Judging the Spendulus Bill

Economic Stimulus GraphicHere I am on a sunday night… tired as can be at only 10:00 pm. Certainly a rare occasion for me. A long weekend, a lot of driving, a great wedding, and some new friends. But all tiring none-the-less. I was reading an article earlier and found myself reading the rhetoric and wondering how much of it was true. The article was basically a Republican talking points article discussing how the stimulus bill can now be considered a failure. I am unsure how much we can tell if that is true at this point. I am inclined to believe that statement, but for a different reason that I will discuss later. But the claims from the right seem to be off base, just as off base as the claims from the left in regard to the economy. So I figured I would research a little and then ask all of you to weigh in and offer what you have read out there too.

The article basically discussed how the Democrats were pushing back on Republican claims that the stimulus did not deliver the results that were promised. Republicans claim the bill didn’t do what was promised. The Democrats make the grand claim made famous by all politicians: “our actions diverted a catastrophe. Without what we did, doom was imminent.” I always hate those kind of claims. I hated it when the Bush administration used them to tell us the Patriot Act was successful because of what didn’t happen. And I hate it now when Democrats in Congress and the White House attempt to sell us on the idea of the stimulus being successful because of the depression that didn’t happen. I am tired of the claims from both sides that cannot be backed up at all. And I am tired of them being used as justification for government actions when we can see zero positive effects that are measurable.

RecoveryGovAccording to the article, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stated that the spendulus bill (of course he didn’t call it that) “pulled the country back from the precipice of another Great Depression”. That same article quoted him as saying that “the intensity of the recession would have been longer and deeper without the spending bill”. I throw the bullshit flag on this one. First, which is it? We averted a Great Depression or we lessened the intensity of a recession? And both claims are cleverly ones that we have zero way of refuting and they have zero way of proving. Typical political double-talk. As I said, don’t try to convince me by claiming that you averted the ultimate doom and gloom scenario that the majority of us didn’t believe was going to happen anyway. So let’s first look at what was spent….

A quick check on the recovery.gov website and we can see that the amount of money actually spent from the ARRA spendulus, as of July 17, 2009, has been $67.39 Billion. That equates to about 7.7% of the ARRA funds. You read that correctly, 7.7% (I might use that statement in every article from now on instead of every tenth one). If $67.38 Billion was enough to avert anything in this gigantic economy, then I submit to you that any claims of “the next Great Depression” are VASTLY overstated, and nothing more than a scare tactic from the drama queens of the professional world: politicians.

So what was the claimed intent of the economic stimulus legislation? Again I will rely heavily on what the President and other Democrats claimed leading up to and directly after the passing of ARRA. According to the recovery.gov website again, the act will:

  • Save and create more than 3.5 million jobs over the next two years;
  • Take a big step toward computerizing Americans’ health records, reducing medical errors, and saving billions in health care costs;
  • Revive the renewable energy industry and provide the capital over the next three years to eventually double domestic renewable energy capacity;
  • Undertake the largest weatherization program in history by modernizing 75 percent of federal building space and more than one million homes;
  • Increase college affordability for seven million students by funding the shortfall in Pell Grants, increasing the maximum award level by $500, and providing a new higher education tax cut to nearly four million students;
  • As part of the $150 billion investment in new infrastructure, enact the largest increase in funding of our nation’s roads, bridges, and mass transit systems since the creation of the national highway system in the 1950s;
  • Provide an $800 Making Work Pay tax credit (that extra 10 bucks a week in people’s paycheck) for 129 million working households, and cut taxes for the families of millions of children through an expansion of the Child Tax Credit;
  • Require unprecedented levels of transparency, oversight, and accountability.

  • In the face of an economic crisis, the magnitude of which we have not seen since the Great Depression, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act represents a strategic — and significant — investment in our country’s future.

    The Act will save and create three to four million jobs, 90 percent of them in the private sector. It will provide more than $150 billion to low-income and vulnerable households — spurring increased economic activity that will save and create more than one million jobs.

ARRA SignAdditionally the President told us that without the spendulus we will be doomed to 8% inflation, which I can’t find the quote exactly, but I am pretty sure that he said that at 8.1% unemployment, we would literally start to see people’s heads begin to explode. I know that quote is out there, along with the quote caught off camera that led one reader to figure out that Obama was actually a alien lizard. So how are we doing against all the claims from those supporting the ARRA?

Well… Unemployment is currently at about 9.5% and according to many experts we will see it go above 10% before the end of the year. This is well above the stated goal for the stimulus package to keep us below. I guess in hindsight, if he stated that the package would keep us from 8%, he was technically correct, we just didn’t know that he meant that it will put us at 9.5%+ instead of 8%. It was our mistake to assume that he meant the stimulus would keep us below that magical 8% number. The Republican claims however, are premature. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY), said, “I think we can fairly safely declare it now a failure, It was sold to us as something that was going to jolt the economy, that was going to hold unemployment to 8 percent. Unemployment’s going over 10 percent.”

As for saving or creating 3.5 million jobs, 90% of them in the private sector, I consider this a big part of the “failure” part of this so far. I will say again that the error here is that we seem to give politicians a pass when they make these vague claims that are impossible to get evidence on. Remember when the bill first started the phrase used was “to create” all of these jobs, and I remember that in one of his weekly addresses after passage was the first time I recall having the “saved” part added to the equation. Regardless of all that, a New York Times article summed it up best when they stated, “The June figures did show continued slowing in the pace of job losses. From November to March — after the collapse of some prominent financial institutions — the labor market lost an average of 670,000 jobs each month. From April to June, the decline slowed to 436,000 a month.”

Obama New EnergyAccording to a different recent NY Times Article, “Administration officials had predicted that the stimulus program would save or create 600,000 jobs by summer. But by July, the economy had lost more than two million jobs since Mr. Obama took office, while officials were estimating that the program has saved only about 150,000 jobs.” However, some economists are warning that a recovery is still in its early stages, cautioning that the job market tends to lag behind progress in other areas of the economy.

Now I will say that those numbers have improved, which is to say that perhaps the economic stimulus bill DID have some positive effects on the American economy, in terms of slowing job loss. But I still cannot agree with the argument that the stimulus has “created or saved” any jobs. So long as the number of people entering the category of “unemployed” goes up, it seems to me that no jobs were created or saved. Even if you save 100 police officer’s jobs, if at the same time 100 factory workers lose their jobs, the net result is zero. In that way the stimulus is doing nothing more than changing who has the jobs from one person to another. The net result of the stimulus is that roughly 436,000 MORE people each month don’t have jobs. Perhaps that number would have been higher without ARRA, but it is hard to prove that one way or another. I also think, but don’t have the data to prove so, that the whole 90% of them in the private sector is WAY off, as it seems the only jobs being “saved” are public officials (police, fire, teachers, etc.).

Smells Like BullshitThere are a lot of bullshit answers and claims coming out of the Republican side of things as well. The biggest seems to be that it is a foregone conclusion that the stimulus failed and we should cancel the rest of it and come up with a better plan. I mentioned above that this is a premature claim. The effects of the ARRA are about as settled as the debate on global warming. I think that the information above shows that job loss has at least slowed down, which would indicate that the economic stimulus is not a complete failure. Not to mention that claiming that the stimulus failed when only 7% of it has been enacted is like stopping a football game after the first quarter. We just haven’t figured out how this game is gonna end yet.

And I do think that Republicans are attempting to capitalize on the impatience of the average America. The President was fairly up front on when money would be spent and on the fact that this problem was going to get worse before we start to see improvement. Now I don’t blame the Republicans for attempting to capitalize. Capitalizing on the ignorance of the average American on political issues is exactly how the current wave of Democrats gained control over the Congress and the White House. And it is exactly how GW was able to enact such massively unconstitutional programs such as the Patriot Act. Capitalizing on American ignorance and impatience is politics as usual in Washington DC.

So my take on the stimulus thus far is that it has fallen far short of what Democrats promised it would deliver to this point. It just has. But it has not been as ineffective as Republicans have claimed either. Overall, I find myself still in a “wait and see” mode. And I am cautious in assigning too much credit or blame to either side here. Let’s not forget that when FDR did this type of thing the economy DID recover for a little while, then in 1937, unemployment surged back up and things were bad again until the War saved us all economically. Which points to BF’s premise, that all of this action by government to manipulate the economy is doing nothing but delaying the inevitable.

Steny Hoyer

Steny Hoyer

On the flip side to all of this are the Democrats in Congress, such as dumbass Steney Hoyer, who are already beginning to call for a second stimulus. I think a lot of people figured that this was a foregone conclusion. All I can say is that if that looks to be the direction things go, they better slow the hell down and figure out some answers to a lot of American voter’s questions long before rushing any further spending through Congress in a “crisis”. I think those Democrats are just as effing stupid as the Republicans that are already calling this a failure and yelling that we should cancel the rest of the stimulus spending now and find another path.

Thus far the administration is holding its ground. The President has said that it is way too early to start talking about another stimulus. He said that we need to wait a while and see what kind of effect we get from the one already in progress. And in a move that shocked me to no end, even Nancy Pelosi shot down talk of a second stimulus. According to one article that I read, Pelosi said that she doesn’t support a second stimulus package. “I believe that good times are ahead,” she told CNN. “I would rather just stick with the initiative that we have, get it out faster if we can, but not worry about doing another stimulus package.” What am I supposed to do with that? Nancy actually saying something that I agree with? I don’t know that it has ever happened before!

So as we discuss all of these new things that the administration and Congress are attempting to shove down our throats, I think that it is important to have some honest conversations about economic stimulus and what is working and what is not. So I will throw it back to all of you. What information have you read out there that supports one claim or the other? Is the stimulus providing any positive results? If so, are they enough to warrant the debt growth that the government is incurring at an alarming rate? Do the Republicans have any ground to stand on when claiming that the stimulus is a failure? I don’t have all the facts, so I will look forward to what all of you can share with me.

So let me say that I tried my best here to be fair in my assessments. Let me also say that I read about 50 articles on the issue tonight. I lost a couple of them while navigating the web, so if I quoted one and didn’t offer references, get over it. Give me your “F” for plagiarism and shut your pie hole. I will weep for 3 seconds and then return to those who want to discuss the actual facts of the article presented.

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Comments

  1. From Zacks dot com; http://www.zacks.com/stock/news/22173/Stimulus:+Success+or+Failure%3F+-+Analyst+Blog

    From Money dot cnn dot com; http://money.cnn.com/2009/02/17/news/economy/obama_stimulus_meas_success/index.htm?postversion=2009021713

    The first one is just about repeated word for word on a bunch of other sites I looked at – disgusting to say the least as it appears that it is a wire-service story and I didn’t even try and pursue the originator.

    The second one is from just after the Messiah signed the bill that no one read. I found its headline to be somewhat interesting.

    In a nutshell? We won’t know if it will work until all the smoke from the smoke & mirrors backroom politics clears – if that ever happens.

    I just watch the jobless ranks continue to swell and wonder what will happen to all those folks when his cap & trade fiasco hits if it should pass.

    I honestly believe that we Americans are heading toward the biggest politically induced economic train wreck in the history of all mankind if we choose to just sit back and see what happens. But then that is just my not-so-humble opinion.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      G.A.

      It already IS the biggest government-sponsored fiscal train wreck in history. Compare government debt as a % of GDP in 1937 to government debt as a % of GDP now, and compare the REAL unemployment numbers.

      Currently, if you count all the people that have been unemployed for more than six months, all the people that are employed part time but used to be working full time, and all the people that have supposedly “given up looking for work”, unemployment is actually around 17% right now nationally.

      The smoke and mirrors are the only thing preventing the majority of people from realizing just how bad it really is right now.

      The only reason the economy appears to be recovering is that all of the banks took all of their TARP money, and instead of lending it out, they stuck it into the decimated stock market, thus causing the stock market rally and making money for themselves (but not for anyone else).

      Of course, the government didn’t really mind that, because it allowed the government to point to this illusion as “signs of economic recovery”

    • I foresee a second economic downturn (collapse?). I believe we will see a second wave of personal bankrupcies, small business failures, more home foreclosures, resulting bank failures and more bailouts. Couple this with the pending cap and tax, more “taxes” in the form of additional fees and the economy is going to come to another screeching halt. We have too many people out of work, and a business community that does not trust this administration. I for one am not going to stretch my business any further that I have to satisfy my customers. I will not hire, in fact, I may have to lay some off. I do not believe the Stimulus Package was designed to stimulate the economy but was intended to be nothing more than a vehicle for the politicians to use to Pork Up. The sad thing is the lack of anger on the part of the American public. But then why should I be surprised. Most people today can’t seem to find their own bathrooms without consulting their cell phone or GPS.

  2. USW, Looks to me like another “look this way, because we don’t want you to look that way” moment. The Spendulus Bill is a joke, as I have seen nothing whatsoever locally out of it, and doubt I ever will. Could the idea of a second spendulus bill simply be a form of corercion to get that worthlees socialized healthcare bill passed? Maybe we will here more talk of it when the Senate starts debating the “cap and Trade Ponzi scheme” that the Dems want as well. The shell game continues!

    G!

    • Had they merely spent 10 Billion on crack, crank, heroin and marijuana over the last 6 months and destroyed the goods, there would have been a net increase in jobs and a decrease in both drug availability and emergency visits from the users. Had they done their purchases through the HA’s and other bike clubs, just think of all the new purchasing of American made iron creating American jobs at Harley Davidson. Wow this job creating is pretty easy. Maybe el presidente needs a Canadian to set things right… Alan F. Bike Czar.

  3. USW:

    You state in your great article, “Not to mention that claiming that the stimulus failed when only 7% of it has been enacted is like stopping a football game after the first quarter. We just haven’t figured out how this game is gonna end yet”. I have to argue with you here. We know how it is going to end. It is going to end with the Federal Gov in more areas of our lives, higher taxes, less freedoms, and less opportunity. This is what a lot of us have been talking about on this site.

    I don’t have time here, I am at work getting ready to earn the money I need to pay the taxes that are not going to go up since I make a LOT less than 250,000, but there have been multiple reports that the Spendulous money has gone to places with lower unemployment then to places with higher unemployment. There have been reports that congressional districts that were repub, or trended repub, had projects rejected for Spendulous funding.

    There is NO way that this piece of CRAP can ever be called successful in a general sense. This will only be successful in the sense that it allows the dems to reward their political master\supporters. For America it is a total and complete failure.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Sometimes a football game should be stopped in the middle of the first quarter because it has already clearly become a huge fiasco.

  4. I personally believe that with the infusion (whenever it gets infused) of so much money into the economy, we will see short term improvement. In the long run, however, the inflation will stifle our economy and this is just putting off the inevitable. We will be in an extreme world of hurt if this is not stopped…I know the stopping of this is paramount to me hitting the powerball (I don’t play), but hey, I could find a ticket on the ground!

  5. Kristian Stout says:

    I work in the trucking industry. I have seen, since January, at least a dozen people a day coming through our front door looking for driver positions. That doesn’t even include the phone calls that are taken for the same thing. Everyone in the company had to take a 3% pay cut to ensure that we could keep our jobs for a little while longer. If freight keeps dropping off the way that it has been I can see this company, that has been in business for over 30 years, having to close it’s doors. So no, I don’t think that this stimulus is working for anyone except the politicians that pushed it through, Democrat and Republican alike.

    • Black Flag says:

      For the rest of us,

      If you want to understand what is really happening in the economy, the people you need to talk to are the one’s like Kristian Stout.

      1) A highly industrialized nation is prosperous because of a highly divisible specialization of labor.

      2) This high division of labor creates the conditions that labor upon goods is spread broadly throughout the economy

      3) Shipping goods between labor pools is a direct and measurable correlation of increasing or decreasing economic activity.

      Watch the shippers – truck, train, ship, plane – to know if the economy is improving or failing.

      The Baltic Dry Goods indes is still falling…

  6. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Good Morning all,

    I am somewhat ignorant about “big” economics…so I have questions…

    1. Should the economy start recovering well, is there any chance of the bill being repealed?

    2. If this is the case, what are pros and cons associated with repealing it?

    3. Should the bill be repealed, does anyone think that there is $$ that can be applied towards principal so that America can start the process of getting out of debt?

    4. I equate being in debt as being enslaved…Does anyone else here feel the same way? In my situation, there is some necessary debt (mortgage/vehicle) that I hate, but don’t feel is as enslaving as say credit card debt – which I hate even more.

    Looking foward to any answers to my questions here. Today’s topic and resulting blogs will be a learning experience for me.

    Best Regards to all,
    RS

    • RS, it should be repealed…I am not clear how that would happen or if it even could happen. I would think that since it is all borrowed money, whatever is left should the bill get repealed could be used to pay on the principle, but sincerely doubt that this government would do anything so sensible…they have the money, they’re going to spend it, no matter how stupid the cause.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      I would hope that is the checks have not all been signed then they do not have to be spent. The bigger problem though Karyn is that even I don’t believe the bill was single-purposed.

    • Black Flag says:

      1. Should the economy start recovering well, is there any chance of the bill being repealed?

      No.

      The government is in a no-win situation. The infusion of cash will cause massive inflation.

      The failure to infuse cash will cause a massive deflation (ie: Depression).

      Government requires inflation so to eat away against its massive debt. It must inflate – a depression is, in fact, very good for the people – it increases the availability of real capital for productive use. However, a depression deflates currency – that is, a dollar will buy more tomorrow than it buys today – so it will force government to pay back more value for its goods it buys today – which will force government to stop spending – which is exactly what it cannot do.

      Hold on to this thought – Government must inflate to survive at the cost of destroying the people’s wealth. Do not bet against this.

      3. Should the bill be repealed, does anyone think that there is $$ that can be applied towards principal so that America can start the process of getting out of debt?

      Be careful here.

      You are equating how you deal with debt and how government deals with debt.

      If you cannot pay your debts, you go bankrupt and your assets are seized and delivered to your creditors.

      If a government cannot pay its debts, there is no bankruptcy, nor are any assets seized. This is fundamental to understanding how government handles their debts.

      You cannot print money to pay for your debts.

      A government can print money to pay for its debts.

      There is no reason for government to repay its debts. Who is going to foreclose on it?

  7. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    The government is like a child with no pain receptors. We can tell the child not to touch the hot stove, because it will burn them, but their curiosity and desire to meddle in things that they should not be meddling in virtually ensures that they will touch the hot stove, and their lack of pain receptors will ensure that they will get 3rd degree burns and probably irreperable damage.

    Unfortunately for us, the 3rd degree burns and irreperable damage spread to all of us instead of just being confined to the child with no pain receptors.

    Attempted government manipulation of economic forces never ends well, but our government and the federal reserve will never stop attempting to manipulate the economy, so we have no idea what the economy would actually do if it were free to work on its own.

    The debate about whether the stimulus is working or not is moot. The goal is to increase government control over the economy and move the economy even farther from being a freely working system. As far as those goals are concerned, the stimulus is working exactly as intended.

    • Peter..good morning to you. As you know, you and I don’t see eye to eye most of the time but I think you have something here. I have read the stimulus bill twice, now….word for word. I think that you are correct. It is designed not to rescue but to control. What has tipped the scale for me is the amount of “pork” that is inserted in it and there were very little “shovel ready” projects. The design, I now feel, is to purposely move the economy to the “total entitlement” phase and what is even more sad…..a lot of people want this. This is what I cannot believe…I simply cannot believe the “lemming mentality” out there. (sorry, poor choice of words here…mentality is to imply thinking…lemmings do not).

      I am not a right wing republican nor am I a left wing bigot. However, I will admit to being more conservative fiscally. My social leanings, are slightly right of center but I do not walk lock step. I can throw my prejudice aside when it comes to fiscal responsibility. And, this is where we are…fiscal responsibility. There appears to be none on BOTH sides of the aisle.

      I was willing to give BO the benefit of the doubt and I was willing to give this so called stimulus the benefit of doubt. Then my anger surfaces when I see that this bill is more pork than usual and is the pet projects of everything that the liberal side has wanted and can do for now because of their control.

      One thing, though….and I see this building greatly. There seems to be a real movement picking up steam right now. It could be the crowds that I run in, but I do not see the “change” bumper stickers any longer… I am seeing less and less the Obama stickers…and I am hearing a lot on the street. I had a lot of friends that voted for this administration and I see an awful lot of disgruntle Obama voters. What I hear the most, concerning the stimulus package, is that he should have vetoed the whole bill and made Congress start over. Instead, he walked lock step with the left wing mantra. Understanding that he is left wing and that wing is broken so that it will not bring him back towards center, is still not the point. I know what his politics are. He can only be in that house on Penn Street for so long….it is the support base that is in control. Everyone knows he, BO, is nothing more than a puppet…so when the marionette yanked, he jumped.

      There is no doubt in my mind that this stimulus package is bullshit. It sold out to unions and Soros and that ilk. There are going to be no vetoes from this man, unless it is to veto something from the right. My mind changed even more after watching his pathetic speech last week and they are doing well to distract from the even more incredulous spending he wants to do on the health issue with this bullshit racial epitaph concerning the racial profiling on his friend. And I just heard that the officer is going to the white house for his beer. That is a mistake and will feed the diversion to more spending.

      Long answer to say, I think you have something here.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        D13,

        Yes, the critical mistake I think that USW is making on this particular subject is that he is ATTEMPTING TO JUDGE IT BASED UPON THE CRITERIA THAT THE GOVERNMENT CLAIMS IT SHOULD BE JUDGED BY.

        This is simply misdirection by the government. We should only be making a judgement on this based upon its real intent, which is to enhance government control over the economy. From that standpoint, it has been a smashing success so far.

  8. Ray Hawkins says:

    You’ve touched an important critical nerve – how can the bill be deemed a success or failure when so little of it has been executed?

    I thought most economists agreed that due to lag, we would continue to see unemployment creep up, even if other signs were positive. Other than Joe ‘foot in the mouth’ Biden were there others that claimed ow own the 8% number?

    There is a transparency failure here – no clear linkage or metrics exists to say action A = result B – I know it is more complex than that – but anytime this much money is approved to be spent, there should be a requirement to clearly demonstrate the effects of it. Most of us that have ever managed a project know you have to show clear results – burying a bunch of shit in rhetoric does not work in the business workd, why is it ok here?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Ray,

      Government has no incentive to operate like a business. Your EEE principles are never rewarded (they may be rewarded in the short term, but they never are in the long run), because government is ultimately only accountable to itself.

      Government is obviously NOT accountable to the voters, because no matter who we vote for, nothing changes.

      This is (in part) why BF believes that voting does absolutely nothing other than to lend legitimacy to the government.

      This is also why a lot of us believe the VIRTUALLY ANY SERVICE that is currently provided by the government would be more honestly and efficiently provided using the private sector.

      Yes, there are examples of malfeasance in the private sector, but ultimately, a private entity is held accountable by their shareholders and by their customers, and badly run private entities will simply fail….

      At least that is the way it is SUPPOSED to work, but then you have the government intervening and preventing the failure of badly run private entities so that the government can run them even WORSE!

    • Hey Ray…good day to you.

      Ray says: Most of us that have ever managed a project know you have to show clear results – burying a bunch of shit in rhetoric does not work in the business world, why is it ok here?

      Control, my friend, control. AND there is no competition. Those of us in business know that it takes clear and precise goals with a beginning and an end. If you want a business loan, you better have a proforma that shows results on the basis of all contingencies. With this administration and past administrations, results are like Ferdinand’s Bull….you know…a point here..a point there and a lot of bull in between.

  9. Here’s a preliminary report with a lot of numbers to show the impact of jobs/stimulus. On page 4 is a graph showing unemployment peaking at 8% if the stimulus is passed.

    http://otrans.3cdn.net/45593e8ecbd339d074_l3m6bt1te.pdf

    I believe this whole thing was BS from the start and the people that voted against it should be pointing out its failures (from the predictions given at the time). I do believe people are waking up and growing very weary of the promises/rhetoric and mostly the unnecessary spending and if by pointing out how things haven’t worked out, maybe in the least it will help knock out the health care racket along with the cap and trade spending bills.

    • Sorry, check out the graph on page 5

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      So, according to the government’s own graph, unemployment would return to about 5% in 2014 with or without the stimulus… interesting….

      So the stimulus was so critically necessary WHY??

      • Seen a junkie on “Intervention” last night who burned herself in order to force her mother to hand over her Percocet. Mom needs it for herself? Too bad for her, just burn and cut away little junkie awaiting mom’s panic to build and bingo! The daughter gets the dope mom legitimately needs for her arthritis and off she goes happy as a lark. Don’t think “government” think junkies as in people with an addiction. Shortly after accepting this, the need for asking “how could they?” fades away to nothing.

        “An alcoholic will steal your purse, take the money and drown the overwhelming guilt they feel with alcohol. A junkie will steal your purse and help you look for it.” – Scottish Proverb

  10. If this were truly a stimulus bill it would have been front end loaded instead of back end loaded. Congress just took out their previous “wish list” and included in the bill everything they always wanted. I don’t think government stimulus has ever worked to end a recession or depression. The unemployed cannot wait and see — they have to find employment in 26 weeks (the length of unemployment benefits). Job losses will continue since the bill was never intended to end the recession. The economy will eventually turn around but not due to this bill.

    • I agree,but how do the Pelosi’s,Stoyers, Reids,Frank’s and of course b hussein obama defend the stimulus bill being back end loaded? The press must have asked this question, i just dont think i heard the answer. Any defenders on this extremely slow approach on this extremely rushed to pass bill.

      • Ty: I don’t think the MSM asked the tough questions. The MSM is covering for the POTUS and helped to get him elected. Alternate media sources have pointed out that the bill has nothing to do with stimulus.

  11. Good Morning All

    If this stimulus package was suppose to help create jobs, then why do we have almost if not already there, a 12% unemployment rate here in Nevada, most of which is in the Reno area?

    People here are still facing foreclosures, still can’t get the help that was promised to them. Banks are reluctant to make loans to people for fear of them not being able to pay.

    Car dealers are drastically reducing prices to help those who might need a car, but of course it’s on approved credit, and if you don’t qualify, then you don’t get it.

    Our property taxes have gone up, instead of down, but yet the value of our house has gone down.

    I could go on, but don’t have the time right now.

    Have a good day everyone.

    Judy

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Judy S.

      Do what everyone in California is doing and appeal your property taxes. It annoys the hell out of the government, and usually results in them admitting that they are charging you too much on your property taxes, and they do reduce them somewhat.

      From what I hear, the process is a bit of a pain, but in general it will result in a reduction of what you owe. Of course, if enough people do this, the state will find other taxes to raise in order to make up the difference, but it might take them some time, so you might save some money in the short-run at least.

      • Thanks Peter, I didn’t know you can do that. I’ll mention that to my husband today when I get to work. As it is, we’re paying almost $1800 a year. Now, I don’t know if that’s too little to some, or too high to some, but to us, it seems awfully high compared to last year when we were only dishing out about $1600.

        Right now, we are upside down on our house, and couldn’t sell if we wanted too. A lot of people here, I know it’s not just here, it’s everywhere, are trying to sell, but are not having much luck. Some homes have sold, but, not for the asking price. Some are way below what people are asking for.

        In our neighborhood alone, most everybody is upside down on their homes. A lot of them want to get out, but are stuck until this economy improves, if it ever does. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Judy,

          I recently lived in Chicago for about 2 1/2 years. I was completely unable to even consider buying a house there.

          The cost of a “decent” home in the Chicago suburbs was about $275,000 at that time, but the property taxes were between $700 and $1000 PER MONTH depending on the exact size and location of the home!

          Your monthly mortgage payment was almost double once you added in the property taxes.

          Ah well… that is one of the reasons why I left Obamaland.

          Your property taxes are at least more reasonable than that, but yes, you CAN appeal them if they went up in spite of the value of your property going down. Your local government will love you for pointing out their error 🙂

          • We’ve been here for 19 years, and our taxes have at least doubled or even tripled since we’ve been here. Last year, our house was worth $350,000, now it’s only worth $168,000, so in reality, it’s not worth trying to sell right now. I heard on the news a little while ago, that home sales have gone up some, but not a whole lot,but that was through our local news about the local economy.

            I really wonder if it would be worth it to see if we can get our taxes lowered, sure it would be nice, but would it be worth it. Especially if you have to jump through hoops to get anywhere.

            We were seriously considering moving to a smaller place since our boys no longer with us, just my mom, and we could easily move into a 3 bedroom place compared to what we have now. Our house is a tri-level, with 4 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, living room, den, kitchen, dinning room, and a pretty good sized backyard, plus a two car garage. Total square footage is about 2200, so we could easily downsize and still be comfortable.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Judy,

              Basically to appeal your property taxes you have to file the paperwork, have an assessor come out and look at your home/property, then compare values to other similar properties in your area and decide whether or not to lower your taxes based on reduced value.

              Overall it doesn’t sound too painful, and a lot of people are doing it… probably at least worth looking into.

              It is awefully hard to downsize when you are upside-down (or underwater) in your current home. If you can afford it, buy a 2nd (smaller) home, find a responsible tenant to rent it from you (preferably one that won’t destroy the place), and then when the economy turns around, sell the big house and move into the smaller one.

              Of course, even with a responsible tenant, ownership of a rental property is a REAL PITA from most people’s experience, so that might not be the way to go either….

              • Peter

                I was in the middle of answering you, when my computer here at work decided to suddenly stop working. Obviously, it’s up and running now, but I have some things to do here, so I’ll have to answer you later on.

                Don’t go anywhere, I will be back.

                Judy

              • Judy S. says:

                Peter

                That’s the problem, we can’t afford to buy another house. We went through that years ago, and it was the biggest pain in the butt, and we swore we would never do it again.

                A couple years ago, we were going to refinance our house through the VA, and the bank we were dealing with, well let me put it this way, she wasn’t too eager to help us.
                We did all the paper work, had the inspector come out and do a walk through, found just a few minor things, that needed to be taken care of, no big deal.

                So we waited, waited, and waited, didn’t hear from her for a while, so my husband called her up to see what was going on. She came up with all these excuses, oh,we have to do this, or we have to that. She tells us, oh don’t worry about your house payment, or any other bills you have, we’ll take care of that through the loan.

                Well, 5 months went by, and still nothing. My husband kept calling her, but for some reason or other, she never seemed to be there.

                Finally, my husband got a hold of her, and come to find out, that you know what she never submitted our paper work to the VA. She said they turned us down because our credit wasn’t up to par. Well, gee I wonder why that was. So naturally that put us behind in all our payments, and that caused our credit to go in the dumper. If we had known she was going to screw us like she did, we would have kept making our payments on everything.

                We thought about filing a law suit, but was told it would be our word against hers, and who do you think they’d believe first.

                So now, that left us with severe late payments on our house, and all our other creditors, but luckily for us they are working with us so we can build our credit back up. I was so angry with what happened I told my husband F#$K it, lets just forget it, we’ll just stay here. So that’s what we did.

                Besides our oldest son said he wants the house, so we’ll probably just hang out for another couple years or so. As for the tax thing, I’m not going to worry about just yet, but if they go any higher, then we’ll squawk about it.

                Besides, I really hate moving, too much to pack up. I told my husband, we’ll just take what we want, and leave the rest. Yes, I’m just kidding.

            • If you’re paying $1800 annually for the house you are in, I would consider that on the LOW side. I live in a house approximately the size of yours and my wife and I paid $6k last year in property taxes…

  12. JayDickB says:

    I think it’s too early to pronounce final judgment on the stimulus bill, but it seems to me unlikely to do much good.

    The part going to infrastructure might be stimulative, but not soon enough. Many other parts are not even stimulative.

    Basically, this is a Keynsian bill. If you believe government spending can stimulate the economy, you might like this bill. Economists disagree on this point, but I can’t see how government spending can stimulate the economy because it creates no wealth and does not increase efficiency. Infrastructure improvements can improve economic efficiency in the long run, but don’t do much in the short run.

    Seems to me the best approach in a recession is for government to hold the line on spending except to take care of people badly hurt by the recession (extend unemployment benefits, help pay health insurance, etc.) and cut taxes, especially those that encourage private investment. In this climate, these tax cuts are impossible because they are labeled “for the rich”.

    Obviously, Obama didn’t consult me on this.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      There is a well-entrenched myth that government spending is stimulative to the economy. There are several reasons why this can NEVER be true:

      1. Increases in government spending require increased taxation, increased borrowing by the government, or both. Increased taxation further burdens private business and consumers, and increased borrowing by the government or increased monitization of government debt raises inflation, which further burdens private business and consumers. Therefore, increased government spending is a double-whammy which inflicts twice the pain on private business and consumers making them pay more for goods and services. For business, this results in staff cuts, which results in more overburdened consumers being out of work and no longer contributing to the economy.

      2. The types of “projects” that the government spends money on to stimulate the economy are typically short-term projects which will be completed within 1-10 years. At the end of that period, the people doing these jobs will have to look elsewhere for work, because the government money will have dried up, and/or the project will have ended. This results in a temporary delay in maximum unemployment at best.

      3. Increased government spending yields an increase in the government’s payrolls, which is good for the limited number of people that pick up a new government job, but it is bad for everyone else, because the majority of these people become non-productive, especially in the sense that nothing that they are doing is of any benefit to the economy (other than they have paychecks to spend).

      I could come up with more reasons that government spending only delays the inevitable and exacerbates a bad economy, but those are the big 3 in my mind.

  13. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Hi All,

    A funny from my father-in-law:

    The American Medical Association has weighed in on the new economic
    stimulus package.

    The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not
    to make any rash moves. The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut
    feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a
    lot of nerve.

    The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.
    Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted. Pathologists yelled,
    “Over my dead body!” while the Pediatricians said, ‘Oh, Grow up!’

    The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the
    Radiologists could see right through it. Surgeons decided to wash their
    hands of the whole thing. The Internists thought it was a bitter pill
    to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, “This puts a whole new face
    on the matter.”

    The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were
    pissed off at the whole idea. The Anesthesiologists thought the whole
    idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn’t have the heart to say no.

    In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up
    to the assholes in Washington.

    Hope your day is nice!

    RS

    • Hi RS

      Now, that was funny. Thanks for the laugh.

      Good Day to you

      Judy

    • The Postal Service created a stamp with a picture of President Obama.

      The stamp was not sticking to envelopes. This enraged the president, who demanded a full investigation. After a month of testing and $1.73 million in congressional spending, a special Presidential commission presented the following findings:

      The stamp is in perfect order. There is nothing wrong with the adhesive. People are spitting on the wrong side.

      • Probably the only way they can get their revenge on him.

        I still see Obama stickers on cars that park in our parking lot at work, and I’m tempted to pull them off, but I’d most likely get caught.

        • I liked the story that I think you, maybe someone else, posted about the boss who decided who to lay off by who had Obama bumper stickers on their cars. Probably a myth but still a funny one.

          • Judy S. says:

            Hi DKII

            Yep, that was me, I could put it back up if you want to make a copy of it. I have all kinds of them that my son sends to me. He gets them sent to him ,and in turn he sends them to us here at work.

            Let me know if you want it back up or not, okay.

            Regards.

            Judy

      • ROTFALMAO!!!!!!

    • Too funny! 🙂

  14. Here is another thought . . .

    Why did it have to be a “stimulus” give-away with no repayment schedule? Why wasn’t it a government guaranteed loan bill?

    The same thing with TARP?

    My Father in law was a loan officer for Wells Fargo for many years and he never made a loan to anyone who did not have the means to make the repayment schedule or amount, as a result he never had a loan go into the default system. During his time that was the measure of success for the bank since the bank actually made a profit from loans that were paid back on schedule. FYI – Wells Fargo & Co. was the first bank that refused to honor the California IOU’s that were issued last month thereby forcing the California Legislature to make the necessary changes to insure a budget would be reached that could be signed.

    If our government had made government guaranteed loans available to those institutions – including auto manufacturers – instead of laying out the groundwork for a socialist government takeover of those businesses the unemployment rates would be a lot lower than they are today.

    The only thing that make sense out of what Bush and Obama have actually done is that this is nothing but a plan (I know – “conspiracy theory” alert!) for the socialization of our country and government by sneaking in through the back door.

    Somebody needs to come up with a workable plan to put the brakes on this runaway train!

    • Black Flag says:

      There is no ‘workable’ plan.

      America is stuck in a no-win and here’s why – right out of USWep’s own post. I point to this, because USWep got it wrong – and what he got wrong is the same thing almost everybody gets wrong. As long as we continue to get this thing wrong, it will get far worse.

      The ‘wrong’ is this statement:

      ….and things were bad again until the War saved us all economically….

      The continuing belief that a war ‘saved’ the economy is probably the greatest and most dangerous economic error one can have.

      1) It makes people believe in war as an economic ‘savior’ – making war more likely to happen.

      2) It is precisely because of war the we have the horrific economic problems. More war will guarantee even greater economic destruction and failure.

      The economic collapse being suffered today is a direct cause of the delay of paying the massive economic costs for WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, War on Terror.

      War is the single greatest tool of economic destruction. It is a triple whammy of economic disaster. Money is spent making war tools (of no economic value) and these tools are used to destroy economic wealth. Add on top of that, the slaughter of the most productive of a particular generation – men between the ages of 18-60, you have the ultimate destroyer of any economy.

      The cost of the First World War was so horrific, that governments did everything they could to defer the payment – and attempted to create the ‘feel good’ for the people who had borne untold suffering.

      Government did this by providing a ‘stimulus package’ – an artificial lowering of the cost of credit – which created the “Booming 20’s”.

      Unlike today, there was a limit to the amount of physical currency that could be created – and the economy, unable to sustain itself artificially, contracted back to where it should have been due to the massive costs of the War. The free spending of the governments made the Depression even worse – instead of a couple of years of reckoning, government ensured decades of economic suffering.

      To make matters even worse, the Government tried to ‘stimulate’ the economy during the Depression by extracting more wealth out of the people and using it for ‘government projects’ exasperating the already severe contraction of capital.

      To make matters even worse, the government made war – WW2 – and consumed even more wealth of the people.

      And to make matters even worse, the government continued and expanded its war costs into the Cold War, Korea, and Vietnam while at the same time increased its social spending – consuming even more wealth of the people.

      And to make matters even worse, the government utilized precisely the same strategy of loose credit as it did in the 20’s to delay the reckoning of its economic destruction.

      And to make matters even worse, unlike the 20’s, there is no physical limitation of printing money, as money today is merely digits in a computer. Adding 10x more currency into the economy is merely a handful of key strokes.

      But it all starts with the belief that ‘war’ will save us.

      God help us if we cannot discard such a horrific fallacy.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        BF,

        It is very true that the war did not “save” the economy. Most people say that because the war did put millions of people back to work (making and using the tools of war which were of no economic value), and this in turn erased unemployment and gave people money to spend that hadn’t had money previously. This was a great SHORT-TERM benefit to the economy.

        Also, the loss of a good-sized chunck of population of men between 18-60 (most on the younger side) caused a reduction in the labor pool, and some of the new technology from the war did lead to new practical innovations that made their way into the economy, which did cause a production boom. The baby-boom that resulted from the natural tendency of a population to replace itself after a war also led to a huge need for products to support families.

        So, it IS incorrect to say the war “saved” the economy. However, the war did have a highly stimulative effect from the factors I listed above. The problem was, like any other “government stimulus” it was 90% short term, and it always has to be paid for or inflated out of eventually, and since the government has no reason to ever pay its debts, inflation is the inevitable outcome, as you have mentioned in earlier posts.

        WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH!

        Far too many of us seem to finally believe that quote now… sadly.

        • Black Flag says:

          “gave people money”

          Actually, it didn’t. Remember there was rationing and price and wage controls.

          Essentially, the people worked, but did not get paid the full value of their effort – with the balance siphoned off into government’s pocket for the war effort.

          Most people didn’t notice the effect psychologically as they were being propagandized into ‘making sacrifices for the cause’

          “reduction in the labor pool”

          Cannot improve an economy. All economics is due to the labor of men – any reduction in labor or the availability of labor is a negative.

          An abundance of labor is no different than an abundance of any good or service – it is an indication that the price of that good is too high and requires the price to fall.

          By reducing the pool, it forced the price of labor to rise – increasing the costs of all goods – HOWEVER, rationing and price controls prevented the price to rise – leading to shortage of goods across the economy.

          It was the release of the rationing and price controls that created the ‘appearance’ of a boom – shortages were cleared, making the appearance of ‘abundance’. The returning soldiers supplied bountiful labor force.

          It was the ending of the war, not its start, that caused a SHORT TERM boom. The actual costs of the war still required reckoning, so much so, that the government found itself necessary to delay that reckoning for as long as possible.

          • Black Flag says:

            ….The returning soldiers supplied bountiful labor force, dropping the cost of labor….

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Yeah, I understood that part 🙂

              Good explanation BF… I had forgotten about the rationing and price-fixing by the government during the war (I am sure by now that doesn’t even get mentioned in the “history books”) and how that further distorted the situation.

              As I said in an earlier post, government intervention in the economic system ALWAYS ends badly, but the government and the federal reserve will never stop messing with it (unless we find a way to stop them).

      • papadawg says:

        BF, You said;

        “….and things were bad again until the War saved us all economically….

        The continuing belief that a war ’saved’ the economy is probably the greatest and most dangerous economic error one can have.”

        I believe that USW was talking ONLY about WW2, not just any war…

        • Black Flag says:

          I include WW2 – we have yet to pay for it

          There is no war that can save an economy – it simply can’t be done.

          A war – any war and all war – is destructive to an economy.

          • USWeapon says:

            To be more accurate on what I meant, the second world war provided the conditions that caused our country to overcome, temporarily or not, the recession of the mid to late 30’s.

            I am under no illusion that war is a good thing for economies. I simply didn’t offer enough of an explanation for something that was a secondary supporting statement in this particular article. The effect of the war on the economy was actually irrelevant to my discussion here. The point was that FDR’s massive increases in federal spending did not have the desired effect, so we should not expect it to work now either.

      • papadawg says:

        If you know History, then you know that during wartime the Human race has achieved the quickest advancements in all things scientific, i.e. Rocket propulsion technology, computer technology, aircraft technology, surgical procedures, to name just a few. Admittedly these advancements were made during times of great destruction and Human suffering, yet these advancements were made nonetheless.
        During the “Cold” war great advancements were made in nuclear energy conversions – surface ships, submarines, and the like which culminated in the development of a small sized nuclear reactor approximately the size of a small house that needs no maintenance at all for about twenty years or so that could provide electrical power to as many as a million homes.
        What I am trying to get across is that we Humans have the unique ability to advance our science technology during times of war, be it hot or cold. Now, if only we could harness that ability to do those things in times of peace, then we might even amount to something.
        However, should all government just disappear, we would just rapidly deteriorate into the cave dwelling neanderthal from whence we came for the simple reason that we Humans have no ability to “just get along” with one another peacefully. We need to be led, for we Humans are for the most part just blind followers – Lemmings on steroids. None of the Human leaders of the past, present, nor do I see any in the future know how to lead without either starting or at least participating in a war.

        That is just the nature of the Human Animal.

        • Black Flag says:

          papadawg

          I disagree.

          You fall into the broken window fallacy – that is, you only account for what you see – you do not account for what you do not see.

          See this:
          http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

          – Rockets were discovered and being used before war.

          – Computers and calculating devices were being developed before the war

          – Surgical procedures; yes, that made a huge leap forward, particularily out of Japan and German concentration camps. Heck of thing to declare a ‘good’.

          War removes constraint on human safety – all these ‘advances’ were made based on 1) no regard to human lives 2) on the need of the war machine, not on the need of the people.

          However, should all government just disappear, we would just rapidly deteriorate into the cave dwelling neanderthal from whence we came for the simple reason that we Humans have no ability to “just get along” with one another peacefully.

          But, with government, we are not ‘just getting along either’ – you contradict yourself.

          First you point out ‘war’ – and then state government are needed for us to ‘get along’.

          We do not need government to ‘get along’ – do you need government to ‘get along’ with your family?

          We need to be led, for we Humans are for the most part just blind followers – Lemmings on steroids.

          Perhaps many people are sheep. However, not all people are sheep.

        • bama dad says:

          Moon project in the 1960’s advanced computer and electronics technology immensely.

          • Black Flag says:

            I do not agree.

            The advancement of computers occurred beginning in the mid-1980’s –long after the ‘race to the moon’ when the consumer products became more abundant. Until then, computers were relegated to ivory towers, and few people ever saw one.

            The needs of the State do not drive innovation. The State is stupid – heck, it still needs to kill people to enforce its bidding – where the free market simply improves upon itself, over and over, voluntarily.

          • Black Flag says:

            Because something was discovered or invented does not mean it is valuable.

            The fax machine was invented in 1843 in England, by Alexander Bain – but no one needed documents ‘instantly’ – the speed of commerce simply wasn’t that fast, until over a hundred years later.

            Fiber optic communication was discovered by A. G. Bell, but again – there was no need.

            The State and its purposes does drive certain technologies – but it is only for the purpose of the State – not the People. The State will consume People to further such development – as we’ve seen, exposing humans to nuclear tests, or doing human experiments in concentration camps – but what is this worth?

            NOTHING.

            What gain was the race to the moon? NOTHING. Since there was no commercial value going to the moon, the entire effort was solely for the purpose of the State’s military. Now, all that cost going to the moon has been wasted – ironically, if we wanted to go to the moon today, we’d essentially start from square one.

  15. Black Flag says:

    Moving this over from “Quick Hits”

    Chris Devine

    Your ‘coercion and violence’ is another man’s cooperation and agreement. Take your toys and go home if you want.

    Only to those that have no understanding of the meaning of those words.

    But such confusion is typical of those that apologize for the State – in fact, it is a requirement to confuse the concepts.

    Once the mystic of the State is exposed to be merely a violent thug, the People will begin to actively resist it.

    It is therefore imperative that the State makes Freedom look like slavery – that Cooperation is coercion and Agreement is violent.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      As I quoted from above:

      WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH!

      The people MUST believe this for the STATE to be truly successful.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Freedom, Cooperation, and Agreement are a direct threat to the State, so the State must convince the people that they are really Slavery, Coercion, and Violence, so that the people will fear them as well.

  16. Yeah, I understood that part 🙂

    Good explanation BF… I had forgotten about the rationing and price-fixing by the government during the war (I am sure by now that doesn’t even get mentioned in the “history books”) and how that further distorted the situation.

    As I said in an earlier post, government intervention in the economic system ALWAYS ends badly, but the government and the federal reserve will never stop messing with it (unless we find a way to stop them).
    Sorry… forgot to say great post – can’t wait to read your next one!

  17. Well she’s home!
    I agree with the “look at my left hand” analogy. I have thought that for quite a while now.
    Here’s a little “prayer” I found on another blog 🙂

    Obama is my shepherd,I shall not want
    He leadeth me beside still factories
    He restoreth my faith in the Republicans
    He guideth me down the path to unemployment
    Yea, though I walk through the valley to the bread line I shall
    not go hungry
    Obama has anointed my income with taxes
    My expenses runneth over my income
    Surely poverty and hard living will follow me all the days
    of my life

  18. bama dad says:

    “As part of the $150 billion investment in new infrastructure, enact the largest increase in funding of our nation’s roads, bridges, and mass transit systems since the creation of the national highway system in the 1950s; “

    What a lie. All this talk about shovel ready projects is a farce, at least here in Alabama. I work for a firm that specializes in infrastructure and I can tell you no new projects have been started here. Any stimulus money that the state gets is just going toward maintenance. It takes years to fire up new infrastructure construction projects. Things we are currently working on began the process 15 or 20 years ago. Infrastructure construction is a long term investment, not a quick fix. Money spent on maintenance does not create many new jobs; it just keeps current state employees busy. This whole stimulus bill is mainly one big political payoff (can you say pork} and a program to enslave this country’s citizens.

  19. Judy S. says:

    I just heard something funny.

    What kind of hot dog needs a warning?

    A Barney Frank.

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