Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stimulating The Economy

Many, but not all, callers to News Talk Online on today support President Obama's $825 billion stimulus plans. But even those in favor of it offered some caveats.

Jeff from Oregon says he likes any plan that creates new jobs.

Chris in Germany says the plan is necessary "to get everything rolling."

Rachel in Louisiana wants a stimulus package approved by Congress. But she wants accountability. "Let's see where the money is going," she says. Rachel believes the public has the right to know "which cities, states and bridges are going to be rebuilt."

Bahane in California says, everyday, there are additional layoffs announced. She says there must be oversight to make sure the money really is used to create jobs.

Silvia in Argentina says it will take time to turn the economy around. She says the president is offering both long and short term solutions and says that this dual approach is necessary to address the problem.

Gary in South Carolina is concerned that Obama's plans to withdraw from Iraq underway will actually hurt the economy with an elimination of defense industry jobs. But political correspondent Alan Jasie says there are no indications, at this point at least, that the defense budget is going to be cut.

Cassandra in the UK says the stimulus plan, like the one that the Brown administration is pursuing in her nation, makes little sense. She notes that when an individual is in debt he or she is told to cut back. Why, she asks, doesn't this apply to governments. You can't, she concludes, "spend yourself out of debt."

Scott in Kansas is in agreement with Cassandra. He believes that "the economic package is like putting kerosene on a fire." Scott wants the free market system to be left alone to find its own level, but at a price. "Let these companies in debt," he says, "be liquidated."

Finally, Millis in Ohio believes the economic crisis was "created by globalization" so a U.S. only approach could be ineffective.


tkevinwhite said...

i support President Obama's $825 billion stimulus plan i just hope both sides agree to it

Anonymous said...

Just more pork spending. What a shock.

Scott from KC said...

I see the same partisan bickering is taking place in the new congress. The stimulus package passed the House but without the benefit of a single republican vote. Why was a bail out package presented under a Republican President able to pass with bi partisan support and didn't work but a similar proposal under a democrat President that at least will have accountability of where the moneys spent receive no republican votes at all. It seems not much has changed in DC.

Anonymous said...

Finally, late yesterday, in what is his first legislative victory, the House of Representatives approved President Obama's economic stimulus plan, but only with votes of Democrats. Every Republican voted against it after trying to offer an alternative plan which contained more tax cuts and less spending. But that was rejected by the Democrats.

Obama had hoped to gain some Republican support for the $819 billion dollar plan, down from an original $825 billion. That figure includes $544 billion in direct federal spending for infrastructure repairs, social programs and energy projects and $275 billion in tax cuts for small businesses and workers.

The package contains both short and long term measures and provides oversight of the money granted.

Meanwhile, the Fed decided to keep the prime interest rate to almost 0 percent, resulting in positive reaction on Wall Street and offering hope that low interest mortgages will be offered to get the economy moving again.

Obama said the stimulus plan will created 3 million jobs in two years. The plan is to balance expenses with tax cuts with the creation of new credit lines to gain the confidence of the middle class which can have great impact on the economy.

Meanwhile, worldwide, the unemployment rate is 7.2 percent. Large companies like Caterpillar, Sprint, Philips, Texas Instruments, ING, Microsoft, GM, Home Depot, AT&T and Starbucks have laid off 100s of thousands of employees. Meanwhile, the International Labor Organization of the United Nations predicts that there could be as many as 230 million people globally without jobs by the end of the year. It is calling for major corporations around the world to impose a moratorium on layoffs.

For now, the world holds its collective breath, waiting to see how the markets and companies react.

Obama's plan is an ambitious one. But it contains both possible short and long term solutions. We have to be patient. We probably won't see any positive results for at least six months. In the meantime, I give the president credit for taking such bold action.


Anonymous said...

I agree that the economic crisis should encourage people to not respond just along partisan lines, and it's sad if that is the case. The responsibility also lies with the leader of the governing party to ensure that they have not made unilateral decisions that could alienate the other party, but has gone through a process of discussion and consultation.
However, that is probably a 'pipe dream', and our leaders are probably mature enough to set aside their own egos and think about WE, the people.

Anonymous said...

Democrats are blasting House Republican leaders for pressing their conference to vote against the stimulus bill and warn the party that it will face political consequences.

In a memo on the “Republican Problem” to “interested parties” that was e-mailed to reporters on Thursday morning, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) charged Republicans with acting in a “partisan and irresponsible manner.”

By voting against the $819 billion stimulus package, spokesman Brendan Daly said Republicans were rejecting tax cuts, jobs in their communities and critical services such as health care. He also rejected arguments that a Republican alternative bill focused on additional tax cuts would have created more jobs.

Republicans say their bill would have created 6 million jobs, while Democrats count 3 million jobs created from the package approved by the House.

Daly all but explicitly said Republicans were playing politics on the bill against a Democratic Congress and president, noting that in 1993, the last time a Republican minority faced a Democratic majority and president, they voted against a budget bill en masse.

“There’s a pattern here of Republican economic mismanagement and Democrats stepping up to do what’s needed for the good of the country while Republicans acted in a partisan and irresponsible manner,” Daly wrote.

President Obama, who on Tuesday had visited House Republicans on Capitol Hill to court support, said he was “grateful” for House passage in a statement released by the White House on Wednesday evening. The statement did not mention the fact that not a single Republican voted for the bill.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, however, echoed Daly in comments to The Washington Post. Gibbs said there would be people “in districts all over the country that will wonder why, when there’s a good bill to get the economy moving again, while we still seem to be playing political gotcha.”

House Republicans could have another crack at the bill. The House legislation contains key differences with legislation moving through the Senate, including the Senate’s inclusion of a one-year patch of the alternative minimum tax meant to prevent taxes on the middle class from rising.

As a result, Republicans voting against a stimulus bill backed by a popular new president could later vote in favor of a stimulus conference report, and argue to their constituents that by first voting no, they had forced Democrats to make key concessions.

In the run-up to the vote, Republicans focused on process, arguing that Pelosi and Democrats have not listened to their ideas and locked them out in creating the bill. They also called on Obama to get Pelosi to listen to them.

Obama and Democrats did make two high-profile changes to the bill in committee the night before the vote. They stripped a $200 million provision for sodding the National Mall, and a similarly priced measure funding contraceptives. Both had been heavily criticized by Republicans.

Republicans also criticized the size of the bill and the nature of spending in comments during Wednesday’s debate and in statements released after the vote. Eleven Democrats joined Republicans in voting against the stimulus bill.

In the Senate, the stimulus has gained more GOP support. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) voted for the portions of the stimulus marked-up by the Finance panel, while four Republicans supported the stimulus bill in the Appropriations panel, Sens. Thad Cochran (Miss.), Arlen Specter (Pa.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Kit Bond (Mo.).