Friday, February 6, 2009


While Democratic Senate leaders struggle to negotiate with Republican moderates over an acceptable stimulus package, new unemployment numbers released today noted that the loss of nearly 600,000 jobs in January made it the single worst month for job loss in 35 years and that 3.6 million people now have lost their jobs since the recession began.
These numbers demand action," Obama said. "It is inexcusable and irresponsible for any of us to get bogged down in distraction, delay or politics as usual while millions of Americans are being put out of work. Now is the time for Congress to act."
He warned that "if we drag our feet and fail to act, this crisis will turn into a catastrophe." The American people "did not choose more of the same in November," he said. "They did not send us to Washington get stuck in partisan posturing, to try to score political points. They did not send us here to turn back to the same tried and failed approaches that were rejected. . . . They sent us here to make change, with the expectation that we would act."
To get this passed in the Senate, Democrats would need all fifty-eight Democratic votes (which includes Kennedy, who is in shape to vote), and two moderate Republicans to reach the magic sixty mark. Most of the disagreement between liberals and conservatives involve any discretionary spending which would not create jobs, or directly stimulate the economy, and the democratic leaders have pulled some of the most egregious spending portions of the bill. (It bears noting the true definition of stimulus: "Something causing or regarded as causing a response." Of course in this case the response they are looking for is an increase in spending, which will create jobs, etc. etc.)
To garner support among the states, Obama is set to travel to two economically hard hit areas in the nation, Elkhart, Indiana and Fort Meyers, Florida, both measuring mid-eight perecentages in unemployment at the end of December 2008, and these numbers certainly grew in January of 2009.
Why does a stimulus package dedicated to stimulate the economy and create job growth at this critical hour need to be "sold" by the president, and is almost universally disapproved of by the conservatives? take a look at some of the good and bad pork proposals the package contains, and you decide where to cut in order to gain acceptance, and rapid implimentation....

A $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient.
A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.
$650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.
$88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship).
$448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters.
$248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters.
$600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.
$400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD’s.
$1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs.
$125 million for the Washington sewer system.
$150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities.
$1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion.
$75 million for “smoking cessation activities.”
$200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.
$75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI.
$25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction.
$500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River.
$10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.
$6 billion to turn federal buildings into “green” buildings.
$500 million for state and local fire stations.
$650 million for wildland fire management on forest service lands.
$1.2 billion for “youth activities,” including youth summer job programs.
$88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service.
$412 million for CDC buildings and property.
$500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.
$160 million for “paid volunteers” at the Corporation for National and Community Service.
$5.5 million for “energy efficiency initiatives” at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.
$850 million for Amtrak.
$100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint.
$75 million to construct a “security training” facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.
$110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems.
$200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.
There is a reason why the stimulus package is over 650 pages, it is chucked full of Democratic initiatives which they couldn't get through in the past. Some good, some bad...well maybe not bad, but if the spending will not create jobs and stimulate growth, shouldn't it be requested through the normal channels (a straight up and down vote)? Just from this list alone, I would cut over 2.7 billion dollars in spending (listed in blue), and I am being overly generous. Obviously, this package needs some massive trimming, and some refocusing on the goals of the bill. Then, lets get on with it.
UPDATE: SATURDAY NIGHT What actually got cut
• $3.5 billion for energy-efficient federal buildings (original bill $7 billion)
• $75 million from Smithsonian (original bill $150 million)
• $200 million from Environmental Protection Agency Superfund (original bill $800 million)
• $100 million from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (original bill $427 million)
• $100 million from law enforcement wireless (original bill $200 million)
• $300 million from federal fleet of hybrid vehicles (original bill $600 million)
• $100 million from FBI construction (original bill $400 million)
Fully eliminated
• $55 million for historic preservation
• $122 million for Coast Guard polar icebreaker/cutters
• $100 million for Farm Service Agency modernization
• $50 million for Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service
• $65 million for watershed rehabilitation
• $100 million for distance learning
• $98 million for school nutrition
• $50 million for aquaculture
• $2 billion for broadband
• $100 million for National Institute of Standards and Technology
• $50 million for detention trustee
• $25 million for Marshalls Construction
• $300 million for federal prisons
• $300 million for BYRNE Formula grant program
• $140 million for BYRNE Competitive grant program
• $10 million state and local law enforcement
• $50 million for NASA
• $50 million for aeronautics
• $50 million for exploration
• $50 million for Cross Agency Support
• $200 million for National Science Foundation
• $100 million for science
• $1 billion for Energy Loan Guarantees
• $4.5 billion for General Services Administration
• $89 million General Services Administration operations
• $50 million from Department of Homeland Security
• $200 million Transportation Security Administration
• $122 million for Coast Guard Cutters, modifies use
• $25 million for Fish and Wildlife
• $55 million for historic preservation
• $20 million for working capital fund
• $165 million for Forest Service capital improvement
• $90 million for State and Private Wildlife Fire Management
• $1 billion for Head Start/Early Start
• $5.8 billion for Health Prevention Activity
• $2 billion for Health Information Technology Grants
• $600 million for Title I (No Child Left Behind)
• $16 billion for school construction
• $3.5 billion for higher education construction
• $1.25 billion for project based rental
• $2.25 billion for Neighborhood Stabilization
• $1.2 billion for retrofitting Project 8 housing

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