God or Government Spending: Choose One?

Sunday, April 5, AD 2009

Correlation isn’t causation. That said, I thought this from the Wall Street Journal was interesting:

A recent study of 33 countries by Anthony Gill and Erik Lundsgaarde found an inverse relationship between religious observance and welfare spending. Countries with larger welfare states, such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark, had markedly lower levels of religious attendance, affiliation and trust in God than countries with a history of limited government, such as the U.S., the Philippines and Brazil. Public spending amounts to more than one half of the GDP in Sweden, where only 4% of the population regularly attends church. By contrast, public spending amounts to 18% of the Philippines’ GDP, and 68% of Filipinos regularly attend church.

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One Response to God or Government Spending: Choose One?

  • Hmmm…

    I would be sad to discover that the only reason people ever went to church in the past was to get social services now provided by the government. That would be too simplistic, anyway.

    What I question is the direction of causality here. Did government programs simply push out private charity, or was private charity not up to the new demands of an industrialized society?

    I think it is true that material success tends to weaken religious conviction – in the US the more prosperous areas are the more liberal and less devout (if we measure this by church attendance) areas.

    This is because man gets in his head the notion that he “doesn’t need God” anymore – that he is entirely self-sufficient. Do people here remember Durkheim’s study of suicide, where he found that there was more of it in Protestant countries than Catholic due to higher levels of social integration in the latter? People have criticized the study but I think the essential finding is valid – where there is more social integration and community, there will be more religious devotion. People realize that they are not entirely self-sufficient or entirely alone, at the mercy of the state or the market. The presence of others, the feeling of being supported by something beyond one’s self, has a psychological effect.

Of Tea and Taxes

Wednesday, March 18, AD 2009

dont-tread-on-me

In politics, as in physics, an action causes a reaction.  With the election of President Obama and strong Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress, the stage is set for a radical increase in the size, power and scope of government to transform the United States into a socialist state, along the lines of the European social welfare states.  The Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, erroneously called a stimulus bill, is merely the first step in the process.  The President has already warned of trillion dollar budget deficits as far as the eye can see, and he has the votes for now to carry out his vision.  Can he be stopped?

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7 Responses to Of Tea and Taxes

  • I hope there’s a debate, Donald.

    Vice President Biden during one of the Democratic primary debate said that he was astounded as to how much money is thrown into the election process and how much money people will throw to get a candidate elected, but we cannot raise the funds — either through government or private means — for issues like alternative energy, health care, education, and the like.

    I’d gladly pay more in taxes if the cause is worthy. I can’t speak for the rest of the country.

    Again, I’m glad you clearly outlined the need for a debate. I’ve never in my life agreed with Republicans so much, but just as I begin to reflect on it: am I really a Democrat? The answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ I agree with the GOP in the ‘no,’ but that’s what the Republican Party seems to be wrestling with right now. They cannot, in my view, be successful in the long-term if they run only as opposing Obama’s “out there” policies and then sweep Congress and maybe the presidency in 2012 with no plan of what to do. So, on the “no,” I’m with you and on the specifics of what to do, maybe we can begin the debate there.

    Good post.

  • Thank you Eric. The debate is really long overdue and I can understand why. It will be very painful to come to grips with fundamental questions of what government should do and how we will pay for it. However throughout most of our history we did just that and we must do so again.

  • Well, Donald, I think Gov. Quinn has just handed us Illinois residents an excellent warm-up exercise (in the form of his tax increase/budget proposal) for that national debate.

    In fact he explicitly asked the question you raise: if you insist on no budget cuts, tell us how you plan to pay for what you want; if you insist there be no new taxes, tell us what you plan to cut and why. I personally don’t agree with everything suggested in this budget, but the debate is, after all, just getting started.

    I presume similar debates will take place in other states, which also face severe budget shortfalls, but can’t print money or borrow from foreign nations to cover them up.

    I also believe that our current economic and fiscal woes, both at the state and national level, could perhaps be seen as our payback, penance, karma or whatever for our past electoral sins — voting for candidates who told us only what we wanted to hear, ignoring obvious corruption and incompetence, and adhering to party loyalty over principle.

  • Well said Elaine. In Illinois we are at a later stage in the debate than the nation is. We had the Build Illinois drunken sailor binge under convicted felon George Ryan (R.), or as many of us fondly deemed it, Bilk Illinois. Bloggo (D.), in addition to being a crook, was a lousy manager of the fiscal house of the State. Now the State is facing bankruptcy and so the best idea our government can come up with is a massive increase in taxes, sans the needed debate, thus far, on cutting spending. Crunch time is coming however, and this debate is going to take place in Illinois, in spite of the fact that most politicians would prefer to eat ground glass than to squarely address this fiscal nightmare.

  • It has come to this. The Porkapalooza Bill has forced a long overdue national debate on Gummint And Its Size. Reaches in all kinds of places- as in Philly Mayor Michael Nutter proposing temporary nudge nudge wink wink increase in property taxes to keep the swimming pools and neighborhood libraries open. Ignoring that the city’s population but a fraction of that two generations ago. Oh well no police or fire protection affected. But may come down to these points. What is necessary and what constitutes the category of Don’t Take Away My Teddy Bear. Happy to see our Washington Elite looking absolutely buffoonish in their efforts to demonize AIG. Spring is such a lovely time for protests. Had been the province of the sensitive and concerned over War In Iraq, Women’s Right to Choose, other stuff. This time, a different crowd with different beefs. Let the games begin.

  • Eric,

    They cannot, in my view, be successful in the long-term if they run only as opposing Obama’s “out there” policies and then sweep Congress and maybe the presidency in 2012 with no plan of what to do.

    While you won’t hear it on MSNBC or broadcast news, or the NY Times, the GOP has a health care plan, an energy plan, and an alternate stimulus plan, and an alternate budget. It’s unfortunate that the mainstream media doesn’t give the current opposition the play that the Democrats had under Bush.

    The Republicans certainly must find a way to get their message out that there is a BETTER way than selling our future, which is precisely what the Democrat tax and spend policies will do… slower economic growth and rising inflation for many years to come, with the tax the rich limitations slowly or suddenly dropping from 200k to 25k… We’ll be in the doldrums unless this is halted and reversed VERY soon.

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Is the Bankrupt the Nation Act Unconstitutional?

Wednesday, March 18, AD 2009

ronald-rotunda

Ronald Rotunda, is currently a Professor of Law at George Mason University.  Twenty-seven years ago he had the onerous task of attempting to beat legal ethics ( and I can almost hear most of you shouting “Oxymoron!”) into the heads of second year law students at the University of Illinois.  I was one of his pupils.  I came away from his class no more ethical than when I went in, but with a thorough knowledge of the rules regarding legal ethics in the state of Illinois.  I also came away with a keen appreciation for both Professor Rotunda’s dry wit, and his strong intellect.  Here  is his web-site.  He is the one wearing a bow tie and not the Vulcan.  As you can see from his site, Professor Rotunda, unlike most law professors and most lawyers, does not take himself very seriously.

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7 Responses to Is the Bankrupt the Nation Act Unconstitutional?

  • The lack of competence was due to the haste in drafting it. That it was pretty much whipped up after the Washington Elite put away their tuxedoes and gowns, sobered up, and returned to work following Dear Leader’s Coronation is evidence. Along with the instant and stunning rebuttals to AIG Demonization. That Porkapalooza allows its executives to pick up extra coin up to February 11, 2009. And that the provision was inserted by….. good ol’ Chris Dodd, Friend of Angelo (Mozillo, founder of Countrywide Financial,) past recepient of financial largesse from……. AIG. Now beating the drum to take back the cash. Prof. Dr. Rotunda may well have a case for the unconstitutional nature of Porkapalooza. But it appears its greatest supporters will undo it more than the Republicans- save for Specter and The Maine Ladies- who voted against it.

  • Congress passing legislation that is unconstitutional? Designed to be an end run around the states? The people? Heavy handed antics to force their will whether we like it or not?

    Say it ain’t so, Joe!

  • Oh, it’s almost certainly unconstitutional. And it will almost just as certainly not be overturned.

  • We have a Constitution in this country?

  • We have a Constitution in this country?

    Most certainly – unfortunately its contents are contained solely in the head of Anthony Kennedy.

  • We have a Constitution in this country?

    Most certainly – unfortunately its contents are contained solely in the head of Anthony Kennedy.

    And in European legal precedent – according to Justice Breyer…

  • The best part of this post is the reference [link?] to Prof. Rotunda’s collection of jokes about lawyers and about economists.

    One comment he missed is that of Our Lord at Luke 11:46

    “And he said, Woe unto you also, [ye] lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers”.

Don't Make It Hurt

Monday, March 2, AD 2009

So here’s an argument against irreducible complexity.  Take a family that works hard for a living, saves a large chunk of its earnings for old age, emergencies, sending kids through college, and so on.  Then create (through some combination of amino acids and other proteins) an institute that offers insurance against disaster.  The family, being prudent, realizes that the insurance, while it costs them a little more each month, could potentially save them thousands of dollars in the long run, and so it buys into the insurance company.  Now introduce a mutation: the family decides that since disasters are covered, they can divert a little more money into luxuries. Repeat this process with a health care institute that helps cover the soaring prices of medication; a loan agency to cover college tuition (which is steadily outpacing what the normal family can afford); a loan agency to cover the cost of a business; a house; a car; anything at all with the swipe of a plastic card with a magnetic strip.  With that final mutation, we now have a system in which the removal one component causes the whole organism to fail, and yet was built up by increments.

Nearly half a year after the great crash that marked our current recession as one of the worst in decades, we are still bleeding.  Our economy continues to shed jobs; the stock market wavers, falls, stabilizes, wavers, and falls again; big businesses, like the insurance titan AIG, continue to need billions of dollars of bailout money just to survive; and the government continues to scramble to pass legislation that supposedly will fix all our problems, but in reality will simply make matters worse.  The gigantic stimulus package was laughable (in more a mad, gibbering, hysterical laughter than a ha-ha laughter) in that hundreds of pet projects suddenly found funding, but precious little in the bill actually targeted economic stimulus, and much of the spending won’t happen immediately.

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National Bankruptcy

Friday, February 27, AD 2009

I have referred to the “Stimulus” bill as the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009 here, here, here, here, here, and here.  Now we have Senator Judd Gregg (R., N.H.), the man who Obama wanted to be Commerce Secretary, confirm what should be obvious to everyone:  we are on the road to national bankruptcy.  Heaven knows this problem didn’t start with President Obama.  However, his misguided policy of multi-trillion dollar annual deficits will push us over the brink into national insolvency.  We are in for very tough economic times for a very long period.

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21 Responses to National Bankruptcy

  • He is just bound and determined to see it through. Not aware that he was simply doing the bidding of Capitol Hill Democratic leaders. Who no doubt have been discussing this prospect since the 1994 GOP upset. Possibly since 1965, the Great Society Year. Maybe a recurring conversations in cloakrooms since 1933. In many ways, the future of the Death Party has been stuffed into the oversized sausage that is Porkapalooza. The ultimate expression of reward for friends, punishment for enemies, development of projects to raise mosquitos or other such bosh. So we watch as city after city sponsors tea parties- in reaction to last week’s rant by CNBC’s Rick Santelli. Who received a less than charitable response by White House Head Spinmeister Robert Gibbs. Which has clearly made him fearful for his safety. No matter. Funny how invocations to patriotism resemble that for the future of the Church. Something about the tree of liberty watered with Type O- good and bad guys alike. Much weirdness to come. Watch and pray that you may not enter into total meltdown.

  • “Much weirdness to come.”

    Gerard, unfortunately I think that is an accurate prediction. We are in for very turbulent times.

  • Fortunately I pulled most of my money out of the market in August. Have now put a stop on contributions to mutual fund, etc pending the outcome of the next couple of months. Looking at investing in a 12 gauge as eyes not so good anymore.

  • It bears repeating that, because one can’t argue the counterfactual, Obama is most likely going to emerge from this recession smelling like a rose. If the stimulus works (doubtful), he takes credit. If it doesn’t, then we simply have a longer and deeper recession, and he takes credit for it “not being as bad as it could’ve been.” Business cycle downturns have a way of correcting themselves even when governments bungle policy badly, and output is likely to trend upward on his watch in any event. I don’t have the link, but Megan McArdle has argued this point before (contrasting the Argentine and Japanese experiences).

    If the issue here is that the nation will be insolvent because of the unsustainability of entitlement spending, then that’s another matter that’s been on the table for some time — wholly apart from the stimulus package. Everyone sees that train wreck coming, but it’s hard to pin that on any political party because neither one wants to be the one to incur the wrath of AARP.

  • Judd Gregg seems to have had some seriously shady business dealings, which were the real reason behind his removal of himself from the confirmation process.

  • Now, now, Mark. It’s true that many of Obama’s high profile appointments have turned out to be tax cheats or to have had shady backgrounds, but we can’t judge everyone Obama appoints that way. Sen. Gregg may be a perfectly honest fellow even though he did have the misfortune to be nominated by Obama.

  • And with Katrina Jindal and Mr. Steele heading up the GOP, how long can Obama hope to remain president?

    Well…maybe with enemies like them, Obama will need no friends.

  • I think this is what Mr. DeFrancisis is referring to:http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2009/02/judd_greggs_dealings_not_why_h.html

    Politicians fattening their private wealth this way is appalling. Imagine how many will have immense opportunities to do just this through the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009 and all the other debt bombs that Congress will pass this year. It also says nothing good about Obama’s staff work that this factoid, presumably, was not known to them. Interesting that the AP unleashed this story after Gregg dropped out of consideration for Commere Secretary and began to attack Obama’s economic policies. Of course none of this detracts from Gregg’s correct observation that the nation is headed toward bankruptcy.

  • Thank you Mr. McClarey.

    I am still waiting for more of your “Compare and Contrast” musical pieces, btw. It is a great series.

  • And with Katrina Jindal and Mr. Steele heading up the GOP, how long can Obama hope to remain president?

    If the operative word is “hope” I would assume the answer is “eight years”.

    I’d agree with Donald that Sen. Gregg’s dealings here are greedy and unethical — though he’d hardly have stood out from Obama’s other nominations in that regard.

    How exactly you consider Gov. Jindal to have been responsible for the Katrina debacle, however, escapes me. It was disgust with how the Democratic governor handled Katrina that brought Jindal into office.

  • News hit today that he fabricated the Katrina story in his minority response to Obama’s speech.

    That was my reference.

  • Mark:

    Seriously, where do you get your news? Do you just read left-wing blogs in order to form your opinion? The report that Jindall “fabricated” the story has been exposed as a lie, and here it is 24 hours later and you’re still repeating.

    Get out of your little cocoon and join the rest of us here in the real world.

  • Paul.

    Pot. Kettle. Black

  • Just out from the Times-Picayune …

    Louisiana’s transportation department plans to request federal dollars for a New Orleans to Baton Rouge passenger rail service from the same pot of railroad money in the president’s economic stimulus package that Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized as unnecessary pork on national television Tuesday night.

  • Mark:

    I know you are but what am I is just about the level of comment I have come to expect from you. It really is pointless in engaging in debate with someone who can’t rise above the level of soundbite.

  • Paul,

    You engage Rush in your own typical analysis. A sea of such words deserves nothing more.

  • I was going to write something serious and analytical in reply but…

    This last exchange just reminded me why I probably should give up blogging for Lent right now. Even reading Catholic blogs gets me worked up, depressed, confused, and obsessed with showing off my infinite wisdom and compassion to those poor benighted souls of the blogosphere.

    “Lord, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men (or women), crooked, grasping, adulterous, spendthrift Obamaniac liberal Democrats (or heartless, right wing, sore loser Republicans, depending on your point of view)…”

  • The stimulus needed: In his Ash Wednesday homily, Pope Benedict concluded his homily by asking that Lent, “marked by more frequent contact with the Word of God, by more intense prayer, and by a severe and penitential lifestyle, be a stimulus to convert and to love our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and needy.”

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Does It Really Stimulate?

Thursday, February 12, AD 2009

It seems a bipartisan effort to ensure that there is some sort of stimulus bill, and only a few politicians think there should be no package at all.  Many economists have warned in the past, and continue to do so now, that stimulus packages like the one currently waiting final approval, do not work.  Let’s take a moment and examine the arguments as to why they don’t work.

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2 Responses to Does It Really Stimulate?

  • The Porkapalooza Bill is a classic example of the foolishness in this phrase- Don’t Just Stand There Do Something. It represents everything that the Washington Elite in their heart of hearts have wanted to inflict on their fellow Americanos since well nigh 1933. All in one big lovavble pork-filled sausage casing. Do not think many of us in PA will forget seeing GOP Senator Arlen Specter snuggling up to Dingy Harry Reid in the announcement of Pork In Our Time. At same time- except for mania for infrastructure- don’t see how state and local governments will receive help from Porkapalooza. Philly Mayor Michael Nutter told his top managers to give him three cost-cutting scenarios each- bad, really bad, and Oh My (will not break 2nd Commandment on this blog.) Meaning- up to 30 per cent budget cuts across the board. Including a possible 2000 or more police officers turning in badges. PA Government may or may not be in dire straits- we may not know until the annual late-June early-July kerfuffles between Gov. Fast Eddie Rendell and wascally Wepublicans(according to PA MSM, of course.) Meanwhile I hope to promote cousin Edward for Sen. Specter’s seat- devout Catholic, ethical lawyer, doting father of 2-year-old Katie, makes me look like a flaming liberal. Until then, we shall hold and roll.

  • Gerard,
    If I have any money left after being forced to subsidize abortion and welfare, I will donate to your cousin’s candidacy.

Now We Know Who Gets The Change

Thursday, February 12, AD 2009

obama-reid-pelosi

President Obama ran on a platform of Hope and Change.  From the details of the National Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, sometimes called a “stimulus” bill, we can now see who gets the change:

“Q: What are some of the tax breaks in the bill?

A: It includes Obama’s signature “Making Work Pay” tax credit for 95 percent of workers, though negotiators agreed to trim the credit to $400 a year instead of $500 — or $800 for married couples, cut from Obama’s original proposal of $1,000. It would begin showing up in most workers’ paychecks in June as an extra $13 a week in take-home pay, falling to about $8 a week next January.”

Thanks a heap!

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9 Responses to Now We Know Who Gets The Change

  • From two Happy Meals this year to one next January. At least worldwide sales at Mc D’s were up 7.1 percent last month. Now that Disney has acquired Dreamworks. more chances for movie cartoony characters served with your fries. This is truly Hope and Change.

  • Fear not; your Republican buddies kept out of the package the controverted spending on school construction.

    After years of Reagan, Bush I and II, oi polloi will remain content with a little bit more of bread and circus.

  • How did “the Republicans” keep anything out of the bill? They weren’t in conference on it, and Snowe, Specter and Collins aren’t exactly doctrinaire conservatives.

    I’d have been perfectly content with the bill had there been more actual job creation, regardless of whether it involved spending or tax cuts. The infrastructure stuff is great, not to mention overdue. But there’s too little of it, and too late to do much. Frankly, there’s precious little stimulus in all the spending, however meritorious much of that spending may be to help those who are down and out. And there’s precisely squat being done to address the mortgage crisis at the heart of our current troubles.

  • Mark,

    While I have no problem, in general, with school construction, I am dubious that it should be included in a stimulus bill. Is there any other economic stimulus other than a few construction workers getting a job for a year or so building or renovating, and then being out of a job when the funds run out? Much of what I’ve seen in the package should create a bunch of short term jobs, but it doesn’t seem to me that those jobs will last in the long term without future governmental spending on the same proportions we’re seeing now. Am I missing something?

  • Mark DeFrancisis,
    It’s that simple, right? Republicans don’t want schools built. Of course – so simple, and dovetailing nicely with the MSM narrative.
    Allow me to translate: School construction = make-work jobs for union tradesmen at an exorbitant cost. Union tradesmen that would do half the work at half the quality as a struggling crew of Polish immigrants. But hey, Dems are for the little guy, right?
    Thanks for regurgitating what the MSM told you. I needed this line of crap warmed up.

  • daledog,

    I worry about you. Have you talked to your doctor about high blood pressure or hypertension?

  • Daledog and Mr. DeFrancisis, keep it civil please.

  • Mark,
    Witty comeback.

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11 Responses to Against Moderation

  • One of the best features of the original plan was aid to cash-strapped state governments, which would have provided a quick boost to the economy while preserving essential services. But the centrists insisted on a $40 billion cut in that spending.

    This is the statement where I just gape. Either that, or call BS. Perhaps someone else can explain to me how giving money to the state governments that have run themselves into deficits will help stimulate the economy? Let’s see–the government employs people who will hopefully spend their paychecks and move the money back into the private sector, so I suppose that could have an indirect effect. But if that’s one of the hopes, you can accomplish the same thing with *gasp* tax cuts. But how are the state governments going to spend these handouts? If they’re running budget deficits, that money is just going to go to shore up the budget. How does that work back into the economy? How are the “essential services” going to help? And by essential services, we’re talking about government entitlement programs and government facilities like prisons. If we’re thinking that school upgrades and renovations are going to stimulate the economy, we must be counting on the economic pickup coming 5-10 years from now, when those students (assuming they receive a better education) will enter the workforce.

    I just don’t understand. Every time I try to figure out how giving this money away is going to stimulate the economy, I keep coming back to people having more money to spend. And you can just as easily give people more money to spend by cutting taxes. Am I missing anything?

  • Ryan,

    I think the argument runs as follows:

    1) We are trying to spend money to stimulate the economy;

    2) One of the difficulties with spending money is identifying worthwhile projects;

    3) State governments have already identified a number of projects they feel are worthwhile (and probably would have been funded if the economy hadn’t tanked);

    4) Ergo, if you’re going to hand out money, state governments would be a good place to start (and it would preserve existing services).

  • I hear you. Frankly, it’s beginning to strike me that the appeal of Keynsian economics is mainly that some people want to spent that money regardless, and Keynsianism essentially tells them, “Don’t worry. You can eat all those deserts and it’s good for you!”

    The bit in Krugman’s column that really struck me was, “Even if the original Obama plan — around $800 billion in stimulus, with a substantial fraction of that total given over to ineffective tax cuts — had been enacted, it wouldn’t have been enough to fill the looming hole in the U.S. economy, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will amount to $2.9 trillion over the next three years.”

    It strikes me as fundamentally problematic to estimate that the downturn will result in a spending “hole” of 2.9 trillion and then turn around and simply borrow 2.9 trillion to spend thinking you’ll somehow “make it up”. Normally what that hole ought to do is result in getting rid of less efficient businesses and practices, thus eventually increasing productivity, creating wealth, and putting the economy back into growth. Simply pouring money out (and I’m not clear how borrowing in this way on the world scene is fundamentally different from printing more money) does nothing to sift out the bad and reward the good, it just slows the process down, so far as I can see.

  • John,

    Okay, I think that’s somewhat of an adequate answer, especially as it seems to play with subsidiarity. At least direct the money to local governments, since they have a better idea where the money would be better spent.

    Still, when you consider that Wyoming–because of its balanced budgets and reserve funds–doesn’t really need any of its portion of the stimulus bill (though apparently we’ll fight tooth and nail for our portion), and California–bankrupt because its poor budgetary practices–needs a sizable chunk of money just to balance their ledgers, it makes you wonder just how wisely even state governments will spend that money.

  • I quite concur with your line of reasoning, though not entirely with that of Krugman or Douthat.

    Most disheartening (but, let us face it, hardly surprising) has been the lack of bipartisan craftsmanship on this towering chunk of gristle we’re about to be force-fed. There hasn’t even been a pretense of bipartisanship (again, no shock there), and I see any attempt to brand portions of this stimulus bill as “too centrist” to be gallingly disingenuous, particularly coming from Krugman.

    I do like your line about moderation being, at times, overrated. How true. Especially the misconception of moderation, in Krugman’s case.

  • All irrelevant, as Porkapalooza bill passed 61-37 in Senate. Surprise surprise the GOP senators who joined the majority were my own Arlen Specter and the two Maine ladies. Now on to House-Senate conference committee for final round of sausage making. Will be interesting to see if final package includes provision for Ultimate Health Care Czar/Czarina. Great analysis on Bloomberg by former NY Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey on how this office will essentially set prices for any and all medical procedures. Surprise surprise out of hands of medical pros. So fans of Hope and Change don’t start crying if the real result of H&C is life-preserving surgery for Grandma. Coverage will get really really expensive for seasoned citizens. And my Spidey Sense tells me a bunch of Terri Schiavo cases around the bend. Thanks a bunch Obama voters. Hope you’re happy about this, Mr. Krugman.

  • Or lack of life-preserving surgery for Grandma. Maybe even the unborn. Could be a subtle form of FOCA. Stay on guard.

  • The Freedom of Choice Act is a way of energizing the base.

    I think the idea is to pass FOCA bit by bit. There is no way FOCA in its form could pass through either the House or the Senate. It’s too extreme and opposition would almost ensure political suicide for the Democratic Party.

    However, if you do it bit by bit, it hardly goes noticed. Why?

    I really support the anti-FOCA campaign going across the United States parish to parish. But why wasn’t this happening, in say, October?

    Not to mention, considering the improbable chances of FOCA which I believe many of us recognize, why did the pro-life movement not energize its efforts toward things that are likely: the Mexico City Policy being overturned and federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

    In a post advocating letter writing to Congress, I pointed out a bill in the House H.R. 34, there is a push to delay Bush’s executive order for conscience clauses to protect health care professionals from being forced to perform abortions. Why? When Obama finally gets a Secretary of Health and Human Services, they can reverse the conscience clause and put the consciences of many pro-life doctors and nurses at risk.

    We’ve seen the fight over Title X funding which goes to health “clinics,” i.e. Planned Parenthood and public funding of contraceptives and abortifacents. If I’m not mistaken, Plan B is now an over the counter the bill.

    Losing all these little fights actually amounts rather quickly. We’re writing about FOCA in our parishes and are opening ourselves to a host of losses. We’ll win in the long run, certainly. I’d like more strategy and less casualities.

  • I’d rather have it all-out as well; let’s see what the consequences of this insane (from my point of view anyways) policy decision really are – and let’s remember the lessons this time.

  • Frankly, it’s beginning to strike me that the appeal of Keynsian economics is mainly that some people want to spent that money regardless, and Keynsianism essentially tells them, “Don’t worry. You can eat all those deserts and it’s good for you!”

    Well, Keynes did say “In the long run, we’re all dead.” (Keynes was homosexual and childless, and although it might be un-PC to say so, I imagine that influenced his outlook. I’m childless myself, and so I know you don’t immediately think in terms of future generations if you haven’t generated any yourself.) I’ve used that line of reasoning when I’m tempted by the dessert tray in a restaurant, but of course, you can get into trouble very quickly if you use it to justify eating chocolate cake for breakfast. This stimulus bill is chocolate cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Mark Steyn pointed out the essential difficulty with Keynesian economics – all socialist welfare states will run off the rails eventually because you need to keep the birthrate high in order to sustain the state’s spending. Sweden seemed to have the right idea back in 1970, when there were still a lot of young Swedes. Now things aren’t looking so hot. Who is going to pay for those cradle-to-grave programs when more citizens are closer to the grave than the cradle? Sarkozy has had a heck of a time trying to even modestly scale back the French welfare system. It’s ironic that we are about to expand entitlement spending on a huge scale in this country just as some European leaders are belatedly realizing that their own entitlements are becoming unaffordable.

    But hey, if you take the attitude that future generations can go to Hades and what’s important is “I’ve got mine, Jack,” than I suppose you can live with that.

  • I’ve heard speculation that the cost of this will start hitting at about the same time as it will start actually kicking in (1-2 years). The cost will be necessarily higher taxes, and higher inflation (stagflation). You can’t pump 1 trillion $ into a recessionary economy without incurring massive inflation.

Obama and the Stimulus Package

Tuesday, February 10, AD 2009

Has anyone ever wondered if it is possible that one can land in a financial crisis when one has a steady income, no debts, and a large reserve of money in case of emergencies?  Certainly, I suppose, if something devastating comes around, like an accident that requires weeks in the ICU, surgeries, and a long rehabilitation, that could bankrupt a person.  Yet such accidents, on a whole, are rare, and most people who live a financially responsible life never have to plead for a bailout.

When we look at our current financial crisis nationwide, I can’t help but wonder what people are thinking.  President Obama has promised us trillion dollar deficits for years to come in an effort to restore our economy.  Like most right-leaning folk, I’m under the impression that our current crisis has come from overspending, living beyond our means, and not being prepared for when we hit bumpy times in the economy (like $4/gallon gas, which drives prices up all around).  Perhaps, if this view is incorrect, someone will be willing to explain to me why it is so.  But my impression has been that first, people individually are consumed with buying, buying, buying, even when they don’t have the money to buy.   I have friends who, though they grossed over $60,000 a year, were still living paycheck to paycheck because of their deficit spending.  I’ve seen people who, upon receiving their government money, have gone and blown it on new cell phones (that are shut down after two delinquent months), on fancy steack dinners, and so on, instead of buying necessities or saving up what they can.  I’ve seen people struggling with hundreds of thousands of dollars of accumulated debt that came from student loans, house loans, car loans, credit cards, and so on.  This is just what I’ve seen.  What I’ve heard–word of mouth, or in the news, or on blogs–is even worse.

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18 Responses to Obama and the Stimulus Package

  • My personal feeling is that the dollar will die within the next 10-15 years. I just don’t see how it can survive all these pressures of printing and borrowing in order to pay for entitlement programs and foreign interventions.

    If Obama were really interested in rescuing the economy and preserving the nations ‘greatness’ while there is still time he would:

    1.) End our overseas commitments, whose cost is perpetually skyrocketing to the detriment of our blood and treasure; not to mention the liberty of those we are trying to “help”

    2.) Audit the Federal Reserve if you aren’t willing to abolish them. The Fed is a quasi-public/private cartel of banks that has control of our currency via manipulating interest rates. Who the hell are they to arbitrarily decide the price of money? Our fiat currency had been far too politicized, thanks to the removal of any kind of commodity standard. We need to know what the Fed has been up to in total. Its way past time Congress reassert its powers and responsibilities.

    3.) Create a long-term transition away from entitlement programs. It turns out the Great Society ain’t so great. While many people are now dependent on the state to survive, the costs we could save from ending foreign commitments could be moved towards these programs as we slowly close them down over time. Congress should be barred from raiding Social Security/Medicare and Medicaid funds for their pet projects.

    4.) Elimination of the Income Tax. The government could easily put money back in the hands of consumers instantly by simply not taxing the fruit of their labor. There are plenty of other tariffs and taxes that would maintain the size of government at about the level it was in the Clinton years. If you have to institute a consumption tax, fine… but it should eventually be phased out too.

    5.) Secure the border. If the Defense Department really needs something do, why can’t they defend our federal border from rampant illegal immigration? Immigration, particularly of educated individuals is crucial to our society’s resources, but that is a far-cry from the seemingly endless free-for-all occurring on the border with Mexico. If the Mexican government were ever to collapse, the U.S. has to be able to preserve its physical integrity. Entitlement programs in medical care and education that have an effect of subsidizing illegal immigration should be ended.

    6.) Allow the liquidation of assets to occur. If the banking industry, real estate industry, auto industry etc. don’t fail how can we ever rebuild on a better footing? We have to discover the price of their assets by rewarding the people who have saved their money. They are the ones capable of bringing on a genuine recovery and moral redistribution of wealth. What is occurring now is an attempt by the elite and politically-well connected to keep the status-quo afloat at the expense of taxpayers and responsible consumers. This process will undoubtedly be extremely painful. But quick and painful is preferable to slow and painful.

    The fact is for the last few decades we’ve been living in a fantasy world of cheap money, easy credit and an entitlement mentality. Thats NOT what this country was ever supposed to be about. We’re supposed to work towards lifting ourselves up so that the next generation could go even higher. Instead we chose the pleasures of today at the expense of tomorrow.

    We aren’t the first generation to ever act this way. Its something that can be forgiven and reversed if we are willing to endure the consequences of our bad decisions. There’s no easy or popular way out. Its time to freaking man-up and deal with it.

    At least thats the way I see it.

  • I’m usually just a lurker here and love The American Catholic writers and the in depth dialogue here – Thank you. … I can’t help myself in making this point to enough people… I believe the goal of Obama and whoever is behind him is to destroy this country and maybe that just means Democracy but I can’t help think it also includes Christianity.

  • Lee,

    I really hope you’re wrong.

  • I think it is inappropriate to accuse the President of wanting to destroy the country. After listening to similar accusations from Bush-haters for the last eight years, I think those on the right should be especially sensitive to this.

  • I don’t believe that the President intends to destroy this country. I think he sincerely believes that unprecedented deficits that our descendants will never be able to repay, an ever-expanding public sector, and enhanced government regulation are the path to prosperity. Truth to tell I would have more intellectual respect for the President if I believed that he did wish to destroy the country, instead of accepting the fact that he actually believes this snakeoil.

  • Lee,

    I would also caution against spreading that speculation. I’m more in the camp that Obama and his ilk are plunderers (cf Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged), and they simply think they can keep plundering the wealth accrued by our hard-working, industrious citizens indefinitely.

    Part of the problem is that there’s a disconnect between viewpoints on the right and the left. The ideas of how economics work, how to stimulate job growth, how to make sure everyone has his needs met, are so divergent there is simply no middle ground to work with. To this extent, both sides see the other as being completely disassociated with reality. Frankly, I believe most of these people who are willing to plunder our nation–and they are on both sides of the aisle–are the ones who are truly disconnected with reality. The plundering occurs to score political points, and those points continue to put a person in power.

    Now, I don’t really see what Obama gains personally by being president, except that he gets to be the one directing the course of the nation. Now, most people are drawn to one party or another because they believe that party has a particular vision that agrees with their own view (even if that party hasn’t held that vision since 1960). I think Obama truly believes there are huge injustices working in our nation. Ask any Democrat, and you’ll get that kind of response. In some cases, those injustices are completely valid, and Republicans are remiss in failing to address them. In other cases, those injustices are trumped up, or are infantile railing against the natural order of the world. But just because they’re trumped up doesn’t mean that the person advocating fixing those injustices knows it.

    Consider the plight of having extremely wealthy and extremely poor in our nation (though, arguably, our poor are wealthier than most “wealthy” in many third-world nations). Democrats view this disparity as coming from free market economics, a system that plunders the poor for the advantage of the rich. (I’ve argue long and hard with my sister on this point, and she won’t budge an inch on the denunciation of capitalism as personified by the industrial giants of the late nineteenth century.) Republicans view the disparity as being derived from government interference, whose subsidies and favoritism to lobbyists create situations and loopholes that permit the plundering to occur. I believe the disparity comes in part because the free market permits people to get rich by working hard (and often being in the right place at the right time), and permits people to be destitute by not working hard, or having the wrong ideas, or being in the wrong place a the wrong time. But I also believe that governmental interference with the markets by and large has permitted the grossest of injustices to occur. So when I see someone calling for more governmental oversight, more governmental interference, more governmental control, I cringe and feel that the person calling for this is either off his rocker, malevolent, or making power plays.

    But you have to understand, that someone working with that opposite viewpoint things the same about me when I call for deregulation, for tax cuts, for more faith in the market, and so on. When Obama speaks about the “failed policies of the past eight years”, I really think he believes what he says. That doesn’t mean he isn’t flat out wrong, but I think he’s honest about it.

    But I also think he is plunderer, in the sense that he feels the hardest working and most successful have an obligation to subsidize those who aren’t as successful. Now, Catholics believe that a man’s excess wealth should by right be accessible to the poor, but that can be accomplished in more ways than just handing money out. But there’s a big difference between believing there’s an obligation on the part of the rich to help the poor, and believing that a person can only be rich at the expense of the poor, and therefore should have his possessions forcibly confiscated and returned to the “rightful” owners, which I think Obama believes.

    Have no doubt–I believe Obama’s economic policies will do much to ruin our nation. But I also believe he feels he’s doing right. But then, I believe no one willingly does evil. They simply convince themselves that what they want to do is good, and then feel justified in what they do.

    Of course, you could argue that Obama sees the destruction of this nation as a good he is fighting for, but I don’t think there’s much justification for that.

  • “Catholics believe that a man’s excess wealth should by right be accessible to the poor…” – Ryan Harkins

    I disagree. I do not have such a low opinion of Catholics as to believe that Catholics approve of envy, theft, and ingratitude.

  • Micha Elyi,

    Of course Catholics do not approve of envy, theft, and ingratitude. The principle I’m referring to is when a man has more wealth than he needs, and the poor person does not even have the essentials for survival. The right to private property does not outweigh the obligation to work towards the common good, especially when one can deliver needed sustenance to those who would perish without. The Catholic church does not approve of theft, and many of the arguments we tend to have concerning social justice is whether, say, governmental taxation and entitlement programs are thinly disguised theft, or if they are true genuine charity, the option that is least bad for helping the poor.

    The problem that we face is how much wealth one can possess before any more is truly excess, and how little one can possess before it constitutes to a desperate situation that permits the usage of another’s goods in order to survive.

    Context, Micha Elyi, should help resolve what I’ve said with what the Church teaches.

  • This stimulus plan is the old “wrong execution of the right idea”. The
    righy idea being something is needed to “kick start” the economy after a
    brutal loss of confidence. But piling on more debt after execessive debt will
    not work anymore than giving a heroine addict more heroine.

    We must do what Kennedy and Reagan did. Cut Taxes!

  • Ryan,

    The right to private property does not outweigh the obligation to work towards the common good, especially when one can deliver needed sustenance to those who would perish without.

    I think you’re comparing apples to oranges here. It is precisely because we have a right to private property, that we have a moral obligation to work towards the common good.

    The Catholic church does not approve of theft, and many of the arguments we tend to have concerning social justice is whether, say, governmental taxation and entitlement programs are thinly disguised theft, or if they are true genuine charity, the option that is least bad for helping the poor.

    While the state has an obligation to insure the barest needs of the poor are met, even when the state does step in, it is not out of charity in any Catholic sense. The state is incapable of theological virtues as far as I understand it.

    The problem that we face is how much wealth one can possess before any more is truly excess

    In our economy, the excess wealth is that which one keeps in one’s mattress, or uses to buy yachts. Funds invested in the markets, bonds, treasuries etc. is not excess, it is actually “working”, it is providing the needed capital for job creation, manufacturing needed goods, and in fact funding social programs. There is such a thing as excess consumption. The beauty of the fair tax is that it taxes consumption, not wealth.

    and how little one can possess before it constitutes to a desperate situation that permits the usage of another’s goods in order to survive.

    If they have cable TV, DVD, a car, cell phone, MP3 player, etc… then… I submit that their situation is not so desperate.

  • Good post, Matt. I would add that a free society means that one is free to behave selfishly. The miser who shovels wads of money under his mattress and the big spender who buys more houses and yachts than necessary are both guilty of being uncharitable, but that does not give the state the right to take their property away. Characters like Paris Hilton can momentarily make a Marxist out of even me, but then I remember that there have always been rich people who choose to lead selfish and self-serving lives. They will be judged, just as the rest of us will be.

    If charity is forced, it is not a virtue. And you are perfectly right that the state is not in the charity business, but in the business of expanding itself.

  • Donna V.,
    I would add that a free society means that one is free to behave selfishly.

    Quite right, I meant to be suggest that, to the extent that the state is obligated to provide for the common good, that it should be funded from excess consumption rather than by reducing the capital which is the engine of the economy.

  • Matt,

    I think you’re comparing apples to oranges here.

    Hardly at all. The crux of the question is how much wealth is enough, and how much is too much (or excess)? At what point does a person have so little that he has a right to appropriate my property in order to survive? Private property and working towards the common good go hand in hand. The common good upholds the notion of private property (for a variety of reasons, like making our work fruitful, like providing for our individual needs so as not to be a burden on others), but that does not mean that private property is inviolable, either.

    But keep in mind that you’re making way too much out of my statements. I’m not in the slightest an endorser of the massive lot of entitlements the government keeps handing out. What I do endorse is understanding two things. One, we Americans have by far more stuff than we need. Just think of all the things that you could do without (and maybe should, since wealth has this nasty tendency to get between one and God (cf Luke 16)). Two, while investments are good long-term strategies for both making sure one is provided for in old age and providing jobs for people, there are plenty of people who need some short-term solutions just to make it to the long-term solutions. I would hope that these are apparent. The question then is: how do we best help those who truly need an act of charity to make it through the day?

    The Catholic church does not approve of theft, and many of the arguments we tend to have concerning social justice is whether, say, governmental taxation and entitlement programs are thinly disguised theft, or if they are true genuine charity, the option that is least bad for helping the poor.

    While the state has an obligation to insure the barest needs of the poor are met, even when the state does step in, it is not out of charity in any Catholic sense. The state is incapable of theological virtues as far as I understand it.

    Keep in mind I just stated what the dilemma was here, and not a solution. You have proffered an understanding of the government that bars any true charity in governmental acts. I would counter, reluctantly, that the government is made up of people who are capable of charity, and who often enough believe that passing laws to force others to subsidize the needy is the only way to provide aid. But I say reluctantly, because Donna states it correctly when she says: If charity is forced, it is not a virtue. But you have to understand where the supposed charity theoretically lies in the case of the government–it is supposedly (and I say supposedly because too often I feel the government entitlement programs have nothing to do with charity, and everything to do with political power) on the side of the government officials who are wresting the money from one person to another. The absence of charity is, often enough, on the part of the tax-payer, because their tax dollars are an obligatory contribution, not a gift.

    Of course, if we look at charity–the love and willingness to give of oneself for another (even a stranger) because of one’s love for God–then we see that the government official fails in part because the wealth is taken from someone else, not the official. But then, you have to understand that a case could be made that the government official’s giving of herself is the giving of her time and talent to craft those laws that wrest the money from the rich man and redistribute it to the poor.

    Now, if it seems that I’m wishy-washy here, or waffling, or whatever, it is because I’m just writing arguments. I’m not arguing one side or the other; I’m merely presenting other factors to consider. I don’t think my case for the charity of the government worker is at all compelling, but it is an argument that can be made, and to someone in power, is a good justification for enacting massive entitlement programs. (That whole fallen nature thing I’m sure comes into play somewhere around here.)

    If you want my honest opinion, it is that most government entitlement programs enable sloth, breed envy, and in general make the situation worse. The principle of: if you subsidize something, you get more of it is at play. Sometimes love for our neighbors has to be tough love, but the only way to know if that is the case is to be intimately involved with our neighbors.

    Just some things to chew on.

  • Ryan,

    Ryan:The right to private property does not outweigh the obligation to work towards the common good, especially when one can deliver needed sustenance to those who would perish without.

    Matt:I think you’re comparing apples to oranges here.

    Perhaps I’m misreading, but in my understanding you are comparing the right to private property with the moral obligation of that owner to give of his excess to support the poor. The first is a right, the second is an obligation which flows (at least in part from the right), it is not a question of one outweighing the other.

    But keep in mind that you’re making way too much out of my statements. I’m not in the slightest an endorser of the massive lot of entitlements the government keeps handing out.

    I recognize this, just seeking to clarity.

    What I do endorse is understanding two things. One, we Americans have by far more stuff than we need. Just think of all the things that you could do without (and maybe should, since wealth has this nasty tendency to get between one and God (cf Luke 16)).

    Absolutely, and with regard to “stuff” this is exactly the argument in favor of the fair tax, which targets stuff.

    Two, while investments are good long-term strategies for both making sure one is provided for in old age and providing jobs for people, there are plenty of people who need some short-term solutions just to make it to the long-term solutions. I would hope that these are apparent. The question then is: how do we best help those who truly need an act of charity to make it through the day?

    Principally by letting those who have a right to those investments determine what portion ought to go to charity, it would be for God to judge them on their culpability for letting greed interfere, secondarily, by the state acting as an emergency backstop to take by compulsion what it is absolutely necessary (all the better based on consumption rather than income)

    Matt: While the state has an obligation to insure the barest needs of the poor are met, even when the state does step in, it is not out of charity in any Catholic sense. The state is incapable of theological virtues as far as I understand it.

    Ryan: You have proffered an understanding of the government that bars any true charity in governmental acts. I would counter, reluctantly, that the government is made up of people who are capable of charity, and who often enough believe that passing laws to force others to subsidize the needy is the only way to provide aid….The absence of charity is, often enough, on the part of the tax-payer, because their tax dollars arean obligatory contribution, not a gift…a case could be made that the government official’s giving of herself is the giving of her time and talent to craft those laws that wrest the money from the rich man and redistribute it to the poor.

    Excellent! This is the sort of precision I like (I recognize that you aren’t agreeing with these arguments).

    1. government people are capable of charity – absolutely
    2. government people believe that taking from the wealthy to give money to the poor is charitable – absolutely, but they are in complete error on this (the crux of my opposition)
    3. government people are charitable when they give their efforts to taking from the wealthy – they are in error, particularly when they are paid, it increases their power or furthers their ideology. They may be charitable to an extent when they give of themselves as part of their work to aid the poor, and/or they sacrifice potential for private sector wealth by working for government (great distinctions have to be made here, as this may be exceedingly rare).

    My definition of “government people” extends from legislators, to employees of government and non-governmental organizations (as well as those who support such) who’s practice it is to expand the role of government.

    If you want my honest opinion, it is that most government entitlement programs enable sloth, breed envy, and in general make the situation worse. The principle of: if you subsidize something, you get more of it is at play. Sometimes love for our neighbors has to be tough love, but the only way to know if that is the case is to be intimately involved with our neighbors.

    Amen! The amazing thing is that true Charity has a much better impact on the reciever and the sender because it is not seen as an entitlement or taking but a gift of love.

  • Matt,

    Just to clarify:

    Perhaps I’m misreading, but in my understanding you are comparing the right to private property with the moral obligation of that owner to give of his excess to support the poor. The first is a right, the second is an obligation which flows (at least in part from the right), it is not a question of one outweighing the other.

    I’m viewing this more as a weighted scale than a comparison. Our first obligation is to take care our of ourselves, and we are not called to give charitably when doing so harms our ability to survive. But as we accrue more wealth, the possibility of a contribution harming said survivability decreases, and eventually vanishes (save for being stupid about it…). At some point, we have so much (think scales dropping well below the equilibrium point) that we have a graver obligation to use that wealth for the benefit of others than for our own concerns.

    So it really isn’t comparing two unrelated objects (in my mind, anyway), but trying to determine where the tipping point comes, and what should be done when the scales tip.

  • Ryan,

    Our first obligation is to take care our of ourselves [, our families and those we have a special obligation to], and we are not called to give charitably when doing so harms our ability to survive. But as we accrue more wealth, the possibility of a contribution harming said survivability decreases, and eventually vanishes (save for being stupid about it…). At some point, we have so much (think scales dropping well below the equilibrium point) that we have a graver obligation to use that wealth for the benefit of others than for our own concerns.

    Now we’re on the same page, the apples-apples is obligations, to our own vs to others. I agree completely. Of course, using our wealth for the benefit of others is not necessarily direct help for the poor, it can include hiring workers or investing in businesses that do so.

  • using our wealth for the benefit of others is not necessarily direct help for the poor, it can include hiring workers or investing in businesses that do so.

    I might add, that growing our business is not charity, even if it helps others. No matter how many people we help through employment, we have a serious obligation to direct charity.

2 Responses to Bigotry and the "Stimulus" Bill

  • It’s a small thing, I suppose, but it’s symbolic. Does anyone really think there is a pressing danger of too much money being directed towards religious facilities on college campuses? If so, they must have spent time at very different public universities. While many Congressional Democrats would be loathe to admit hostility towards religion publicly, these type of petty efforts to exclude religious Americans suggest such hostility is fairly pervasive in the current Democratic party.

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Money Meets Rathole

Saturday, February 7, AD 2009

moneyrathole

The Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, sometimes called the “Stimulus” bill, looks like it might pass the Senate.  The amount of money we are about to saddle upon our grandchildren, if not our great-grandchildren, to attempt to pay back, may be as little as $780,000,000,000.  For the sake of comparison,  here is a list of how much other monumental undertakings in our nation’s history cost, adjusted for inflation.  Between the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009 and the Great Bailout Swindle of 2008, our government will be allocating funds in less than six months that represent one-third the inflation adjusted cost of the US expenditures in WW2 over three years and eight months.  This is fiscal lunacy on a cosmic scale and future generations will wonder at our abysmal folly.

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Viewing the Stimulus Package, Part A

Friday, February 6, AD 2009

I decided to find out for myself what is in the Stimulus Package being debated. The version I’ve looked at is the version the House passed, and I can’t image the Senate version looks much better. Here is the results of Division A (the first 250 pages or so).

Things this package will not be used for: casinos and other gambling establishments, aquariums, zoos, golf courses, or swimming pools; any public work (airports, bridges, canals, dams, dikes, pipelines, railroads, mass transit, roads, etc) that does not purchase all iron and steel from within the U.S. (unless there simply isn’t enough iron available, or buying locally increases cost by 25% or more, or it is “in the best interest of the public” to buy abroad).

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7 Responses to Viewing the Stimulus Package, Part A

  • I love this last note:

    none of this assistance is to be used to fund students going to private elementary or secondary schools.

    Why should the government help lower income students to succeed by going to private schools, let them pay for it all out of pocket like the rich do!

  • I find it simultaneously hilarious and deeply saddening that the government is spending $650 million dollars on analog-to-digital converters for televisions.

  • Zach: The $650 million is much less than the proceeds that the govt is getting for selling the analog spectrum that is being freed up.

  • Jeremy correct, I’m still not sure it means that it should send it to people as it is. Anyway, it is most certainly not “stimulus”.

  • $14 billion for school modernization and repair – – Not sure if you are aware, but this $14 billion comes with the caveat that any school using these funds are PROHIBITED from allowing religious/pray gatherings at any of their school facilities. i.e. Bible studies and Christian Clubs would most likely be dissolved at those schools.

    ACLU couldnt resist getting their two cents in

  • Dallas,

    Just viewed your blog and I’m impressed.

    I grew up on Kauai and I’m a 1984 graduate of St. Theresa School in Kekaha (http://custosfidei.blogspot.com/2007/08/st-theresa-church-in-kekaha-hawaii.html).

    I noticed you and your group went on a retreat to our rival parish, Holy Cross in Kalaheo. They used to have a school there. I pray someday that they will start up the school again. It’s pretty lonely on the westside being the only Catholic school.

    Keep up your great apostolate!

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

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6 Responses to Defining a "Stimulus Package"

  • Also, one can’t help thinking that making promises to spend vast amounts of money _later_ will have the dual effect of not helping the economy now and making our debt load even worse.

    It’s ironic that just when the Bush administration (and the 2000-2006 GOP led congress) went on such a spending spree as to seemingly remove one of the GOP’s most popular issues (fiscal responsibility) the Obama administration and democratic congress should immediately go so far overboard with incurring more debt as to make it possible that in 2-4 years the GOP will come back with a, “These guys inherited a recession and took it as a license to spend money they didn’t have. Would you do that?” campaign.

  • What part of the word “pork” is difficult to understand? Only a small portion of this fire-hose of pork will create jobs, most of it is simply a massive expansion of the federal government. Anyone who thinks these spending levels are temporary is insane. This is like drugs, once cities, states and special interest groups get a taste of federal “crack” they will never give it up.

    Before anyone asks… yes, I am completely critical of the Bush administration’s expansion of federal spending.

  • This Wall Street Journal editorial is right on target: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123310466514522309.html

    As a boomer I agree with Victor Davis Hanson:

    “If anyone wished to know what the baby-boomer generation would do when, in its full maturity, it hit its first self-created, big-time recession, I think we are seeing the hysterical results. After two decades of unprecedented economic growth, rampant consumer spending, and unimaginable borrowing to satisfy our insatiable appetites, we are suddenly going into even larger debt and printing trillions of dollars in paper money to ensure that someone else after we are gone pays the debt. As if the permanent solution to a financial panic and years of spending wealth we didn’t create were a government take-over of the economy in the manner we currently witness in Spain, Italy, and Greece—or the high-tax, high-spend ethos of a bankrupt California.”
    http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZGRjZTJiZjlkN2UxMDEyYTkwZmIxMzc3YjYyZWU5OWM=

    The Great Bailout Swindle of 2008 is being followed by the Great Bailout Swindle of 2009. This is economic lunacy, and our great grandchildren will still be trying to repair the damage caused by this drunken sailor approach to public spending embraced by both parties.

  • Contra President Clinton, I think that the era of small government is over. It’s good to see that now that the GOP has been routed into being an almost significant minority it has rediscovered its fiscal sanity, but it’s a little too little, too late, for the party and for the country.

  • @ tito

    Tito I asked you a simple question about what you believe about excorcism please answer it to the best of your ability. To leave links that I may or may not understand is wrong. My question to you is really very simple please answer it on the thread over at unreasonble faith. Thank you mark.

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