Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Episode 39: The Scoop Vol.3


Every thirteenth episode, I have a post called “The Scoop,” a collection of 3 mini posts on today’s hot topics.

#1 – The Good

Not all people in the GOP are irrelevant and ineffective – there are a few stand out guys out there. First, allow me to applaud (for better or for worse) my new Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sure he presided over California’s fall to bankruptcy, but he is really trying to help the state get back into the black. He also fought on behalf of Gay Rights. And he has put together a plan to get California back on its financial track. People are still going to lose jobs, money has to be borrowed, and its long term effects are still unknown, but he’s making an effort when state congressional republicans just say no. We’re not talking about pot; we’re talking about the livelihood of your constituency here.

Kudos also goes to Charlie Crist, the Florida Governor. He has openly put his political future with the GOP on the line by backing the much needed stimulus. However, I suspect that when the stimulus eventually shows signs of recovery, Crist and other GOP members who were in favor of the stimulus will be greatly rewarded by their constituency.

However, the gold medal goes to Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. (which also wins an award for most appropriate name for an elected official of Utah!). He said in an interview with the Washington Times that the GOP party leaders were “inconsequential” in coming up with new ideas. I couldn’t agree with him more. He quotes a Chinese saying in the interview – if you want to see what the real future of the GOP should be, this is it.

#2 – The Bad

Political posturing is my new favorite buzzword. And there is a lot of that going on right now. Thumbs down goes to all republican governors who turn down, or even consider turning down the stimulus money to promote their political agenda over helping their state recover. I am no economist. But as I understand it, someone has to get money flowing again. The DOW is at 7335 points at the time of this writing. It was at about 14,000 points in August, so businesses have no money. And when they get money, they go on corporate junkets, raise interest and lower credit lines, and do multi-million dollar renovations to their offices. The banks are failing, so despite interest being as low as it is, they are not issuing loans. The unemployment rate fell more sharply in three months that it had in the previous two recessions combined, so Americans have no money. The only institution with the power to move money is the government – hence the stimulus. Argue over the particulars – should it be $46 Billion invested in infrastructure or $56 Billion, not whether we need a recovery package. And tax cuts have failed every time we’ve tried them, so it would be more constructive to come to the table with a new idea, rather than push tried and failed agendas. There is room for improvement for the bipartisan approach. If I were president, my office would be in the style of “House” from the TV show – dry erase board and marker, and in a room with 5 top republicans, 5 top democrats, treasury secretary, commerce secretary, treasury advisor, and a few top economic minds, banging this thing out. However, saying no for the sake of saying no is a waste of time.

#3 – The Ugly

The New York Daily post is on top of the ugly list. This story has already been hashed to shreds, so I’ll second that, given the racial history in this country, there is absolutely no explanation anyone could give to justify the printing of that cartoon. It saddens me that these racial themes are still prevalent in our society. Two steps forward, one step back.

Alabama Senator Shelby is proof positive the many GOP members live on a different plant or something. The rumor of President Obama’s citizenship has been debunked a long, long time ago. It has been thoroughly vetted, used in the campaign with no success, and Americans hate that kind of rhetoric. So why is Shelby stirring an empty pot? Fear-mongering tactics that pander to the far far right is all I can come up with. He’s our president though, why would he want to incite more chaos into an already disastrous situation?

My last bags of coal go to Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter. They are insane. I saw them on various clips on the web, and I can’t get over how stupid they are. I wish they would play their tapes back on their iPods… Coulter sounds like a spoiled 14 year old, Hannity is a trouble maker, and Rush… we he was so dumb that he thought the .pdf file of the stimulus package (see where our money is going at recovery.gov) was a democrat conspiracy because you can’t use the search tool in a .pdf file… obviously he has never used a computer before.
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4 comments: on "Episode 39: The Scoop Vol.3"

conservative generation said...

#1. Hey, I've got much to agree with you on this one. When you work bipartisan you wind up with something in between. As a conservative, I'm not fully happy with the plan, but I'd rather have half and half then just ignoring the problems like most states. I will second your bipartisan praise with my own Democratic Governor, David Patterson. The last three governors, two democrats and one republican ran NY into the ground. Patterson is the first governor in my lifetime to try and address the issue. He's proposed a similar plan including more taxes (the part I hate) and cuts. However, addressing the issue was the right thing.

#2. I must disagree for four reasons. First, the state money was not stimulative to begin with. Second, if the state is fiscally sound (aka Alaska and Louisiana) then it doesn't make sense to take the money. Third, the money had strings attached. Part of the money was for temporary funding for a permanent increase in unemployment spending. Any state that's balanced their books have nothing to gain from a temporary influx of money that they are going to have to pay for every year once federal funds ran out. Fourth, the state funds are unconstitutional. They change state law! Legislatures can take the funds regardless of their governors! What happened to states rights. Honestly, if states don't want the money. It shouldn't be forced on them. Spending without funding is how many states got in trouble to begin with. Partisanship goes two ways. Taking the money simply because the President is a democrat is the same as refusing simply because you are a republican.

3#. Coulter is far from the voice of conservative republicans. Don't know about Hanity, I haven't heard him. I did hear that Rush episode and it was a good laugh for our techno savvy Nintendo Generation. However, the point of his broadcast was that the stimulus was being past without being read. A fair point to a President and Congress who promised to be the most visible and accountable government in history, while practicing the opposite.

The Law said...

re: #2, Bobby Jindall was considering (but according to recent reports seemed to have a change of heart) about taking the stimulus money. Much of the money that goes to the states is for infrastructure projects and most importantly extending unemployment benefits. When one of our nation's jewels gets destoryed in a terrible hurricane, you better believe one of the nation's largest cities is having trouble getting people back to work. Solely putting money into their pockets via tax cuts is only a bandaid. The sad truth is many americans are having trouble keeping a roof over their head, espepcially in New Orleans, where many have been missing a roof for a few years now. If the government is not the one to help Americans stay in their homes, who is going to do so?

I also know that the stimulus money is going to greatly help California get out of bankruptcy, and get people back to work here. Having experienced the crappy highways (well i guess freeways out here lol) I know they need work. And there was construction happening on the highways until 3 or 4 weeks ago when the state ran out of money. In some places, the unfinished contruction poses a safte risk to drivers. The school system in LA is completely locked up... I know this because I couldn't even get a job as a substitute eacher in any school in the LA School district because there was no more money. Even if a state is relatively fiscally sound, I'm willing to bet most of their constituency is feeling the crunch hard, and any help would be appreciated.

I still maintain (as do a large majority of leading economists from both aisles) that a stimulus is absolutely necessary to get currecny moving. Government hires consturctions workers to build stuff, but private companies create the cement, steel, paint, cloth for uniforms, rubber for tractors... the workers can buy thinsg again which increases demand for retail, which needs more employees, etc etc... something needs to spark the process and the only institution that can do it is the govenment.

One more note, deficit finanicing is not bad if you make good investments... it cost a $185 Million to make the Dark Knight on borrowed money... the right investment of actors, crewmen, and marketing led to a movie that made over $1 Billion in the box office. Smart investments by the government can yield a far greater reward despite its initial costs.

conservative generation said...

I appreciate your level headed answer. You may turn me into a liberal yet. However, I want to clarify my position on infrastructure. I'm not against this spending, but it simply is not stimulative in the short run. It takes far too long (ie. years to get the funds to the public). This should have been in a separate bill as should green technology. Cramming all of your objectives into a bill and selling it as stimulus is pretty disappointing.

Joseph M. Fasciana said...

Hi L,

When you talk about political posturing you are hitting the nail squarely on the head. Only hard core neo-cons are going to follow or support a Gov.that is not going to help them out by taking stimulus money. So let them posture in the end they will be voted out of office for caring more about their ideologies then hungry people.

Jendal is full of it. If you look closely at every thing he said he will accept all the money for the state allotted to LA except for a little over 1% and that is the money that was slated to go to extend unemployment.

The facts are for republicans ideology comes first and people come whenever they need their votes.

The southern part of Louisiana is still devastated. I know I have friends down there that still haven't received federal assistance after how many years? Thousands have lost jobs and many businesses went under. They are not coming back because they can't even build anything in the 9th ward, it is still a complete mess. So I don't know what Jendal is talking about, his state took more Federal money then any other state and rightly so because of all the natural disasters, but you did not hear him complaining about fiscal responsibilities then, did you ?

Look I don't support the whole package as you probably already know from my article "Stimulate This" I only thought money should go to energy education and infrastructure, and the least amount for tax breaks.

Alas it is an eleven hundred page monster.

In the end I hope some of it works.
I felt a little hope after hearing Obama's speech but in the end it was just is a speech, but a dam good one that cornered the right wing on populist issues.



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