Tag Archives: Stimulus

Dumb and Dumber – Are Democrats Holding Unemployment Benefits Hostage?


Yes – Democrats are holding up benefits to the unemployed!  No they aren’t.  And neither are Republicans.  We are just witnessing the worst that Washington has to offer in a slow motion car wreck involving our financial future.

Democrats want to extend unemployment benefits as “emergency” funding and not pay for it under the “pay-as-you-go” rules reinstated by the democratic congress. These rules would require offsetting cuts in spending to fund new initiatives. (Even though congress approved offsets to fund extensions in Nov 2009)

Republicans won’t let the bill go forward unless its paid for, and have offered versions of a compromise that would pay for it with cuts, or by using stimulus money.

The Democrats rejected it.  Really!?

There is nearly $180B in funds still yet to be spent in the Stimulus bill.  If that money is already there, does it make sense to borrow more money from foreign sources to pay for the extension of unemployment?

In this contest of dumb and dumber, I just don’t know who wins.  The Democrats for waiting to get back their 60 seat super-majority in order to borrow several billion dollars more even though the money is already allocated, or the Republicans for not being able to figure out how to get a compromise deal cut, and letting themselves be positioned as obstructionist?

Both moves make congress as a whole look more inept than ever.

What do you think?

Guest Blogger Jeff

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Back Door Man


What do you do when you’re a likable democratic President, faced with declining approval ratings due to a slow economic recovery, and a groundswell of concern over a ballooning budget deficit?

Answer – Spend more tax dollars!!!!

Just as the core financial institutions start to pay back the bailout money – with interest, President Obama floats the idea of re-purposing those funds to create jobs.

Call it brilliant, call it necessary, or call it fraud?

Two major pieces of legislation have been passed to stabilize and jump-start our economy. TARP and the American Re-Investment and Recovery Act.

TARP was geared toward putting a floor under the collapsing financial industry. We all begrudgingly signed up for this, knowing in the back of our heads that we were headed for an It’s a Wonderful Life “run on the bank” moment.

The Recovery Act, a.k.a stimulus bill, was purportedly geared toward saving or creating jobs. We have spent very little of this money so far and there are tens of billions of dollars in this fund left to be requested and allocated. Much of the money to date has been used to fund short falls in state and local budgets.

But instead of tapping the large amounts of remaining funds that were allocated for stimulus in the Recovery Act, the administration, addicted to spending our tax dollars, wants to allocate TARP dollars for stimulus.

This would be kind of like taking $400M from the education budget a saying we need a bunch of spiffy new tanks! Or taking money from the Social Security trust fund and using it for a new space shuttle program!

I think that Americans are a little too “dis-connected” from our tax dollars. Do we realize it’s our money? That we earned with our own hard work?

Do we realize that when the government tells us they want our support to spend it on one thing, then decides to spend it on something else, that it would be called fraud in the private sector?

Mr. Obama, when all the funds in the stimulus package are tapped, and the economy is still not growing, then come ask us if you can spend more of our money. Then let us debate it. But don’t play the “bait and switch” telling us that we need to tap the TARP money to jump start the private sector when there is already another spending bill with funds allocated to do that.

How about we let the financial institutions pay their TARP debt back to the government, then let the government pay their debt.

What do you think?

Guest Blogger – Jeff Hine

Time for a Main Street Recovery


2009 promises to be a very good year for Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. According to Wall Street estimates, his firm is expected to finish the year with $46 billion in revenues. In fact, it has already set aside $11 billion for its year-end bonuses, which is an average of $773,000 per employee.  Things are looking up for Mr. Blankfein, just a year after passing around a tin cup looking for taxpayer-funded bailout money.

2009 promises to be a very bad year for many small businesses. Drive down Main Street in Monroe and you can see the impact of the Great Recession – empty stores, vacant buildings and a large tract of land that was once going to be the town’s centerpiece of economic development, which now sits empty.

To understand what’s happening in towns like Monroe today, you have to go back to 1929. In response to the stock market crash of 1929, Sen. Glass and Rep. Steagall authored legislation that prevented banks from going into the investment business and taking working people’s hard-earned money and losing it. Sound familiar?  Glass-Steagall provided stability for the next 60 years, letting banks simply be banks, until the Reagan revolution and its chief economic proponent, Alan Greenspan, Chair of the Federal Reserve, began a sustained effort to undermine it. At about the same time, the financial industry started to pour buckets of money into lobbying and campaign contributions, spending $350 million in the 1998 campaign cycle alone. Then in November 1999, at around the same time banking giant Citicorp proposed a merger with Travelers insurance, which owned Soloman Smith Barney brokerage, Congress officially repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, making that new financial colossus legal.

With rules changed and regulations eased, Wall Street found new ways to make money, through complex financial instruments called derivatives and credit default swaps. These “too big to fail” bank-brokerage-insurance-financial conglomerates began to do the equivalent of walking into a casino and putting it all on red. Eventually our luck ran out, and they lost their bet.

The tragic irony is that taxpayers, like those who own small businesses,  bailed out the likes of Lloyd Blankfein. To return the favor, the Blankfeins of the world turned their backs on small business owners, making it harder for them to get loans for their business, instead using the money to continue making the same kind of risky bets that got us into this problem in the first place – and nobody’s stopping them.

During the campaign, President Obama said, “we cannot only have a plan for Wall Street. We must also help Main Street,” saying that “tough new regulations on financial institutions” are needed. He can make good on his words by resurrecting Glass-Steagall, enacting comprehensive financial reforms.  We can’t have a full economic recovery until you can drive down Main Street in Monroe, Conn. and see those once closed store fronts thriving, and small businesses, which are the engines of our economic growth, fueled by credit from banks. Wall Street has its recovery. Now it’s time for Main Street.

Episode 25 – Surviving Self-Stimulation


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Now that the Stimulus package is signed into law, what happens next? What does this mean for us and the US economy? With $2.5 trillion taken out of the economy due to failing industries, will the $700 billion stimulus help, or do we have to deal with other issues? Glenn and Jeff talk about the pillars of the US economy that must be dealt with for the economy to recover…the auto, energy and finance  industries. They also talk about why Sen. Burris needs to resign, how to deal with the use of steroids in baseball, and why New Hampshire’s possible efforts to limit alcohol use in bars to one drink per hour is a horribly bad idea. Episode 25 is packed with lots of laughs and plenty of information. Listen to Glenn and Jeff on PoliTalk — see why people are calling them the Car Talk of Politics — and get an unbiased, informative, entertaining view of what’s happening today. news and information — from two guys you’ll enjoy listening to, rather than the screaming matches you hear every night on political talk TV..

Listen to the current installment of PoliTalk and get yourself informed, inspired, entertained and ready for the day… spread the word… tell two friends, and so on and so on…

You can get the PoliTalk Podcast from Podcast.com and iTunes.

President Obama’s First Prime Time Press Conference


Video of President Obama’s first prime time press conference. In it, he urges passing of the Stimuls plan that is currently in the Congress.

Is Racism Color Blind?


Somebody please tell me how Robert Reich’s statement made to Congress is not racist. What is he thinking? If we build a bridge with bailout money, we should not allow white construction workers to build it? Robert Reich on his own blog states:

And if construction jobs go mainly to white males who already dominate the construction trades, many people who need jobs the most — women, minorities, and the poor and long-term unemployed — will be shut out.

Okay, so maybe what you are thinking is that we need to make sure that the economic stimulus gets spread out among a large group of companies and people to get a broad based impact. Okay, I can buy into that. But that is not what you said both to Congress and on your blog. By specifically shutting out white male construction workers, are you not penalizing them for the color of their skin? Are you not classifying a group of people by their combined skill set and color of their skin? Would it be okay if we allowed white cooks to build bridges?

Come on Former Secretary of Labor Reich. You are a highly educated man. Don’t you know better than this or are you truly racist? Oh wait, you are a white higher education professor. Should we exclude you from teaching because your university gets grants from the federal government?

Your statements are insulting to anyone regardless of color. Shame on you.

Now let’s look at your proposal. You want to have “women, minorities, and the poor and long-term unemployed” build the bridges? Okay, who is going to train them – the government? No, that’s what trade unions are for. Are you abandoning the very groups that are designed to foster skill development and worker rights? If the unions are color-blind, why aren’t you?