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Not That Stimulating

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Balladeer
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0 posted 01-26-2010 11:18 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


Officials say stimulus bill to cost $75B more
AP

WASHINGTON – Last year's $787 billion economic stimulus bill is going to be even more expensive — $75 billion more.

The new Congressional Budget Office estimate, released Tuesday, provides more ammunition for Republicans who say the stimulus has been long on spending and short on creating promised jobs. The additional cost also eats into the savings forecast from the budget freeze President Barack Obama is expected to propose Wednesday night during his State of the Union address.

Almost half of the additional cost, $34 billion, is because the food stamp program won't be able to take advantage of lower-than-expected inflation rates and will instead have benefits set by the stimulus bill.

Higher unemployment insurance costs added $21 billion to the bill, and stimulus-subsidized bonds to pay for infrastructure projects have proven more popular than expected with state and local governments.

The $75 billion increase would erase one-third of the $250 billion in 10-year savings that would come from the partial domestic spending freeze being proposed by Obama. The boost in unemployment payments alone would more than erase the $10 billion to $15 billion in first-year savings from such a freeze.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100126/ap_on_bi_ge/us_stimulus_cost
Balladeer
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1 posted 01-31-2010 12:12 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Latest Stimulus Report Fuels Jobs Pressure


WASHINGTON — Recipients of economic-stimulus money said they had used the funds to pay 599,108 workers in the last quarter of 2009, fewer than the number of jobs they had reported to have created or saved in the first seven months after the plan was enacted.

The recipients' reports, published on the official government Web site recovery.gov late Saturday night, are likely to fuel further controversy over the impact of the $787 billion package, as Democrats seek to craft new jobs-creation proposals to address the country's continued, high jobless rate.

Many opinion polls suggest that most voters do not believe the current stimulus program, which was passed last February, is working.

Stimulus recipients previously reported that they had directly "created or saved" 640,329 jobs by September 30, 2009, but their filings were widely criticized after it emerged that some people had reported saving jobs when they had actually spent the money on pay raises or paying employees who were not in danger of being laid off.

In December, the White House Office of Management and Budget changed its guidance, telling recipients they should start counting every worker whose salary was funded with stimulus money, rather than guessing whether the jobs would have existed in the absence of the federal plan. Opponents of the program accused the administration of "moving the goal posts" to make the plan appear more successful.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703762504575037042612269282.html?mod=rss_whats_news_us&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wsj%2Fxml%2Frss%2F3_ 7011+%28WSJ.com%3A+What%27s+News+US%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo

Local Rebel
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2 posted 02-06-2010 09:15 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

Twice recently, President Barack Obama has slammed congressional Republicans for voting against his economic stimulus bill in February 2009 but later touting provisions of the bill that benefited their own constituents.

During his Jan. 29, 2010, question-and-answer session with House Republican lawmakers in Baltimore, Obama brought up the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as the stimulus is officially known:

"There was an interesting headline in CNN today: 'Americans disapprove of stimulus, but like every policy in it.' And there was a poll that showed that if you broke it down into its component parts, 80 percent approved of the tax cuts, 80 percent approved of the infrastructure, 80 percent approved of the assistance to the unemployed. Well, that's what the Recovery Act was. And let's face it, some of you have been at the ribbon-cuttings for some of these important projects in your communities."
------
-- Rep. Geoff Davis of Kentucky. Davis, a three-term congressman, issued a news release on Jan. 28, 2009, the day of the first House vote on the stimulus, in which he was quoted saying that "this so-called ‘stimulus’ legislation is full of pet spending projects that will do very little to restore confidence in our economy or create jobs."

But 11 months later, on Dec. 16, 2009, Davis sent out a release announcing the awarding of a $1 million-plus grant for the Carroll County School District. "Congressman Geoff Davis is pleased to announce that the Carroll County School District has been awarded $1,044,140 in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) Early Head Start Expansion Program," the release stated. It goes on to say, "In these difficult economic times, it is critical to ensure that vulnerable populations in Kentucky have access to important support services like those provided by the Early Head Start program. This important grant will allow Carroll County School District to expand their ability to provide needed assistance to local low-income families and children. I am very proud of the work that the Carroll County School District is doing to strengthen their community, and I am pleased that our office was able to assist them in obtaining these funds.”

As it happened, on the very same day, Davis sent out a separate release in which he referred to the "failed trillion-dollar 'stimulus' bill."
----------
-- Rep. Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania. Shuster, elected in 2001, is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. During the stimulus debate, he advocated for targeting the measure more directly toward infrastructure spending. A Jan. 28, 2009, news release from his office said that "President Obama told the American people that he would stimulate our economy by rejuvenating our infrastructure. As a long time advocate of improving our nation’s infrastructure, Shuster was encouraged by this announcement. Unfortunately, the Democrats in Congress, led by Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, squandered this historic opportunity to create jobs and strengthen the backbone of our economy in order to fund 40 years of pent-up liberal pet projects."

In November, the Blairsville (Pa.) Dispatch reported that Shuster attended a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new facility at a sewage treatment plant in Blairsville. According to the newspaper, the $12.1 million project was funded in part by federal stimulus money.

-- Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia. In a Feb. 13, 2009, news release, Gingrey, a four-term congressman, explained his vote by saying that "this ‘stimulus’ bill only perpetuates the dangerous myth that government spending will fix this economy. ... The truth is government spending will only bury future generations in more debt."

In October, a photograph in the Cedartown (Ga.) Standard showed Gingrey handing over a giant, ceremonial check for $625,000 in stimulus money to municipal leaders. The money was to pay for "new sidewalks, landscaping and other improvements to the downtown area," according to the newspaper. A Gingrey spokeswoman told the Standard that because the project qualified for federal stimulus funds as "shovel-ready," Gingrey "presented the proposal at the federal level."

City commissioner Scott Tillery described Gingrey to the newspaper as "our point man when we need action from the federal government. His staff is always interested and involved in local concerns, and the congressman will use his influence to make a case for his constituents."

-- Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina. Burr voted against the stimulus yet appeared in person to present a $2 million-plus stimulus grant to help build a fire station to house the Bethlehem Community Volunteer Fire Department.

"This is a great thing for this county," Burr said, according to the Hickory (N.C.) Daily Record. "We're not accustomed to federal dollars in that magnitude finding their way to North Carolina."

A spokesman for Burr told the Associated Press in October that he wasn't taking credit for the money. "Sen. Burr was invited to the grant presentation by the Alexander County commissioners and was happy to be there to recognize the community and the fire department for their work in securing this highly competitive grant,'' the spokesman said.

In an interview with Politico, Burr added, “Just because I voted against the stimulus doesn’t mean I shouldn’t recognize the merit achievement of an entity.”

None of the four House members cited above responded to a query from PolitiFact. But the spokesman for one senior Republican lawmaker -- House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia -- did return our call. He argued that the Democratic criticism is overblown.

Cantor, a leading stimulus opponent, has taken heat from Democrats for organizing a job fair whose participating employers benefited from stimulus funding, as well as for helping local officials lobby for stimulus money to support a high-speed rail link between Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va.

Brad Dayspring, Cantor's spokesman, defended both efforts, saying that, in the first case, the congressman was simply trying to help his unemployed constituents get back to work, and, in the second case, he was continuing his longstanding efforts to boost high-speed rail. Cantor's advocacy on the rail issue dates back a decade, to his tenure in the Virginia legislature.

On the broader question of why Cantor opted not to support the bill, Dayspring said that the congressman made his decision based on his opposition to the vast majority of the bill's provisions. "The bill was so flawed, he voted against it despite his overwhelming support" for the rail provision, Dayspring said. "If you support 1 percent of a bill and oppose 99 percent, are you expected to vote for it?"
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/feb/05/barack-obama/obama-criticizes-republicans-who-opposed-stimulus-/

Local Rebel
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3 posted 02-06-2010 09:20 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

With the recent Massachusetts Senate election redefining the political landscape in Washington, NBC's Meet the Press host David Gregory asked David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, whether the president now needs to start moving more toward the middle.

Axelrod responded that Republicans and Democrats ought to be working together on ways to stimulate job growth, but he said Republicans have not gotten on board even when it comes to tax cuts that Republicans have traditionally supported.

"We passed without, frankly, the help of the Republican caucus, we passed 25 tax cuts last year, mostly aimed at the middle class and small businesses," Axelrod said.
------
Individual Tax Cuts:

1. "Making Work Pay" Tax Credit (Sec. 1001, Page 195). In tax years 2009 and 2010, the Making Work Pay provision will provide a refundable tax credit of 6.2 percent of earned income up to $400 for individuals and up to $800 for married taxpayers filing joint returns.

2. Increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (Sec. 1002, Page 198). Go to the stimulus bill for all the details, but it essentially expands this benefit for the working poor.

3. Increased Eligibility for the Refundable Portion of Child Credit (Sec. 1003, Page 199). In 2009 and 2010, families who don’t earn enough to pay income tax would be eligible to claim the $1,000 child credit.

4. "American Opportunity" Education Tax Credit (Sec. 1004, Page 199). Increases the Hope Scholarship Credit to $2,500.

5. Refundable First-time Home Buyer Credit. (Sec. 1006, Page 202). This extended and increased the first-time home buyer tax credit from $7,500 to $8,000.

6. Temporary Suspension of Taxation of Unemployment Benefits (Sec. 1007, Page 203). This exempts from taxable gross income the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits.

7. Tax Credits for Energy-Efficient Improvements to Existing Homes (Sec. 1121, Page 208). This provides up to a $1,500 tax credit for qualified energy efficiency improvements.

8. Sales Tax Deduction for Vehicle Purchases (Sec. 1008, Page 203). This allows people to write off state and local sales taxes related to the purchase of a new vehicle costing up to $49,500.

9. Premium Credits for COBRA Continuation Coverage for Unemployed Workers (Sec. 6432, Page 348)

10. Economic Recovery Credits to Recipients of Social Security, SSI, Railroad Retirement and Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits (Sec. 2201, Page 336). This was a $250 payment for senior citizens, disabled veterans and disabled people living on Social Security benefits.

11. Computers as Qualified Education Expenses in 529 Education Plans (Sec. 1005, Page 202). This allows college students to write off the expense of computers and software, provided it's for educational purpose and not for games.

12. Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicle Credit (Sec. 1141, Page 212). Allows purchasers of plug-in electric vehicles to write off up to $5,000 of their purchase (depending on the power of the battery).

13. Tax Parity for Transit Benefits (sec. 1151, Page 219). This relates to an increased exclusion amount for commuter transit benefits and transit passes.

14. Health Coverage Tax Credit Expansion (Sec. 1899, Page 309).

Small Business Tax Cuts:

1. Extension of Enhanced Small Business Expensing (Sec. 1202, Page 221). This is a temporary increase in limitations on expensing some depreciable business assets.

2. 5-Year Carryback of Net Operating Losses for Small Businesses (Sec. 1211, Page 221).

3. Extension of Bonus Depreciation (Sec. 1201, Page 220). This extends by a year election to accelerate the AMT and Research Credits in lieu of bonus depreciation.

4. Exclusion of 75% of Small Business Capital Gains from Taxes (Sec. 1241, Page 228).

5. Temporary Small Business Estimated Tax Payment Relief (Sec. 1212, Page 222).

6. Temporary Reduction of S Corporation Built-In Gains Holding Period from 10 Years to 7 Years (Sec. 1251, Page 228).

Other Business Tax Cuts:

1. Advanced Energy Investment Credit (Sec. 1302, Page 231). This relates to properties designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as those that produce
energy from the sun, wind, geothermal deposits, fuel cells, microturbines, or an energy storage system for use with electric or hybrid-electric vehicles.

2. Tax Credits for Alternative Refueling Property (Sec. 1123, Page 211). This is a temporary increase for alternative fuel vehicle refueling businesses.

3. Work Opportunity Tax Credits for Hiring Unemployed Veterans and Disconnected Youth (Sec. 1221, Page 223). This is a tax credit to provide incentive to businesses to hire unemployed veterans and "disconnected youth." That latter term is defined, in part, as young adults "not readily employable by reason of lacking a sufficient number of basic skills."

4. Delayed Recognition of Certain Cancellation of Debt Income (Sec. 1231, Page 224).

5. Election to Accelerate Recognition of Historic AMT/R&D Credits (Sec. 1201, Page 220).

Grand total: 25.

In all, tax cuts amounted to about a third of the cost of the $862 billion stimulus over the next decade. The biggest ticket tax cut was the first one on the list, the Making Work Pay tax cut that is expected to cost the government about $116 billion over two years. Interestingly, the White House did not include the Alternative Minimum Tax patch, which has been extended annually for years. But that accounted for another $70 billion for one year. Together, those two items account for the lion's share of the tax cuts in the stimulus.
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/feb/02/david-axelrod/axelrod-claims-democrats-passed-25-tax-cuts-last-y/



Balladeer
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Axelrod responded that Republicans and Democrats ought to be working together on ways to stimulate job growth, but he said Republicans have not gotten on board even when it comes to tax cuts that Republicans have traditionally supported.

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says it's time for Democrats and Republicans to work together to do what's right for the country. Obama tells Democratic activists that "we need to change the way we work with the other party."

Obama acknowledges that there has been a problem with the way Democrats have tried to handle Republicans.

The president says Democrats can't solve all the nation's problems by themselves. He says Democrats "need to extend our hands to the other side."

Which means they haven't extended their hands up until now. Obama himself acknowledges they have not tried to work with Republicans (and are only doing so now thanks to the Mass election). http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100206/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_obama_cooperation_2.

Welcome to a fellow pointy finger. Jenn will get you, too

JenniferMaxwell
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5 posted 02-06-2010 10:21 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

Tax cuts? The Obama Administration has already given average Americans and small businesses tax cuts? Go Bama!

Dueling articles coming right up! Warming up my pointy finger, this could be a lot of fun! So, do we go boy girl boy girl or conservative liberal conservative liberal?

Balladeer
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6 posted 02-06-2010 10:30 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Start without me, Jenn...and, btw, continue without me, too. Enjoy...
JenniferMaxwell
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7 posted 02-06-2010 10:33 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

So, does that mean I can have your turn? Just asking.

Local Rebel
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8 posted 02-07-2010 04:55 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

"we need to change the way we work with the other party."
, Mike, doesn't mean that the Dems haven't extended a hand until now -- it just means that what they've been doing hasn't been working.  Like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football -- Lucy keeps pulling it away at the last second:

quote:

Earlier this year, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was gung-ho behind an amendment intended to improve federal fiscal health.

The proposal -- a  "Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action" -- was co-sponsored by the top Democrat and the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Judd Gregg, R-N.H. It would establish an 18-member bipartisan commission to study the current and future fiscal condition of the federal government and make recommendations about how revenues and expenses can be brought into line. Those recommendations would be fast-tracked to the House and Senate floors under a special procedure.

In a May 12, 2009, Senate floor session to discuss the Medicare Trustees' Report, McConnell said, "We must address the issue of entitlement spending now before it is too late. As I have said many times before, the best way to address the crisis is the Conrad-Gregg proposal, which would provide an expedited pathway for fixing these profound long-term challenges. This plan would force us to get debt and spending under control. It deserves support from both sides of the aisle. The administration has expressed a desire to take up entitlement reform, and given the debt that its budget would run up, the need for reform has never been greater. So I urge the administration, once again, to support the Conrad-Gregg proposal. This proposal is our best hope for addressing the out-of-control spending and debt levels that are threatening our nation’s fiscal future."

That's a pretty clear endorsement of a bill, even though McConnell was not a co-sponsor.

We tracked down one other occasion when McConnell spoke favorably about the bill. According to an Associated Press account at the time, McConnell also advocated the Conrad-Gregg approach in comments at a Feb. 23, 2009, White House summit on fiscal responsibility.

But then, on Jan. 26, 2010, when the Conrad-Gregg bill, originally introduced as S. 2853, came for a vote in the Senate, it fell seven votes shy of the Senate's 60-vote threshold for passage, garnering 53 yeas and 46 nays, with one senator not voting.

The measure would have passed with 60 votes if only seven additional Republicans who had co-sponsored S. 2853 had voted for it. Instead, those seven -- Robert Bennett of Utah, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, John Ensign of Nevada, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, James Inhofe of Oklahoma and John McCain of Arizona -- withdrew their co-sponsorship in the days before the vote and then voted against it on the floor.

But the Senate Republican leader from Kentucky has probably taken the most flak on the issue for voting "no."

In a scathing Washington Post op-ed column on Feb. 1, 2010, Fred Hiatt, referring to McConnell's "no" vote on the commission, wrote that "no single vote by any single senator could possibly illustrate everything that is wrong with Washington today. No single vote could embody the full cynicism and cowardice of our political elite at its worst, or explain by itself why problems do not get solved. But here's one that comes close."

Hiatt continued that "it's impossible to avoid the conclusion that the only thing that changed since May is the political usefulness of the proposal to McConnell's partisan goals. He was happy to claim fiscal responsibility while beating up Obama for fiscal recklessness. But when Obama endorsed the idea, as he did on the Saturday before the vote -- and when the commission actually, against all odds, had the wisp of a chance of winning the needed 60 Senate votes -- McConnell bailed."
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/stat    ements/2010/feb/01/mitch-mcconnell/mcconnell-reverses-position-conrad-gregg-budget-co/



Now what do you do when a two-year-old says he wants a teddy-bear -- you try to give him a teddy-bear and then he pouts in the corner and says he doesn't want a teddy-bear? Any suggestions?
Local Rebel
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9 posted 02-07-2010 10:49 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Sorry if it's your turn Jen, but, I think you won't mind looking at this:
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/02/a_very_revealing_chart.php?ref=fpblg
JenniferMaxwell
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10 posted 02-07-2010 10:58 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

Please, by all means. I like your pointy finger the best.

Balladeer
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11 posted 02-07-2010 11:21 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Interesting, Jennifer. What happened to your cut-and-paste complaint? Just curious...
JenniferMaxwell
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12 posted 02-07-2010 11:38 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

Well, Balladeer, what can I say - goose gander and how about those Saints!

Night night

Balladeer
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13 posted 02-08-2010 12:00 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Yes...what can you say sums it up pretty well.

goodnight.
 
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