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Senate Saturday Stimulus Session Liveblog

[Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round In Circles” performed by Paul Weller band.]

February, 7, 2009 — Liveblogging the Senate debate on the huge, now $1.2 trillion bill. Quoted from live testimony, as best I can keep up with the typing, for as long as it’s interesting — or should I say frustrating. Why am I agreeing with the Republicans’ caution? As you know, I’ve always, until last year, been a Democrat. But never mind about that — that gets back to a great point made down page by Johann: it doesn’t matter how we got here, stop blaming each other and get to explaining what the bill will do and to making one that actually creates jobs.

And so they go, around, and around, and around, and around . . . .

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL —

The new OBM Director, whose nomination  both Democrats and Republicans just approved, reported that the $1.1 trillion stimulus package will create jobs that “cost” between $100,000 – $300,000. Some reports say the number is as high as $900,000 per job. My non-econ brain thinks this means that there’s so much other spending besides job creation that what it costs to produce each job averages out to that.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA is chastising the Bush Admin for getting us in there, but I find her self-righteous tone annoying. Hmm, another one of my gals. I’m just not sure I can get over her behavior as head of the California Delegation at the Democratic Convention, but she’s reporting:

  • 2,589,000 2008 jobs lost
  • 1% increase in Medicaid state and national spending
  • 1000 applicants line up for 35 firefighting jobs in Florida and the police were called to control the crowd, plus other examples
  • Extensive layoffs happening in California.
  • Going on about the past eight years, Boxer hits that we had a surplus during Clinton and balanced the budget, but the Republicans took it up to $3 trillion – war in Iraq and tax cuts to the wealthiest.

It seems to me that instead of bitching and moaning about the past, that BOXER, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY could be explaining the damn bill and how it would help create jobs. Instead, we hear about her putting aside her ego (really?) and compromising, because oh right, “WE WON!” implies Barbara.

This election was about change . . .  not just about trickle down tax cuts that the Republicans want.

So it’s either or? She has blathered on without saying a word of what the bill has in it or will do. Our government is an idiotic mess.

Sen. Mike Johanns, R-NE —

A bill $1.2 trillion — the biggest bill in the history of the world. Many couldn’t answer the number of zeros in the number, yet we have to vote on it within the next 24 hours. It’s not good enough that we’ve trimmed. Now it’s $7 billion over the house version, so we have a more expensive one. They’ve cut $110 billion. but bill is still comprised of wasteful spending — might be worthy of support in appropriations process, but doesn’t stimulate the economy. It is a giant appropriations bill. I’ve fought for many of these programs, money: to consolidate the Dept. of Homeland Security, for Earth Science Mission, money for trail maintenance and cars — worthy projects, but they don’t stimulate the economy.

I hear a lot about bi-partisan efforts. In Nebraska, our senators were elected on a non-partisan ticket, [and we hash things out.] Unless there is a new meaning attached to this word, this “compromise” closed door meetings, with 2 Republicans attending and in the end that was announced as the bi-part efforts, less than 1/4 of 1/10 of Republican Senators were included.

I’m not willing to put aside due diligence to find a couple of months from now that what we thought would work did not. . . . This is literally borrowed money, yet we’re not going to take a vote on paying for this. I’ve heard the debate about who’s responsible and who did what and what they wanted us to accomplish was to get out fiscal house in order, not to sort out faults, to solve problems.

I come from a state where our Constitution requires a balanced budget and forbids borrowing money over a certain amount. I could not issue debt, so instead of cutting taxes, I cut spending. It never occurred to any of us in our legislature that we’d tell our kids, etc. how we were going to borrow and leave the payback to them.

I think the Change people voted for was about how we run our government. We’ve got to grab ahold of this or our dollar won’t be worth anything, because we keep printing it.

Okay, dude, I’m in. Mike Johanns for President.

Sen. Amy Klobushcar, D-MN —

Blah, blah, blah, real families, bad times, all’s lost. Blah, blah, blah, what the new energy jobs will get us.

Sen. John Ensign, R-NV — A history lesson

Roaring twenties: Pres. Coolidge: low tax rates, encouraging private sector to invest was good, stock market became over-valued, like .com of 90s bubble burst, the banking bubble burst. Pres. Hoover increased taxes, government spending on infrastructure, instituted Smoot-Hawley protectionist trade law. Roosevelt, New Deal, massive government spending. people argue today that the Great Depression happened because the spending was stop and go. 1937 taxes were raised again, which caused a depression within a depression. The New Deal didn’t bring us out the Depression, it was WWII. Tremendous sacrifices were made with rationing of basic supplies. After 1929 market never recovered until mid-1950s. Do we want to wait that long for our market to recover?

% of debt to GDP chart: Went up over last few years. Tax rate cuts like under Reagan, Kennedy, Coolidge, stimulated economic revenue. Problem under Bush was that we spent too much money. All of this spending, sovereign wealth funds have been buying our treasury bills. what happens if other countries think we’re too big of a risk? Our economy goes off the cliff. At a certain point, living beyond your means catches up with you.

All spending is not bad, but all doesn’t create stimulus.

Ensign showed that in Japan lost 1990s decade: spending increased but it didn’t get them out of their economic woes.

$1.3 trillion bill when you add the interest, $300,000 per job created or saved. 1.3 million jobs (the low end) the price tag is $600,000 per job.

Examples of the pork in this bill: $6.1 for corp. jet hangers in Fayetteville, bike facilities, pedestrian ways, and bike paths.

I love to cycle, but this isn’t a time to build these things. Invest in infrastructure that makes the economy more efficient. Take our time to see where the money’s going. If we rush through this thing, we’ll have inflation and higher taxes and will do more damage to our economy.

If stimulus package was put together with both sides – because neither has the right idea, we would have had 80 votes. We should have sat down together to craft it, but the Dems brought a Dem bill to the floor in the first place.

To be continued. . . .

[cross-posted from Lady Boomer NYC]

48 Responses

  1. The only reason to want bipartisan support anyway is political cover. If the stimulus package doesn’t work and the GOP didn’t vote for it they can point at the Dems and say SEE- we told you that we should just cut taxes and round and round we go. Furthermore, I suspect that the GOP is running up the clock because they know there is some time sensitivity. The infrastructure projects should have been done back over a year ago when Clinton suggested it but Obie wanted everybody to have a check.

  2. This kind of news about the “Stim Pkg” is unlikely to improve public support:

    “General Motors to Invest $1 Billion in Brazil Operations — Money to Come from U.S. Rescue Program

    By Russ Dallen
    Latin American Herald Tribune staff


  3. I’m sorry but Ensign is an idiot, and his History Lesson nothing but standard Free Market theology rewriting of history. It was Coolidge’s “hands off” approach that helped create the Depression.

  4. Obama is now on air, Indiana Town Hall — at least talking about stuff in the plan — in healthcare (what Hillary wanted) electronic records, in green technology — what we’ve been wanting and what the Repubs killed 20 years ago. But it’s such a teeny part of the plan.

    Now about housing: Why is he talking about people w/ 2, 3, 4, 5 homes? Oh, and he says that “people like you and me that have only one house — and mine is over on the So. side of Chicago.” — (It bought for over $1 million right?)

    Again, as a commenter mentioned downthread, he’s creating class warfare. Same put down talk as on “the trail.”

  5. It’s shocking — Obama is actually talking to his liberal base — Oh, he needs us now, doesn’t he?

    He’s only talking about the programs that Dems care about and that were largely cut by Repubs and the “bi-partisan committee” this weekend.

  6. Obama’s health care plan is NOTHING like what hillary wanted. Converting files is not providing healthcare for Americans(what Hillary wanted).

    He does realize what “class” he is in right? I mean this is a guy who will make $400,000, have health care, get a pension, etc ,etc. Personally, I’m a multitasker, I’m pretty torqued at the selfishness of some of the monied elite particularly those who made 100s of times more than the average worker for decimating a company’s bottom line. I’m also torqued at DC. They are a bunch of enablers.

  7. Oh, yay, he ended the IN townhall in the Obama mode we all know and love: he chastised a 9-year old kid who asked a question about what Obama was going to do for schools, saying, “people like you are going to have to work harder.” [. . . and your parents are going to have to make sure your do your homework and talk to your teachers.]

    Right. My advice to Mr. POTUS: Quit smoking, the first big challenge of your life, then you can lecture a 9 year-old with enough poise to ask you a question, and the rest of us.

  8. cwaltz — Right, re: healthcare — and any elements Obama takes from Hillary’s extensive and compassionate plan will be no doubt touted as his own.

  9. Just what we all need more lectures on personal responsibility……….you see when a person goes bankrupt even after paying his insurance premiums it because he isn’t thinking positive enough thoughts. Yep, its’ that workers fault he lost his job because they shipped his job to Bangladesh where they can pay the workers pennies on othe dollar…he wasn’t clapping hard enough to engage th eprsonal responsibility fairy.

    I wish these folks would can the personal responsibility rhethoric. It’s past tiresome. We get it already. Work hard, be loyal and you too can be screwed because the monied elite and DC are too busy selling everything they can put their grubby hands on to the highest bidder.

  10. no shit Obama really said that to the kid??

    well, THAT kid won’t be signing up for the “Obama’s gonna lead us” singing group any time soon..

    at what point will it be impossible for anyone to continue to defend this fraud? how much longer before America screams “we’ve made a huge mistake!”
    please, goddess, let it be soon.

  11. Chastising a nine year old? Holding the kid responsible for the fate of his education? This guy is beyond tone deaf. He’s a frigging idiot.

  12. Oh I get it. So I lost my job, my husband lost his job so the only way to save myself is to spend my life savings, max out my credit cards and use up my lines of credit.

    Sure, I get it now. Silly me, and all this time I thought fiscal responsibility was the solution.

    Guess I will go to the Dolce and Gabanna Store and get that rabbit fur thong I wanted with the little diamonds on it.

  13. Okay so this kid works hard and does his homework….then what? Does he get to go to college, get saddled with tons of debt and then work for $7.25 an hour? Frankly, its an exercise in futility if they keep on shipping the jobs out of the country. Once upon a time things like education and loyalty meant something. Nowadays, they don’t appear to be worth spit though.

  14. afrocity — Unfortunately, I’ve already met you at the first para, except no hubby, and I’m self-employed.

  15. hey all!

  16. Guess I will go to the Dolce and Gabanna Store and get that rabbit fur thong I wanted with the little diamonds on it.

    no way.

  17. Orlando was lovely and I am glad to be home because its only 5 1/2 days till I see SM!

  18. cwaltz — That’s because we make hamburgers here, and college grads, like in the eighties and early nineties before WJC turned things around, are slated for service jobs. We don’t manufacture here anymore.

  19. rabbot fur? if you want to stimulate the economy make it sable or linx or fox?

  20. fuzzy — Awww!

  21. fuzzy – I meant to your meeting SM, not the fur choice!

  22. Fuzzybear not a fan of Fur or PETA

  23. Sicilians are very practical and they waste nothing.

    after they make the rabbit cacciatore the designers
    slap a few rhinestones on the discarded bunny fur and sell it for a couple grand.

    ugh that is so gross.

  24. At least, today on Senate floor, the members are beginning to talk about what is in the bill, what has been cut out via the proposed amendment (senior moment on author of it), and propose alternatives.

    I’ve only just tuned it — looked for it earlier but it wasn’t on CSPAN — but their tone seems better and substance of the bill seems to be the topic at hand, as compared to Saturday’s debate as in my post with big putdowns all around. They’re still not agreeing, but they’re touching on a bit, just a bit of what’s in it. sigh. Progress?

  25. LB NYC
    thanks for blogging it.

  26. It’s kinda sad to watch the folks who did go to school and were counting on continuing to make a nice 5 to 6 figure income realize just a little to late that someone is willing to do THEIR job for a couple cents cheaper and so their job is no longer theirs. Particularly when they bought their housing based on that income.

    Since employment is a crap shoot, everybody ought to be configuring their housing costs based on a $7.25 an hour job just to be safe. That way your job can be just as disposable as the individual is to the company.

  27. Headline at USA Today, today. 3.9 billion of hurricane relief funds remains UNSPENT. Are there no relief needs to address in NOLA and the other gulf states?

  28. Oy, I spoke too soon (what else is new?) — B Boxer is proselytizing again.

    I’m asking: What is it about the Dem Party lately that seems akin to evangelical preachers? Yuck, I just feel like I’m that 9 year-old Obama’s talking to and all my ex-favorite Senators are acting the the school Principal, or rather the disciplinarian VP.

    Time to do a writing project. I’ve got to turn Barbara off — she just can’t let up — sell us ON IT, don’t bitch at us, babe.

  29. Stunning, Jangles.

  30. FYI: It’s the Collins/Nelson Substitute Amendment.

    OMG, Boxer’s pissed acrimony is the way to sell a package? Okay, okay, I have to stop listening. She’s a real “harshmellow.” (And to think I ever loved you.)

  31. The MSM attacks continue on Michael Steele

    ABC NEWS Jake Tapper:


    The First Time I Heard About Michael Steele (and His Sister

    …was back in 1998 while working on a story about Mike Tyson for Washington City Paper.

    The scene took place right after Tyson had pleaded no-contest to charges that he committed two acts of second-degree assault after a Maryland fender bender.

    Michael Steele’s sister was once married to Mike Tyson.
    Way to go Jake Tapper, you really are a great journalist.

  32. The 9 year old should have been in school.
    Leave the child behind.

  33. We will continue to flail as Obama gets what he really wants.

    OT food for thought: I read that the Chicago machines favorite muckracker, Shauna Daly has a position at the White House although she is not a lawyer, as a Research Director, sanctioning her actions and providing her with an 800 lb. gorilla to back up her requests for information. She is the one who fed the media all those stories about both Dem and Rep opponents of Obama’s and she’s been doing this kind of work for a long time. The problem is that Dem’s aren’t happy about it either. Information can be used against them to coerce a vote they may not be comfortable with.

  34. nope afrocity — furs aren’t exempt under the bankruptcy code — stick with silk & leather.

  35. tr0ll on Early Reviews thread.

  36. What I want to know is why they are balking at a 40 billion in spending on schools and that other crapola(pardon my expression I am just tired of the gameplaying) when they had no problem spending 700 billion plus (the plus is coming when they tell us the price tag for buying up these bad assets)on one friggin’ industry. Just go ahead and spend the money on both and be done with it already. It isn’t like I don’t suspect that we’ll end up having to do more anyways.

  37. Need clean up on Early Review thread by boston boom @ 2:10 — don’t you love how these tr0lls go to old threads to post? HA. That takes b@lls of steel, let me tell ya!

  38. The tr0lls are emb0ldened By Obama being back on the stump. It brings back the magic of the campaign and all of that kool aid.

    One of my GOP bloggers said:

    This man (Obama) doesn’t have a huge ego. Rather, this ego has a man. Damn, but I doubt that there’s any twelve-step program that’s going to help him get that monkey off his back.


  39. It’s like a shot of crack afrocity. they needed it bad and now that they got their fix, there is no telling what they might do.

  40. Good analogy taggles. Drug daddy pimp had to give them a hit.

  41. Our genius president — wonder if the msm will be showing this one (it happened today as he left Indiana):


    On a good note, at least someone told him to stop shaking hands with the marine guard & just salute.

  42. catarina — Thank you!

    GAGal & Angie — Thanks, I cleaned up, okay?

  43. New post up, Fraud – Stimulus – Sex-ism All Rolled Into One!

  44. oh goody
    now Michelle Obama is speaking..hear her live.. or NOT.

  45. afrocity, on February 9th, 2009 at 2:22 pm Said:

    “ego has a man”

    That’s great! Thanks for sharing.

  46. I think that Jake Tapper attempt to connect Steele to Mike Tyson should be played by the Republicans as an attempt by Tapper to somehow connect Steele to the “big bad black man” who’s going to bite your ears off. Heck, maybe that’s exactly what Tapper meant to do. Really, I see no reason to try to draw a connection between Steele and Tyson.

  47. I STILL say they could have given every citizen 10 grand and it would have helped the economy more than this. A family of 3 would have been able to put 30 grand into the economy (most likely local economy at that) or put money into the bank or paid on the mortgage, any of those would have helped the economy more than a freaking tax cut and a rape of education…..

  48. Shoot, they could have given every family in America $2 million EACH (my boss at my second job and I worked this out on the back of a bar napkin) and STILL have spent less than they are on the stimulus bill. Imagine how that would have stimulated things!! People would pay off their houses, buy cars, go on vacations, expand their businesses, hire people, some would blow it foolishly, sure, but even that would help the economy so go for it!

    And LadyBoomer, I know the Democrats are no Super Door Prize, but please, please, please do not let this lead you to believing Republican bullshit. Everything they spout about the Depression (or for that matter, any g.d. part of American history) is pure revisionist horse crap and should be given the same consideration you give a cockroach breeding in your kitchen cabinet.

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