Epiphanyblog

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Posts Tagged ‘Stimulus Plan

Romney and Republicans Are Wrong Again

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Heck, we are all wrong on how well the economy has come back since the financial crash and Obama’s election. See for yourself.

The U.S. Economy Pre-stimulus/Post-stimulus by Michael Norman, John Thomas Financial Chief Economist

Look at the charts first…then think about how our assumptions and opinions have been molded in the media by politicos and pundits. I, for one, was highly surprised by this data.

Share it with your friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

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Written by Valerie Curl

June 12, 2012 at 9:36 AM

CA 4th District Rep Tom McClintoch Takes Credit for Stimulus Funds

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Tom McClintock, R - CA 4th DistrictLast year when the bill to provide Stimulus funds to halt the economic bleeding caused by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Congressional Rep. Tom McClintock (R – 4th District CA) voted no along with every other Republican in the House.

Today, ThinkProgress reports on how Tom McClintock took credit for using Stimulus funds for projects in the district that is providing jobs – even though he voted against the funds that created those jobs.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) has been a vocal critic of President Obama’s Recovery Act, which was enacted in early 2009 despite McClintock’s “no” vote. The northern California congressman even compared the program to the economic policies of the Soviet Union. “We know of many cases where massive government spending and borrowing has destroyed economies and brought down great nations – one need look no further than the old Soviet Union,” McClintock said.

However, McClintock was more than happy to celebrate a new stimulus-funded drug rehabilitation clinic in Grass Valley recently. Appearing with local officials, McClintock praised the construction of the Community Recovery Resources’ new Center for Hope, which is financed with a 40-year low interest $9,317,000 loan enabled by the stimulus program. “This is your victory,” McClintock told the crowd, shortly after appearing with a ceremonial shovel.

As reporter Brian Hamilton noted, the project is expected to bring 400 construction jobs to the area.

This isn’t the first time McClintock has been caught as a stimulus hypocrite. Last year, California Watch reported that McClintock was among the many anti-stimulus members of Congress to quietly lobby the Obama administration for more funds. McClintock wrote at least five letters asking for money for transportation grants.

Written by Valerie Curl

July 21, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Financial Times: Why US voters are suing Dr Obama

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Martin Wolf, Chief Economics writer for the Financial Times, voices his opinion on why the American public is misledPresident Obama and the U.S. economy and how the Republicans are fostering that misleading idea.

Published: October 26 2010 22:28 | Last updated: October 26 2010 22:28

An ambulance stops by the roadside to help a man suffering from a heart attack. After desperate measures, the patient survives. Brought into hospital, he then makes a protracted and partial recovery. Then, two years later, far from feeling grateful, he sues the paramedics and doctors. If it were not for their interference, he insists, he would be as good as new. As for the heart attack, it was a minor event. He would have been far better off if he had been left alone.

That is the situation in which Dr Barack Obama finds himself. A large part of the American public has long since forgotten the gravity of the financial heart attack that hit the US in the autumn of 2008. The Republicans have convinced many voters that the intervention by the Democrats, not the catastrophe George W.Bush bequeathed, explains the malaise. It is a propaganda coup.

Does President Obama deserve blame for this outcome? No and yes. No, because his treatment was right, in principle; yes, because it was too cautious, in practice.

It is essential to remember the context. Large financial crises do long-lasting damage. As the University of Maryland’s Carmen Reinhart and Harvard University’s Kenneth Rogoff note in an update of previous work: “More often than not, the aftermath of severe financial crises shares three characteristics. First, asset market collapses are deep and prolonged … Second, [it] is associated with profound declines in output and employment … Third, the real value of government debt tends to explode.” As ever, the risks built up, disregarded, in the boom and materialised in the bust.

Click here to listen to Martin Wolf.

Written by Valerie Curl

October 27, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Reagan’s financial advisers critical of Republican Party, especially on taxes.

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While Republicans and others continue their tax reduction mantra as the only way towards economic growth, two of President Reagan’s top financial advisers oppose this Republican ideology, with very good reasons and going so far as to say Republicans are idiotic.

Remember David Stockman? He was President Reagan’s Budget Director and promoter of “Supply Side Economics.” Now after a couple of decades on Wall St., he’s come out against the behavior of Wall St and favors tax increases as the only sensible way to decrease the federal deficit. Here is part of his interview with PBS’ Paul Solman:

PAUL SOLMAN: So, you like the Obama banking proposal. Why?

DAVID STOCKMAN: I would give the administration credit for trying to move us back to something that’s a lot saner than trillion-dollar banks being propped up by the taxpayers, which is exactly where we are today.

The fact is, Wall Street is entirely involved in capital markets activity, which is fine. But that’s free market activity. They shouldn’t be involved in it if they have got deposit insurance and if they have got the Fed window behind them. That’s for deposit banks, not for gunslingers and for hedge funds and for capital market players.

PAUL SOLMAN: But you were a gunslinger, right?

DAVID STOCKMAN: Yes. But I didn’t ask for any — I didn’t ask for any deposit insurance that the taxpayer is going to back up.

Please, Wall Street banks, don’t come and ask the taxpayer of this country who’s out in Green Bay Wisconsin, can’t pay his mortgage, can barely put food on his table, to have the safety net of the Fed and the Deposit Insurance and the Treasury of the United States. It’s an outrageous ask, and they ought to be ashamed of themselves.

PAUL SOLMAN: Almost everyone I talk to says too big to fail is a bad idea, and, yet, in Republican and Democrat administrations alike, it has been the de facto policy. Why?

DAVID STOCKMAN: I think part of the problem is that Wall Street has this tremendous army of lobbyists, who strangle in the cradle any decent idea before it can even see — see the light of day.

PAUL SOLMAN: Which sounded a lot like Stockman’s political polar opposite, Paul Krugman.

PAUL KRUGMAN, columnist, The New York Times: This is as raw an incidence of the power of money in preventing us from doing something that everybody knows we should do that I have ever seen.

PAUL SOLMAN: And now both men favor a new tax on risk-taking financial institutions, which prompted one last question for Ronald Reagan’s budget director, famous for the starve-the-beast argument, that tax cuts would force government to cut spending.

Do you still feel that way?

DAVID STOCKMAN: I think the lesson of the last 25 years is that it doesn’t work. You can keep cutting taxes until you reach the point where this year — or the year just ended, we spent $3.6 trillion, and we only collected $2.2 trillion.

So, we are now so far out of kilter that it’s irrelevant. Taxes are going to have to be raised. And the beast needs to be trimmed back. But it can’t be starved enough to even begin to cope with our fiscal problem. And this is where I think all the politicians are faking in both parties, but the Republicans especially.

The Republicans think their mission in life is to cut taxes. Sorry, game — game over. We’re now in the tax-raising business. And we’re going to be in the tax-raising business for the next decade.

Then there’s Bruce Barlett. Barlett was a domestic policy adviser to President Reagan, helped draft the Kemp-Roth tax bill, which ultimately formed the basis of Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cut, and a Treasury official under President George H.W. Bush. A life long Republican, who at one time worked for Rep Ron Paul of Texas, he left the Republican Party to become an Independent because of what he sees as the abysmal failure of Republicans to govern honestly and effectively. In numerous articles for Forbes.com, he’s been critical of Republican failures to attempt to solve the nation’s problems, including this one. In addition, his last two books, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy and The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward, chronicle the failures of the Republican Party and their policies.

On the issue of taxes and the economy, he confirms that the Obama Administration’s stimulus was necessary and explains that the bill’s nearly 40% in tax cuts, demanded by Republicans who then failed to vote in favor of it, did nothing to stimulate the economy.

Indeed, one can argue that the failure of the stimulus to create or save more jobs occurred largely because Obama included too many non-stimulative tax cuts in the stimulus package. These tax cuts, such as the Making Work Pay Credit, accounted for more than 40% of the cost of the $787 billion stimulus package. Based on the CBO analysis, I don’t think there is any question that the economy would be much worse off today if Republicans had gotten their wish and 100% of the stimulus had been in the form of tax cuts.

Those who disagree should keep in mind that in fiscal year 2009, which ended on Sept. 30, federal revenues came to just 14.9% of GDP, compared to 17.7% in 2008 and 18.8% in 2007, according to the CBO. In effect, we’ve had a tax cut equal to 4% of GDP over the last two years. By comparison, the Kennedy-Johnson tax cut of 1964 was only 1.6% of GDP and the Reagan tax cut of 1981 was 1.9% of GDP in its first two years. (See this Treasury Department study.)

Nevertheless, Republicans continue to trumpet tax cuts as the one and only cure for whatever ails the economy, as House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., did in a Dec. 2 speech. Nowhere in it, however, is there any statement of the theory by which more tax cuts will stimulate growth when taxes are already at their lowest level in three generations, and when there is no evidence that the tax cuts enacted in February or last year’s tax rebate–which the Bush administration promised would stop the recession in its tracks–have had any meaningful stimulative effect. (On failure of the Republican rebate, see this CBO analysis.)

The point to be made here is that Republicans are being dishonest in claiming that their ideas will lead the nation back to economic health. When Reagan’s own economic advisers call Republican policies irresponsible, how can anyone else believe them? But Republicans continue to play political games, using fear tactics and misinformation, in a clear attempt to regain control of both Congress and the White House. In my opinion, confirmed by both Stockman and Barlett, the Republicans care less about solving the nation’s problems and regaining national economic viability than becoming the top dogs in Washington and, thus, the top lobbyist money winners.

What surprises me is that so many Americans believe what the Republicans are saying. After the worst governance and reckless spending of the last century, how can anyone trust what they say, let alone put their lives and fortunes again in the hands of the very party that caused the problems we now face?

Written by Valerie Curl

February 10, 2010 at 5:25 PM

A few thoughts…

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Being fully engaged in a job search, I’ve not had much time to spend on the news. My daily fix of news comes near dawn over coffee with a quick view of CNBC to see how and what the markets are doing as well as whatever is reported on MSNBC and CNN. However, once in a while, I learn something that bears commentary.

Broadband internet now a priority for the FCC

On Wed., April 8, USA Today reported that the FCC will pursue a goal of nationwide affordable, fast internet.

he Federal Communications Commission Wednesday begins work on a national broadband plan, with the goal of ensuring that all consumers have access to services that are fast and affordable.

The public will be able to submit comments to the FCC for 60 days, with another 30 days for reply comments. The agency will take them into consideration as it crafts the USA’s first national broadband plan.

The plan, due to Congress by Feb. 17, 2010, could have a profound impact, says Ben Scott, public policy director of Free Press, a media advocacy group.

“It could be a very important document that guides the future of telecommunications regulation and the future of the Internet,” he says. “Or it could be a glorified study.”

The FCC often gets knocked for issuing reports that have little impact, but Scott doesn’t think that will happen this time.
[…]

Though broadband is widely available in urban and suburban markets, in many rural areas dial-up Internet access is still common. Dial-up isn’t fast enough to handle interactive fare, such as video streaming. Satellite-based broadband is an option for rural consumers, but it tends to be quite slow, Scott notes.

In the USA currently, the average broadband speed is less than 3 megabits per second. Other countries, including Japan, claim average speeds of more than 60. Australia recently committed to 100 megabits.

Scott says the FCC would do well to heed those examples. “If we’re talking about the Internet as infrastructure, the bar (on speed) has to be pretty high.”

As someone who currently resides in a fairly rural area, I welcome high-speed broadband at affordable prices. We have wireless internet, but the average speed is about 3mb/sec. except during the middle of the night. To put it more graphically, I can go downstairs, make a sandwich, and come back upstairs to the computer before a page loads. What that slow speed means is a complete inability to view videos, engage in video conferencing, or even view graphic heavy websites. And what that means is reduced business productivity and revenue. Not good for American business…and American jobs.

Texas Governor Perry and his “Tea Party” Secession Speech

This morning CNN reports that Gov. Perry really didn’t mean what he said when he talked about Texas seceding from the Union. I wonder if Gov Perry understands that inciting to rebellion is a capital crime called Treason. Texas cannot legally secede, no matter what some may say. Nor can it create it’s own Milita – as in Army – to fight against the Union. All those engaged in or inciting rebellion (War) are liable for charges of Treason.

Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Essentially, what that section of Article 3 says is that anyone engaged in rebellion is making war against the United States and thus subject to Treason. Gov. Perry and his adherents better pay closer attention to what they’re saying.

But let’s be clear: Perry and all the FOX News gang are just playing to the crowd. They have an agenda to sell, and that agenda is called ratings. Perry wants to be re-elected and FOX wants to boost its viewing ratings so it can charge higher ad fees.

Unfortunately, their cynical self-promotions play on the very real fears of American citizens. Hitler did not come into power by praising the democratic government of Germany after WWI when the people were suffering through a vicious economic depression. No, he criticized it in order to promote himself. He played on the fears of the populous and look what the world got. I’m not saying the present day fear-mongers are akin to Hitler, but remembering what fear-mongering can create is well worth a reminder or two.

Speaking for fear and hate

Al Hunt of Bloomberg Politics writes in his latest column,

Used-car salesmen, lawyers and journalists can relax; they’ve been replaced as America’s favorite villains by corporate executives, or at least investment bankers.

Hailed only a short while ago as masters of the universe and princes of perpetual profits, they now are reviled. Consider:

— Americans, no surprise, overwhelmingly oppose the huge bonuses that are paid to employees by Wall Street companies, according to polls. A recent Quinnipiac survey, however, shows that almost one person in three favors the government imposing a limit on all executive compensation. (That failed miserably during the Nixon administration; for trivia buffs, the 1972 wage and price control effort was directed by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. A harbinger?)

— There’s a hot new online game called “Trillion Dollar Bailout,” in which the player can “slap” corporate executives, sending them “to a dark hole in which, you hope, a hungry Hannibal Lecter awaits with the dining table already laid.”

— The most visible protests at the Group of 20 meetings this month were directed at bankers. “Love, not leverage,” read one sign.

Walter Shorenstein, who Hunt quotes extensively in his article, writes,

“Just because a new investment fad sweeps through certain crowds, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a smart place to put your money,” writes Shorenstein, whose firm avoided most of the cyclical downturns that have plagued other real-estate companies. “If terms like counter-party risk, mark-to-market accounting, and capital-structure arbitrage aren’t part of your everyday conversation, then don’t risk your future on something you don’t understand.”

…“In the midst of the froth and excitement of a bubble economy, there is always a boisterous and delusional group declaring an end to gravity and logic.”

Maybe it is time for that old adage, buyer beware, to come back into vogue as part of the national lexicon.

I’ve never cried before….

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For fifty years I’ve watched Presidents give State of the Union Addresses. Never before have I been moved to tears as I was tonight. Never before have I been more proud of my country as I was listening to President Obama tonight.

As the 62 year old daughter of a career Air Force Master Sargent and the descendant of Revolutionary War warriors, I am so proud of my country tonight. President Obama stated all my hopes and dreams tonight in his speech for my country.

We are a great country. We can become even better. We can lead this nation, and the world, forward rather than look back at the past. We can show the world what democracy really represents in building new forward looking businesses and in taking care of our people to meet the challenges of the future.

We can solve every problem put before us as long as we are willing to face those challenges rather than say they’re too big to be solved. We are a great country with a huge imagination. There is nothing we cannot solve if we pull together as one unified people.

President Obama laid a challenge before us as patriotic individuals and as a nation to come together as families and communities and as a nation to solve the many problems confronting us. I believe…and hope…that we have the courage and strength and determination to solve those problems.

Stimulus breakdown, state by state.

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CSPAN has provided a breakdown of the stimulus bill to each state. They’ve also drilled down in the plan to levels such as school districts.

The analysis can be viewed here.

Written by Valerie Curl

February 20, 2009 at 3:48 AM

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