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How the Stimulus Is Changing America

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Patters, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This article describes many of the projects paid for by the stimulus, and how those projects will have a lasting impact on the United States.

    Recovery Act: How Obama's Stimulus Is Changing America - TIME

    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — President Obama's $787 billion stimulus — has been marketed as a jobs bill, and that's how it's been judged.... The battle over the Recovery Act's short-term rescue has obscured its more enduring mission: a long-term push to change the country....

    Yes, the stimulus has cut taxes for 95% of working Americans, bailed out every state, hustled record amounts of unemployment benefits and other aid to struggling families and funded more than 100,000 projects to upgrade roads, subways, schools, airports, military bases and much more. But in the words of Vice President Joe Biden, Obama's effusive Recovery Act point man, "Now the fun stuff starts!" The "fun stuff," about one-sixth of the total cost, is an all-out effort to exploit the crisis to make green energy, green building and green transportation real; launch green manufacturing industries; computerize a pen-and-paper health system; promote data-driven school reforms; and ramp up the research of the future.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  2. PatsFanInMaine

    PatsFanInMaine Rookie

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    Come November Americans will let us know how much they enjoyed thier Summer Recovery.
  3. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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  4. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yeah, we obviously have to raise taxes.
  5. khayos

    khayos Rookie

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    Wait... so all you Democrats that decry the Bush tax cuts for having raised the deficit want to simulatenously claim that the Obama tax cut was a good thing?
  6. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Most of us only use Bush's policies to point out the hypocrisy of right wing. We decry Bush's tax cuts and economic policies primarily because they did not address problems facing most Americans, not because they increased the deficit. But, certainly the fact that both Reagan and Bush created record deficits for their time and Republicans did nothing to stop them is good political fodder. Never hurts to point out hypocrisy.
  7. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    "Sasha... Melia... Can you girls come here for a minute?"
    "Yes, daddy?"
    "Can I borrow 10 trillion dollars? I need to keep spending to satisfy unions and government employees."
    "No, daddy. Please don't bankrupt our generation."
    "Too bad, I'm doing it anyway."
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  8. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey


    That has always been your mantra ... raise taxes.

    :bricks::bricks::bricks: to you for always thinking my money needs to be taken from me. :p:p:p
  9. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's a more honest answer than those who oppose tax hikes. I know that there's not an awful lot that can be realistically cut from the budget. In fact, that's why you be hard pressed to find anyone offering specifics on how not to raise taxes and address our deficit. Republican leaders are simply pandering to their deluded minions. If we're concerned about the budget deficit, as RW apparently is, we need to raise taxes. That's simply reality and truth, something that most conservatives have feared since at least the 1960s.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  10. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    Spend less!!! :mad:
  11. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    RW - we have projects in need of doing.

    Doing the projects injects money into the economy.

    The private sector is neither lending nor investing at anything approaching an adequate rate.

    We are down millions of jobs; the unemployment + underemployment rate is at roughly 19%.

    Is the solution to drive the marginal into indigency by the same tired free-market purist playbook that got us into this mess?

    Seriously - do you guys really think that businesses are in business to make Americans happy? No, they are in business to make money.

    The theory is that in the process of making money, the wealthy do things that keep Americans happy and prosperous. That model, over the last few decades, has completely broken down.

    Stimulus spending isn't spending for the sake of spending; it's spending because you're spotting the economy while the private sector plays with itself over in the corner. You can't make people invest; you can invest public sector dollars - and that's what's going on.

    I know it makes all of us :mad: - you really think anybody wants higher taxes, in a vacuum, all else being equal?

    Don't you think your Liberal betes noire would prefer to get a ton of extra money back on their returns?

    Those of us who will end up on the "taxed" end of this continuum -- probably not the majority in here, by the way, you'll likely do quite well by comparison -- have to think about whether we want to live in a country where education dollars run out in June, where states go bankrupt because of the interest rate environment inflating the present value of promised future benefits, whether we want to pull the rug out from under those who have made contracts with states and municipalities, or whether we want to honor our obligations (as I recall was vitally important when it was Wall Street bonuses we had to "honor" as "inviolable.") This last bit of course is about pensions.

    I'm not inflexible on that one, by the way, but I think it is emblematic of the bass-ackward way we look at spending. We complain about our "high" taxes going up, when in fact they are low, and not going up. Meanwhile, we complain about contractual obligations already taken on, because they represent future spending.

    Spending's through the roof, no doubt about it. It's likely to stay that way for a while. The question is exactly what you would cut. We've been chanting this mantra about the terrible "big government" for 30 years at least, yet nobody, Liberal or Conservative, has been able to "fix" the fact that modern industrial societies have governments. The societies are big, and so are their governments.

    At present I've got a mom in stroke re-hab. The first month, Medicare picks up. From that point through 100 days, there is about 140 bucks a day co-pay, which her supplemental insurance may or may not cover. It is common enough that such policies don't, but this one likely will.

    Regardless, after 100 days, we will be looking at privately paying either more re-hab, or long-term care. Without getting into too much detail, it's also possible that her specific condition will make her ineligible to continue in re-hab after 1 month.

    Here's how the long-term care world works.

    You pay $6-$8K/month to a nursing home. Unless you are fabulously wealthy, you liquidate the assets of the individual (in this case, sell her condo, which is not worth much... especially given her timing. I must lecture her on that.) Then you give the nursing home the money until said person is indigent, i.e., broke.

    At that point, assuming you do your paperwork, she is on Medicaid. It becomes a "wash"; Medicaid pays a pre-agreed amount to the long term care facility.

    Now, that -- and the Medicare that came before it -- is "spending." I am bilking the system, I tell you, for keeping my Mom alive. By the way, she needs 24/7 monitoring and care. Please don't advise that she move in with me. I do not have the medical skill, nor can I guarantee that the Mrs. won't have to return to working (she does not at the moment.) I personally work and commute a good 50+ hours a week, which leaves a pretty big hole in the round-the-clock care routine - had I the knowledge to do it.

    However, it is noteworthy that like our other big-ticket item -- Social Security -- my Mom paid into Medicare and Medicaid during her working life.

    She probably paid in much less than me. She looks like she will "drain" quite a bit from that system, God willing. That's spending. But there aren't alternatives, unless we want to adopt the ice floe model.

    I hesitate to put this out there, but it's a salient example of a nice middle class lady using the spending we're always complaining about. The same will happen or has happened in your own family, no doubt, but people have a tendency to take short cuts and blame the government.

    When we were discussing the long-term possibilities, my brother -- who syles himself one of those famous Massachusetts independents -- kept saying "Or, we can do x, y, and z, and let Uncle Sam take it all."

    Uncle Sam, as I hope you have gathered, is losing big-time on the deal. My mom's assets go to medical costs, then Uncle Sam pays what she can not.

    The blue-hairs in the tea parties know this. It's why they want to keep their Medicare untouched, and limit health care to people of their own age cohort only. I think that's "restoring America's honor." Something like that.

    Yet Medicare and Medicaid dwarf the cost impact of the rudimentary health care bill that has been passed.

    All this sloganeering about spending is just that. And the sloganeers, when they do use the system, evidently don't even understand they're using it half the time - that's obviously the case w/my brother, who's otherwise a fairly bright person.

    There's more out there to take care of than we typically acknowledge, and calls for "cuts to spending" and "cuts to programs" are never accompanied by realistic expectations of the effects of those cuts.

    I bring up my Mom's situation because it's emblematic of the bulk of our spending. The stimulus and recent health care legislation is comparatively minor. But the same reasoning pertains -- where the stimulus is supporting an incredibly weak economy while doing good for the nation, we do not have the comparison numbers for what would happen were it never enacted. The GOP offers no actual work when they propose "alternatives" to bills and budgets; they come out with 32 pages of double-spaced type full of bromides and generalities. Sometimes they make up a "savings" number with no actual accounting to back it up.

    Meanwhile very real lives, and very real projects, are supposed to be thrown away because someone waving a misspelled sign will be happy.

    Meh.

    We don't live as well as other industrial societies, precisely because we attempt to subordinate all other political topics to the notion of a zero-tax ideal.

    I really really want a Mustang, not the normal one, the GT. I don't know why, I just do. If I didn't have to pay taxes, all else being equal, I could get one. I could anyway, if I didn't mind the debt load created from a 50K car.

    But I do have to pay my taxes, I don't have the GT, and I likely won't for a few years.

    Does this make me :mad: ? Of course... I worked for the money right?

    But again - what good is the GT if you don't have roads to drive them on?

    PS I'd also have a hippy dippy crisis of faith because the MPG is only in the low 20s, but that's another story.

    PFnV
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  12. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    Spend Less!!!
  13. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    LOL I would expect no less from you, RW. In fact, I don't think it's possible to expect less.
  14. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The stimulus is robbing capital from the private sector to divvy out to political supporters, it is raising unemployment and creating debt for our children and grandchildren and destroying their future.
  15. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    How is the stimulus robbing capital if we're not even paying for it? The investing class is in the exact same position they were in, in terms of the capital they have to spend, except that the stimulus is giving them for options where to invest their money. How is the stimulus creating unemployment, when in fact it is part of our GDP? You can saying it's creating debt for our children and grandchildren, but unfortunately if you're serious about that argument, you should have spoken up when Reagan and the Bushes were creating record deficits of their own.

    And let's remember that it's Obama's tax cuts that are the largest in history; over 40% of the stimulus went to tax cuts.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  16. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    I'm still waiting for the tax incentives for companies that manufacture in the USA.

    I think it was one of his best promises ... where is it?

    We need to create a better playing field for our companies to compete globally.

    If we piss off China who cares.
  17. iapatsfan

    iapatsfan Rookie

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    This theory of government spending to stimulate the economy has never worked and never will. How do you stimulate an economy by taking $$ out of it, and then putting it back in?? What is stimulated in that process? All you do is create an environment of uncertainty, which is what you are currently seeing in our economy right now. How do businesses invest or grow when they have no idea how much in taxes they are going to pay moving forward?? This stimulus plan is nothing more than a re-election fund for liberals. You take stimulus money and throw in districts that are in danger of being lost. Then you claim we saved (which is laughable) or created xx number of jobs, and if you re-elect me, I'll keep it coming. Stimulus would work if the government built or created something it sold for profit, and then injected those profits into our economy. But since the government does nothing except take the $$ out of the economy, and then redistribute it (in the very economy from which they just removed it) as they see fit, there is no stimulation. It has never worked.

    By the way, 100% true story about Obama's beloved stimulus program. My uncles own a construction company that builds bridges in the midwest. About 1 month ago they bid on a multi-million dollar project, which they won. 2 weeks ago they got a letter in the mail from the US government that stated in order to receive the final award on this project, they must accept federal stimulus money to complete the build. They did not need this money, and they were very upset about being forced to accept it in order to get the project they had already won. They will be starting this project in mid-Sept with a big bold sign that says the project is a result of the stimulus program. They didn't need or want this money, but now the government can say they saved or created the 40+ jobs this project will require. This is not surprising. When you give a trillion $$ to an extremely corrupt politician, what do you expect?
  18. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's weird how all the right populist talk jocks know this so clearly, yet the world's economists have precisely the opposite understanding of the role of deficit spending from the Great Depression onward.

    Why are guys with degrees from the world's foremost economics programs so unlettered on this subject, while the Becks and Limbaughs of the world can see it so clearly?

    Hint: Because it's not true. FDR's deficit spending did, in fact, work, and withdrawing works projects -- FDR's form of stimulus -- is all that plunged us into the "depression within a depression" starting in '37 on the leading indicators side and continuing through '38.

    The War years too are economically precisely the same thing: government spending on munitions, soldiers' pay, etc. The private sector does not write the contracts to build the tanks. The government does that. Whose money did we use? Tax money and future generations' money.

    Think of the present state of affairs as like the "borrow and spend" Republican policies that came before -- except this time, there's a reason to do it.

    You are not taking money out of the economy and then putting it back in. You are putting money into the present economy that you are borrowing against the future.

    Oh by the way, given the interest rate environment, it's a good time to borrow. The yield on the bond is cheap as long as capital is fleeing toward the bond markets in the first place, right? Not so much when Bush et al. did their borrowing - they paid comparatively high interest on bond issues, because they were even mass-borrowing during economic high times. Why? Because of the bullsh1t slogans about keeping taxes low.

    "We won't tax and spend! We'll borrow and spend! On what? Tax giveaways to the rich!"

    Huzzah.

    Sounds like a great argument over a beer, but not so much when faced with the fact that the economy has cratered and not recovered. Would you be advocating doing nothing were a Republican in the oval office? Of course not. You would be talking about how people mistakenly think that Republicans are hearless buttholes - but look at everything we're doing to save the economy!

    Make no mistake, the present actions are the slightly more Dem-flavored actions the Republicans themselves would take were they in power (unless they actually do favor an utter social collapse.)

    Of course, the Republicans would use the opportunity to shovel more money to the wealthy, but by and large, it woud be an atmosphere of rampant deficit spending. They might actually cut off unemployment benefits (pretty much the single worst thing we could do at the moment,) then call these same people homeless welfare cases after they lose their homes in addition to their jobs. Then they'd pat themselves on the back, I suppose.

    But to the extent a theoretical administration on the other side of the aisle would have dug us out, it would have been precisely the same way.

    You're thinking of the government making money on the deal as the bar for "stimulus working." Although (we'll see) that may yet be the outcome of the GM rescue, this has never been the bar for government intervention in a failed private sector -- which, make no mistake, is what we have on our hands since 9/08.

    Government intervention in the private sector is basically the lifeline until the private sector itself has moved toward some semblance of normal functioning. You seem to believe either it is "there," or that it is not necessary for it to be "there." I disagree.

    You know why? I'd rather pay unemployment benefits and put money in people's pockets via a tax cut, than fund bread lines and homeless shelters. That's the other alternative.

    We've pretty much established you're doing bar-talk here. 1, it has worked. 2, it's investment rather than redistribution. That's why your taxes have gone down, not up. It matters when the tax bill comes due.

    That's pretty much what the GOP has always banked on, because it makes a living by being fiscally irresponsible, not paying the bills, still providing the goodies, and claiming it's "starving the beast."

    What a crock.

    So let's get this straight: They had been paid for the job already, and they were told to take a separate extra amount of money for the same job?

    Or, as seems quite likely, did they have a contract paid initially by another source, that fell into the stimulus "bucket" at some time after the contract began -- and therefore "had to take stimulus money"?

    A lot of stimulus went to states and through the states to local projects. That's because the states are even broker than the Federal government; aid to states was a big slice of the stimulus (another republican favorite usually, along with tax cuts -- both of which were there... so I don't know what you're complaining about.)

    Seems unlikely to me your uncles got paid, say, $1 million on a $1 million project from the locals, then got the same contract paid a second time by the feds.

    Sure that's not how it happened?

    PFnV
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  19. sdaniels7114

    sdaniels7114 Rookie

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    Iapatsfan's uncle story is the perfect microcosm of Republican thought today.

    Anyone care to guess how many construction projects just didn't happen because the economy cratered? Even ones that were all approved and ready to go? The answer is in the thousands.

    Here we have a project that was likely about to go away and the guys who get to keep working are complaining about the source of money. Its fugging laughable.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  20. chicowalker

    chicowalker Rookie

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    Can anybody explain to me the issue they have with needed infrastructure spending?

    Seems to me it's one of the areas it makes the most sense for govts at all levels to be spending on.

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