President Obama made some remarks yesterday that I thought were interesting, at least in light that it is still within the first 2 1/2 weeks of his Presidency:
They [the voters] didn’t vote for the status quo; they sent us here to bring change. We owe it to them to deliver.
This is not a game. This is not a contest for who’s in power and who’s up and who’s down.
Oh really? And where is the President on delivering change to Washington?
Considering that the Secretary of Treasury and several other nominees to his cabinet didn’t pay their taxes until they were caught doesn’t exactly sound like changing the workings of the highly political capital to me. Or how about the appointment of HRC and many of her husband’s cronies to various positions within the new administration. Even the appointment of HRC to Secretary of State is very suspect as Bill has represented foreign nations. Last, what about the appointments of former lobbyists to governmental advisory positions even after a campaign promise not to?
Then there are the comments from Pelosi and Reid to the Republicans on each side of the Capitol steps, which alluded to that the Democrats won, they’re in charge, so sit down & shut up. So much for bipartisanship, which they wanted when the Republicans were in control, but now that the power has shifted, they don’t want to hear it.
In fact, it sounds exactly like the same old political elitist BS as before.
No wonder President Obama’s post-inaugural honeymoon ratings are dropping like the proverbial rock, and the Congressional ratings aren’t much better.
So now, amidst of all of this hoo-hah, the attention of the President and Congress is now on the big steaming pile of manure called a Stimulus Package. First, it was going to be $800 Billion (up from a $300 Billion proposal from President Obama), then it was $850 Billion, and now I’m reading that it will be $900 Billion. And no one, I mean no one, can tell me with any certainty that this will work.
What little has been published is not very stimulating, at least to the economy in general, but rather to the realm of swine ears (earmarks or pork, for those in Rio Linda). For example (gathered from various sources):
- $325 million for trail repair and remediation of abandoned mines on federal lands.
- $6 billion to reduce the carbon footprint of federal buildings.
- $462 million to equip, construct and repair labs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The National Institute of Standards gets $357 million for the “construction of research facilities.” The Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gets $427 million for that.
- The FBI gets $75 million for “salaries and expenses.”
- Inside the $6.2 billion Weatherization Assistance Program one finds “expenses” of $500 million (wish that was my expense account).
- The current, Senate-amended version now lists “an additional amount to be deposited in the Federal Buildings Fund, $9,048,000,000.” Of this, “not less than $6,000,000,000 shall be available for measures necessary to convert GSA facilities to High-Performance Green Buildings.”
- $87 billion for Medicare outlays and related spending.
- $20 billion toward nutrition assistance program (food stamps).
- $2.8 billion to expand broadband Internet service in rural areas.
- $4 billion for programs “to develop rural communities…”
- $3 billion for grants to improve the criminal justice system.
- $3 billion for grants to fund science and technology research .
- $1 billion for periodic censuses and programs.
- $1 billion for programs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
- $1 billion for the Community Oriented Policing Services program.
- $2 billion for “other activities.”
- $4 billion to the Department of Defense to repair, maintain, and renovate its facilities; for energy-efficiency projects, including the modernizing of heating /cooling and electrical systems; and for improving Army barracks.
- $43.9 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE).
- $4.5 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers.
- $500 million for the Bureau of Reclamation.
- $8.7 billion to promote energy efficiency and conservation at federal facilities and to support small businesses.
- $1.1 billion for a variety of programs administered by the Department of Homeland Security.
- $8.4 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs).
- $6.6 billion would fund various programs, including capital improvements and maintenance for the Forest Service and National Park Service, the Superfund program, and wildland fire management.
- $20.4 billion for programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.
- $4.6 billion for employment and training programs administered by the
Department of Labor.
- $20 billion to renovate elementary and secondary schools.
- $17.6 billion for Pell grants and other student financial assistance and facilities at post-secondary institutions including federal student loan programs.
- $29.1 billion for other education programs aimed particularly at elementary and secondary education.
- $6.0 billion for military construction projects of the Department of Defense.
- $1 billion for the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to maintain and repair VA medical facilities and cemeteries.
- $276 million would be provided to the Capital Investment Fund for specific information-technology (IT) projects.
- $224 million would be provided for construction requirements of the International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico.
- $30 billion for highway construction.
- $13.1 billion for other transportation programs administered by DOT.
- $11.2 billion for housing assistance programs administered by HUD.
- $5.2 billion for grants to states and cities for activities related to community development.
- $41.2 billion per year for 10 highway programs at the state and local level.
- $10.4 billion per year for transit programs at the state and local level.
- $39.5 billion available to states each twice a year to help them balance their books
- $7.5 billion in each year would be reserved for incentive grants to be given to states on a competitive basis in fiscal year 2010, based on states meeting specified criteria in how they spent their initial allocations.
- $2.3 billion “emergency” spending for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program
- A variety of tax credits for desired behavior (what the hell is “desired behavior”? Our politicians certainly have set a low standard).
- Additional unemployment benefits.
Need I go on? If you want to read more, the entire bill is at www.readthestimulus.org.
But where is the stimulus? All that is here is government spending to enhance government, not to keep people employed in the private sector. Supposedly, CNBC stated that only 12¢ of each dollar will go toward an actual stimulus to the economy – the rest is going toward supporting expansive government programs. Definitely change, all right, and I don’t think it’s good either.
Perhaps we should all be working for the government instead of a private company. But then again, they did a bang-up job of administering the Wall-Street Bailout, didn’t they?