[Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round In Circles” performed by Paul Weller band.]
February, 7, 2009 — Liveblogging the Senate debate on the huge, now $1.2 trillion bill. Quoted from live testimony, as best I can keep up with the typing, for as long as it’s interesting — or should I say frustrating. Why am I agreeing with the Republicans’ caution? As you know, I’ve always, until last year, been a Democrat. But never mind about that — that gets back to a great point made down page by Johann: it doesn’t matter how we got here, stop blaming each other and get to explaining what the bill will do and to making one that actually creates jobs.
And so they go, around, and around, and around, and around . . . .
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL —
The new OBM Director, whose nomination both Democrats and Republicans just approved, reported that the $1.1 trillion stimulus package will create jobs that “cost” between $100,000 – $300,000. Some reports say the number is as high as $900,000 per job. My non-econ brain thinks this means that there’s so much other spending besides job creation that what it costs to produce each job averages out to that.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA is chastising the Bush Admin for getting us in there, but I find her self-righteous tone annoying. Hmm, another one of my gals. I’m just not sure I can get over her behavior as head of the California Delegation at the Democratic Convention, but she’s reporting:
- 2,589,000 2008 jobs lost
- 1% increase in Medicaid state and national spending
- 1000 applicants line up for 35 firefighting jobs in Florida and the police were called to control the crowd, plus other examples
- Extensive layoffs happening in California.
- Going on about the past eight years, Boxer hits that we had a surplus during Clinton and balanced the budget, but the Republicans took it up to $3 trillion – war in Iraq and tax cuts to the wealthiest.
It seems to me that instead of bitching and moaning about the past, that BOXER, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY could be explaining the damn bill and how it would help create jobs. Instead, we hear about her putting aside her ego (really?) and compromising, because oh right, “WE WON!” implies Barbara.
This election was about change . . . not just about trickle down tax cuts that the Republicans want.
So it’s either or? She has blathered on without saying a word of what the bill has in it or will do. Our government is an idiotic mess.
Sen. Mike Johanns, R-NE —
A bill $1.2 trillion — the biggest bill in the history of the world. Many couldn’t answer the number of zeros in the number, yet we have to vote on it within the next 24 hours. It’s not good enough that we’ve trimmed. Now it’s $7 billion over the house version, so we have a more expensive one. they’ve cut $110 billion. but bill is still comprised of wasteful spe3ning — might be worthy of support in appropriations process, but don’t stimulate the economy. it is a giant appropriations bill. I’ve fought for many of these programs, money: to consolidate the Dept. of Homeland Security, for Earth Science Mission, money for trail maintenance and cars — worthy projects but they don’t stimulate the economy.
I hear a lot about bi-partisan efforts. In Nebraska, our senators were elected on a non-partisan ticket, [and we hash things out.] Unless there is a new meaning attached to this word, this “compromise” closed door meetings , with 2 Republicans attending and in the end that was announced as the bi-part efforts, less than 1/4 of 1/10 of Republican Senators were included.
I’m not willing to put aside due diligence to find a couple of months from now that what we thought would work did not. . . . This is literally borrowed money, yet we’re not going to take a vote on paying for this. I’ve heard the debate about who’s responsible and who did what and what they wanted us to accomplish was to get out fiscal house in order, not to sort out faults, to solve problems.
I come from a state where our Constitution requires a balanced budget and forbids borrowing money over a certain amount. I could not issue debt, so instead of cutting taxes, I cut spending. It never occurred to any of us in our legislature that we’d tell our kids, etc. how we were going to borrow and leave the payback to them.
I think the Change people voted for was about how we run our government. we’ve got to grab ahold of this or our dollar won’t be worth anything, because we keep printing it.
Okay, dude, I’m in. Mike Johanns for President.
Sen. Amy Klobushcar, D-MN —
Blah, blah, blah, real families, bad times, all’s lost. Blah, blah, blah, what the new energy jobs will get us.
Sen. John Ensign, R-NV — A history lesson
Roaring twenties: Pres. Coolidge: low tax rates, encouraging private sector to invest was good, stock market became over-valued, like .com of 90s bubble burst, the banking bubble burst. Pres. Hoover increased taxes, government spending on infrastructure, instituted Smoot-Hawley protectionist trade law. Roosevelt, New Deal, massive government spending. people argue today that the Great Depression happened because the spending was stop and go. 1937 taxes were raised again, which caused a depression within a depression. The New Deal didn’t bring us out the Depression, it was WWII. Tremendous sacrifices were made with rationing of basic supplies. After 1929 market never recovered until mid-1950s. Do we want to wait that long for our market to recover?
% of debt to GDP chart: Went up over last few years. Tax rate cuts like under Reagan, Kennedy, Coolidge, stimulated economic revenue. Problem under Bush was that we spent too much money. All of this spending, sovereign wealth funds have been buying our treasury bills. what happens if other countries think we’re too big of a risk? Our economy goes off the cliff. At a certain point, living beyond your means catches up with you.
All spending is not bad, but all doesn’t create stimulus.
Ensign showed that in Japan lost 1990s decade: spending increased but it didn’t get them out of their economic woes.
$1.3 trillion bill when you add the interest, $300,000 per job created or saved. 1.3 million jobs (the low end) the pricetag is $600,000 per job.
Examples of the pork in this bill: $6.1 for corp. jet hangers in Fayetteville, bike facilities, pedestrian ways, and bike paths.
I love to cycle, but this isn’t a time to build these things. invest in infrastructure that makes the economy more efficient. Take our time to see where the money’s going. If we rush through this thing, we’ll have inflation and higher taxes and will do more damage to our economy.
If stimulus package was put together with both sides – because neither has the right idea, we would have had 80 votes. We should have sat down together to craft it, but the Dems brought a Dem bill to the floor in the first place.
To be continued. . . .