Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Friday, February 13, 2009

The stimulus hasn't stimulated me....

Aside from the fact that there is very little in the (still) pending Stimulus bill that's going to help me out, I just haven't had the energy to put together a good piece on it.

The bill started out as a great idea, and something the country needed immediately. Since being proposed, and crafted in the House, the bill went from being something that was going to help pull the economy out of its $2 trillion hole, to a pork bill.

It should have been a kosher-bill (that is, sans pork), but it wasn't, and now it is even less.

Then the bill went to the Senate, and in the time it left the House to the time it was being debated in the Senate, congressional Republicans (who do not understand the current Recession or what it takes to get out of one) had plenty of time to make fun of the bill, and point out stupid pork, such as millions for the Arts. We all love the Arts, but giving a couple starving artists funding to do a sculpture or a painting is not going to get our country out of its current economic morass.

While in the Senate, the bill was changed, and people became afraid of its size. I don't know why exactly that happened. Yes, $800 billion is a lot of money. It's also an amount that American taxpayers are going to pay one way or another, so I don't see why we wouldn't try to take that amount and stimulate the economy with it. The only way to get money into the economy which is not there already is federal borrowing. Taxes DID NOT cause our current economic situation, so to believe that eliminating taxes is going to make things better is stupid. Really stupid.

Anyway, so centrists in the Senate, afraid of the size of the bill, pared it down. They apparently didn't disagree so much with the actual spending, just the size, so stuff like assistance to states (some of the best spending in the bill) was pared down, just because.

Now we have a bill which reneges on President Obama's campaign promise of a $500 tax break for working Americans, and is really about 9% smaller than congressional reps are saying. Why is that? Because $70B of the "spending" is actually in the form of Alternative Minimum Tax exemption, which they say affects normal middle class Americans (it doesn't). Every year congress passes exemptions to the AMT, since the tax code hasn't been updated in years. This year would have been no different, except now they've rolled those AMT changes into the Stimulus bill, and said that it's $70B more dollars that the feds are using to help normal Americans. That's just not true.

So instead of writing about all this stuff, I've been playing videogames. Feel free to follow along.

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