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.