are cheering the fact that they’ve cut $86 billion in spending from the economy recovery package. “Spending for the states and education took the biggest hit, compared with the House bill. State fiscal stabilization funding was cut back $40 billion, school construction dropped $16 billion, and a proposed $3.5 billion line for higher education construction was zeroed out.”

Here's a list of what got cut by the Senate centrists.

The Nelson-Collins War On Green Jobs

Merrill Lynch Economist: Real Unemployment Rate is 13.9%:

When that amount of slack in employment is taken into account, Mr. Rosenberg found that the ‘real’ unemployment rate has actually climbed to 13.9%, an all-time high for the period he studied, and up from 13.5% in December and 11.2% a year ago.

Supporters Of $1.3 Trillion Bush Tax Cuts In 2001 Now Call $900 Billion Recovery Plan Billion ‘Too Much’:

Such objections are indeed ironic coming from some of the greatest advocates for President Bush’s $1.35 trillion tax cut package in 2001.

Unspinning the Right: the Rich Don't Really Bear Most of the Tax Burden:

Based on the cold facts of statistics and percentages, the poor are paying a greater share of their incomes.

Plunder and Blunder; How the 'Financial Experts' Keep Screwing You

John Cole: I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane.

Yup. It's literally impossible to be meaningfully and productively bipartisan with a party of crazies (Tom Coburn, Jim Inhofe, Jim DeMint, Jim Bunning--what's with all the crazy Jim's?), liars (Graham, Grassley, Thune, Chamblis), egomaniacs (McCain, Hatch, Kyl, Sessions) and idiots (pick 'em).

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