Daily Archives: February 17, 2010

Bipartisan Deficit Commission

Republicans who attack President Obama over the national debt were unwilling to create a bipartisan deficit commission with him. So the president has decided to go around  them: He will issue an executive order on Thursday creating an 18-member deficit commission. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will be chaired by Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, and Erksine Bowles, the former chief of staff to President Clinton who brokered a 1997 balanced-budget agreement with Congress. “There isn’t a single sitting member of Congress—not one—that doesn’t know exactly where we’re headed,” Simpson tells The New York Times. “And to use the politics of fear and division and hate on each other—we are at a point right now where it doesn’t make a damn whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican if you’ve forgotten you’re an American.”

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Filed under Diplomacy, Economics, President Barack Obama, The Economy

One Year Later, Results Of Stimulus

A year later, the economy is working again. But millions of Americans are not.

Private economists largely agree the stimulus has helped to cushion the recession’s blow.  But the general public is not convinced.  A poll by the Pew Research Center found more people think Obama’s policies have worsened the economy than made it better.   And Republican lawmakers, who almost unanimously opposed the stimulus, happily encourage those doubts.  In fact, those Republican lawmakers are fine with encouraging the lie that the stimulus bailed out banks and insurance companies.

Here’s what the stimulus bill included:

  • Largest item —  $116 billion — tax cuts for workers
  • Aid to states — $87.1 billion — Medicaid and Education
  • Cover alternative-minimum taxes — $69.8 billion — benefited middle-income Americans
  • Extend unemployment benefits — $35.8 billion
  • Bridge and road construction — $27.5 billion
  • Extend COBRA to unemployed and their families –$25.1 billion
  • Food assistance to low-income Americans — $20.9 billion
  • Expanded child tax credit — $14.4 billion
  • Aid to seniors and disabled veterans — $14.4 billion

The above items account for 60% of the stimulus spending!  Most of the remaining stimulus spending was for business tax cuts, Pell grants for college students, public transportation systems, upgrades to the electric grid.

States are having difficulties balancing their budgets, but imagine the difficulties they would have faced without the stimulus spending.  Teachers kept their jobs.  America didn’t sink into a depression.  Seldom is credit given for what didn’t happen, but think long and hard about how much has been prevented and how much has been improved in the space of just one year!  When President Obama took office the recession was already more than a year old!  Before he took office the only bailouts that had been given were to insurance companies and banks.

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Filed under Economics, Jobs, President Barack Obama

Wednesday, 2/17/10, Public Square

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Filed under The Public Square