Friday, February 6, 2009

"What do you think a stimulus is?"

Note to all Americans, re: Congress. Get rid of every single one of them--throw the bums out! Congratulations to the Senate for "reducing" the stimulus bill from the House version of $825 billion to a $780 Billion "compromise". That is just window dressing folks. Plain and simple -- smoke and mirrors. Don't get me wrong, times are tough -- real tough. I've never seen anything like this. Something has got to give no doubt. However, there is very little in either bill which provides stimulus. Throwing more money (which we don't have by the way) at the problem doesn't seem like the answer to me. I'm no Economist or an expert of finance, so I'll leave it up to those who are. The following are some things to consider before you start to say, "yeah but, the government needs to do something because...."

Taken from the WSJ:
"Mr. Obama is now endorsing a sort of reductionist Keynesianism that argues that any government spending is an economic stimulus. This is so manifestly false that we doubt Mr. Obama really believes it. He has to know that it matters what the government spends the money on, as well as how it is financed. A dollar doled out in jobless benefits may well be spent by the worker who receives it. That $1 of spending will count as economic activity and add to GDP.

But that same dollar can't be conjured out of thin air. The government has to take that dollar away from someone else -- either in higher taxes, or by issuing new debt in the form of a bond. The person who is taxed or buys the bond will have $1 less to spend. If the beneficiary of that $1 spends it on something less productive than the taxed American or the lender would have, then the net impact on growth will be negative.

Some Democrats claim these transfer payments are stimulating because they go mainly to poor people, who immediately spend the money. Tax cuts for business or for incomes across the board won't work, they add, because those tax cuts go disproportionately to "the rich," who will save the money. But a saved $1 doesn't vanish from the economy, unless it is stuffed into a mattress. It enters the financial system, where it is lent to others; or it is invested in the stock market as capital for businesses; or it is invested in entirely new businesses, which are the real drivers of job creation and prosperity."

More from the WSJ -- this is really eye-popping...

"To understand the problem with the stimulus bill, it helps to focus on specific parts. Take the $142 billion for schools, which is nearly double the total outlays of the Department of Education in 2007. Now consider that much of this cash would go to public-school systems that don't even need the money for its earmarked purposes.

The Milwaukee Public School system, for example, would receive $88.6 million over two years for new construction projects under the House version of the stimulus -- even though the district currently has 15 vacant school buildings and declining enrollment. Between 1990 and 2008, inflation-adjusted MPS spending rose by 35%, per-pupil spending increased by 36% and state aid grew by 58%. Over the same period, enrollment fell by a percentage point and is projected to continue falling, leaving the system with enough excess capacity for some 22,000 students.

The Milwaukee situation is instructive for another reason. The city is home to the country's oldest and largest school voucher program, which provides public funds for children to attend private schools. Families who participate in the means-tested voucher program receive $6,700 per pupil, while the city spends more than $13,000 per student. In addition to saving the taxpayers money, voucher students graduate at higher rates and outscore their counterparts on reading and math exams, which is one reason waiting lists for the program are common.

Yet language in the stimulus bill expressly prohibits any dollars from going toward financial assistance to students attending private schools. In other words, Milwaukee can use the money to build schools it doesn't need, but not to expand education programs that are producing better outcomes for disadvantaged kids. The Senate version excludes provisions in the House bill for teacher merit pay and charter schools now serving more than a million students, two more education reforms that are gaining popularity nationwide despite opposition from teachers unions and local school boards."

Unbelievable, isn't it??? This is a disgrace and we are supposed to be fine with this?! Congress is so out of touch. They are playing with our kids future and everyone should be yelling at them to stop this madness. This is our money, not theirs. This is our country, our government. We pay the bills through our taxes (unless you are one of Obama's Cabinet members)! Do something about this -- contact your representatives and tell them to go take a hike. Can anyone say term limits?

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