Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 52580
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2018/07/22 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2009/2/16-19 [Politics/Domestic/California, Politics/Domestic/Election] UID:52580 Activity:kinda low
2/16    In spite of GOP claims, there is very little pork in the
        stimulus bill: (TNR)
        \_ GOP lie and exaggerate?  Never!
        \_ oh? (WaPo)
           \_ So you think that spending on High Speed Rail is pork?
              \_ It's not "stimulus", that's for sure.  The spending won't
                 apply to the short term.
                 \_ I don't know about that. A lot of money could be spent on
                    CAs high speed rail project in the next couple of years
                    and I don't know what the condition of the other 11 projects
                    mentioned, but I assume they could be accelerated as well.
                    They are certainly not pork, in any case.
2018/07/22 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

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Republicans like to accuse Democrats of wasting taxpayer dollars and being condescending eggheads. But if President Obama's economic stimulus fails to prevent a depression--and I'm not saying it will--it will be because he didn't waste enough money, and didn't spend enough time being a condescending egghead. The stimulus bill is based on Keynesian theory, which I'll briefly explain in the condescending manner we liberals so enjoy using. When we're in a severe recession, good productive capacity goes to waste. Autoworkers sit home unemployed because nobody has money to buy cars, and cooks sit home unemployed because nobody has money to go out to dinner. The first thing for government to try is to reduce interest rates, to encourage businesses to borrow money to hire more workers and buy equipment. But, if interest rates hit bottom, then the government has to shock the system back to life by spending money directly. Say, Washington hires construction workers to build something, and those workers start buying cars and going to restaurants, and, after a while, the economy is running again. The Republicans' hoary opposition technique is to boil any legislation down to one or two silly-sounding expenditures that Joe Sixpack can understand--Midnight basketball! Obama anticipated this critique and tried to eliminate all waste from the bill. He kept earmarks out and focused the spending on public investments like energy efficiency and education. If you're going to spend a lot of money, you might as well get something useful for it. First, a stimulus can shock the economy back to life if it happens quickly, but there are only so many useful projects you can spend money on really fast. Mass transit and new electrical grids take years to plan and build. There are worthwhile programs you can fund right away, but the list runs dry after a few hundred billion dollars. So the stimulus is less than half the size of the projected drop in output. It might be enough to stave off disaster, but then again, it might not. Second, by emphasizing the worthiness of his spending proposals, Obama has allowed the debate to revolve around the merits of each project. Normal spending is judged on those terms--whether the goods or services justify their cost. The point of stimulus spending, by contrast, is simply to spend money--on something useful if possible, wasteful if necessary. Keynes proposed burying money in mineshafts, so that workers would be hired to dig it out. If war hadn't broken out, we could have enjoyed the same economic benefit by building all those tanks and planes and dumping them into the ocean. Third, Republicans have simply carried on as if the stimulus were filled with pork anyway. In fact, the bill contains either zero pork or a vanishingly tiny amount, depending on how you define the term. But that didn't stop Rush Limbaugh from calling the bill "porkulus," showing, for a man of his girth, an unusual lack of self-consciousness about deploying porcine-themed insults. Even before the bill was written, Republicans decided its prototypical measure was a "mob museum" in Las Vegas. The basis for this claim was not that there was legislation funding a mob museum, or even that such legislation had some chance of becoming law, but that that Las Vegas had wanted funding for a mob museum. Congress not only declined to fund a mob museum, it bent over so far backward to avoid frivolous projects that it forbade any funds going to a "casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project." If you suddenly had to spend $10,000, would you spend it on things you'd always wanted, or would you spend it on something you'd never even considered before? The mass ignorance on display was best exemplified by the contretemps over a provision to help undergird hemorrhaging state budgets. Most states are required to balance their budgets annually. During downturns, their revenue collapses and their costs (on things like Medicaid) rise. This forces the states to raise taxes and cut spending, the exact opposite of what you want in a recession. Thus, the notion of giving federal money to the states was probably the single most defensible provision in the whole bill. Naturally, it became a particular target of conservative ire. A Weekly Standard editorial declared: It's hard to argue that the $248 billion in transfers to the states will stimulate the economy. The money is being taken from one pot and put in another so that the states can balance their books and ensure the proper treatment of beneficiaries. It begins by insisting that helping state budgets won't stimulate the economy, then proceeds to methodically undercut its own assertion by pointing out that the stimulus will help states avoid cutting spending or raising taxes, and concludes with a metaphor that clinches the case: After all, keeping the pump from falling apart is a good idea, isn't it? Part of the problem here is that Obama never explained the theoretical basis for his plan. Even moderate journalists and members of Congress don't understand it. Democratic Senator Ben Nelson cut state budget support, which he called "non-stimulative" spending, apparently unaware that this is a contradiction in terms. In his press conference last Monday night, Obama summed up his approach like so: "I think that, over time, people respond to civility and rational argument." A little intellectual condescension wouldn't hurt, though. President Barrack Obama and his administration is on the right path to recovery. To explain specific details at this time would not benefit us but only entice those against the path for the spending to have a field day with bad thoughts. You are right in you column however, the biggest task for the administration will be to Implement the Centralized Systems necessary for tracking the funds. The treasury sec gave the correct details at this time and more will be forthcoming all of us can live with. Elbert Tolson President Barrack Obama and his administration is on the right path to recovery. To explain specific details at this time would not benefit us but only entice those against the path for the spending to have a field day with bad thoughts. You are right in you column however, the biggest task for the administration will be to Implement the Centralized Systems necessary for tracking the funds. The treasury sec gave the correct details at this time and more will be forthcoming all of us can live with. Elbert Tolson Ebert Tolson So you agree that it was WWII that ended the Great Depression and not the uber-Keynesian New Deal? So it was not the years of government make-work that pulled the US out of the depression? Or was it more of a "do-over" since the US was the only country standing at the end - literally. Why doesn't every country on hard time do that - oh wait, they do - they are called third world countries with 1000% inflation. Yes, some direct government spending can do some good, but the "stimulus" appears to only have about 20% or less going to that. How about giving a little more encouragement for them to get back into doing business?
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CLOSE Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Dan Eggen Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, February 15, 2009; Page A10 In rushing to pull together a landmark economic stimulus package last week, Democratic lawmakers and the White House added billions in new spending and tax breaks that will benefit a handful of specific companies and industries. See How the House and Senate Voted The final bill, approved by Congress on Friday, includes $8 billion in unplanned spending specifically requested by President Obama for regional high-speed rail projects, according to administration officials. New language sought by General Motors will save the beleaguered Detroit automaker from paying up to $10 billion in taxes related to its acceptance of federal bailout funds. Democratic lawmakers from Wisconsin and Indiana helped make buyers of motorcycles and recreational vehicles eligible for a tax credit aimed primarily at automobile and truck purchasers. These and other changes in the final days of negotiations underscore the hectic and often secretive nature of the crafting of the $787 billion package, which barreled through Congress in three weeks. The White House announced yesterday that Obama will sign it into law Tuesday. Republicans -- all but three of whom opposed the bill -- accused Democrats of going on a "spending spree" and have identified $25 billion in narrow provisions that they deem "questionable or non-stimulative." Democrats have fired back at such criticism, arguing that the stimulus will put in place an unprecedented level of oversight to ensure that the money is spent efficiently and fairly. Including RVs and motorcycles added about $100 million to the cost, according to estimates by the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. Harley-Davidson announced last month that it planned to cut 1,100 jobs in Wisconsin, Missouri and Pennsylvania. Herb Kohl -- pushed hard to add the tax break last week. "The recent news about layoffs at Harley-Davidson was a painful sign of how the economic downturn is affecting Wisconsin," Feingold said. In Elkhart, proponents say the tax credit for RV sales will help stem a tide of job losses that has pushed unemployment over 15 percent. "This provision will help stimulate demand and put folks back to work." The largest single item to be added to the package in the final negotiations was an $8 billion investment fund for building high-speed rail. This cheered rail advocates, who had been perplexed about why the package had included relatively little for rail and mass transit, despite Obama's and other Democratic leaders' stated support for investing more in those forms of transportation as a way to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels. The original House stimulus package, drafted with the guidance of the White House, had less than $10 billion for mass-transit systems -- a third as much as for roads and highways -- and about $1 billion for Amtrak upkeep, with no money for new high-speed rail. Pressed on this, White House advisers said major rail projects would take too long to get underway to justify them as short-term stimulus.