Senate Saturday Stimulus Session Liveblogging

[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. . . .


7 thoughts on “Senate Saturday Stimulus Session Liveblogging

  1. Great article. Sad state of things. They will not explain how it creates jobs because it will not create enough to justify the heinous spending. Obama is trying to create fear and we will end up enslaving our children to debt and government because we did not demand to see the fine print.

  2. Thanks, Sonic Ninja Kitty (I Love that handle!) —

    Yes, if only the press and our elected officials would do their jobs instead of either trying to get along or bash each other, we’d have some real info on which to base our judgments.

  3. Great Article – but these folks have some facts they have put together with zero knowledge of economics. Krugman (and I with my limited undergrad effort in too many econ course) could spend a few weeks with these idiots on the GOP side and teach them the basics – but they do not want to learn – they only want tax cuts for the rich. Keeping it simple – in the same way the Senators are doing in your reports – aid to the states – now removed by the wise -LOL – GOP – was to prevent the anti-stimulus that will be caused by state cutbacks in spending. Money is fungible, and to a large extent so is the spending of money, but there are differences in how the recipient then spends the money, and then how the person that recieves that spending then spends the money. It is a “multiplier effect” – which for tax cuts as measured by the last tax cut Bush put through to “stimulate” – is much less than “one” because it was mostly saved. There is indeed differences in the Democratic Party spending proposals “multiplier effect” based on what the spending is going to be on – but the multiplier is from 1.3 to 3 – depending on the type of spending and the study you are referring to.

    In sum, spending creates jobs in the near term, savings creates jobs via investment in the long term. The current need is for near term jobs. Even an idiot GOPer can understand that – if they want to and are not just trying to get “former Democrats” to go against their own values. Let’s leave tax cuts for the rich in the dust bin of history.

  4. Great blog – more people should view these hearings.
    A few things that I keyed in on:
    only 30 billion slated for hiways and roads – what about infrastructure rebuilding?
    Some of this money will establish programs which will need more money to substain them in the future
    From the first emergency stimulus – 350 billion has not been spent. Of the money that was used to recover the banks, the price paid for stock was over valued some 75 billion

  5. Tim – Thanks for your comments. I hope you’ll come back!

    Infrastructure rebuilding = exactly!

    Oh boy, next week there’s more debate about spending the rest of the TARP.

    And ALSO, Obama’s gonna talk to us all on the telie next Monday night. I wonder if he’ll tell us he won again and that he’s doing what we asked for, and we should know what’s good for us, put on sweaters, ditch our SUVs, and beware of Gucci wearers – yes, he said all of those things. Of course, I’m for conservation, absolutely. But, I don’t like hypocrisy, and I smell it here.

    I think he should do one hard thing in his life, quit smoking, just start there. Then he can think about lecturing me. Even if he accomplished that . . . nah, sorry, dude, you can’t lecture me, just know enough about what you’re doing to explain it to The People.

  6. hey to boomer princess — it’s now up just say no deal…sorry if i didn’t get it right the 1st time…keep ’em coming.

    enjoy your Sunday Afternoon – i’m on a news fast today .. sick of the bickering out there !

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