American Bailout: $1 Million A Day For 2,260 Years

My fellow Americans, details are emerging for the second economic stimulus plan endorsed by President Obama, and the majority of members of the United States Congress.  From the sounds of it, this economic stimulus plan will dwarf the costs of the first stimulus plan, and the first bailout, combined!

This time around the plan calls for massive government spending–to the tune of $825,000,000,000.  Yes, that is a lot of zeroes–almost one trillion dollars!  In fact, the figure has so many zeroes that it is hard for us to wrap our brains around just how much money that represents. Consider the following example.

If our government spent one million dollars a day, every single day, it would take 2,260 years to spend $825 billion.  That’s right; 2,260 years!  If the bailout reaches $1 trillion it will be more like 2,740 years.  So not only will our children and grandchildren be paying for this so-called stimulus bill, but our future generations will be paying for this bill for decades.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it is right to leave our children with the burden of cleaning up our own mess–even if that means our lives will get a little tougher in the near term.

To suggest this new stimulus plan should be scrapped altogether is politically unpopular.  After all, many out there believe we have already suffered enough.  And it is true that many really have suffered in the form of lay offs, foreclosures and other forms of financial hardships.  I get that.

However, at some point I think we need to ask ourselves what the objective is here.  Is it an attempt to spend ourselves out of a recession?  Is it an attempt to nationalize more industry and a good portion of the labor force?  Is it a short-term solution that will cause more long term harm?  Political parties will likely clash over the details of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009.

It is the details that many average citizens are unaware of, and should be more highly publicized.  Whether or not you agree with the cause, I think you will find the obligated amounts staggering.  Here are a few examples:

  • Job Corps Facilities: $300 million to upgrade job training facilities serving at-risk youth while improving energy efficiency.
  • Education for the 21st Century: $41 billion to local school districts through Title I ($13 billion), IDEA ($13 billion), a new School Modernization and Repair Program ($14 billion), and the Education Technology program ($1 billion).
  • Transform our Economy with Science and Technology:  $6 billion to expand broadband internet access so businesses in rural and other underserved areas can link up to the global economy.
  • National Treasures: $400 million, including $200 million to address the deterioration of the National Mall, such as repair of the Jefferson Memorial’s collapsing Tidal Basin walls; $150 million to address the repair backlog at the Smithsonian; and $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Smart Appliances: $300 million to provide consumers with rebates for buying energy efficient Energy Star products to replace old appliances, which will lower energy bills.
  • Clean, Efficient, American Energy: $6 billion to weatherize modest-income homes.
  • Pell Grants: $15.6 billion to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $500, from $4,850 to $5,350
  • College Work-Study: $490 million to support undergraduate and graduate students who work.

Frightening.  They toss around amounts like “millions” and “billions” as if they are trivial expenditures.  Where will this money come from?  If we raise taxes, what will be the effect on new business and entrepreneurship in this country?  If we don’t raise taxes, and instead continue the trend of deficit spending, what will happen to value of our currency over the long term?  I recognize I am a simple guy, but I don’t get the feeling these things have been properly analyzed in the interest of quickly pushing through a massive spending bill.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers.  Just as none of us are solely responsible for the current recession, none of us could single-handedly solve the economic ills of today.  However, what we can do is demand more fiscal restraint from our elected officials.  If you and I spent money at this same rate when we were already in debt we would go bankrupt.  Unfortunately, those same rules don’t apply to government.  Or, maybe they do.  I guess time will tell.  The problem is, we won’t be the ones to suffer for our national spending spree, that will be left to the generations who come after us.

Comments

  1. I’m all for spending for the future. Doing things like upgrading our woefully out of date power grid and encouraging renewable energy, as well as investing in education, are things that will help us all in the long run.

    What really irks me is not the current stimulus bill. Rather, the fact that we have spent around $7 trillion so far on economic stimulus efforts (since December 2007) — the bulk of which has gone to shoring up big banks and large companies in the hope that the benefits will “trickle down” to the rest of us. Honestly, we could have used that $7 trillion to give a very large payout to every U.S. household. THAT would have allowed people to avoid foreclosure, get out of debt, do some consumer spending. We’d still have to pay it back with interest, but at least we would have directly benefited. Our political leaders are going to spend the money. It would be nice if they didn’t, but they will. They should have given it directly to us.

  2. I totally agree with your shock at this number—it’s really remarkable.

    But the way I see it, this is stuff that we would need to spend on anyway. The problem is that spending it all at once and paying for it all in one lump sum is a big deal.

    Maybe it’ll have the desired effect in the short term, and maybe it won’t. But as long as the long-term stuff works out (upgrading our infrastructure, becoming greener, etc.), than I’m OK with it.

    As for the deficit, that’ll be a problem for another day… I know that sounds irresponsible coming from a PF guy, but can you imagine if we had a week or a month like we had on Monday when so many people lost their jobs?

  3. OMG! I TOTALLY agree 110% with you on this. Great post. I did not think the numbers were correct. I worked it out myself. I can’t believe it.

    I do have kids and it is scary the impact it will have not only on them but way down on the family tree.

  4. If we round it off so we have 300,000,000 people in this county, what is the break down?

    Job Corps Facilities: $300 million to upgrade job training facilities serving at-risk youth while improving energy efficiency. $1/person

    Education for the 21st Century: $41 billion to local school districts through Title I ($13 billion), IDEA ($13 billion), a new School Modernization and Repair Program ($14 billion), and the Education Technology program ($1 billion). $137/person

    Transform our Economy with Science and Technology: $6 billion to expand broadband internet access so businesses in rural and other underserved areas can link up to the global economy. $20/person

    National Treasures: $400 million, including $200 million to address the deterioration of the National Mall, such as repair of the Jefferson Memorial’s collapsing Tidal Basin walls; $150 million to address the repair backlog at the Smithsonian; and $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. $1.34/person

    Smart Appliances: $300 million to provide consumers with rebates for buying energy efficient Energy Star products to replace old appliances, which will lower energy bills.
    $1/person

    Clean, Efficient, American Energy: $6 billion to weatherize modest-income homes. $20/person

    Pell Grants: $15.6 billion to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $500, from $4,850 to $5,350
    $52/person

    College Work-Study: $490 million to support undergraduate and graduate students who work.
    $1.63/person

    total $234/person
    not every person works/pays taxes, i seem to remember seeing somewhere that only 1/3 the population pays taxes so that would make it $702, hey is that close to what they gave us back last summer?
    Is this a one time cost, or does it keep going year after year?

  5. I’m with Dave on this one. Investing long-term in education, energy efficiency and preserve national treasures? I can get behind that.

    Mailing out stimulus checks with instructions to “go spend money” crazed me. And I agree that there will be unforeseen consequences to the spending spree.

    But at least I can feel good about the programs and be hopeful that some of those unforeseen consequences are positive – like the results from having a better trained workforce.

  6. @Fern: I guess my fiscal conservative feelings kick in here and I would say that everything not related to infrastructure or national defense should be stripped from this bill. It is not the role of the federal government to hand out rebates to consumers to upgrade appliances. It is not the role of the federal government to provide after school dinners to children. That’s what it is lost in a lot of this. I picked a few bloated examples for the article, but there are pages and pages of “pork” amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars in the bill.

    @Miranda: Agree that “spending for the future” is a noble idea, but if we don’t have the money to do so we cannot spend! Why is this such a difficult concept for Congress to grasp? If we were sitting on a huge surplus it might be different. But we are not. We are fighting a war on two fronts and dealing with a deep recession. We cannot spend our way out.

    Many of these programs are good ideas, and if states, or local municipalities want to raise local/state taxes to pay for these programs then I say have at it. But I maintain that many of these programs have no business in a federal spending plan.

  7. It makes me angry when I think about how my son will be paying the price for these bailouts in the end. I thought the first bailout was a joke (the stimulus checks). What government is crazy enough to just hand out spending money to people, and it turns out most people just saved it or paid off debt with it (me included). At least with this stimulus bill, we are investing in something.

    I am sure it will be still loaded with “ear marks” and the such. You can’t change Washington.

  8. I was thinking about this exact subject on my commute to work this morning. This “economic stimulus” isn’t money we HAVE… it’s DEBT. I’m trying to eliminate my personal debt so I can be free.
    Meanwhile, the goverment -against my will!- is putting me, my children, my grandchildren, etc into VAST, INCOMPREHENSIBLE amounts of debt.
    We will have to pay that back somehow.
    Putting me into debt against my will equals slavery. I (my children, my grandchildren) will have to work and pay taxes FOREVER to pay this debt- and I have ZERO say in the matter. Yep… in my book that makes me and my kids SLAVES.

  9. Our posterity is going to struggle to cope with more than just our fiscal irresponsibility. They’re also going to suffer from the results of our CO2 output: droughts, crop failures, extinctions, and global climate weirding in general. They’ll suffer from the reduced effectiveness of antibiotics because we’re breeding super bugs in the guts of feedlot beef. And they’ll suffer from the ruin we are wreaking on the environment with all manner of toxins and habitat destruction.

    And unfortunately, we seem to want the government and the scientific community to come up with some techno-magical solution to these problems that will let us carry on with our excessive, toxic consumption lifestyles. Just as we want the government to fix the economic mess we’ve gotten ourselves into with bigger houses than we need, more credit card debt than we can handle, and the musical-chairs real estate flipping game that so many people played to fund their consumer lifestyles. In reality, we are ALL making the decisions -every hour of every day- that our children, and our grandchildren are going to pay for. These are decisions about how often and how far we drive, what and how we eat, how high we “have to” set our thermostats, how many disposable items we use once and throw “away,” and how many toxic chemicals we dump on our pretty green lawns. We just aren’t willing to face the costs – to others – of our lifestyle choices.

    So it doesn’t surprise me that we as a people have a government taking this approach to a collective problem. It’s easy to point fingers. It’s much harder to be the change you want to see in the world.

  10. I also just wrote about the potential of a new tax credit for first-time homebuyers ($20,000) that may be included in this stimulus.

    I agree that the number seems over-powering and not everyone would benefit from every aspect of the proposed bill.

    My biggest concern is accountability. If it passes, will the money actually be used for its intended purpose?

    Stupidly Yours,

    Matt

  11. I disagree with the outrage. This is money that should be speant, in places that deserve it. Useful jobs will be created.

    Where was the outrage at the LAST bailout? Where is the outrage at the war that costs $10 billion a month? My writing focuses on these. Focus your energy where it belongs.

    I’m with stupidmatt, this is about accountability.

  12. Government exists to grow, never shrink. These new spending programs will cost more and more to keep them in place. We have lost the idea of 50 separate states responsible for their citizens and a federal government with only the duties defined in the constitution.

    GOVERNMENT: From the Latin gubernare, and the Greek kubernan, meaning “to control”
    and from Latin mente, meaning “mind”
    Government = The Control of The Mind

    What if government wouldn’t spend the money and the people got to keep it to spend as they saw fit? Of course, that would require HR members like Ron Paul and the vusinesses interests that control our federal and state governments would never allow that.

  13. @The Weaknonomist: “Where was the outrage at the LAST bailout?” I was outraged over that bailout as well–as I was with the first round of stimulus payments.

    “This is money that should be speant, in places that deserve it. Useful jobs will be created.” I doubt many jobs will be created from the bulk of this bill (not sure adding millions to after-school dinner programs and giving consumers appliance rebates will create jobs), and those that are created will be attributed to artificial support, not by natural expansion of our economy. Eventually this artificial economy will collapse.

  14. It’s a huge amount of money yes, but spending money on technology, infastructure and eduction is worth while.

    At least the country and our future generations will get something from all of this money unlike the last stimulus package which was just a check to go and spend (I saved mine). Yes, the TARP funds have been mismanaged, but that is no reason to not spend some money on ailing infastructure to make us more economically viable in the future.

  15. @Dave:
    I like how you break that down into per-person costs, but I think tripling the amount isn’t practical. Increasing it by a factor of 10 is more practical. Of the 1/3 of the population that pays taxes only a small fraction of those people account for any significant tax. Also, that amount isn’t going to be repaid right away, because we’ve still got World War II debt to finish paying off, plus debt from all the undeclared wars since then and all the money we’ve borrowed from the Social Security program. Add that to ongoing expenses such as infrastructure, Medicare, and the two current undeclared wars and the other demands on the nations cash flow really add up. Those demands will make immediate debt repayment impractical. So there will be more to repay due to interest.

    In addition, for the 1/3 of the population identified as paying taxes, the burden will fall disproportionately on the most productive. As always, the people who contribute the most and pay the most taxes are not going to be the ones who benefit directly by the government spending. Not everyone qualified for that “rebate” last summer, or else had it reduced to the point where it might as well not have existed. Some of us just worked too hard, created too much value for other people, sacrificed too much for our education, postponed reproduction, and chose not to over-spend on housing. Such folks, chiefly the entrepreneurs of America, will have to pick up the tab for nine or ten people, which means even more work hours and effort.

    I’d like to call people’s attention not to a matter of money but to a matter of time. We all get 24 hours in every day and 7 days in every week, and nobody gets more or less. Of these hours, most Americans prefer to put no more than 40 to 50 into employment or education, or to activities (such as commuting) that support employment and education. Highly productive people invest far more hours, for many years, before that productivity starts to be significantly rewarded. Entrepreneurs or people in highly compensated fields usually put in about 80 hours a week for at least a decade, sometimes more. This is why, unless a person lucks out and finds a way to earn income based on hype alone (which happened a lot for a while in the 1920′s, 1980′s, and early 2000′s) it’s very hard to get into the top 10% of all income earners. Excellence is hard to come by in any discipline, and for details as to how excellence happens I recommend the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.

    There’s a myth floating around that highly productive people “like” the kind of fatigue and sacrifice that goes into creating excellence. It’s not true. Productive people are willing to make the sacrifice because they want the good things that are on the other side. The reason there have been so many successful American entrepreneurs up until now is because what’s on the other side of the sacrifice is pretty darn good. Of course, the harder you hit the rewards of hard work and the more you tax them, the less incentive there is to get to the other side.

    As Gwartney, Stroup, and Lee point out in “Common Sense Economics”, whatever you subsidize you get more of, and whatever you penalize you get less of. Subsidize mediocrity in favor of productivity, and you’ll have fewer people who believe extremely high productivity is worthwhile, and far more people who decide to just coast. Except for the very small group of people who inherit significant wealth (who usually spend through it within one or two generations anyway) it takes a lot of work and effort to be that productive. You just can’t get there on just 40 hours of effort a week, which is the maximum that most adult Americans are willing to invest in work and school combined. The idea that it’s somehow possible to get an affluent lifestyle with less is one of the things that led to our national consumer debt crisis. Unfortunately, the more you tax, the more hours have to be devoted just to earning the money to pay the tax, and the fewer hours are available to invest in the kind of entrepreneurial activity that actually causes an economy to grow. The net result is fewer successful entrepreneurs who create work and opportunity for others, and fewer opportunities all around. This means that taxes targeted at “the wealthy” inevitably expand downward to the middle class.

    So before we commit to a major wealth redistribution, which is what this bailout is, and before we create a precedent of massive wealth redistribution, let’s carefully think it through and make sure this is where we really want to go as a nation.

  16. What a great discussion, and what fascinating ways to frame these numbers. I heard discussion about this bill on NPR yesterday. The Democrats in Congress are proud that the bill in fact contains NO earmarks. Whether it has “pork” is up to individual interpretation.

    This issue brings up huge questions for the redirection of our nation. If it’s not the government’s job to provide after-school meals, whose job is it? Have you seen the faces of children who are frightened and distressed when summer vacation is on the way, because it means they will no longer receive the two meals a day they eat at school? What about children in those conditions whose parents are now out of work?

    It is a terrific idea to think through what YOUR values are, what YOU want to see done, and communicate those ideas to your elected representatives so that we as a nation can go where our values take us.

  17. @Cheap Like Me: It is not the role of the federal government to feed kids dinner. That is the responsibility of parents. $5 a week can buy a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly. I ate one nearly every day for lunch growing up and I made it just fine.

    Current programs already provide funding for those in need of help (WIC, food stamps, etc.) and I think those are worthy programs for those in need of short-term help. I do not agree with making them a standard program, and therefore a way of life.

  18. Very good point squeaky
    I should have added that it won’t be paid all at once, just added to all the others we pay for.
    It would be interesting if every program, new bills, goverment spending, interest, ect.., has a per person break-down, and a tally of all curent ones. what bill will be the straw that breaks us?
    I worked 60-70 hour weeks for years, I’m figuring out the more I work the more I’m taxed, with fed, state, local, SS, medcare, at 40 hours I see about 1/2 my pay, at 70 it’s about 3/8,
    In my state if you pop out a bunch of kids you can live for free.

  19. This bailout is crazy. If you actually look at the bill only 20% of it would be spent in 2009 to help fix the current crisis. The other 80% of it would be spent in 2010 and beyond. If it is such an urgent crisis, why are they putting off so much of the spending and waiting to get the money back into the economy?

    Because the goal isn’t really to help fix this crisis, it’s to get more government control of programs, job creation, etc. The bill is full of pork spending. The ideas behind the bill may be admirable, but with little accountability I’m afraid it won’t ever be used for what it was intended for. I’m afraid we’re heading down the slippery slope to where the government employs more people that the private sector. Socialism here we come!

  20. @Dave,

    I’m no mathematician, but $825 BILLION divided by 300 million citizens = *$2750 per person.*

    Couple that with the fact that (according to taxfoundation.org), 41% of Americans don’t pay income tax, you’re left with only (300 million – 41%) *177 million.*

    So, $825 BILLION divided by 177 million income-tax-paying citizens ACTUALLY equals:

    $4661.07 dollars per tax-paying citizen.

    [Of course, if the previous poster is correct that the latest Senate version bumped the number up to 887 BILLION, that brings the total to $5011.30.]

    We should also keep in mind that 825 BILLION is over 30% of what the IRS took in THE ENTIRE YEAR OF 2007 [fact check: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_tax_revenue_by_state. We’re not talking about a few ducats, here…

  21. @Dave:
    > In my state if you pop out a bunch of kids you can live for free.

    Same in my state. Or else you can convince the government you’re “disabled” such that you “can’t” work.

    I use the quotes because, of the people I’ve gotten to know well who are on social assistance, the vast majority of them either could work if they wanted to right now, or they could have provided for themselves during their productive years but chose not to.

    I also know people who genuinely can’t work because they have had severe disabilities since birth or an early age, or because something unpredictable and catastrophic happened to them. That’s who the disability program is for. But people like these can’t compete with all the freeloaders gaming the system.

    I’m starting to believe that the notion we can somehow create a “system” to solve or address individual people’s problems is, well, misguided and not supported by the facts. The idea that we can create such a system and scale it to fit even a huge nation such as ours is attractive, and it looks good on paper (but then again, so did Communism). As a nation, we’ve fallen in love with the concept of system based solutions, and we’re hardly the only nation to do that, but maybe it’s time to recognize the honeymoon’s over.

  22. Where was the outrage when we cut taxes while fighting two wars? Where was the outrage when the tax cuts mostly went to the very people who put us into this banking mess with their imaginary investment valuations? Just curious.

  23. This gets my dander up. As a citizen we are getting strong armed into this. Its congress voting and the president wanting it come hell or high water.We are in this pickle because of us the American people in general have overspent for years! In theory some of the programs are great as far as education, however Some one has to pay for these! The dinner after school? Puh-lease! Why does the government do this? It is counter productive and parents are being let off the hook of their responsibilities!!
    In the words of Mrs. T why is it the burden of our problems is left to the government to solve for us. I mean really they ran the Mustang ranch into the ground where prostitution is legal, with a liquor license to boot. Government is not known for its frugal ideals or business/money sense. I am getting too emotional about this because the bailout is WRONG on so many levels and so was the first one!I am sorry to say its only going to get worse, I was in Africa when Obama’s presidency win was announced, the general tone was they think he is going to fix that entire continents financial/social problems as well. Redistribution of wealth does not work! Look at Zimbabwe for example. You cannot tear down those that have the drive to succeed to uphold those that do not. Nor can one become poor enough for the poorest individual~ poor in the sense of poor minded!
    Hang on kids, its gonna be a helluva ride!

  24. Stand back and look at the big picture. The huge debt Congress wants to incur is to merely give them more POWER over the rest of us. The reason why they are in Congress is because they already believe they are smarter than those who do not run for office. Congress wants us to work for THEIR personal agendas, not ours.

  25. Great article! Where did the idea come from that the Government is responsible for the private sector? If a company is not fiscally sound, let it fail. Out of the ashes of this failure will come a more conservative approach going forward which should equal a stronger company. Stop bailing out everything STOP STOP STOP!!! Learn from the mistakes of the past (ie New Deal era)

    @ Squeaky – are you from Illinois? We have family there and it’s just crazy the amount of freeloaders! Some of them work for HUD and the people they see working the system is just staggering. Sorry for the sidebar!

    @ Kate – I respect your opinion but have to disagree 100% of what you said.

  26. NPR this morning mentioned an investment in electronic medical filing. They interviewed a Harvard Med School expert on the subject. He said it would cut medical costs by the billions and add 200,000 new jobs needed to administer the program, permanently.

    Now I’m only citing one small portion, but I think there are many other bits and pieces like this in the legislation.

  27. My view is that this is a sideshow. There’s probably some good stuff and some bad stuff mixed in together. But I don’t get the impression that this is an attempt to solve the problems we face. The root problem is a failing confidence in our markets, in our economic system, and in our leaders. We need to look at what caused our problems and try to address the underlying causes of today’s situation.

    Rob

  28. @Tom: Plenty of people were outraged, as with many failed US government policies, but they weren’t in the majority. When it comes to money, law, crime, and other human related behaviors, what the majority believes and wants can actually create reality, at least for a while.

    @MrsFitz: Nope, New Mexico. As to the notion the government was somehow responsible for an individual business’s success or failure (or for the state of the economy, for that matter) I’ll tell you exactly why we started believing it. It’s an attractive idea, it looks good on paper, and the USA is a society where, more than any other, people are inclined (and encouraged) to fall in love with ideas. When enough people fall in love with an idea, it becomes part of our reality. Our entire political and financial system is set up to facilitate that. For the most part it’s been good for us, but every once in a while we hook up with the wrong idea. Sometimes we just have a fling with an idea, and other times we marry it. When we marry an idea, we commit to it no matter what. If people question or attack the idea, we defend it no matter what. Pesky little things like the facts don’t matter to us until the honeymoon period is over, and by that point a divorce is really expensive.

    Other ideas that Americans in general are in love with include a preference for the color blue, the notion that democracy is superior to all other forms of government, the idea that what blonde heiresses do is somehow important, and the idea that the USA is a democracy as opposed to a republic with some democratically elected components.

    - Squeaky
    “I’m not anti-government, I’m anti-idiot. But I agree, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.”

  29. I think we either need to go big or go home. Either we put forth a major push to right the economy – and yes, this is going to cost big money – or we decide to stand back and let it ride out, regardless of how bad it gets. Personally, I’d be happy to pay more taxes for a better education system, a better healthcare system, and better infrastructure. I understand why others do not want to do that. At the same time, just cutting taxes and *not* spending isn’t going to fly, either.

    I’ll be interested to see what happens to this bill in the Senate.

  30. The message the federal government is sending is clear: Americans should stop procreating, for our children and all of their descendants for the foreseeable future will be living existences of misery and deep indebtedness, spending generations and generations paying back for the turbocharged, hypersonic, supersized lifestyles of their early 21′st century ancestors.

  31. At the end of WWII, US government debt was 120% of gross national product. This program will amount to less than 60% of current gross national product. The recovery programs undertaken after WWII were double costly (relatively speaking) but stimulated huge economic growth during the 50s and 60s. For a detailed overview of the plan, try reading (long but excellent)David Leonard’s article, at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/01/magazine/01Economy-t.html?8au&emc=au

  32. Author: Karen
    Comment:
    “At the end of WWII, US government debt was 120% of gross national product. This program will amount to less than 60% of current gross national product. ”

    Karen, I think you are comparing apples to oranges. The US GVt debt was total government debt. You are comparing one spending package that. Add up all debt, all of our 13 trillion dollar Gvt Debt today and compare it with our GNP and tell us what the percentage is.

  33. Another thing to consider with borrowing this amount of money is the costs to finance. The Congressional Budget Office estimates borrowing $820 billion will cost $347 billion more in interest over the next decade.

  34. Is this really the Change We Can Believe In? How is this any different then what the Republicans did in office the last 8 yrs. At least the Rep. seem to have gotten the message from voters by voting against the Mother of all bailouts. But are we all going to whine online or do something about it and call our congressman. Help me vote out every congressman who voted for this bill.

  35. While I don’t agree with all the provisions of this stimulus plan, our infrastructure (transportation and energy) is crumbling and we are already losing out to Asia and the Middle East as a destination for European investment money. We need to stay competitive so that America is a place that businesses around the world want to invest in and to employ our skilled workers.

    However, considering how much money we already owe to central banks in Asia, we should demand that this money be spent on projects that will have a tangible, measurable outcome. I don’t support throwing money at education and healthcare in hopes that this will equal progress in these arenas. Don’t get me wrong, I would like to see improvement in these areas but we can’t piecemeal it in a couple weeks to get it into this bill!

  36. @Weakonomist, cut costs by the billions and also add 200,000 jobs permanently? I think you mean that 200,000 jobs are being added in one area and more than 200,000 are being taken away somewhere else. Or else where do the savings come from?

  37. This is just more of the same. It’s everything that’s wrong with Washington, kicked up several notches. This bill does nothing to address what we’ve been told the problems are.

    How does this bill solve the toxic asset problem and get banks to loan money again?

    How does this bill fix the housing slump and foreclosure problem?

    How does this bill provide incentives for the private sector to create jobs?

    The answer to each of those is the same : it doesn’t.

    It’s just more pork and ear marks for special interest groups, and it will move the country much closer to bankruptcy over night.

  38. I agree with Joe. We have pressing issues to deal with NOW! This bill seems to be looking to the future where everything thing will be sunshine and rainbows and we will be able to pay this debt off without any problem. What if this bill does not create this fairy tail future? Where will that put our country and our children? In debt without a pot to pee in is where. I was reading articles over on http://www.americanboom.com, and they have brought be to the realization that we need to be investing in business that invest and operate here in the US of A, and each individual American needs to support these business ourselves. Stop buying stuff from China, stop outsourcing your employees to India, stop relying on Washington to fix your problems. All Washington can do is create short term jobs to repair everything. After everything is fixed where are all those people going to work? We need to revitalize the entrepreneur who will invest in America!

  39. Just sad.

    As said multiple times now, where was this level of outrage last year? Two years ago? EIGHT YEARS ago? Why aren’t any of you outraged that even as of late last year, the government was printing more money to put into circulation?

    I hope that each of you that are ranting at your monitors, are sending your state reps emails or letters with well planned out suggestions and telling them exactly why they’re ‘wrong’ in the current plan.

    Leave out the fuzzy math and mis-used statistics if you want to be taken seriously. Pretending that exactly 1/3rd of Americans pay taxes equally across the board is ridiculous. Statistically, most of you stand to gain from the plans, unless everyone of you is making above 250k net and you have no concept of tax sheltering.

    For the life of me, I wish there was no need for the stimulus plan, but the president that came before, and his angry henchmen, set this country on a dangerous path and now we have to work hard to get off of it.

  40. I was a fool to vote for Obama and so were so many of my friends. We were all stupid to have listened to the smooth talking guy who promised us change. He wants to push this package on through to the DC clowns and destroy the financial freedom of our children and their grandchildren. I wanted change, but this bill is a joke. I would never make up my budget like this. Obama needs to lead the politicians to cut the pork and keep the focus of economic recovery and job creation instead of saving the honeybees and reseeding the DC lawns. Can I take my vote back?

  41. The cuts in costs are healthcare costs. The harvard guy NPR interviewed said 15% of all healthcare expenses are redundant. “lost those lab results, better order another one.” You and your insurance company pay for that. By digitizing the records there won’t be any waste. The process of digitizing records will add new jobs to the economy, because it would be an enormous undertaking. The reduction in cost is the savings on healthcare.

  42. I find it pretty hilarious that your Google Ads are pushing “Free Government Grants for 2008 Billions Available. Never Repay!”

    Now there’s something to get your blood boiling! ;-)

  43. And now that the total of the ‘bailout’ has increased, PLUS adding the ‘interest’ which will compile on such a debt (thus making the total debt more like $1.2 TRILLION dollars), that means that EACH income-tax-paying American will owe $10,025.64.

    More like a ‘burial’ than a ‘bailout.’

  44. “Fiscal restraint” is the last thing to call for in an economic downturn, unless you’re a fan of Herbert Hoover. The whole point of a stimulus is to stimulate, and the bigger it is, the more it stimulates. If you don’t believe in counter-cyclical spending, that’s another issue.

    You throw around a lot of big numbers in this post. Without anything to compare it to, this doesn’t mean anything for the average person. Worse is to make a comparison that has no bearing on the topic at hand, but makes the amount seem so large that it’s even harder to wrap one’s head around.

    Instead, why not compare the stimulus to the country’s economic output (between 13 and 14 trillion)? How about the 2007 U.S. federal budget (2.73 trillion)? How about the war in Iraq (almost $600 billion to date, with estimates projecting a total of $1 or even $2 trillion by the time all operations cease)?

    All I’m saying is, it helps to put these numbers in a useful context.

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