It’s too depressing to link readers to Bloomberg’s calculation that the TARP money, pledged, guaranteed and already passed out, is sufficient to pay off 90% of all outstanding mortgages in the United States or $1,500 or so to every single man, woman and child in the world. Now the latter idea might actually improve our standing in world opinion for at least a week, but I’ll leave that to those who care.
What I will link you to is this common sense observation from Clusterstock: the $15,000 tax credit for home buyers, a bit of largess that will itself cost us billions, will be absolutely useless in advancing home sales. Why? because houses are all overpriced much more than $15,000. I’ve read several stories in the main stream media about happy would-be homeowners saying that, “by golly, with an extra $15 grand, I’m gonna go find myself wonna dem houses I been hearing ’bout” but aside from wondering where the media finds these people, I’m not impressed. If you want a $15,000 cushion to protect yourself from a further decline of prices, demand it! In this market, if you can’t squeeze a piddly sum like that from a seller, you’re not qualified to own a bicycle, let alone a house.
Of course, if people could accomplish this for themselves, what good would the government be? Precisely.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has examined what Reed and Pelosi have cooked up for us and concluded that it will kill private investment and do more damage than it cures, “in the long run”. This just shows what a stunning lack of political savvy the CBO has – for politicians, there is no “long run”. If there were, Social Security would be solvent, our bridges and highways would be maintained and we wouldn’t be running deficits.
A long position for a politician has about the same lifespan as it does for a trader – buy at breakfast, sell before lunch. The stimulus bill’s supporters’ horizon extends as far as next year’s elections, and no further. Warning them that their their actions will jeopardize children who aren’t even old enough to vote yet is futile. It’s also frustrating, so why don’t we just give up?
Who’d have ever believed it? Main stream media is beginning to look at the pork fat oozing from the “Stimulus” bill and – surprise! - discovers that our politicians are back to the same old, same old.
WASHINGTON (AP) — They call it “stimulus” legislation, but the economic measures racing through Congress would devote tens of billions of dollars to causes that have little to do with jolting the country out of recession.
There’s $345 million for Agriculture Department computers, $650 million for TV converter boxes, $15 billion for college scholarships — worthy, perhaps, but not likely to put many Americans back to work quickly.
Yes, there are many billions of dollars in “ready-to-go” job-creating projects in President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus bill. But there are also plenty of items that are just unfinished business for Congress’ old bulls.
An $800 billion-plus package, it turns out, gives lawmakers plenty of opportunities to rid themselves of nagging headaches left over from the days when running up the government’s $10 trillion-plus debt was a bigger concern.
There’s $1 billion to deal with Census problems and $88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building next year. The Senate would devote $2.1 billion to pay off a looming shortfall in public housing accounts, $870 million to combat the flu and $400 million to slow the spread HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia.
But nothing is in the legislation by accident. By including in the Senate stimulus bill such far-ranging ideas as $40 million to convert the way health statistics are collected — from paper to an electronic system — lawmakers are able to thin out their in-boxes, even if they aren’t doing much to create jobs.
There’s also $380 million in the Senate bill for a rainy day fund for the Women, Infants and Children program that delivers healthful food to the poor. WIC got a $1 billion infusion last fall.
At the same time, putting items in the stimulus bill that really should be handled in annual appropriations bills creates more room in the latter for pet project and other programs.
It creates “headroom,” a top Senate GOP budget aide said, for things senators didn’t have room for in the regular process but still want to do.
Some lawmakers are sounding warnings.