Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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The Stimulus, Day and Night

I found several articles today that deal with the stimulus package. They contradict each other vigorously. I went digging for more data. Here's what I hit...

Day

Obama’s Economic Recovery Plan Is Almost As Pure As Ivory Soap
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a remarkably “clean” bill. Only between 1½ and 3 percent is being wasted on tax cuts for business. Put another way, the bill is about 98 percent pure—money dedicated to good, progressive causes.


Night

The Pork Behind the Stimulus Package </h3>

So despite Obama’s claims that the economic stimulus bill wouldn’t have any pet projects or earmarks, the house is set to vote on a near $900 billion dollar package that includes pet projects, like $335 million for STD prevention. STD prevention? How does that stimulate the economy? Isn’t stimulus a big reason for STD’s in the first place? Adding to that, there is money set aside for Amtrak, global warming research, medicaid, buying new government cars, on and on and on.

Seriously folks, this isn't a stimulus bill, this is a pet project of the left, wanting to pass everything they couldn't pass in the last 40 years, under the disguise of an economic crisis. They figure if they can make people panic enough about the economy, they can pass whatever piece of legislation they want.



Which of them do I believe? Neither. Both sound so overblown as to make me suspicious. The liberal article seems to do a better job of backing its claims by pointing to support documents; the conservative one lays out some numbers that are useful (if they're accurate) and raises the question of how certain items are supposed to help the economy. But neither one gives a really detailed breakdown of where the money's going. I have yet to read anything that convinces me, with facts and educated extrapolations, whether or not this behemoth is a good idea. And I'm trying to assess it carefully.

Obviously, something must be done.

Geithner's Dilemma: How to Fix Financial System
Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Newspapers: "The fate of the US banking system and the economic well-being of roughly 300 million Americans, not to mention billions of people around the globe, is now is in the hands of Timothy Geithner, the newly confirmed treasury secretary. Few, if any, treasury secretaries since America's first, Alexander Hamilton in 1789, have stepped into the office facing more daunting challenges. Geithner faces an accelerating global financial crisis that's plunging the nation and the world into a recession that's destroying jobs, wealth and the established economic order."


I feel sorry for Geithner. His job must look like trying to repair the back end of a truck whose front end is still pleating itself into the side of a mountain. But if we don't figure out how to halt the meltdown and establish a sustainable economy, we are in dire trouble; so we have to try. In order to make good decisions leading to good outcomes, we need solid information and responsible people in the process.

Well, maybe a respectable summary of the stimulus package is available...
Summary by Dave Obey (D-WI)
... but this still sounds very partisan and overblown. It would be nice if someone unbiased would analyze this thing.

Then I took it into my head that it might help if I read the actual stimulus package text.

The benighted thing is 1588 pages! O_O

So that's about where I gave up. I expect this thing will go through in some form. While parts of it might do some good, I suspect the whole thing will be a failure. Not because either side's arguments convinced me, but because my profession gives me a clue that none of them know what the blue-spotted heck they're doing.

There's this rule about writing a book: if you can't describe it in one sentence, you don't know what you're doing and it's not ready for submission. I've read a ton of stuff about the stimulus package, and it points in all different directions. There's no cohesion. They have a goal in mind -- fixing the economy -- but absolutely no consensus about how to accomplish that or even how to explain their efforts. I just don't think the people in charge of solving this problem are good enough at teamwork, planning, and research to construct an effective solution.

And that thought is more daunting than the 1588 pages of ... let's call a spade a spade ... 1588 pages of SLUSH currently slopping around Washington, D.C.
Tags: economics, politics
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