Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘stimulus’

Why the Tea Party movement? It’s the government waste, stupid.

Posted by sanityinjection on February 11, 2010

I have been surprised recently by conversations with some left-leaning acquaintances. Normally fairly astute when it comes to the media, they seem to have swallowed wholesale the media’s caricature of “Tea Party” protesters as radical extremists. Though I have never attended a “Tea Party” protest or participated in any related activities, I have found myself having to defend and explain the Tea Party “movement”. Sure, there are always a few wackos that show up at any protest, but the majority of Tea Party-ers are simply ordinary Americans who are angry that the federal government seems determined to waste as much of their money as humanly possible.

“But the stimulus worked,” say my left-wing friends, “it saved us from another Great Depression.” I disagree, but it’s dificult to prove one way or another.

What is not at all difficult to prove though, is the obvious examples of waste and corruption that the “stimulus” money has been spent on. Consider this insanity: The Polk County, Florida school district received $350,000 in federal stimulus money, which they are using to buy iPods for parents of students with disabilities as prizes for filling out an online survey.

Is anyone going to step forward and seriously defend this as the best use of our tax dollars? I think not. Admittedly, $350,000 is a drop in the bucket of the vast stimulus bill, but you know what? $350K here and $350K there, all over the map, eventually starts to add up to real money.

Doesn’t reading about this kind of waste and excess make you at least *imagine* making some sort of protest? If so, congratulations: You’ve grasped the essence of what the “Tea Party” phenomenon is all about.

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Health care? It’s the economy, stupid.

Posted by sanityinjection on July 9, 2009

I commend to your attention this superb piece by Jay Cost over at Real Clear Politics. Cost’s main forte is statistical election analysis, but in this piece he examines the Obama Administration’s priorities and suggests that the President is making a mistake in trying to expand health care coverage while the conomy is still in crisis.

To briefly summarize Cost’s analysis: He argues convincingly that America elected Obama primarily to fix the economy. He then criticizes the President for allowing the Democrats in Congress to craft a stimulus bill that would not meet the goal of a short-term boost ot the economy (as we are now seeing all too clearly) and ramming it through so quickly that there was no opportunity to improve it. Now he’s trying to move health care legislation while voters are still waiting for the promises made when the stimulus bill was passed to be fulfilled. Cost argues that by misreading what is most important to American voters, Obama runs the risk of damaging his political fortunes along with those of the Democrat Party.

It’s not that health care reform is not needed. It’s that you have to clean up one mess before you create a new one 🙂

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Even the Associated Press is starting to understand that we’re screwed.

Posted by sanityinjection on June 8, 2009

This article explains that the $1.2 trillion the Obama Administration has spent to try to bring down mortgage rates and jumpstart the housing market has, in fact, had the exact opposite effect – mortgage rates are going up:

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090606/D98L67500.html

The reason? Bond traders, whose activity affects interest rates, are afraid that all the borrowing the government is going to have to do to fund this and the other stimulus spending programs will drive up inflation. Inflation reduces a bond’s effective yield, so rates have to go up to compensate for the expected reduction.

“The bond market is calling the Federal Reserve out,” said Mike Larson, a real estate analyst at Weiss Research Inc. in Jupiter, Fla. “Investors are saying that the Fed can’t just print money out of thin air to finance a massive deficit.”

As a result, the spending programs may actually be hindering the recovery of the housing market. And that in turn has implications for the greater economy.

Now recall that the point of all this stimulus business was to shorten the duration of the recession and speed recovery. Ironically, it may in fact be delaying that recovery.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Obama, Democrats approved AIG bonuses?

Posted by sanityinjection on March 19, 2009

Bloomberg is reporting that a provision of the Democrat-written stimulus package, championed by President Obama, authorized the payment of executive bonuses by financial institutions receiving federal funds, including those paid by AIG which have been the center of a firestorm this week.

According to the article, Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd (D-CT) said that he weakened restrictions in the stimulus bill on executive compensation to allow any bonuses that had already been agreed to in contracts – including the $165 million AIG has paid its execs. Dodd claims he did not want to do this but was asked to do so by the Obama Administration. The Administration denies this, saying they only expressed concern over whether Dodd’s original language would survive a legal challenge against retroactive changes to contracts.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that the stimulus bill written and championed by the Democrats and the President authorized these bonuses. So it is a little ridiculous for Democrat legislators to be barking in outrage about them now. (Most Republicans voted against the bill.)

Perhaps the real lesson here is that no amount of whipped-up economic panic makes it a good idea to vote for legislation if you haven’t read it and don’t know what it does.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »