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Posts Tagged ‘Stimulus Package’

Crooks & Liars- By Heather Monday Jun 21, 2010 7:00am

Chickenhawk Cheney Mini-Me Liz and her buddy Bloody I’m-never-right-about-anything-Bill Kristol are asked about the jobs and stimulus package that was blocked in the Senate when Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson voted with the Republicans to kill it. Of course Cheney and Kristol use the opportunity to fear monger over the deficit and to repeat the lie that Americans’ primary concern is the size of the debt rather than the economy and jobs.

As Juan Williams correctly tried to point out, that is not what most Americans are concerned about. Digby has more on how these deficit fetishists in our print media and not just Fox are pushing the same meme.

Replaying the game of 2003:

Ben Somberg catches the Washington Post publishing lazy, nonfactual reporting. Again:

If Congress doesn’t provide additional stimulus spending, economists inside and outside the administration warn that the nation risks a prolonged period of high unemployment or, more frightening, a descent back into recession. But a competing threat — the exploding federal budget deficit — seems to be resonating more powerfully in Congress and among voters.

Somberg writes:

[I]s this notion supported by what the polling actually says? No. Not even close.

A Pew Research / National Journal poll from early June asked “Which of the following national economic issues worries you most?” Number one was “job situation” with 41%. “Federal budget deficit” got 23%.

An NBC / Wall Street Journal poll from early May asked “Please tell me which one of these items you think should be the top priority for the federal government.” Sure enough, “job creation and economic growth” won with 35%. “The deficit and government spending” got 20%.

A Fox News poll also in early May got even more dramatic results. “Economy and jobs” topped the priority list with 47%, while “deficit, spending” garnered only 15%.

A CBS / NYT poll in early April found 27% prioritizing “jobs”, 27% the “economy” and 5% prioritizing “budget deficit/national debt.”

The only recent poll that gives the slightest hint of support for the Post’s thesis is the USA Today / Gallup poll from late May (not even their newest). Participants were asked “How serious a threat to the future well-being of the United States do you consider each of the following.” For “federal government debt”, 40% said extremely serious, 39% very serious, and 15% somewhat serious. For “unemployment”, 33% said extremely serious, 50% said very serious, and 15% said somewhat serious. If you use only the “extremely serious” numbers, you get 7% more for the debt. Greg Marx at CJR makes the case that this poll, nevermind its headline, should not be read as some sort of overwhelming evidence of a shifted public view.

And in fact a newer Gallup poll, from a week ago, asking “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?” finds the economy and jobs on top. “Economy in general” gets 28%, “Unemployment/Jobs” gets 21%, and “Federal budget deficit” gets 7%.

I don’t know where this reporter got this information, but it is wrong and it requires a correction. The public is NOT more upset by the deficit than unemployment and to the extent they are upset about the deficit at all, it comes from the Big Lie that the deficit is responsible for the economic problems we face.

I have a fairly clear idea about why the powers that be are pushing this line, but why the press is doing it is another question. Just as they slanted their news and analysis in the run-up to the Iraq war, they are doing the same thing with respect to this deficit fetish. Read on…

There’s little doubt why anyone at Fox would be pushing this. They’re in the same camp with the Alan Simpson’s of the world that would rather destroy Social Security than see taxes raised on the rich. And of course good little war mongers like Cheney and Kristol would rather see our social safety nets destroyed rather than one penny being taken away from the military industrial complex.

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It seems like just yesterday that Republicans, wingnuts and teabaggers suffered a collective schizoid embolism over the passage and signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

One year ago today, the president signed the bill amidst protestations from Fox News, talk radio and Rick Santelli about how the “porkulus” spending bill wouldn’t work — how it wouldn’t stimulate economic growth or create jobs. It was called generational theft, socialism, communism, Nazism and any other -ism that could be quickly plucked from the glossary of Glenn Beck’s fifth grade social studies textbook.

Nearly all Republican members of Congress voted against it — the first shot in their “trash and cash” strategy whereby they screech about the evil stimulus and how it’s an unmitigated catastrophe, while also gleefully celebrating the incoming cash in their districts, scores of Republican lawmakers outright begging various cabinet-level agencies for stimulus grant money. In all, 111 members of Congress have engaged in this hypocrisy. One of many reasons why they’re consistent only in their unapologetic self-contradictions.

And, at the end of the day, they can get away with it because of annoyingly common misconceptions about the bill. Chief among these misconceptions is the mixing up of the stimulus and the bailout. A recent CNN poll shows that only 25 percent of Americans think the stimulus helped the middle class, while a majority think it helped bankers. Of course the stimulus had nothing to do with bankers.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland: “It’s possible that the belief that the stimulus bill helped bankers and CEOs is due to the public confusing the stimulus bill with the various bailout bills that were passed at roughly the same time last year.”

So let’s clear this up.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is “the stimulus.” Those signs you see along the highway just before driving onto super-smooth new asphalt? That’s the stimulus. The recovery act. When you hear “stimulus,” it references this $787 billion spending bill, and it contains the following key provisions.

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Billions Dished Out in the Shadows

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Robert Scheer | Truthdig | March 3, 2009

This is crazy! Forget the bleating of Rush Limbaugh; the problem is not with the quite reasonable and, if anything, underfunded stimulus package, which in any case will be debated long and hard in Congress. The problem is with what is not being debated: the far more expensive Wall Street bailout that is being pushed through—as in the case of the latest AIG rescue—in secret, hurried deal-making primarily by the unelected secretary of the treasury and the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

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Fed Refuses to Release Bank Lending Data, Insists on Secrecy, Says it Isn’t Subject to FOIA Law

cryptogon.com | Thursday, March 5, 2009

HA. Bloomberg is trying to apply FOIA to the Federal Reserve. Well, to those of you who still believe that the Fed is part of the U.S. Government, pay close attention:

The Board of Governors contends that it’s separate from its member banks, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which runs the lending programs. Most documents relevant to the Bloomberg suit are at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which the Fed contends isn’t subject to FOIA law. The Board of Governors has 231 pages of documents, which it is denying access to under an exemption under trade secrets.

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Obama: Tax Cuts Will Be Felt By April 1 (VIDEO)

AP |  LIZ SIDOTI   |   February 21, 2009 08:26 AM

WASHINGTON — The notoriously slow Congress passed the $787 billion economic stimulus package in a matter of weeks. President Barack Obama signed it into law less than one month into his presidency.

So, just how soon will Americans start reaping the benefits of tax cuts in it?

By April 1, according to the president.

“Never before in our history has a tax cut taken effect faster or gone to so many hardworking Americans,” Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.

He said the Treasury Department has begun directing employers to reduce the amount of taxes withheld from people’s paychecks in accordance with the new law, and that in six weeks, a typical family will start taking home at least $65 more every month.

Obama says his signature “Making Work Pay” tax break will affect 95 percent of working families.

The $400 credit for individuals is to be doled out through the rest of the year. Couples are slated to get up to $800. Most workers are to see about a $13 per week increase in their take-home pay. In 2010, the credit would be about $7.70 a week, if it is spread over the entire year.

MORE HERE

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Economists Agree Time Is of the Essence for Stimulus

Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 8, 2009; Page A01

With Congress moving closer to adopting a $820 billion stimulus package and the Obama administration poised to unveil a new bank bailout plan, economists say that the federal government is taking its biggest role in the economy in a generation.

States that once aspired to blaze trails independent from Washington are turning to it for money, banks and businesses that once decried regulation now are seeking federal capital, grants or tax cuts and individuals are looking for tax relief.

“This is a seismic shift in the role of government in our society,” said Allen Sinai, chief global economist for Decision Economics. “Those who believe the government can be an effective, positive instrument for good will have another chance to try it,” said Sinai, a political independent.

While economists remain divided on the role of government generally, an overwhelming number from both parties are saying that a government stimulus package — even a flawed one — is urgently needed to help prevent a steeper slide in the economy.

Many economists say the precise size and shape of the package developing in Congress matter less than the timing, and that any delay is damaging.

MORE HERE

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Republicans Clearly Are Willing to Let This Country Collapse if They Think it Will Win Them Elections

By Doug Kreeger, AlterNet. Posted February 4, 2009.

It is abundantly clear that the Republican leaders are going to do everything to prevent Obama and the Dems from doing anything constructive.

Last week, we witnessed how the Republicans will help serve this country in the worst crisis since the Great Depression.

By standing together in opposition to the stimulus package, they showed the world that they haven’t at all joined the momentum of the new administration, rather they are still playing politics and are focused on the 2010 elections. Their objections to the stimulus have nothing to do with trying to solve this crisis.

I was always struck during the Bush Error (otherwise known as Era), that the axis of evil title was slapped onto any entity not aligned with their inane response to any issue they faced. Whether it was Iraq or Hurricane Katrina, time and time again we were expected to take their word through blind faith and or outright deceit.

Now the remaining cronies have sunk to an unthinkable new low. It is abundantly clear that the Republican leaders are going to do everything to prevent anything constructive from happening. They will be sure our damaged nation does not get fixed on Barack Obama’s watch, the public be damned.

Last week, Obama’s plans were debated in Congress. His goal of creating 2 million to 3 million jobs in the next two years through a massive rebuilding program of our crumbling infrastructure, was countered by the Republicans’ revised stimulus plan. Their plan was not detailed beyond more tax cuts.

Here’s the catch: The Republicans said their plan would create 6 million jobs. Really. Remember “Mission Accomplished”? Just saying something doesn’t make it true.

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Stimulus Package Passes With Zero Republican Support

Huffington Post- Ryan Grim

January 28, 2009 07:22 PM

A nearly $820 billion stimulus package passed the House of Representatives Wednesday without a single Republican vote. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it stands a better chance of picking up at least a modicum of bipartisan support.

Approval of the bill is a victory for President Barack Obama and comes only eight days after his inauguration — the swiftest passage of such a massive package in American history. The vote was 244-188, with 11 Democrats crossing party lines and opposing the measure.

Obama ventured to Capitol Hill on Tuesday and met separately with House and Senate Republicans in hopes of garnering their support. He invited roughly a dozen GOP moderates to the White House Tuesday evening for an extended discussion — and cookies and soda — with chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. And before Wednesday’s vote, six House Republicans, five Senate Republicans and an equal number of Democrats gathered for a White House meeting.

Obama also persuaded House Democrats to remove provisions related to family-planning from the stimulus and — over the objections of many Democrats — inserted large tax cuts for businesses that Republicans wanted.

None of it was enough.

MORE HERE

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