Previous month:
January 2009
Next month:
March 2009

American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, 2009

Since our good for nothing, lacking in balls politicians are reported to have not even read this monster, (because it is too long?) prior for voting for it, Kevin and I (me rising from my sick bed!) decided to find the bloody thing and try and make sense of it.
For those of you wanting to read it - here is the version signed by President Obama. By the way the links to various parts of the monster, sometimes mysteriously vanish... if I were a slightly paranoid person I would think that this is done on purpose... Grrr.

The grand purpose of this bill (trumpets sound here) is to:

1. to preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery

2. to assist those most impacted by the recession (I thought it was verboten to use the R word?)

3. to provide investments needed to increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health

4. to invest in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long term economic benefits

5. to stabilize local and state govt budgets to avoid and minimize reduction in essential services and counterproductive tax increases.

The upcoming digital conversion of televisions gets money in the monster to the tune of $650M, with $90M for education and outreach. Are you kidding me? How does pumping taxpayer money into the conversion from analog to digital help the economy? If your television doesn't work, go and buy a new one, and if you cannot afford it, listen to the radio. Incredible.

The State Fiscal Stabilization fund - has some pretty steep restrictions on spending. For higher education (Colorado ranks 48th in state funding nation wide) monies received are to offset increase in tuition and for green construction of facilities used for teaching. No monies to be used for maintenance of existing (and aging) infrastructure.

I am very interested to see what the act says about tax relief for businesses, and incentives for creating new jobs. Veterans and Disconnected Youth who are unemployable. I understand Veterans. I don't get the disconnected youth part. How can businesses be productive? Weird. 

This is a complex monster. It's going to take some time to unpack it. There's lots of expenditure for Federal Agencies, Homeland Security etc. Not sure how that stimulates the economy. Doesn't it just mean that the Govt becomes the largest employer? Is that a good thing? The Tax incentives (individual and business) seem to be on the right track. But I think they are too limited. I don't like the incentives for creating new jobs. I think Disconnected Youth need a kick in the you know whats. What about simply creating jobs for any hardworking american? What's wrong with that? The Act is already quite top heavy with throwing money into education, health programs that would be targeting our disconnects and other disadvantaged sectors.

I found the mortgage provisions incomprehensible, so will have to take another look at those. There seems to be a lot packed into those provisions, and I don't like that the provisions seem to me to say that the principal amounts can be redone. If you have gotten a loan for something that you can't afford, you need to cut your cloth. Surely govt can provide foreclosure relief, instead of buying up bad debt? Guess what - bad debt is not going to become good debt, especially with the govt in charge. A risk is still a bad one. 

And what about us poor suckers, that borrow only what we can afford, and spend and save responsibly? What do we get?

So I think the Act simply creates a larger govt, and less personal accountability.

If I were the Dems I would be worried. Things are going to get worse. And we have an unforgiving electorate. 2012 is sure going to be interesting.

Stimulnation and the Pork of Shame

I have no faith that the upcoming Stimulus Package is going to do anything. In fact, in spite of Obama's calls for bipartisanship, I think this junket is anything but. Republicans want to be able to blame the Dems should the package fail, and the Dems are drunk with power that they can push just about anything through. Hey Guys! Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should!

$789 Billion.


I have a problem getting my head around that figure.

Maybe that's the problem.

I like the tax breaks in the proposed bill. The NY Times talks about a $282 Billion in tax relief and $502 billion in spending programs. I am a little dubious about the spending programs. I don't like it when government spends money... Govt by its very nature is not efficient, and it doesn't promote innovation, invention or efficiency. Individuals and necessity creates innovation, invention and efficiency. I like that unemployment benefits and COBRA benefits have been extended. That is a good thing as it will provide relief for the unemployed and growing unemployed. Tax credits for first time home buyers is a good thing - but it needs to be extended as I don't believe that the recovery is going to start until at least 2012. I still believe that property prices are inflated, I think we will be seeing further declines in property value. 2012 is when I think we are going to see stabilization of property prices.

The problem of our crumbling infrastructure is years in the making. The trouble is during the flush times no one wanted to spend money on capital maintenance. Why? Not sexy enough. I get that the goal is to give states the money to spend on their infrastructure, which in turn energizes the construction industry, which in turn employs more people. Will the increases in employment in the construction industry really help? It won't if that sector hires illegals, or migrant workers.

There is something wrong somewhere when the largest sector in the USA to employ people is the govt sector.

What do we make? 

What do we export?

Maybe that's not such a bad thing. I am sure the experts will tell us that that is okay. But maybe we should be worried. Maybe we should think of what we make? 

I wish I had more faith in our leadership.

The return of Hells Kitchen

Okay I am a TV addict. Take away my Tivo and my TV and I am a really unhappy and slightly cranky person. All is right in my world... BSG is BACK!! Yayy!. And my other fav the return of Hells Kitchen with the wonderfully straight talking Gordan Ramsay. (Okay for some people Gordan is just rude, but I think people over here have been suffocated with political correctness, so for me Gordan is straight talking.) I loved the one contestant, Colleen who is a culinary instructor who charges $300 to teach, but has no formal culinary training. The expression on Gordan's face was simply priceless, and he hated her signature dish. LOL.