Saturday, January 26, 2008

Stimulus Deal: the Bane of Bipartisanship

Tom Paine

By Robert Borosage

January 25th, 2008

Barbara Ehrenreich memorably called the talk about the stimulus "clitoral economics." And that was before we got screwed.

The stimulus deal just announced is being praised more for its existence than its content. Much lamented partisan bickering was overcome; bipartisan cooperation that got it done. With Wall Street bankers in panic, better something than nothing. So the parties came together and split the difference and created an agreement (which still has to survive the minefield called the U.S. Senate).

It's worth taking a look under the hood. Despite approval ratings rivaling those of Idi Amin, President Bush set the terms: Tax cuts only. No spending on public works (that is, nothing for stuff we need that actually puts people to work). No increase in food stamps. No strengthening of our tattered unemployment system. (That is, no money to those who we know will spend it on basic needs). Must include a big package of business tax breaks (tax write-offs for investments that would be made anyway, according to any reputable economic study). No money for states that are about to be forced to cut billions to balance their budgets, largely by cutting education and Medicaid spending and deferring basic infrastructure spending. (Remember the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis or the sewage valve that shut down lower Manhattan?)

Democrats, despite having the majority in both Houses, accepted those terms. They demanded, sensibly enough, that the tax cuts include 45 million in low-income families that the president would have excluded. They demanded the president take extending his tax cuts beyond 2010 off the table. They got some help for imperiled homeowners through the Federal Housing Authority and Fannie Mae.

So only $40 billion of the $150 billion package gets squandered on business tax boondoggles. The rebates — what Jesse Jackson calls Wal-Mart gift certificates — will get handed out by August at best. It might help a bit, although if the economy is still in bad shape in August, people are more likely to be paying down credit-card debt than buying a new TV made in China.



  1. The time to have stopped this crisis was when banks were handing out mortgages like Halloween candy.

  2. The NWO banksters are having a good ol' time with this.

    Contracting the fiat money supply to experiment with gold?

    Why shouldn't they? They're using the gold they stole from us during the last Depression!

  3. Here's some stuff right off of Bu$hco's own web site. There was also the "Healthy Forest's Iniative" so Oregon could furnish plenty of lumber for the housing industry, all of which artifially boosted US economy

    Expanding Homeownership

    # Expanding Homeownership. The President believes that homeownership is the cornerstone of America's vibrant communities and benefits individual families by building stability and long-term financial security. In June 2002, President Bush issued America's Homeownership Challenge to the real estate and mortgage finance industries to encourage them to join the effort to close the gap that exists between the homeownership rates of minorities and non-minorities. The President also announced the goal of increasing the number of minority homeowners by at least 5.5 million families before the end of the decade. Under his leadership, the overall U.S. homeownership rate in the second quarter of 2004 was at an all time high of 69.2 percent. Minority homeownership set a new record of 51 percent in the second quarter, up 0.2 percentage point from the first quarter and up 2.1 percentage points from a year ago. President Bush's initiative to dismantle the barriers to homeownership includes:

    * American Dream Downpayment Initiative, which provides down payment assistance to approximately 40,000 low-income families;
    * Affordable Housing. The President has proposed the Single-Family Affordable Housing Tax Credit, which would increase the supply of affordable homes;
    * Helping Families Help Themselves. The President has proposed increasing support for the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunities Program; and
    * Simplifying Homebuying and Increasing Education. The President and HUD want to empower homebuyers by simplifying the home buying process so consumers can better understand and benefit from cost savings. The President also wants to expand financial education efforts so that families can understand what they need to do to become homeowners.

    Is it time to break out the torches and pitchforks yet? G: