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Obama takes it to the people

Posted by esh_ga z7 GA (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 5, 09 at 10:39

In a Washington Post editorial, President Obama defends the stimulus plan currently before Congress against what he calls "misguided criticisms."

From the editorial:

"In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis -- the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive. "

And he's not done:

President Obama will significantly ramp up his salesmanship of his economic stimulus plan over the next week with a prime time news conference planned for Monday and an address from the Oval Office on the topic also being considered.

What do you think of such a direct approach? Refreshing? Direct? Riding the wave of approval from the election?

Personally, I like it. It gets the topic out there in the people's laps. It challenges some of the misconceptions that our elected officials are trying to publicize. Hopefully it gets people to think on their own.

Here is a link that might be useful: source


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Obama takes it to the people

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis -- the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems;

Maybe if he's start listening to the criticisms that make sense, then he and Congress could draft a stimulus package that makes sense! Cut the pork, and shoot it through. End of story. THEN people'd have good reason to bi*ch when no GOP votes in favor.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 5, 09 at 11:08

Does mainstream America even remember how to think on its own? We're so used to biased news reporting, and being told what to think and what to buy and what to do... mainstream America has been led around by the proverbial ring in its nose for so long... can we listen with open minds?

As our country stands right now, we need long term solutions to our financial, health care, and educational problems. We need to cut unnecessary spending and put the money where it will do the most good for the future!

I do like the POTUS's direct approach of coming to the people with ideas, and getting the issues heard.

I don't know what the "solution" is... maybe it should come in the form of a smaller stimulus package while long term goals are worked out. I don't know. What I do know is that we the people have a right to hear what's being planned on our behalf, and a right to respond.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

What percentage of the bill is pork? Someone commented on another thread that was 1%?

And are the Republicans complaining more about projects they don't like or more about wanting more tax cuts in the bill?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 5, 09 at 11:28

Bill, maybe he is responding to sinking public support for the stimulus spending bill in the polls.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

I cannot understand why the Republican minority must have such a voice with the stimulus package. They were voted out of power in the last election by the people. They have taken a stimulus package which started out to be different from the tired old policies and totally ruined it. Folks, we have tried, tax cuts, deregulation, corporation mergers, and top heavy economic policies for too long. They act as if this is the only way to true righteousness if only we will follow them. Have we so short a memory we cannot remember one month ago. In fact, can anyone tell me the last time a liberal progressive administration was in power. No, not Clinton, was Reagan a liberal, maybe Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush the first? How far back in our history do we need to go. if you listen to the republican minority they make it sound like the progressive have been in control all along. We need to stop listening to this rhetoric of fear and take a new path. Their tired old ways simply do not work. George Bush Sr and Jr. both had the largest job loss in American history since Hoover. We need change.

Here is a link that might be useful: traveling and cooking with grandpa


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

They have taken a stimulus package which started out to be different from the tired old policies and totally ruined it.

And so it begins.

If it were different, there'd be no problem from the public, and ultimately because of public pressure, from Congress, either. That's the problem, though. It's NOT different. Sooner or later, the line item veto is going to be voted in, and that'll be the end of crap like this.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 5, 09 at 12:05

I don't understand why it's so difficult to put together a package that contains what America needs, without adding what it doesn't need!

It's like putting together a budget, for crying out loud! I know every group wants to be represented and get their cut of the pie... but I think it's time to drop the nonsense and jump start the economy first... there's plenty of time to dole out money for the bullsh*t later. Let's fix the broken parts before adding the paint job, shall we?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 5, 09 at 12:22

I cannot understand why the Republican minority must have such a voice with the stimulus package.

Should no minority have a right to vote or representation in the Congress? Or should everything be totally partisan, with the majority party getting its own way without votes or consultation?

They were voted out of power in the last election by the people.

Quite a number of states and districts elected Republican representatives and senators. Should they be expelled from Congress? Was it inappropriate for the Republicans to have allowed Democrats to vote and serve in Congress when they were in control of the government?

Folks, we have tried, tax cuts, deregulation, corporation mergers, and top heavy economic policies for too long.

This spending bill is a continuation of the Republican economic policy, namely coupling tax cuts with additional spending. That's how the Republicans got us into this terrible national debt situation, and this bill will only run the debt up even higher. Why on earth are we cutting taxes at such a time in this bill, and giving reckless tax cuts for other programs? Cutting revenue while spending more is a recipe for disaster. It was bad when the Republicans did it, and it's even worse at this accelerated rate.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Well said, Chap.

Here is nobel price winning economist, Paul Krugman today:

There has been a distinct change in tone from the Obama team today, as they seem to have become suddenly aware that theres a real risk that the stimulus plan will either fail to pass, or be emasculated to the point that it doesnt come close to doing the job. Obama himself has warned of catastrophe if we fail to act, and finally! denounced the tax-cut philosophy. Meanwhile, Larry Summers has finally made the point Ive been pushing for a while that were at major risk of falling into a deflationary trap.

I thought it might be useful to present a bit of evidence behind that concern. The figure above plots an estimate of the output gap the difference between actual and potential GDP, as a percentage of potential and the change in the inflation rate. Both series are taken from the IMF WEO database, for convenience, and use data from 1980-2007.

Its not a perfect fit this is economics, not physics, and anyway stuff besides the output gap bounces inflation around from year to year. But still, theres a clear correlation, driven largely but not entirely by the deep slump and disinflation of the early 1980s, and an implied slope of about 0.5 that is, every percentage point by which real GDP fall short of potential tends to reduce the inflation rate by about half a point over the course of the year.

And right now the CBO is saying that in the absence of a policy action the average output gap will average 6.8 percent over the next two years. Do the math: if anything like the historical relationship between output and inflation holds, were looking at major deflation.

OK, maybe that relationship wont hold getting to actual deflation may take a deeper slump than merely reducing the inflation rate. And maybe a regression driven in part by 80s data isnt a good guide to current events. But deflation is a huge risk and getting out of a deflationary trap is very, very hard.

We truly are flirting with disaster.

...and some other thoughts from Krugman:

Conservatives really, really dont want to see a second New Deal, and they certainly dont want to see government activism vindicated. So they are reaching for any stick they can find with which to beat proposals for increased government spending.

Some of these arguments are obvious cheap shots. John Boehner, the House minority leader, has already made headlines with one such shot: looking at an $825 billion plan to rebuild infrastructure, sustain essential services and more, he derided a minor provision that would expand Medicaid family-planning services and called it a plan to "spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives."

But the obvious cheap shots dont pose as much danger to the Obama administrations efforts to get a plan through as arguments and assertions that are equally fraudulent but can seem superficially plausible to those who dont know their way around economic concepts and numbers. So as a public service, let me try to debunk some of the major antistimulus arguments that have already surfaced. Any time you hear someone reciting one of these arguments, write him or her off as a dishonest flack.

write off anyone who asserts that its always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their money.

Heres how to think about this argument: it implies that we should shut down the air traffic control system. After all, that system is paid for with fees on air tickets and surely it would be better to let the flying public keep its money rather than hand it over to government bureaucrats. If that would mean lots of midair collisions, hey, stuff happens.

The point is that nobody really believes that a dollar of tax cuts is always better than a dollar of public spending. Meanwhile, its clear that when it comes to economic stimulus, public spending provides much more bang for the buck than tax cuts and therefore costs less per job created (see the previous fraudulent argument) because a large fraction of any tax cut will simply be saved.

This suggests that public spending rather than tax cuts should be the core of any stimulus plan. But rather than accept that implication, conservatives take refuge in a nonsensical argument against public spending in general.

Finally, ignore anyone who tries to make something of the fact that the new administrations chief economic adviser has in the past favored monetary policy over fiscal policy as a response to recessions.

Its true that the normal response to recessions is interest-rate cuts from the Fed, not government spending. And that might be the best option right now, if it were available. But it isnt, because were in a situation not seen since the 1930s: the interest rates the Fed controls are already effectively at zero.

Thats why were talking about large-scale fiscal stimulus: its whats left in the policy arsenal now that the Fed has shot its bolt. Anyone who cites old arguments against fiscal stimulus without mentioning that either doesnt know much about the subject and therefore has no business weighing in on the debate or is being deliberately obtuse.

These are only some of the fundamentally fraudulent antistimulus arguments out there. Basically, conservatives are throwing any objection they can think of against the Obama plan, hoping that something will stick.


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More economist

...and here is Robert Reich today:

Senate Republicans and the Stimulus: Playing Politics When the Economy Burns

Tomorrow's job report is likely to be awful. January's job losses could easily top half a million. We're deep into the most vicious of economic cycles: Consumers are slashing their spending because they're perilously in debt and worried about keeping their jobs. But as a result, businesses are facing shrinking sales of goods and services, so they're slashing payrolls, which of course makes consumers even more anxious and further reduces their spending power. Meanwhile, businesses are cutting way back on new investments in equipment, which hurts upstream suppliers, who are now slashing their payrolls. And so it goes, downward. The gap between what the economy could produce if it were running near full capacity and what it's now producing continues to widen. The shortfall is projected to be over a trillion dollars this year.
How do we get out of this downward plunge?

Regardless of your ideological stripe, you've got to see that when consumers and businesses stop spending and investing, there's only entity left to step into the breach. It's government. Major increases in government spending are necessary, and the spending must be on a very large scale. In the last several weeks the President has put forward the outlines of a stimulus plan, and has left it to the House and Senate to fill in the details. A tiny portion of the details that made it into the House version should be stripped away because they seem like old-fashioned pork. But most spending in the bill is absolutely appropriate. My worry is there's not nearly enough of spending to fill the shortfall in overall demand.

Yet at this very moment, Senate Republicans are seeking to strip the President's stimulus package of many of its spending provisions and substitute tax cuts. Part of this is pure pander: They know tax cuts are more popular with the public than government spending, even though spending is a far more effective way to stimulate the economy (more on this in a moment). Another part is pure partisan politics: Republicans are emboldened by Obama's willingness to court Republicans (taking three Republicans into his cabinet, bringing Republican leaders into the White House for consultations, putting all those business tax cuts into the stimulus bill in order to gain Republican favor) without getting anything at all back from the GOP. House Republicans snubbed the bill entirely. So, Senate Republicans say to themselves, what's to lose?

Plenty. Millions more jobs and a full-fledged Depression, for example.

Can we get real for a moment? Take a look at this chart, which comes from calculations by Mark Zandy and his colleagues at economy.com. You see that each dollar of spending has much more impact than each dollar of tax cut. http://www.economy.com/dismal/graphs/blog/mz_012208_1t.GIF

There are three reasons for this. First, most people who receive a tax cut don't spend all of it. They use part of it to pay down their debts or they save it. Most of us did one or the other last spring with that tax rebate. From the standpoint of any particular individual, paying down debts or saving may be smart behavior -- even commendable. But what's intelligent for an individual does not necessarily translate into what's good for the economy as a whole. The only way to get businesses to create or preserve jobs is through additional spending. And unlike tax cuts used to pay down personal debt or add to savings, every dollar of government spending flows directly into the economy and adds to overall demand.

Second, even that portion of a tax cut we might actually spend doesn't necessarily go into the American economy. It goes all over the world. I have nothing against creating or preserving the jobs of Asians who assemble those flat-panel TVs you see at the mall, for example, but right now we're trying to create or preserve jobs here in America. Sure, the retail workers at the mall who sell the flat-panel TV's might benefit, but remember we're talking about how to get the biggest bang for every dollar. When government spends to repair a highway or build a school or help pay for medical services, the money and the jobs stay here in America.

Finally, those who say cutting taxes on businesses is the best way to create or preserve jobs forget about the demand side. Even with a tax cut, businesses won't hire workers unless there are customers to buy what those workers produce. A government stimulus that creates jobs is a necessary precondition.

This isn't a matter of more or less government, however much Republicans and conservatives would like to wedge it in that old ideological box. The issue is how to revive the economy. When consumers and businesses can't or won't spend enough to keep the economy going, government has to be the spender of last resort. Period.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 5, 09 at 13:22

When consumers and businesses can't or won't spend enough to keep the economy going, government has to be the spender of last resort.

And where does that money come from? Taxpayers, who pay more and more in debt service because these voodoo economic strategies of cutting revenue while increasing spending balloon the national debt, and put a greater burden on taxpayers. Sooner or later, there won't be enough taxpayers capable of paying the debt service.

Why haven't we cut war spending to the bone before undertaking this reckless spending bill? I'd rather see war expenses cut first and that money used to start paying down the debt.

Until we eliminate debt spending, the economy will keep worsening, not matter what money the government throws at it as a stopgap. Eliminate the debt, and all that money spent on debt relief can go back into the economy. And real tax cuts can then be given to ratepayers, and that money will cause an economic boom. But growing the debt will only make things worse. Period.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

So the economy isn't growing because consumers aren't spending. So, we raise taxes on consumers so they have even less to spend. And that grows the economy how? Perhaps it means more money to give to the banks who aren't loaning it to consumers? Or we purchase a fleet of cars for Washington bureaucrats which for the short term will help a limited number of workers and the companies which have already received bailout money. And the american consumer benefits how?
My hope is that they put the brakes on this stimulus bill until someone figures out how it can be used to stimulate the economy. Right now it just looks like a bunch of hogs at the trough.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

So, we raise taxes on consumers so they have even less to spend. And that grows the economy how?

Raising taxes? I thought the Democrats were fighting tax CUTS, not proposing tax increases. Who is raising taxes in this bill?

And how does that grow the economy? Fewer tax cuts equals more money for the government to spend on infrastructure and other programs.

So the money does get spent.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

From Mark Zandy and his colleagues at economy.com. You see that each dollar of spending has much more impact than each dollar of tax cut.


stimulus



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RE: Obama takes it to the people

I have heard nothing about the outcome of the tax refund that Bush et al pushed through. Hmm, does that mean it did no good to our economy? What a surprise.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 5, 09 at 15:57

Fewer tax cuts equals more money for the government to spend on infrastructure and other programs.

That kind of thinking is why we are in such an economic mess. Eliminating reckless tax cuts should free up money to pay down the national debt. As long as we have a crushing national debt and continue adding to it, we will have to pay more and more of our taxes towards debt service, not growing the economy. We are just delaying the worst until later by continued deficit spending.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

I hope they are allocating to as many smaller entities as possible--state, county, and local governments--rather than making all the spending decisions themselves.

I think that would lead to much more useful and rational spending, especially if the money was not earmarked for expenditures that made no sense in the specific areas they were sent to.

Additionally, why not let local SCORE chapters have some of the responsibility? They would be able to find out which local businesses could use it to best advantage.

What I would hate to see happen is what happened to all those funds allocated for anti-terrorism.

I also think that the money should come with some sort of a tag to it--if it is not used in a way that would help the larger economy, the taxpayers have the right to get some of it back later through a special excise tax (or whatever it would be called). That could be done by setting up a process in which any group of a certain number (of individuals, in a town, or representatives, in a county or state) in the local entity could challenge an expenditure, and by requiring that all expenditures be posted on the relevent local websites. The local entities could protect themseloves by having some type of public input process, like a town meeting, before spending the funds. On the state level, the state legislatures would have to weigh in first.

If some extra money came to my town and county, I would want to see it used to help out local industry that is having to lay off workers, rather than to unemployment, for example. By making the categories over-broad, they are making it easier for selfish individual actions (eg. remaining jobless longer than absolutely necessary) to be rewarded.
.. .. ..

To improve the positive benefits on a tax cut, it shouldn't be called that. It should be, instead, a tax credit for purchasing things made in areas of the local economy that need help, within a certain time frame.

Finally, I don't think the money should just be considered free money. It should be considered pay, to stimulate the economy, and be issued to everyone that gets it with that obligation clearly in mind. Anyone getting a big clump of it, like the banks, that is obviously not about the job of stimulating the economy should immediately have their stimulus package rescinded.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Japan tried to spend their way out of their deflationary recession in the 90's and all it got them was a huge deficit. They did not make the banks write off the bad loans on their books and so lending was at very low levels for years.

As Barack has stated in recent days we need to get this stimulis program finished as soon as possible so things can start turning around. Remember how well things turned around after the quickly passed TARP. Or maybe it was more of a Oh oh where did the money end up.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

A short while ago, Obama met with governors and asked for lists of shovel ready projects. That list was the basis of the original proposed stimulus bill. I know my community has submitted a list - it's been reported in our local newspaper. So local government is clearly represented in the substance of the bill. That's why things like money for movie making was originally in the bill - that specific example would allow for increased employment in California.

Being laid off now, I'm watching more tv news than I care to admit to. And Obama is on almost daily saying that this bailout will have a few components and that it's core spending is dedicated to hiring now AND laying the base for future spending on activities that will help people and the economy in the longer term (ie updating a school now doesn't only affect this year's students, buying cars now allows the auto companies to keep/hire workers, ship the cars etc etc). The stimulus bill is step one, a bank program will be coming next week.

Sending money to taxpayers has recently been proven not to work. Obama has also said that, going forward, he's going to do a line by line review of the budget and eliminate programs that are no longer needed. At this point, I think he's staying true to his word and I'm willing to give him time to make this happen. But you can't cut spending in an economy that already is seriously suffering from reduced spending. Cutting government spending now will introduce the onset of Great Depression II.

This back and forth is part of the normal process and as Obama has said repeatedly, he wants the best ideas no matter who provides them. But the Republicans are clearly in the back seat and they know it. All elected officials have skin in this - their jobs. But since we're seeing about 1/2 million people losing their jobs monthly now, this country needs to act asap.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

As usual, the Republicans have joined ranks and accomplished what they do best - muddying the water and then poisoning it. They counter Obama's bipartisanship by demanding one-sided concessions and then whining about being left out of the process and cherry picking the 7% of 1% of the bill that is or can be portrayed as "pork". What they offer in return are corporate tax cuts (more tax cuts and continued spending deficits) which is the Reagan-Bush recipe that got us into the mess we are in now.

Their intent is to get as much of what they want in the bill (corporate tax cuts) without actually owning the bill by voting for it. If the bill fails to stimulate the economy, the Republicans can say "I told you so". If the bill succeeds, the Republicans can claim that the corporate tax cuts (most of which were in the Dem's bill in the first place) pulled the economy out of the recession. They will use this as a campaign issue in the 2010 Congressional elections. Their campaign will roll together both Obama's economic recovery efforts and Bush's (blaming the Dem leadership in Congress not the inept Bush administration for the TARP bailout).

Its unfortunate that even in an economic crisis like this one, its the same old Washington politics.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

An article from the Atlanta paper on what locals expect to get:

At a City Hall news conference Thursday, [Mayor] Franklin said the White House believes the $800 to $900 billion package now before Congress could create 30,000 to 40,000 jobs in the Atlanta region. Other metro Atlanta cities have also identified tens of millions of dollars in projects that could bring more jobs.

The city itself created a wish list of nearly 60 "shovel ready" projects costing more than $1.8 billion that could qualify for funding through the stimulus package. Several other metro Atlanta cities also submitted project lists to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, an advocacy group for municipalities across the country. In all, 10 Georgia cities have requested more than $2.6 billion.

Tom Harris, finance director for city of Alpharetta, said the city got a memo in December from the mayors group asking for a "ready to go" list of projects.

The city already had a list assembled and spent a week going over it before submitting $61.4 million worth of projects.

"We try to have that list ready at all times," Harris said, "So we didnt have to create a lot of new projects. Were very aggressive in finding money to supplement our citizen commitment."

Alpharettas requests include repair and renovation to dozens of roads, a community center, new police vehicles and an indoor shooting range.

In Cobb County, Marietta and Acworth have submitted $12.3 million in project requests.

Acworth put in for $3.9 million to fund four street improvement projects. Acworth predicts it could create 90 jobs in the process.

Agencies within Marietta have asked for $8.3 million to finance 19 projects, which they say would bring 162 jobs.

... projects range from wireless access and solar panels at city schools to road, sidewalk and water-sewer improvements. These projects were already part of the citys capital improvements list, said Marietta spokesman Matthew Daily. "If theyre approved now, it would just allow us to move forward with them at a quicker pace," he said.

Elsewhere, Athens wants $82.7 million to, among dozens of projects, renovate its police headquarters, replace the jails roof and create a $16 million library expansion. It estimates the work would create more than 1,200 jobs.

Perhaps that gives you a flavor of what local economies have done and what they hope to get.

Here is a link that might be useful: source


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

kt, what about the democrats that are against this bill, and the majority of the american people? Maybe they are the only ones who aren't thinking about the next campaign, I don't know. I don't feel very good about either party right now, so if what you say is true, I don't see it helping either side.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Mrskjun, there are Democrats against certain aspects of the bill and many who are embarrassed over the 1% of 7% of the bill that seems to dominate the debate. The Republicans don't have a similar range of positions on the bill but rather have closed ranks as a group to oppose the bill over ideological concerns because they can't and won't deal with the fact that the fundamental positions of the party - corporate tax cuts, lax regulation, deficit spending - much of it military pork, pro-oil energy are bankrupt ideas.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 6, 09 at 10:02

Mrskjun, there are Democrats against certain aspects of the bill and many who are embarrassed over the 1% of 7% of the bill that seems to dominate the debate.

My Congressman, Jim Cooper, is upset over many aspects of the bill, and considers quite a few of the projects to be pork. He's one of the eleven who voted against it, and has been receiving a lot of support from his constituents. He is appalled at the idea of ballooning the national debt.

It's odd the Republicans are opposing the bill. Its combination of reckless tax cuts and uncontrollable spending is sort of an art form with them. Guess it's somebody else's pork in the bill this time. Sore losers.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Hmm, I wonder how many "Bridges to Nowhere" can be squeezed out of this bill...


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Yes, lets duplicate Hoover and reduce deficit spending and push the country over the edge. Who cares what economists already know.


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Re: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 6, 09 at 10:41

Yes, lets duplicate Hoover and reduce deficit spending and push the country over the edge.

That was even before my time. I do, however, distinctly remember Clinton eliminating the deficit, cutting federal spending and the size of the federal government, cutting entitlements and starting to pay down the national debt, and the resulting economic boom that resulted.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

But what economic climate did Clinton start with?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

esh, in response to your question, I like his approach a lot. It's direct and refreshing.

I don't understand macroeconomics at all and couldn't begin to predict what the effect of the stimulus plan would be on the economy. Everybody else would seem to be experts, the way they opine about it. I have to wonder if most people know what they're talking about.

On human behavior I have more of a clue, and can sense BS a mile away. This rings true to me, and is in keeping with what we've seen from the Republican party these many years:

(They) are reaching for any stick they can find with which to beat proposals for increased government spending.
Some of these arguments are obvious cheap shots. John Boehner, the House minority leader, has already made headlines with one such shot: looking at an $825 billion plan to rebuild infrastructure, sustain essential services and more, he derided a minor provision that would expand Medicaid family-planning services and called it a plan to "spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives."

But the obvious cheap shots dont pose as much danger to the Obama administrations efforts to get a plan through as arguments and assertions that are equally fraudulent but can seem superficially plausible to those who dont know their way around economic concepts and numbers.

I certainly don't love the Democratic party. I like honesty, good intentions and intelligence applied to national issues. The Republicans have sickened me beyond description with their dishonest and selfish policies. Right now I wouldn't trust their motives if my life depended on it.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 6, 09 at 11:02

But what economic climate did Clinton start with?

The largest national debt in history (at the time), a bloated federal government, millions more receiving entitlements, and a record national deficit.

Just the conditions the Republicans got us back into over the last eight years through reckless tax cuts coupled with record federal spending, resulting in our current economic crisis.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Getting back to massive national debt, at what point do the seething masses realize that the Neocon-Norqust goal of 'Destroying Government' is on track, full speed ahead, as they turn the Federal Government and IRS into little more than a collection agency for paying interest on Treasury Bonds?

How does this differ from organized crime?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

I do, however, distinctly remember Clinton eliminating the deficit, cutting federal spending and the size of the federal government, cutting entitlements and starting to pay down the national debt, and the resulting economic boom that resulted.

Yes, lets use a hammer to remove a screw - it worked so well on the nail.


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Re: Obama takes it from the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 6, 09 at 11:19

Yes, lets use a hammer to remove a screw - it worked so well on the nail.

I remember how it drove it home. We had lower mortgage interest rates than we'd seen for years, higher national employment, more people that had been receiving welfare trained and back in the workforce, and a booming stock market.

I'd much rather see a repeat of those successful tactics than this Republican strategy of spending more while taxing less. That's how we ended up in this disaster.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

When President Clinton took office, was the recession on the upswing or downswing? What were the unemployment figures?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

You can't tax and cut spending as a remedy to a deep recession. That's Hooverism and it sent the country into a death spiral that took FDR's spending to pull us out. Eight years of disastrous Republican tax and budget policy are not going to be corrected by going back to Clinton's fiscal discipline. Its way too broken.


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the fed

Spewey, I would also be interested in hearing your thoughts on monetary policy at the time since you pointed out the low interest rates compared to the options available now?

Its true that the normal response to recessions is interest-rate cuts from the Fed, not government spending. And that might be the best option right now, if it were available. But it isnt, because were in a situation not seen since the 1930s: the interest rates the Fed controls are already effectively at zero.

Thats why were talking about large-scale fiscal stimulus: its whats left in the policy arsenal now that the Fed has shot its bolt. from Krugman above)


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Exactly, maggie, how about those economic details?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Today's news:

Stocks rose on Friday as investors bet news of the deepest cut in U.S. nonfarm payrolls in 34 years last month would jolt Washington to act quickly on delivering an economic stimulus.

Investors view a stimulus as crucial in lessening the blow from a deepening recession and sliding corporate profits.

Here is a link that might be useful: Yahoo


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

I have a question. What if this stimulus package doesn't work? What if they don't get it right? I know we need something, but does anyone know for sure what it is? I'd rather see them mud wrestling on the floor of the senate than send out something that doesn't work. I don't think a single american cares one fig about party politics right now. Just git er done, and git er done right!! We have nothing left to give !


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

To get back to the original question: what do you think of the direct approach? I think it is crucial.

Part of the problem is people like me. People who really don't understand the economics and are mad as hell that the first 350 billion seems to have accomplished nothing but a further transfer of wealth from the middle class taxpayers to the wealthy.

On the other hand, we're scared, very scared. The news is just full of reports on massive job layoffs.

Obama and the economists have to start talking to us. And in language we can understand. I don't know what Paul Krugman is trying to say in the post above, but I can understand Robert Reich loud and clear. One poster asked in a condenscending way," do you know the difference between monetary policy and fiscal policy?" No I don't. But I understand paying taxes and not liking to have them squandered. And I, like so many others I know, are tryng to understand and support a good decision.

So President Obama, please talk to us. Present your case in language we can understand. Most of us know that just tax cuts ain't going to do it- we've been down that road. And the rebate checks didn't do anything. But so far, TARP hasn't seemed to do anything either. So let's hear about your stimulus plan from you, not from the Repubs. We're listening....


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

The first 350 million stopped the bleeding in the majority of the financial system.

Get used to the job layoff reports. It won't be getting better any time soon.

Obama is down for 2 townhalls next week. One in Elkhart, Indiana where the unemployment rate has gone from 4 to 15% in the last year and the other in Ft. Meyers, FL where it's gone from 6 to 10%. He also has a tv press conference, Monday I think.

mrskjun, I think we know corporate tax cuts only DON'T work and sending checks to people DON'T work. If you spend, and this is historically proven, you make jobs. All economists agree. Unfortunately, our government is run by alot of people who probably have never balanced a checkbook. And a huge probably worldwide is that every country is going through this same process now. We all need each other.


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oops

I meant to say spend and not cut taxes at the same time.

And I also meant to say that a huge problem worldwide is that every country.....


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Maggie, your chart shows tax cuts which are more widespread effecting most people.
The last items show ui insurance benefits, food stamps, (benefitting only less than 10percent of the populus)
infrastucture effecting only those hired for those jobs and they say can take years to pass appropriations and planning stages before anyone gets the jobs anyway, and the state aid could help potential state layoffs but that is probably all that would help job loss, but not much would be created.
So it would seem that the tax cuts would be for everyone and with more cash in hand maybe they would reduce personal debt and spend also?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

It's not my chart, it's Moody's chart and the answer is nope. Stimulus dollars spent put more money back into the economy dollar for dollar than tax cuts.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Infrastructure? paybacks to the unions

Uncontrolled spending by the government on this "stimulus" will eventually bring tax increases as the government cuts back on sending aid to the states to pay the interest payments on the trillions of dollars we borrow.
The states in turn will cut back on aid to municipalities and taxpayers will see their property taxes rise.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

sunnyd, not all American employees are union members so that piece of your comments has some holes.

I'm one who is willing to take a wait and see attitude on some of this. I see tax increases in the future, but I'm not convinced yet that the end result will be property tax increases.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 7, 09 at 11:52

I think a stimulus package will work, BUT... it can only contain NECESSARY spending! Spending that will help and stimulate the economy... not a bunch of crap that some politicians want to include that will do us no good!

The money needs to be put in places where it will do the most good... and it seems like everyone has their hand out crying for a cut, and most of the pie pieces are stupid things that will not help us!

A stimulus package is only a quick fix for the interim in which other fixes should be thought about and put into motion... long term fixes!

We shouldn't even BE in this situation... but we are. Shoulda, coulda, woulda are irrelevant at this point. My hope is that Obama and his crew can see the long term, and that the people, us, understand that this can't all be fixed over night! This is all going to take time... and it'll probably get worse before it gets better.

I agree with Barb... there are a lot of scared citizens out there, unemployed, struggling... WE THE PEOPLE need the help!


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

"In the midst of our greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the American people were hoping that Congress would begin to confront the great challenges we face. That was, after all, what last November's election was all about."

Obama poured scorn on Republican critics who said the stimulus bill lacked enough tax cutting measures and pointed his finger at the polices of his Republican predecessor George W. Bush for dragging the country into recession.

"We can't expect relief from the tired old theories that, in eight short years, doubled the national debt, threw our economy into a tailspin, and led us into this mess in the first place."

Well said.

Here is a link that might be useful: Source


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

You who keep regurgitating that the "last 8 years got us in to this mess" need to see who spent your money. True Pres Bush was in the white house, but his big expenditure has been the war. I cant figure out why we are not geting funding back from Iraq after liberating them, and since they have so much overage of cash flow. Anyway perhaps instead of listening to rhetoric from MSNBC you should keep track of which party is doing the spending on programs. Congress has been doing the spending, not Bush, and he allowed this to go on because he needed his funding for Iraq, and as you can see by all the crap pushed into this bill, its all give and take but with millions of dollars. What is frightening is this is it, China probably wont fund these programs anylonger, meaning they have lost their appetite for buying our trillions of debt, and now this additional trillion will likely be unserviceable. So it will be time for program cuts finally. The only reason to have a government is for protection against enemies foreign and domestic, not to do everything else we do with tax monies. Perhaps finally when there is no more money to be spent, LIKE NOW, they will be forced to balance a budget. Dont hold your breath though. Finally the public is getting an education on this waste and the real spenders are being exposed. 37% approval and Obamas is tanking too. Nothing to brag about in less than a month in office.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Wasn't it Obama who railed against the politics of fear during the campaign? Wasn't he bringing the politics of hope to Washington? Is it working?

And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

Wow, his words make me feel really hopeful !!


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 8, 09 at 6:42

Those of you railing against the Democrats and Obama have to realize that a month is hardly enough time to get settled into a new office and job, let alone taking on the responsibilities and giant mess left behind by the last couple of inhabitants of that office! Nothing can possibly be fixed, or even turned in the right direction, overnight!

It will definitely get worse before it gets better! It's physically impossible for it to go any other way! That's just plain logic!

As a group of gardeners, we're sure not showing our patience in the political arena, are we? As gardeners, we should be the first to recognize that things take time... and we should be willing to show a little patience where a new President and staff are concerned. If this were the first month of his second term, I'd be a bit short on patience... but for heaven's sake, the guy just got there!

It's looking to me like Obama went into this with the best of intentions, hoping to affect real change for the people... but he's finding himself up against "The Good Ole Boys Club" that's been in Washington for a very long time, doing things their way for a very long time... and fighting city hall, as it were, isn't as easy as first thought! Like Kennedy, he's finding that major compromise is going to be expected, and he will be forced to make concessions. He may not even have a choice... we don't know how deep or rampant corruption runs, or who all the players are in reality. I just hope his term doesn't go the way of Kennedy's...


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

I've been railing about the democrats and the republicans in congress for a long time. So have most of the american people. Have you seen their approval ratings?

I think most of us support Pres. Obama and want him to do well. But he doesn't have to try to scare people just because they don't agree with him. His words certainly don't instill hope, or make people want to go out and spend money to stimulate the economy. "The Good Ole Boys Club" are up against their constituents of whom only 37% believe this spending bill will do anything to help the economy. And that percentage includes democrats and republicans.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

There's a difference between fear mongering and truth, mrkjun. Do you doubt that the truth of those statements about the recession? Would you rather have pablum along with your corporate tax breaks to soothe your nerves while others loose their jobs?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Oh really kt? And just what is the truth? This spending bill is going to make people feel so much better that they are going out and spend money? He is 100% sure this spending bill is going to work? And if it doesn't, are we going into a crisis that we will never recover from? And if you are one of those that lost their job, and your house is being foreclosed on, and you are worried about feeding your family, do you want your president telling you that this might be as good as it gets? Yeah kt, some people need pablum, hope is about all they have right now. Case in point, the guy in california, he and his wife lost their jobs, he had no hope in his mind, so he killed his entire family and himself. Yeah, bring on the pablum. Remind americans where they came from, and how this became a great country to begin with, and how it was the people who prospered, not by the government, but by their own ideas and fortitude. And how people have survived this and worse and came through it stronger and more prosperous than ever.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

While despair can sink us further, hope by itself will not fix the economy. I don't recall Obama ever claiming this Stimulus package was a sure thing but its pretty certain that doing nothing will not work and dithering over 7% of 1% of the bill and making false and inaccurate statements about what stimulus will not work nor will a continuation of the Bush policies work. His warning about the dangers was directed at Republican pols seeking to make political hay from the predicament they left the country in.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

In my opinion, it seems Obama is taking it to the people to counter some of the negative discussion being spread by the Republicans. Boehner denouncing support for contraception when in fact it wasn't worded that way at all. The Republicans are picking and choosing bits and pieces to describe this bill as wrong ... as well as pushing their old song and dance about how tax cuts are the way to go.

I agree that some parts of it were not appropriate and, as part of the usual process of negotiation, those parts are being culled (and unfortunately some parts that shouldn't be culled are too).

It seems to me that Obama is just trying to get some information out to the people and to remind them that tax cuts haven't worked in the past so don't fall for that.

Here is a link that might be useful: What has been cut is the latest round


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 8, 09 at 10:52

The Republicans are picking and choosing bits and pieces to describe this bill as wrong ... as well as pushing their old song and dance about how tax cuts are the way to go.

But Obama has been promising tax cuts as well. It IS a Republican economic policy, and it's foolish for Obama to buy into the same failed economic system that got us into this mess: spending more while cutting taxes. It's reckless and a continuation of the last eight years of mismanagement, only the pork is allocated differently.

Why are we talking about spending money we don't have when we could have already recovered part of it by bring troops home from day one? This isn't change from Bush, it's more of the same. We're still at war, and we're still talking about spending more while reducing taxes. The two corporatist parties have the same interests, and now they have the same policies.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

What about the democrats who are against it, are they trying to make political hay? What about the 63% of the american people, do you think they are all republicans? And I don't know what being for or against it has to do with scaring people. Unless you think you can scare them to think like you do.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

This bill amounts to each of us giving about $2500 to the politicans to spend on our behalf.

That's enough right there to scare me.

Do keep in mind that if the government gets to spend my money, then I don't. For every dollar the government spends there's one less dollar for me to spend.

Do you really think you're going to be better off writing a check to the Federal government for $2500 to spend? Are you crazy?

Would you be willing to send me a check for $2500? I'll spend it and you can tell me later if you're better off or not.

Thanks,

Hay


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

What about the democrats who are against it, are they trying to make political hay? What about the 63% of the american people, do you think they are all republicans? And I don't know what being for or against it has to do with scaring people. Unless you think you can scare them to think like you do.

Didn't we already have this discussion? The Republicans voted as a block against the bill and for a different one written by McCain that was all tax cuts and no spending essentially the Reagan-Bush policies that got us here. We don't need to repeat those mistakes. The dissenting Dems do not move in lockstep like Repubs but are engaged in a debate over the particular merits of the bill as they see it. The percentage of people who are against the bill are reacting to the bogus arguments of the Republicans. I believe I already said that Republicans excel at muddying and poisoning the water. Republicans are the ones confusing voters with specious arguments about the bill. Mrskjun, its no small irony that you accuse Dems of something Repubs constantly do - scaring people with false tales of Social Security collapse if we don't privatize SS, accusations of socialism if we restore tax rates, conjuring mushroom clouds to scare them into supporting their invasions, occupations, torture, and imprisonment.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 8, 09 at 12:15

The Bush-Reagan years budgets were not all tax cuts and no spending. They combined reckless tax cuts AND high deficit spending. The two combined caused the national debt to soar, and that's how we got here.

The current spending bill, coupled with Obama's own proposed tax cuts, will do exactly the same. Why are tax rates being dropped for most while being increased only on a very few at the top? Cutting any revenue at a time when the deficit is out of control is foolhardy.

The spending bill is a costly smokescreen to hide the fact that we are continuing the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. We could free up a lot of money for these handouts by bringing the troops home immediately, but that doesn't seem to be a priority. Corporate parties are beholden to their corporate masters, and there's money to made in warmongering.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Spewey, You haven't answered the questions about the Clinton administration which I asked because you have compared those policies to the current situation. President Obama does not have the same tools available as Presient Clinton did and Clinton did not have the job loss we have today.

When President Clinton took office, was the recession on the upswing or downswing? What were the unemployment figures?

Spewey, I would also be interested in hearing your thoughts on monetary policy at the time since you pointed out the low interest rates compared to the options available now?

Its true that the normal response to recessions is interest-rate cuts from the Fed, not government spending. And that might be the best option right now, if it were available. But it isnt, because were in a situation not seen since the 1930s: the interest rates the Fed controls are already effectively at zero.

Thats why were talking about large-scale fiscal stimulus: its whats left in the policy arsenal now that the Fed has shot its bolt. from Krugman above)

I am concerned that the Senate has taken the tax cuts further.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Leading Republicans warned Sunday that the Obama administration's $800 billion-plus economic stimulus effort will lead to what one called a "financial disaster."

"Everybody on the street in America understands that," said Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee. "This is not the right road to go. We'll pay dearly."

But Lawrence Summers, the head of the administration's National Economic Council, said Republicans have lost their credibility on the issue.

"Those who presided over the last eight years -- the eight years that brought us to the point where we inherit trillions of dollars of deficit, an economy that's collapsing more rapidly than at any time in the last 50 years -- don't seem to me in a strong position to lecture about the lessons of history," Summers told ABC's "This Week."

If the Republicans are so convinced it is wrong, why aren't they helping to make it right?

"We need to spend money on infrastructure and on other programs that will immediately put people to work. But this is not it," said Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, last year's GOP presidential nominee.

Senators reached a tentative agreement Friday on a compromise bill largely negotiated by a handful of moderate Republicans whose votes are needed to prevent a filibuster. But McCain told CBS' "Face the Nation" that the package should have been about half the size of the one now before senators, and should be balanced between tax cuts and spending.

Balanced between tax cuts and spending? Why? As far as I'm concerned, there should be no tax cuts.

In a concession to Republicans, about a third of the bill involves tax cuts. But the measure is expected to have only minimal GOP support when it goes to a scheduled vote early this week.

So, it's 1/3 tax cuts and McCain wants 1/2 tax cuts? That's not too far apart as far as I'm concerned. Yet, they still wail and moan as if this was crafted by aliens.

By and large, I think the Republicans are making themselves look like fools in this process - refusing to help make this what it needs to be like a busy of snot nosed little kids that didn't get picked for the kickball team.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

esh, rather than cherry picking, read your entire quote.

"We need to spend money on infrastructure and on other programs that will immediately put people to work. But this is not it,"


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

President Clinton took office in 1992
The Dems lost in 1994
why?

Republicans if they were smart would let the Dems play their games of "kickball" by themselves.

The dems after all, as Pelosi so eloquently put it, don't need the republicans, they have the votes.
Why don't they just go ahead and pass the bill?
Because it's unchartered territory
No one knows exactly what will happen
no one's an expert
not any of the economic gurus you mention, no one
and the dems don't have the balls to finish the game on their own.

Obama needs to rein in the spending, and Pelosi and Reid. He should not favor the unions over small business, middleclass and poor or the Dems will again see a 1994 scenario.
Obama should meet with McCain and discuss the solution and there should be payroll tax cuts and small business tax cuts.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

bill, I saw that - obviously I included it, so I wasn't cherry picking. All the more reason to question why they don't put more effort into supporting this. Or at making it more like what they want.

They seem to prefer posturing how wrong it is rather than helping to get it "right". That's my point. And that is why Obama has to get out and talk about it to the people.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Government spending is stimulus and whilst no one else is spending, that is the ONLY alternative WE have left. It is pointless to complain about raising the national debt. We all know that is not a desirable byproduct of spending and tax cuts, but we have no good alternative right now.

The Republicans set forth their idea which was all tax cuts and no spending. It is a different ideology some can get behind, but it brings you to the same place in terms of a deficit.

Obama is not a fool nor are his economic advisers. He recognizes that we have hundreds of thousands of people who are out of work, and of those, many have lost unemployment and health care benefits, while still others have lost or are in danger of losing their homes. Those people don't need stimulus, they need assistance, and that is exactly why he has focused the tax break to benefit people making under 200K as well as small businesses, and why Obama has extended unemployment and health insurance benefits to those who have lost or will lose jobs.

He has to walk fast and chew gum at the same time with a Stimulus/Recovery package, and not get bogged down by teh Republicrat sniping, which is shameful. The sense I have from Reeps I know is that they will never accept "this guy" or in many of their minds "this black guy" as their President. For Repubs who can weather the economic downturn, they would love to see Obama fail, as their leader Limbaugh desires.

Obama has learned how small minded and partisan people like John McCain and Lindsay Graham can be, in addition to how they can back stab for political gain. While they pick, pick and nit-pick, Obama is working like a dog, kicking azz and taking names. Contrast that if you would to what Bush did before 9/11 (slept and went on vacation) , what he did after Katrina, and what he did when the economy went South last year.

There are a lot of younger people that see Obama working hard and focusing like a laser beam on the issues . They see him trying everything, every single day, to seek the best advice, make the right choices and create positive feelings about our economy so we can all get beck to work.

Obama has said that the Stimulus /Recovery package is not going to magically fix our economic woes, but rather, that it is an important first step. ` The second step will be a more responsible use of Tarp including the government purchasing of toxic assets.

Lastly, Obama needs to restore Consume Confidence and in order to do that, he has to shout over the doom and gloomers . Obama won so it is time for them to get out of his way.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Government spending is stimulus and whilst no one else is spending, that is the ONLY alternative WE have left.

Not if all they're doing is pissing away the money. Then all it is is national suicide. Hell, I could do THAT!


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Heck, send it to me, I can really stimulate the economy lol. And heri, in case you haven't noticed, it's Obama that is shouting doom and gloom. According to him we are looking at the end of the world !

I certainly don't want to see Obama fail, I think we are all in the same boat, just paddling in different directions. All the finger pointing in the world isn't going to change the mess we are in. If economists and financial peeps can't agree on what Obama is now calling a SPENDING bill. How the heck do you expect congress to?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

her cles
Obama is not the king. This is not a dictatorship. He does not have carte blanche.He also does not have a clue. He was a comunity organizer before being a senator and has not had to run anything and has not had to think of how to keep a business running. He has not had to make hard decisions about how to keep people employed and avoid layoffs while keeping his business afloat. Never. He is trying to learn on the fly. I hope he succeeds if he is for keeping the country a place for free enterprise, and I pray he is not trying to take us into socialism with this huge attempt at transfering wealth to government, because that is what it looks like. So far his picks for cabinet are showing a certain lack of experience. We will be seeing high taxes soon enough, when this debt needs servicing, and lets hope the interest rates are not double digit like Carter gave us when he ran things into the ground. If you dont want to be anything and have no gumption to create any enterprise you will not have to worry, if you have any such dreams expect heavy opposition and regulation and other stifling factors from this type of legislature. They need to be reminded they are not holding court and we are not their surfs, I dont appreciate anyone telling Americans to back off and let someone mortgage their childrens or grandchildrens future. If you dont care about yours then sit back and enjoy the ride.


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ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!! Give it to McCain who lost and told us the fundamentals of the economy were fine in September!!!! Let the republicans make it all tax cuts because that has worked so well!

Three weeks! President Obama has been in office 3 weeks and now the republicans decide spending is bad! I couldn't manage a bigger eye roll at the arrogance of 8 years of drunken sailor spender above and beyond the wars since they were in a separate "budget" and then cry on the backs of your kids when it is spending to help everyday people! It is just beyond bizarre that they and some here suddenly found a conscious.

They know the gig is up! Decades of convincing people to vote against their own economic interest by using social wedge issues is over! The next generation doesn't care about those things! The republicans I know bear no resemblance to this group that is now wah wah wah crying their two sizes too small hearts out! It still hasn't sunk in and they still have that shocked look on their faces. The democrats always have to pick up the pieces from the frat boys that never grew up.

This just proves what we already know. The republicans are oh so good at being lock step on message and getting that out because they all agree, yep they are great at it. Problem is they can't govern.

It's called trickle up.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Give it to McCain who lost and told us the fundamentals of the economy were fine in September!!!!

No, let it go through as Obama first envisioned it-- as a REAL stimuls bill (which is exactly what McCain described in the above quote), and get rid of the pork.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Maggie, try decaf


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Obama is not the king. This is not a dictatorship. He does not have carte blanche.He also does not have a clue. He was a comunity organizer before being a senator and has not had to run anything and has not had to think of how to keep a business running. He has not had to make hard decisions about how to keep people employed and avoid layoffs while keeping his business afloat.

You know that sick feeling you get when you see our first African American President on the news day in and day out? Trust me, that twist in your stomach... it will come back day after day after day... for 4 long years unless you come to grips with the reality. Frankly, I don't see Palin or Jeb winning Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado or New Mexico in 2012, so you might have the community organizer as your President for 8 more years. Think how old you will be then. That is a major part of your adult life. What I am suggesting is that it might be best for your health to settle in now and accept that we have a new President. Stop repeating the campaign talking points knocking Obama and disrespecting his intellect, experience and leadership ability because he is our President. Just try to be positive about our President, our economy and our country.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

The best thing the government could do:

Nothing.

It'll never ever happen though. It's the nature of being a politician. No matter what, they always feel they need to do something.

Hay


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Hay, you better check yourself out. For once, you and I are in agreement.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Thanks, Bill, I've got a call in to the Doc.

Obama's very good with talk.

Can anyone point to anything about Obama's life and work that would suggest that he has any clue or any experience with the actual working of an economy? Any experience with a real job? Anything at all? Anything?

I like pollyana's post: " He is trying to learn on the fly. That's Obama.

Don't you all be fooled by the idea that Obama has a lot of economists, some big names among them, that seem to give him credence. There are plenty of economists out there, some big and bigger names, who would argue that he is off by about 180 degrees in his approach.

They're the ones who would basically say, "Do nothing".

But, if you were a politician, can you ever get away with doing nothing, even when it's the best thing to do?

God help us all.

Hay


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her cles
that sick feeling in your stomach when you wake up and realize that the emperor really doesnt have any clothes on, its too late, your future was mortgaged. It wont bother me as much as others trying to make their future, and I can always will property to my grandchildren. But I feel sorry for all the useful idiots who have nothing now and will only be getting by for their entire lives with this type of brainwashing and immense government. You have allot to learn.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

heri cles and bill, please describe what you believe the US economy will look like in 1 year with a do nothing approach.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

President Obama has been in office 3 weeks and now the republicans decide spending is bad!

And big government is bad too!

I would laugh if I weren't already crying.

Any Republicans calling for investigations into the billions that went missing in Baghdad, or trying to recover money from the unscrupulous war profiteers?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Or Chris Dodd and Barney Frank with their sweetheart deals with the mortgage companies? Charley Rangel who didn't pay his taxes? Any democrats calling for investigations? We could play this all day couldn't we. Do you ever wonder if we have a bunch of crooks in Washington?


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I don't wonder.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Mskjun, fom your postings, it seems as if there isn't war or military spending/cheating that you don't like, given your eagerness to deflect criticism.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 9, 09 at 17:28

Government spending is stimulus and whilst no one else is spending, that is the ONLY alternative

Of course it is not. We could cut our war budget in half immediately and save a huge amount of money. We could go back to responsible economic policy and cut the federal workforce back to the Clinton-era levels without all of the fluff from new Homeland Insecurity positions, etc.

i>It is pointless to complain about raising the national debt.

It is actually very important to. This Republican economic model of coupling tax cuts with additional spending is the major cause of our current problems, and ballooning the debt even further will only make recovery less and less likely.

This isn'r change. It's a continuation of Republican voodoo economics, coupling tax cuts with additional spending. And it's a smokescreen to divert attention to the fact that Obama is keeping our troops at war on Iraq and Afghanistan. He should have started withdrawing troops before he started on his Inaugural parade. We remain at war because the Democrat Party, like the Republican Party, will drive the economy into ruin before cutting back on spending on war and war industries, because their corporate masters and major donors make money at war, no matter what else happens to the economy.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

We cut our war budget in half - more job loss.
Cut the federal workforce - more job loss.

Do you want anyone in the US to have jobs? Anyone? Let's just shut everything down and balance the budget. Would that solve everything as you see it, spewey?

No jobs, no income, no tax payments, no state/local govt services, no schools, no business. Nothing except bread lines.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

I was deflecting criticism nancy? I don't think so. I don't blame everything on the democrats and tell you how wonderful the republicans are. I may remind you that they are all cut out of the same cloth. That for every republican that you can point a finger at, I can point one at a democrat.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

No jobs, no income, no tax payments, no state/local govt services, no schools, no business. Nothing except bread lines.

Patser, what Spewey (and I) are afraid of is that your scenario is going to happen, anyway. The only question is will it happen to us, or can we postpone it long enough that we don't have to worry about it, and let our kids and grandkids get hit with it. This is why I also said a few weeks ago that we'd be so much better off to forget about the bailout, and the stimulus bill, and let the economy go its way naturally-- let it work itself out. For every action there's an equal and opposite reaction, and that is just as true in finance as it is in physics. Let it happen, lets balance the books, and move on from there, lessons learned.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

We were in worse shape during Carter, double digit unemployment and interest rates, and inflation.
We didnt spend ourselves into the poor house then. By the time we figure out it didnt work, (the current spending bill) it will be too late, and the higher taxes we will have to make payments on this bill will be stifling any attempt at investing in capital enterprises. These people glorifying government intervention are never going to get this message until it hits home. Maybe down the road when this type of government intervention and expansion eventually creeps in and effects them negatively on a personal level, they will they finally see what they threw away. This country will have to have more business to fund the taxes to pay off this debt, but the status quo is demonizing business, and overregulating, and unfairly so. The HR packages I have to go through for new hires at work is almost like when you are buying a home. Its ridiculous we have overregulated ourselves until it has become a nightmare to cover yourself in business, let alone the payroll taxes imposed. They will all learn too late. Maybe when no one, can afford or cares to bother, running a business in which the deck is stacked against, and then the tax base and jobs dry up. The only way this stimulus would have worked is to give immediate help to states (for unemployment through the duration & any medical & food assistance) and for mortgage relief and small business stimulation. Govmt jobs wont do it, and pet projects wont. Those come later when the bills are paid.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

I was deflecting criticism nancy? I don't think so.

I've noticed an almost knee-jerk reaction when the egregious blunders of the last six years that were promoted by the Republicans, many conservatives do not want to acknowledge that Republicans acted irresponsibly and did much damage to the country. The Republican agenda, pushed by the Republican White House, and approved by the Republican-controlled Congress, and further abetted by a Republican-controlled Congress that refused to carry out their duties of oversight and investigations. Only when shamed by embarrassing news -- Abu Ghraib, Walter Reed Hospital, Guantnamo, etc. -- were they motivated to initiate investigations. When scandals were kept under wraps, Republican heads of committees blocked investigations, ignored and actively sought to silence whistle-blowers.

Both political parties are in the pockets of the corporations, but during the Bush administration the Republicans in the White House and Congress have taken corruption and disregard for the US constitution to unbelievable lengths, surpassing even the disgraced Richard Nixon and his cronies.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

I heard exactly what I expected to hear from Obama in this press conference. And that is stimulate now, get things stabilized and turned around, and then do the fiscally responsible things to reduce the budget deficit. I, for one, am confident that 2010 is going to be better economically than 2009 and that in/by 2011, some of the very wasteful programs will be on their way out. Obama is making himself VERY accountable to future voters by saying the things he said tonight. Accountable is the operative word to me.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Japan tried the stimulus package, over and over again. Maybe we should take a look at where their economy is now.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lessons from Japan


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Watching the news conference this evening, one thing surprised me.

I felt calm and attentive throughout the questions and answers.

It hadn't struck me before what a high level of discomfort I had experienced when watching our previous president's press conferences.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

many conservatives do not want to acknowledge that Republicans acted irresponsibly and did much damage to the country.

many conservatives have done so time and time again and are sick and tired of hearing the same old same old every time the word republican is mentioned. Maybe that's why they get so belligerent.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by kec01 5 Chicago IL (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 9, 09 at 21:50

mrskjun, that article about Japan neglects to even touch on one very major area...banking. This article provides some more big pieces to their puzzle.

Comparing what's going on here to Japan of the 1990s is not comparing apples to apples, particularly because the US is presenting the banking leg tomorrow.

Here is a link that might be useful: Japan and loans


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Not Japan. Look for Geithner tomorrow. We will be loosening markets not tightening like Japan did. Japan acted slowly and not big enough. Japan's stimulus was virtually all infrastructure, ours is a mix.

If your paying attention we have been told that fiscal stimulus is only one leg of the stool..

Obama's team is well aware of the lessons of Japan's lost decade.

Wait for the treasury to speak.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Not to nit pick or anything, but don't stools with only two legs usually fall down?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

lol....he even hinted at possibly four legs but then it's a chair I think...

1) Fiscal
2) Monetary (banking, housing)
3) Reform (oversight, transparency, accountability)

?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Watching the news conference this evening, one thing surprised me.
I felt calm and attentive throughout the questions and answers.

It's SO different, I still can't get used to it. Our presidential standards had gotten so low, it seems too good to be true to be talked to with sincerity.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 9, 09 at 23:35

We cut our war budget in half - more job loss.
Cut the federal workforce - more job loss.

Do you want anyone in the US to have jobs? Anyone? Let's just shut everything down and balance the budget. Would that solve everything as you see it, spewey?

Clinton cut the size of the military, which had ballooned under Reagan, sharply. He also trimmed the size of the federal workforce, which had ballooned under his predecessors, down to the smallest size since the Johnson administration. He also cut many from the welfare rolls. And what was the effect on employment?

Employment went up. Less money spent on warmongering results in a peace dividend. War spending produces fewer jobs per dollar than peace spending.

Many of you want a continuation of Republican economic practices, namely reducing taxes on many while spending even more than the government takes in. It's the formula that brought on the current crisis, and to continue this practice will lead to disaster. If you think times are bad now, they'll only get much worse if we accelerate debt spending.

If you really want to boost the economy, end the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, bring the troops home tomorrow, cut debt spending, cut out government fat like Homeland Security, and cut out thinking about reckless tax cuts.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Bush's administration overpaid by $75 billion the cost for toxic assets from banks. And you folks whine about Obama's chump change for people in need and complain that he is telling you the brutal truth. Pathetic.

Yes, the Repubs won back Congress in 1994 because they were able to demogogue on Clinton and the Democratic Party's courageous reforms in 1992 to cut Gov't spending and raise taxes on the wealthy - a plan that got not a single vote from Republicans. Perhaps some of you need to be reminded that that measure balanced the budget after Reagan's disastrous deficit spending, returned a budget surplus, and ushered in one of the most economically productive times in our history. For that, the Dem's lost control of Congress until 2006. Then we got Bush and more deficit spending repeating the mistakes of Reagan and now another Dem administration has to bend over and take a hit to get the country back on track while Repubs gripe on the sidelines and manuever to make political hay from the bitter medicine that another Dem administration has to impose on the country to get us out of another Republican engineered mess.

Bill, if the Republicans would stop promoting their failed policies of tax breaks and tax cuts, we would all stop reminding people that these tactics broke the economy. Apparently, some of you forget.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

I seem to remember that Clinton had a republican congress when the budget was balanced.

And I'm pretty sure that since 1968, only republican congresses have run surpluses.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Thanks, KT.

Repubs gripe on the sidelines and manuever to make political hay from the bitter medicine that another Dem administration has to impose on the country to get us out of another Republican engineered mess.

I didn't think it was possible, but I'm more outraged since January 21 than before.

The same people that cheered the policies that ruined the economy are now the sages that are going to save us from ruin. Sure they are...


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

If there is one thing I remember from Economics 101 that I took my freshman year it is this:

"It is the spending of households that drive an economy."

The top 5%, who have been enjoying H-U-G-E tax breaks given to them under the last administration, cannot spend enough to keep this economy going. Between credit card debt, car loans and mortgages, the middle class is over leveraged and facing falling unemployment. Until consumer confidence can be restored and disposable income somehow increased we will continue to see a downward slide in the economy until we reach the trough.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

kingturtle, There is no way to DEFINE ABSOLUTELY whether anyone over or underpaid by any amount for the cost of assets last fall. At the time, there was not a liquid market for certain mortgage backed securities and there hadn't been for about 1 yr. prior to then. In the perfect world of valuations, using actually traded prices on identical securities is the best way to determine value. If you can't observe that, then using actually traded prices on similar securities is the next best. And if you can get either of those, then you use model based pricing.

One year ago, part of my job was to verify valuations of portfolios of mortgage backed securities to conform with FAS 157 requirements. Accomplishing those valuations was increasingly tough to do because of the deteriorating liquidity in the markets. When we couldn't establish trade prices, we made best estimates using computer based model pricing. Model based pricing is exactly what Eliz. Warren's team used as well. However, and this is a big however, when you start using models, all you have to do is modify 1 input/variable and you can get a very different outcome. Who's to say what is right and what is wrong until a security actually trades? And in the last few months, the majority of trades have occurred because the seller HAD to liquidate a position. Would the fire sale trade prices be "fair" valuation and ones which should be used to create headlines from? I'd suggest not.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 10, 09 at 10:05

I seem to remember that Clinton had a republican congress when the budget was balanced.

Yes, and they approved the budget submitted by the President. The budget is drawn up by the Executive Branch, approved by Congress. It was Clinton administration policy to reduce government ("Reinventing Government"), eliminate the deficit, reduce entitlements ("End welfare as we know it") and trim the debt which had been run to (then) record levels by Ronald Reagan's budgets. Clinton basically ran on that to diffuse Ross Perot's key campaigning issue, the Reagan deficit and national debt.

And I'm pretty sure that since 1968, only republican congresses have run surpluses.

And there hasn't been a single Republican president to do so. None have submitted balanced budgets for approval. In fact, Republican presidencies have been responsible for the largest debt spending in history, brought about by a combination of reckless tax cuts and massive government spending.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

So, since Obama didn't write the stimulus package, if it fails miserably, he takes none of the blame right?


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Re: Obama takes it to the people

  • Posted by spewey I have the flu (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 10, 09 at 10:22

So, since Obama didn't write the stimulus package, if it fails miserably, he takes none of the blame right?

I didn't say that, nor did I even imply that.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

I didn't think it was possible, but I'm more outraged since January 21 than before.

me, too.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Anyone watching him take it to the people in Fort Myers?

The people are fantastic! It is beyond awesome to see the people put a voice to this crisis.


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rephrase

Sorry I used the word awesome. It is decidedly not awesome to see people suffer but it was wonderful to see the people have a voice and to see how engaged they are.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Obama will take the blame as he did with the Daschle nomination - "I screwed up". He'll be the one whose signature is on a bill.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

"I seem to remember that Clinton had a republican congress when the budget was balanced."

Yes, and they approved the budget submitted by the President. The budget is drawn up by the Executive Branch, approved by Congress. It was Clinton administration policy to reduce government ("Reinventing Government"), eliminate the deficit, reduce entitlements ("End welfare as we know it") and trim the debt which had been run to (then) record levels by Ronald Reagan's budgets. Clinton basically ran on that to diffuse Ross Perot's key campaigning issue, the Reagan deficit and national debt.

"And I'm pretty sure that since 1968, only republican congresses have run surpluses."

And there hasn't been a single Republican president to do so. None have submitted balanced budgets for approval. In fact, Republican presidencies have been responsible for the largest debt spending in history, brought about by a combination of reckless tax cuts and massive government spending.

I can't believe I'm writing this but for once, I'm actually in agreement with Spewey. I would also add that much of this runaway spending was on the military, either to build it up and out spend the then Soviet Union (making them broke) or to fund wars in the Middle East. Little of the increase in massive $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ went to rebuilding the Nation's infrastructure or benefiting social programs. Oh, and the wealthy weren't paying for any of it because they were the ones benefiting from the tax cuts.


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Molineux, there was also $100 billion thrown at Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, and hundreds of millions to the death-squad governments of El Salvador and Guatemala.

Who knows how much went for black ops around the world?


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

Obama holds his first press conference. Obama's bill gets passed. Geither tells us the Obama plan for the banks. The market goes down 5%.

Hay


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

"You can't tax and cut spending as a remedy to a deep recession. That's Hooverism and it sent the country into a death spiral that took FDR's spending to pull us out."

You are revising history. FDR's spending made the Depression worse, un-employment rose over the 8 years following 1929; Years of putting men to work digging ditches, only to fill them up again. Making work like that doesn't work. The New Deal didn't work then, it won't work now.

Government cannot make jobs. The only people who make jobs are those involved in free enterprise. And the only way they can make jobs is if they are allowed to make a profit. Obama says that the time to make profits will come, but this is not the time. Why the Hell not?

WWII got us out of the Great Depression. We cannot have a WWIII- nasty things like bombs big enough to take out NYC, and such make that an impossibility.

Obama is trying to talk everybody into passing this bill quickly, before we find out what all is in it. We need to be afraid.

Janie


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RE: Obama takes it to the people

For those interested, the last recession ("88 to "92) the unemployment figure was 7.5...9.8 in 1982. The figures can be found at the following site:
http://www.bls.gov/cps/prev_yrs.htm

To address the following:

pollyanna: "We were in worse shape during Carter, double digit unemployment and interest rates, and inflation.
We didnt spend ourselves into the poor house then."

We didn't spend ourselves into the poor house then most likely because Wall St "games" were more regulated by the Glass Steagull Act...which Sen. Phil Gramm spearheaded the repeal of in '98.

It seems odd to me that many people don't question how only 8% of the total number of US mortgages that are in default generated TRILLIONS in bad assets in the US....and trillions more globally.
Answer.Wall St created a host of worthless investment instruments that far outnumbered the mortgages that backed themand were therefore even MORE worthless than the mortgages themselves. This did not happen on this large of a scale in the 80s..or 90sor ever before. Of course, we did have the failure of Drexel Burnham, where the same unethical high risk taking behavior led to flouting of the regs, and led to its downfall. However, that was ONE company. That being the case, the failure of so many major financial institutions involving so much money is unprecedented.and notice how Wall St didnt learn from the Drexel debacle. Instead, they used it as a primer on how to do the same, on a far, far, far grander scale, and kidded themselves into thinking they beat the system.

For a better understanding of this, see the link below.

That said, in reality, no one knows what will and wont work to "fix" the economy. All any entity can do is to give it their best shot. After all, if one listens to the Wall St analysts take on the stimulus, one has to bear in mind that most of those same analysts never saw this freight train coming.and the few who did were ridiculed and/or ignored.
Therefore, that is hardly a group that has any credibility at this point.

Much has been reported about the Madoff Ponzi scheme..and now Stanford.when the reality is that the entire Wall St. business model was built on one big giant Ponzi scheme.the chickens of which have come home to roost..and in turn have pooped and therefore seriously fouled the entire system.

IMOfolks need to move off of the "blame the party" bandwagonas there is plenty of blame to go around with both.

Everyone, all Senators and all Congressman need to somehow muster everything they have within them to change their spots and put their personal agendas aside to fix what has been so badly broken.

IMO, they MUST Give the Obama administration plan a chance to succeedbecause the more they pick it apart, the bigger the chance that failure will become a self fulfilling prophecy.

Andno matter who rants and raves about the latest proposals, I dont see any of them coming up with any other plan that they can guarantee will work.nor do I even understand why anyone who has even half of a working brain would expect anyone to know what would fix this mess for certain.

Last but not leastwith regard to Obamas experience NO ONE person has the experience needed to deal with this debacle. After all, one would think that former treasury secy Paulson, after 30 years in investment banking, and having held the position of CEO of Goldman Sachs..once THE gold standard in the field for hiring only the best and the brightestwould not have handed over the TARP funds to all of his Wall St cronies without ONE string attached.but he did.

That said, IMO, intent trumps experience.as all too many in DC and Wall St have used their "experience" only to screw us all.

Remember, it does not matter how educated, talented, or experienced one might beit is what one does with that..and the end result that counts.

Time will tell.

Here is a link that might be useful: Credit Default Swaps: Evolving Financial Meltdown and Derivative Disaster Du Jour


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