Sunday, February 28, 2010
Notes from the Other Washington
I’m in the “Other Washington” and certainly no authority on anything, but I do listen to both sides of the aisle, regardless if I like what I’m hearing.
Following an electronic conversation with a friend who astonished me with his remarks, I’ve had to drag out my soap box, hobble upon it and make a statement or two.
To quote David Leonhardt of the NYTimes, “Liberals don’t like the stimulus because they wish it were bigger. Republicans don’t like it because it’s a Democratic program.”
Therein lie most of the problems of our new administration, where we’re practically witnessing a civil war in our congressional halls; it seems the GOP wants Obama to fail at any cost, as long as their constituents’ taxes don’t go up. And don’t let me get started on the race issue. (Read: The Breakthrough; Politics and Race in the Age of Obama by Gwen Ifill)
The stimulus bill has actually added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs, leading to a targeted total of 2.5 million jobs, and these estimates are considered to be conservative. Scott Brown can get a lot of press by making false statements in sound bites that later turn into LimbaughFacts or BeckTruths. But many independent studies have shown that Brown is maintaining the same lies that he campaigned on.
What has the stimulus bill done for you?
By appropriating money to state and local governments, your teachers, firefighters, police officers on all levels, health care workers, city and county laborers and many others kept their jobs. Without that stimulus money, many of them would have been in desperate straits and/or on the same payroll that nearly ten percent of the working population has found itself: unemployment. The well publicized Greater Prince William Community Health Center is good example.
Unemployment benefits have been extended across the board. I personally know people who are on their second and third extensions. Imagine my frustration. I can collect nothing. I’ve been advised to go to the local Department of Health and Welfare and tell them I am depressed (or crazy, which isn’t much of a stretch) so that I can receive aid. It won’t be long before that will be a fact.
I am weary of hearing negative feedback from people who tell me things will get worse before they get better. Where, exactly (and I mean that) are they getting their information?
Consumer spending has risen. The cause? Some $100 billion that essentially came from stimulus checks, with that exact intention and it IS working. The tax credit for corporate investment has had an enormous impact on the economy at every level. The predicted recession had the potential to become a depression and it did not.
Barack Obama was very wise to keep Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman, above the protests of many senate liberals, as well as conservatives, who easily forgot it was Alan Greenspan who was responsible for the damaging effect of the lowering of the interest rates at a time that Bernanke was a well schooled student, as a member of the Reserve. Only time will tell how much power the Federal Reserve might continue to maintain but at this time they have reins under control that had been frayed, torn and in some cases, altogether invisible.
We can only hope (there’s that concept again) that there will be continued aid, with businesses-to-hire programs and further incentives like cash-for-clunkers.
Obama’s a big guy and he can deflect a lot of blows, but hammering him on the perceived lack of success of the stimulus bill? Find something else to criticize and then, please, back it up with facts.
Thank you for reading.