Posted February 25, 2010 | comments 1 Comment

New dose of stimulus

In a rare lapse of partisanship, the Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a $35 billion jobs bill, larded with tax breaks for businesses that hire new workers and subsidies for state infrastructure projects.

The measure is a follow-up to the $787 billion stimulus Congress approved last spring with only a handful of Republican votes. Thirteen GOP senators supported the new bill even though it is likely to be less effective than last year's law, widely derided by Republicans as a deficit-busting failure.

That story line retains traction because Republicans have steadfastly emphasized it, the Obama administration was both hampered by overly optimistic economic predictions and slow to counter the GOP claims and because unemployment, the gauge by which most people judge the economy, has remained stubbornly high.

Yet the best-known economic research firms agree that last year's bill has added from 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and will ultimately generate 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office considers those estimates conservative.

The Wall Street Journal notes that only one-third of the $787 billion was spent in the first year, and much of that was on quick fixes like payments to states and local governments to avert layoffs of teachers and emergency responders.

Still to come is the bulk -- $160 billion vs. the $20 billion spent last year -- of the infrastructure money for roads and bridges, rail lines, water projects, what most people think of as stimulus. And also still to come is by far the greater part of the $288 billion in tax cuts in the bill.

Despite the Republicans criticism, the Obama administration's commitment to deficit spending averted a worse economic catastrophe, perhaps another Great Depression.

The tide of red ink cannot continue indefinitely without threatening the nation's fiscal well-being, but it is justified -- even necessary -- to combat serve economic downturns.

1 Comment |

    Have you noticed, no one ever ask our "dedicated" government officials to take a cut - or a hike for that matter.

    It's the same old story: the elected officials who are always talking about the American people or those "folks" they want to help (during election) are the very ones who never have to sacrifice anything and profit greatly. They can cut/slash any program that involves you and me but their system is working - for them.

    We are becoming a sad country, indeed, when we have to go after the Public School system to balance a budget. Ask these government officials where their children get an education. It won't be the public schools! Ask them where they get the best health insurance: it won't be where we go - that is - if we can get coverage.

    Ask them why they constantly give themselves raises regardless of the job they do. Do we vote on that?

    Until the people who make the rules for us also live by those rules; we will NEVER have a fair society and our problems are only beginning. We live in another universe from the self-serving system of bought and paid for Government and all their special interest groups. As long as they can keep everyone divided (over politics) and totally ignorant, nothing will ever change.

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