Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Pelosi - Obama “Non-Stimulus” Plan

As of this writing, Democrats in the House have passed a $813 Million spending bill. Democrats in the House and President Obama have all called this an economic stimulus plan. In truth, it is a runaway spending plan with very little in it to actually stimulate the economy. I saw two quotes today that really scared me. The first one from the Heritage Foundation Website:

"We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work." – FDR Treasury Sec. Henry Morgenthau Jr., architect of the New Deal.

The second in today's issue of USA Today:

House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey, D-Wis., said the goal is to act now and address problems later. During the Depression, he said, President Franklin Roosevelt "tried lots of things. We'll do the same thing."

The two quotes together don't give me confidence that Democrats know what they are doing right now. I really don't like the "act now and address problems later" part either. Obama campaigned on a new kind of politics in Washington. However, what we see is a plan that we are being told will stimulate the economy that includes:

--$20 Billion to increase Food Stamps

--$18.5 Billion for energy efficiency

--$20 Billion to renovate elementary and secondary schools

--$30 Billion for highway construction (out of almost $1 Trillion in spending)

This is without looking at the list of multi-million dollar line items that go to special interest groups such as ACORN, STD education and prevention programs at the CDC, national endowment for the arts, assorted federal "green" jobs, and of course the Smithsonian and the national mall. For more on these non-stimulating line items, see here, here, or here. The last link is from the National Review Online and is probably the best discussion of the plan anywhere. Are the programs in this bill worth funding? Maybe, maybe not. But they don't create jobs, and Democrats shouldn't call this a stimulus bill. An extra $650 million is going to help people convert their TV's to the new digital format. Approximately $80 Billion is going to states that can't balance their budget already.

Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are telling us that this is urgent. We must pass this right now. American jobs are at stake! However, the Congressional Budget Office is saying that less than half of the "stimulating" part of the bill, the $30 Billion in highway construction money, would get into the economy over the next four years! Only $26 Billion of the $274 Billion in infrastructure spending would be used by next fall! The American public is being sold a bill of goods with this plan. This massive spending plan won't stimulate the economy, and only 64 % of the entire bill will reach the economy over the next four years!

The only bright side to this is that Republicans (and 11 Democrats) voted against this bill today. Succeed or fail, this bill is 100% Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. It will fail, and I am afraid it will take part of the country with it.


pack04 said...

I saw that on this website that this economic stimulus bill says that Illinois could not receive money if their current Governor was still Governor. How can the federal government tell a state how to govern itself? I mean the President said that he wants to work with and not dictate to the middle east and the Dems agree with that but yet they are dictating to a part of their own country on how things should be done. Plus with that in there how can he even stand to have a fair trail? "if you stay we don't get billions, if you go we do" Hell I would be willing to bet if that was the cleanest guy in the world they would kick his ass out. They would be dumb not too.
Sounding more and more like a free democracy every day...This is making Bush's phone tapping look like nothing.
This is really not that far off from blackmail. "do as I say or you won't get money."

Additionally, I work in the state government and they cannot do anything fast. When you involve federal money there are so many rules and processes that have to be followed that add years to projects that money will not be spent fast.

Oh yeah, is there not many of billions of dollars going to global warming studying? I thought Gore said "the debate is over." Why do we need to study it more?

Is not giving billions to Gore and his buds for global warming like Bush "starting" a war for his friends? It does not matter if it is 18 billion or 700 billion. You are still giving money to your friends.

pack04 said...

I saw today where President Obama was giving a press conference but talking to the Senators. Basically the message was people voted for change so you must go along with me and vote for the stimulus package. This bothered me for a couple of reasons.

1) he is dictating to Senators on how to vote but yet he did not want to dictate to a foreign country that has stated its goals are "death to America" and to wipe all the Jewish people off the face of the earth.

2)perhaps he needs a history lesson. The senators were given 6 year terms to NOT be influenced by swings in popular opinion.

The mutability in the public councils arising from a rapid succession of new members, however qualified they may be, points out, in the strongest manner, the necessity of some stable institution in the government. Every new election in the States is found to change one half of the representatives. From this change of men must proceed a change of opinions; and from a change of opinions, a change of measures. But a continual change even of good measures is inconsistent with every rule of prudence and every prospect of success. The remark is verified in private life, and becomes more just, as well as more important, in national transactions.
~Federalist #62

Andy D said...

It's interesting that Obama campaigned on a change in politics in Washington. So far I think he has stuck with traditional politics.

Did you see where Iran said that they would only meet with Obama once he satisfied their preconditions?

pack04 said...

I did not see that. We would look like a bunch of fools of we do meet Iran after following their their preconditions.

Christina said...

Although I really do not have a good grasp on all this, as days go by I am thinking that I had good reason, in the several days prior to the actual Inauguration, to have been feeling the sense of dread that I was...

also, just as an FYI, I saw that one of the stimulus pkg. recipients had something to do with honey bees...???

Andy D said...

There are a number of provisions for special interest groups in the spending package. Honey Bees are one. I think the more people here about the spending involved in Obama's package, the more they don't like it.

Christina said...

Right now I am watching the Chris Matthews Show, just finished checking out Fox News Sunday, and of course most of the talk is about the Stimulus. All the guests/participants have intelligent input, and I swear it all makes sense.

A comment was made that, on the whole, the American public doesn't understand the package, nor exactly how it will help. There needs to be some sort of presentation for the regular guy and girl. Of course that won't happen, but I think this person was right. Then again, it seems to be so complicated, w/so many aspects, that the regular person may not be interested in, nor have the time to be listening that was stated that this is why our legislative processes ARE so complicated and drawn out, to hone and fine-tune & produce the best possible outcome.

the anonymous guy said...

Part of what I like about Obama is that he doesn't just spout off and ridicule things he doesn't understand.

Republicans and Fox News (I know that's a redundancy), however, spew outrage about things they don't begin to understand.

Wondering why we might want to support "bees", if we want to protect the economy? Yes, it sounds ridiculous on the surface, but if you are interested in continuing to enjoy things like, say, *food*, you might want to check this out.

Ask questions. Seek answers. Then join the conversation.

When all we've got is outrage, our nation is toast.

Andy D said...


I think the problem is that most of the politicians supporting this bill really don't want the public to know everything in it. The more details that come out surrounding this spending plan, the lower public support for it sinks.


Honey and Bees are important. Food is important too. If you think the federal government should be involved in bees, that is a debatable issue. However, sending money to bee farmers, or spending money on bee research is going to do absolutely nothing to stimulate the economy. There are many items in the different "stimulus" bills that may or may not be worthy of the government. However, most of them have nothing to do with stimulating the economy.

pack04 said...

anon, you and I might agree on the "When all we've got is outrage, our nation is toast" thing. Although I think you are complaining about Republicans not falling in marching step with Supreme Dictator Obama. I think that the "outrage" over the last two years has made us toast.

I am willing to bet that at some point you wished/complained that people would think and debate and not just blindly pass something. But now it sounds like you are condemning them for thinking.

Yes bees are important. It does seem a lot like this is just spend money to spend money and because we would like something. That sounds like bad spending on credit which got us into this mess!!!!

btw, any thoughts on things tanking about the time when minimum wage was increased?

Christina said...

Andy, that makes sense, although it would seem to fly in the face of Obama's transparency/accountability policy -

anon., actually I use honey everyday, it is a big deal to me personally! But my thinking is along the lines of Andy's reply, w/such concern over the $$ amt. of the stimilus, it seems less urgent spending could be trimmed.

the anonymous guy said...

pack: if your calling the president the Supreme Dictator, you've got some work to do on your own outrage. And, to your minimum wage question: if this economy seriously can't afford to pay people the minimum wage, we've got bigger problems than we even realize.

christina: honey, frankly, is the least of the worries. Bees pollinate many of the foods we eat. If bees crash, food prices spike.

Y'all: I must say I am mystified by the thinking on here. You are the same people who said it was an emergency to get our government and our troops into Baghdad. Now when we've got real emergencies in the economy and in the climate, y'all want to play it cool and "keep government out" of solving the problems. It all feels co-dependent. You're depending on other people to play grown-up: clean up the mess y'all made in the middle east and fix the economy while you throw tomatoes from the side.

Andy D said...

Anon, your thinking seems a little tortured. I do admire how you try to change the subject with Iraq and Global Warming. The theory of man-made catastrophic global warming is becoming more and more suspect, so let's leave it out of this discussion.

As far as Iraq goes, there are two things the government does really well: make war and waste money. Iraq falls into the "making war" category.

To be clear, there are things the government can do to help the economy. I think there is very little the government can do to actually fix the economy. To some degree, it has to work itself out. However, spending money on bees, green federal buildings, and radically changing our health care system will not stimulate the economy. The spending bill as passed in the House and Senate is not about stimulating the economy, it is about getting every pet project Democrats could think of made into legislation.

pack04 said...

Yeah I was not happy about the Supreme Dictator comment either, I generally try to address people by their proper title but I was a little confused by some statements President Obama made.
When talking with the senate he pretty much said "the country voted for me so you will do what I say." That sounds like him dictating. I took a little liberty and poking fun, trying to make a joke, by adding the supreme adjective. You could take it as a complement to him. I am saying he is a dictator of the highest quality. (laugh, it is just me having a little fun again).

As for minimum wage effecting the economy. In the 1800's the economy crashed because horses died! Of course it is possible that being forced to pay people more could hurt the economy. They pay people more meaning they either make less profit, which means they get down graded by Wall Street which which causes a run on that stock which could spiral out of control. Or they hire less people or fire people which means less people can pay for mortgages. Oh wait both of those things did happen! Am I saying it is completely the minimum wages fault. No. Could that have added to the problem. Yes.

As for the "Y'all" comment. I will quote your mother "Just because Johnny jumps off a bridge does that mean you should jump off too?" I can think. I do not apply the same rules to issues that are different. Water puts out fires but not an electrical fire.
My issue is not that the government is involved with helping it is the way they are going about doing it. There are lots of issues that democrats want to address. I understand that. Honey bees, global warming, health care, etc. but to attach it to a bill that is to stimulate the economy is irresponsible. It is using scare tactics to accomplish something that would have a questionable as to passage on its own.
It is no different than Bush using the threat of a terrorist attack to invade Iraq.

Christina said...


been thinking about your comment from 2/8 - "Ask questions. Seek answers. Then join the conversation", which I assume was meant for me. Am I misreading? Otherwise, this is not your website. It is AndyD's, & if he would prefer that I not participate, he can tell me that & I will respectfully depart forevermore, or for awhile.

But it is not your call.

Andy D said...

I wasn't sure who that part was directed at from anon, or if it was a general statement directed at everyone.


you are welcomed to comment here as often as you like.

Christina said...


the anonymous guy said...


I was suggesting in general that people do a little research before writing uneducated outraged comments.

But I don't think anybody should be banned from making uneducated statements--or any other kind of statement. Free speech is a core liberal value.

What I'm thinking about is this sort of thing from Andy: "However, spending money on bees, green federal buildings, and radically changing our health care system will not stimulate the economy."

That's simply ridiculous. OK to be specific: that's demonstrably false.

I'm a peace-loving liberal, but even I'll admit that spending on weapons systems that are built in America has some stimulative effect on the economy. So, therefore, when we spend money on things that actually earn us *more money* (more productive pollination, more efficient buildings, lower energy costs, and less business bankruptcy from health care costs), we get even more stimulus to the economy.

Building bombs does stimulate the economy. But most of the money literally gets blown up.

Building windmills stimulates the economy (the people who make the windmills), then saves us money on energy costs (b/c wind is free), and then saves us even more money by reducing the costs of coal pollution (which are the most expensive parts of coal-burning).

So when Andy fires off some broadside about green tech not stimulating the economy, I invite him to think before he writes. But maybe I'm tilting--so to speak--at windmills.

the anonymous guy said...

Oh, and exhibit B:

Andy wrote: "The theory of man-made catastrophic global warming is becoming more and more suspect."

Meanwhile, in that strange place called reality, scientists are realizing they've *under*estimated the extent of human-caused climate change.

I know it's inconvenient to pay attention to scientists when you're doing, say, science. But some people find it refreshing.

pack04 said...

You want people to think but are you?
The economy is not going down the shitter because we are not building windmills. Banks, bad loans, huge amounts of deficit spending by individual people and a general mistrust in the system is what is going on.
Yes spending money on things is good and will help the economy.
Will it stimulate the economy like we want it to? You know like get people's retirement money back, or jobs back or fix the housing crisis. It does not seem like it because this bill does not seem to be addressing the above issues. Everybody is cursing the deregulated banks, well where is the bill to regulate the banks?

I thought this bill was to get us back to where we were in the economy just a short time ago. Green tech is a fringe thing. It is not a foundation fixer.

Andy D said...

Anon, you seem to be trying to pick apart my words. When I said that spending money on bees, making federal buildings green, and socailizing our health care system won't stimulate the economy, I was right. It may help some jobs on a very small scale, which seems to be what you site as evidence I am wrong. However, pack is right. On a large scale, the scale of our national economy, it won't turn things around.

I promise to write you a global warming post in the next couple of days so we can debate it again, but I am not going to get side tracked on this. The plan as sent to the President will not stimulate our economy. It will not fix the housing crisis, and it will take us down a very terrible path with our health care system.

This law was created by Democrats, approved by Democrats, and will be signed by a Democratic President. If I am wrong, Pelosi / Reid / and Obama will deserve all the credit. If I am right, the voters need to remember whose half cooked idea this was: Democrats.

Christina said...


I like your tilting at windmills remark, good one!...
and thanks for responding, I learn alot from visiting these debates and reading what you all have to say.

I just watched almost 3 hrs. worth of political talk on TV, & my head is jumbled w/interesting, detailed & conflicting facts & viewpoints, so I have to 'process' b4 I can even think about saying anything!...but...a remark was made that stuck w/me, a guest with Politico, Simmons I think, said that basically this stimulus plan is a reward for bad behavior.

Another observation was made that we got into this mess b/c of
spending, & we're trying to get out of it by spending? which had occurred to me in an ironic way.

Are there any clear, guaranteed answers? The problem by now is huge & complex, & there is no perfect solution, we had to do something & start somewhere.

Can anyone explain to me why part of this solution was not to send actual checks to Americans of the middle, lower, whatever working class who need it, like Bush did? That is what would help me, NOW, & I would be putting that cash back into the economy...

Christina said...

Correction -

the bailout, not the stimulus, was cited as reward for bad behaviour,

and, Roger Simon, not Simmons, made that statement!

the anonymous guy said...

pack: I'm with you on the bank issue. Those bad boys need to be reigned in.

But now this mess is a lot bigger than banks and retirement accounts.

I don't think anybody sees a single solution, but here are some examples from the stuff Andy says won't work:

-retirees who lost a bundle in the stock market would benefit from tax credits for weatherizing their houses, resulting in more construction jobs, lower energy bills (and we'd all save money from the decreased pollution).

-And inexpensive (I favor *free*) health care would take care of some of our biggest household expenses.

-and green tech had better be our foundation. That's the only "color" of technology that's going to allow us to survive and thrive. If we're only green at the "fringes," then the center will not hold.

Andy D said...

Tax credits for weatherizing a house will result in very few (if any) new jobs.

Your free health care may be on its way. What did you think of the health care provisions in the new plan? Do you approve of the way they were passed?

The only green technology that would spur our economy is for us to commit to 28 new nuclear reactors in the next ten year. That would stimulate the economy in a pretty impressive way.

pack04 said...

So the problem is so big that we will ignore the banks and housing issue and deal with weatherizing homes?

A tax credit? That means people have to spend money up front (that they don't have) to maybe get a check back from the IRS after filing their taxes. So by at MAY of 2010 they will have money back in hand. I am not sure about you but if I did not know if I would have a job in 3 months I would not pay for things that I will see repaid to me in 15 months.

Question about inexpensive health care. In this plan are the doctors going to be working for free or for less than they make now? If not how are they going to get paid? Free to me means I don't pay anything. No tax, no premiums, no copay. How is that going to work?

A green tech foundation as the only way to survive? Maybe we have different ideas on what green tech is. Either way how does making things green help the economy quickly? That is what President Obama was trying to sell the people of the US, "do it now." Oh and if it is such a do it now and we need this yesterday thing why is he waiting till tomorrow and in Denver to sign it? I would think he would be at the printing press office to sign. I mean according to Speaker Pelosi another 500 million people are going to lose there jobs a day until this is signed.

I hope that you understand and believe me when I say finding a more non-destructive way to make things, making houses more energy efficient and finding a safe and reliable food supply is important. Spending money to achieve those things will help the economy, any spending of money will. I believe those are long term things, not only because this bill calls for things to be spread out over many years, but because a lot of it is research and that takes years.

The content and sales job of this bill disagree. It is being sold as an emergency, an act now kind of thing. However, the content says long term. I do not agree with all the long term fixes in this bill but I do realize any help to the economy needs to have long term plans as well. This is not a short term fix like President Obama has been selling.

the anonymous guy said...


You don't have to answer here, but you might look for answers to these questions:

1) How much does nuclear power truly cost per KWH, including government subsidies and disposal costs?

2) What is a fail-safe way to store nuclear waste?

Hint: the answer to the first question reveals that nuclear power is more expensive than almost any other "alternative" energy. The answer to the second one reveals that there is no way to store the stuff safely. But don't take my word for it...

pack04 said...

How much power does a wind turbine generate when the wind does not blow?

Bottom line is there is no "best" way to generate power.

Why is it so hard for you to understand that yes while wind power can cut pollution it has no business being in this bill. This is worse than President Bush opening up oil reserves for drilling for his buddies. He did that in the open. They are cutting a bill for tons of money for their special projects (their buddies, how much does Al Gore benefit from green tech?) and hiding it! They are selling it to the public as emergency and then not allowing the public to read it.

the anonymous guy said...


Sorry that you have to serve as yet another example of "spouting off" without investigating first.

You ask: "How much power does a wind turbine generate when the wind does not blow?"

Answer: a lot, if we build them like they are in Iowa.

However, I do agree that there is no "one" way to generate electricity. We'll need a number of methods (solar, wind, micro-hydro, tidal, along with much better efficiency, etc.). But we're going to pass on the suicidal methods like coal and nuclear.

Andy D said...

I think we need a wide range of energy options. Everyone has its own drawbacks. A lot of environmental groups are fighting windmills in the northern states and in Hawaii. These groups worry about the impact to birds, or even "sight pollution". For every energy technology out there, there is an environmental group fighting that technology.

I support offshore drilling, I support drilling in Alaska, I support nuclear, and I support wind, solar, and water as sources of energy. I sincerely hope that there is a day when wind and solar power can replace oil. That day isn't anywhere in our immediate future based on the arguments I have read on both sides. Oil can simply produce too much power per unit to let solar or wind compete with it now. Nuclear is a very good option, and many of the plants in Europe are more advanced than the ones we have here in the US. Many of the new generation of nuclear power plants generate far less waste. However, environmentalist scream about the waste, just as Anon has here.

There are new advances in how to deal with that waste, and like solar and wind, there may be more significant advances in years to come. However, if you are really worried about global warming, or about oil money going to terrorists, nuclear is our best option at this point in time.

pack04 said...

That is an interesting development and I thank you for sharing it with me.

Additionally I would like to thank you for proving my point. The article states that "When it is needed, the air will be released and mixed with small amounts of natural gas to power electricity-generating turbines." So when the wind is not blowing the WIND TURBINES will not be generating power.

Since you have all the answers please help me with this. This emergency stimulus bill is to aid the economy quickly through road and bridge project. From the news station last night they outlined the bill and said in 2009-2010 there was 6.9 billion for roads and bridges. That is 130 million per state over the next two years. Not sure how familiar you are with road and bridge construction costs but that could cover one interstate interchange upgrading. How does that help quickly? From 2011-2014 there will be another 20 or so billion. Sure sounds like an emergency to me.