Archive for Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stimulus debt will crush U.S.

February 12, 2009


In Charles Dickens’ novel “David Copperfield,” Wilkins Micawber delivers an economics lesson to young David that has been lost on most congressional Democrats, the president and many of us. “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

The so-called “stimulus plan” cooked up mostly by House Democrats is, in reality, a plan to stimulate government and make it an even greater presence (and burden) in our lives. The appeal to speed and urgency by President Obama is an invitation to overlook details of the bill, which would accelerate the transformation of America from a capitalistic system that exalts the individual to a socialistic system that exalts the state.

Notice that in none of the apocalyptic rhetoric from the president and congressional leaders do we hear anything about the power of people to overcome the recession and restore the economy to health. There is no call for us to help ourselves first, with the aid of family and neighbors, and to employ vision, persistence and risk in climbing out of the recessionary hole. No, only government can save us, when, in fact, it is government (along with our greed) that has caused our predicament.

Robert Rector, a Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, has studied the House bill ( He finds it to be a resurrection of the welfare state, which many believe died during the Clinton administration with considerable assistance from the then-Republican Congress.

Rector notes that in the first year following enactment of the stimulus bill, “federal welfare spending will explode upward by more than 20 percent, rising from $491 billion in fiscal year 2008 to $601 billion in FY 2009.” That would be the largest expansion of welfare in the nation’s history. But it is only the beginning of Obama’s pledge to “Joe the Plumber” to “spread the wealth around.”

“Once the hidden welfare spending in the bill is counted,” writes Rector, “the total 10-year fiscal burden (added to the national debt) will not be $816 billion, as claimed, but $1.34 trillion. This amounts to $17,400 for each household paying income tax in the U.S.”

Under this legislation, according to Rector, the federal government for the first time “will give significant cash to able-bodied adults without dependent children.” Even though these people may have little apparent need of help, they’ll get a check just because government can send one.

Rector says that the House and Senate bills “use the idea of economic stimulus as a Trojan horse to conceal massive, permanent increases in the U.S. welfare system. The goal of the bills is ‘spreading the wealth,’ not reviving the economy.”

It will add to the growing number of people dependent on government and, thus, politicians, who will never show them the way out of poverty, but give them only enough money to sustain them in poverty and then tell them if they don’t vote for Democrats, those nasty Republicans will take their checks away.

How many have been duped by Obama’s personality and good looks? Don’t they understand that a socialist economy means the end of prosperity, individual initiative, personal dreams and a complete transformation of America, as we have known it? After the “stimulus bill” will come health care “reform.” Watch Obama declare an emergency in his pursuit of socialized medicine. Then there’s Social Security and Medicare, which must be reformed to alleviate pressure from the retirement of massive numbers of baby boomers. Debt will mount on top of debt.

Part of this is our problem. We have believed the marketers who have convinced us that more is better and still more buys happiness. Politicians promise to help, but in fact hurt by hurtling toward a collectivism in which individuality will be subsumed to the will of the state.

Who will sound the alarm? Who will stand in the gap? This isn’t “change we can believe in.” This is a nightmare from which we’ll never escape. There’s still time, but not much. The choice is clear: happiness, or misery.

Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.


Frank Molby 9 years ago

I think Mr. Cal Thomas has it exactly right. You folks who voted in our President Obama need to go appoligize to your children and grandchildren. They will be paying taxes on this bill long after these guys who voted this in have died. What a sad thing that is happening to our country.

geekin_topekan 9 years ago

here is no call for us to help ourselves first, with the aid of family and neighbors, ++++ Take the T.Its the AMerican thing to do.But all that call for self sufficiency receives is elitist' cries of socialism. Make housing affordable and accessable,but all that cry for self sufficeincy receives is a cry of free enterprise is compramised. The call for helping ourselves has been going on for years but the W years and radio entertainment shows like Rush has made antiAmerican views like these acceptable and popular.Especially on these boards. What the FV(K am I reading Cal for anyways?Sheesh! COFFEE,now.

Godot 9 years ago

Our grandchildren will remember this President's Day weekend as the beginning of the end of the USA.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

I agree with Cal. We need to resume what we've been doing over the last eight years, because, well, just because.

Mixolydian 9 years ago

It's not Bush or Obama, It's the congress.

Were we better off two years ago before it was totally controlled by the democrats? How high was the DOW at the end of 2006? How low was unemployement in 2006? How high was consumer confidence in 2006?

It's the democrat "leadership in the House and Senate that's the problem. 300 freaking million people in this country and Pelosi and Reid are the best we can come up with?

kugrad 9 years ago

How convenient to blame the crushing deficit only on the new stimulus, rather than look at it as a whole. When Bush took office, we had a massive surplus. That surplus was squandered, along with billions of dollars simply "lost" in the first 2 years in Iraq. We threw billions and billions more at this ill-advised war, the cost of which continues to mount. Greedy bankers took huge risks in the housing and credit markets and lost their bets. The cost of this cannot be calculated as simply an addition to the deficit, as the bailout (seperate monies from the stimulus) does not account for the lost tax revenue to the Fed. and State governments that result from economic problems that can be traced back to this debacle. So, it is 100% disingenous to suggest that attempts to get this country back on the right track are the actual source of the deficit problem. As ususal, Cal joins the chorus of the least helpful political choir in our nation.

kugrad 9 years ago

By the way, I have to TOTALLY agree with this statement by mixolydian "300 freaking million people in this country and Pelosi and Reid are the best we can come up with?"

The EXACT same thing can be said regarding the Republican leadership. Surely we can do better than this in Congress.

Godot 9 years ago

Because government overspent and overstepped its bounds in the past, The Obamanator and the crooks in Congress are justified in quadrupling the overspending and massively increasing government intrusion in our lives in just three weeks time?

rusty2 9 years ago

YES Cal, where were you when we launched a pre-emptive $1.4 trlllion dollar war against a country that didn't attack us and waited months to go into Afghanistan allowing the 'terrroists' to run free now years later?

rusty2 9 years ago

anxiousatheist needs to remember that this forum is overflowing with 'what's the matter with Kansas' - neocons.

jaywalker 9 years ago

"The EXACT same thing can be said regarding the Republican leadership. Surely we can do better than this in Congress."

Could NOT agree more on Pelosi and Reid, and for my money "Republican leadership" has become an oxymoron. Two words: term limits! Half the problem in D.C. is that everyone is constantly running for office. One election ends and the next immediately begins, at least figuratively. How can we expect these people to make sound decisions when they're legislating to perpetuate their jobs all the time? Even Obama mentioned how he had to be careful with the stimulus package or "this could be a one term presidency"!! He said this after one week in office, for crying out loud!! I realize it's the nature of the beast, but it inevitably turns them all in to fence straddlers, cowards, or 'abstain' voters.

rusty2 9 years ago

Yes CAL and where were you when we flipped from a Clinton balanced budget to 8 years of accelerated deficit accumulation?

Godot 9 years ago

To quote an economist just speaking on CNBC, the stimulus bill will result in massive inflation, huge tax increases, and turn this recession into a depression. It is just plain math. An extended, inflationary depression is in our future, brought to you by Obama, Pelosi and Reid.


rusty2 9 years ago

Dear Cal, it's not Obama. don't you know that the corporations that control USAINC are using this oppportunity to consolidate banks and take complete control via the bailout?

jaywalker 9 years ago

"70 percent of our country supports Obama and his handling of the stimulus package"

Umm, no. 70% of Democrats support it, Clint, not the country.

Godot 9 years ago

I forgot to give credit where credit is due: we can also thank Timmy the Tax Cheat Geithner, Helicopter Ben Bernanke, Hanky Panky Paulson and, of course, Alan I did not see this coming Greenspan.

Chris Ogle 9 years ago

Our government screwed up the TV converter box coupons, and yet we expect results from the stimulus package. Right.... I will be waiting on the back porch with my flag..

jaywalker 9 years ago

No doubt, xbus!! A full freakin' year of warning everyone to get the converter, giving away millions of dollars of $40 coupons that cover all but two bucks of the cost of the converter, and they STILL have to postpone the changeover to June. Any guesses to how much that costs the broadcasters who have to continue airing telecasts in two mediums? But let's have them federalize the healthcare system and 'save' the economy.

Unix_Admin 9 years ago

Speaking as someone who considers themselves "center-left". I was against the first "Stimulus" that GWB pushed through, and I'm against this one that BO is pushing through. All we are doing is prolonging the inevitable as far as a economic meltdown. The best remedy would have been to let the markets & banks fail. Yes this would hurt alot in the short term, but the markets WILL correct themselves stimulus or not.

staff04 9 years ago

"You folks who voted in our President Obama need to go appoligize to your children and grandchildren."

National debt doubled from Jan 2001-2009. There are apologies owed all around.

beawolf 9 years ago

Cal Thomas is a Rush Limbaugh wanna be. A religious bigot. He believes that Muslims in the USA should be be deported and that no Mosques should be built" in Western countries. He believes that all Palestinians should be shipped off to other Arab countries (the ethnic cleansing of Israel). He is against gays, equal pay for women, birth control etc. etc.

He is basically an ex-disk jockey who realized the road to fame and fortune was controversy and pandering to religous zealots.. He's not quite up to the Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter standards, but he's trying.

That said, I'm not surprised by those familiar LJW bloggers who are praising this article.

Godot 9 years ago

Bowhunter, I have read that the converter box deal is a payback to Sprint - keeping others out of the WiMAX business for a while longer.

thelonious 9 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jaywalker 9 years ago

anxiousatheist: “center left”? I don't think.

Corrected that statement for ya, clint. That's much more accurate.

Dragon_Wheels 9 years ago

I am sick and tired of working longer and longer hours just to get by and paying more and more taxes to support more and more companies and people unwilling to take responsibility for themselves and their mistakes. My back is so bent and twisted from carrying this load, yet now more is demanded. Not asked for, but demanded! I'm headed to my grave sooner than should be expected from sheer exhaustion, yet I see no bailout in my future, no welfare to ease my financial burdens. Oh, that's right, I'm an honest, hard working, tax paying American, so I don't deserve any help; it's my responsibility to help all those less f"ortunate". Funny, I see those I'm "helping" living in better houses, eating better food, getting better healthcare, yet still a cry for more. I give up, take it all, I quit.

BigDog 9 years ago

Well in less than a month ..... America's new leaders have gone back to the politics of fear and away from hope.

Hurry let's do all the spending or America is going to come to an end ......

Why is it that their very own Congressional Budget Office states that most likely we will be worse off after spending all of this money than if we did nothing?

Japan had a similar response to their economic meltdown not too many years ago ..... and have still not recovered from this ...... throwing money at this problem (especially many items in this spending package) is not going to solve the economic crisis.

Sadly many things will still be in this bill that have nothing to do with stimulating the economy. And for this many generations to come will be paying the cost.

Don't forget the Secretary of the Treasury is talking about spening another $2 trillion on banking/housing issue

Chris Ogle 9 years ago

Hey Dragon- Oh, can I ever relate. However, I would be more than a little nervous being dependent on our government for my income. Talk about doing without. It would just be my luck to get lost in the paper work.

Nope, I am going to keep workin, and bitchin about my taxes. . We do still have the right to complain.

Hoots 9 years ago

Bottom line is hundreds of well respected economist across this country think this plan will do more harm than good and prolong our problems. The bailout under Bush was also bad government. Over the past 9 years California doubled the size of its government and look at them now. They can't pay the bills.

Regarding Tom's comment...Pelosi is about as disgraceful a politico as you can find. If it wasn't for the loons in San Fran who keep putting this wretched woman back in, we could get someone who at least has an IQ higher than 80. She is a stupid narcissistic woman....He read my mind. I voted for Obama and then couldn't believe he dropped this bill in the lap of perhaps the dumbest person I have ever seen. We have a bunch of self absorbed wankers liberal and conservative. Where are the good people anymore?

jayhawklawrence 9 years ago

The RepubliCons are still saying that Roosevelt's New Deal policies ruined the country.

What would your perfect world look like if Roosevelt had not had the support of the American people? (elected to 4 terms). The world did not end as far as I can tell.

Perhaps we should rename the Republicans the "Sky is Falling Party".

jumpin_catfish 9 years ago

I love unicorns! They are especially yummy with gruel and moldy bread.

jaywalker 9 years ago

"Perhaps we should rename the Republicans the “Sky is Falling Party”."

That's exceptionally funny if this is coming from a Democrat.

MHL50 9 years ago

Welcome to "Second CIvil War in America".

The "Haves" vs "The Havenots",or "The Responsible" vs "The I can do what I want and the be a victim if it turns out badly", etc.

Those that voted for change for the sake of change without regard for what the change (it WAS poorly defined) would be, will soon see the light. About the same time they can't afford anything relative to affluence, say...when they start making a living on their own!?

Oh, well, I guess January 20, 2013 will come around in due time. I can't WAIT for the Congressional bloodbath when the boomers get organized and their 401k's and IRA'S aren't worth dust.

PosseComitatus 9 years ago

This is where I get heartburn on this whole mess. I am a simple man. I really don't care who caused this problem, because they sure ain't comming back to fix it. Bickering about political parties will not fix this either.

I understand my budget and my spending and I have to live within my means. Our economy is currently based on us working, earning money and buying stuff. Money supply to a vast majority of our population is tight, so we are buying less stuff. This is causing a contraction or shrinking of our economy. Our government decided that it must be that the money supply is too tight at the top, so they took a loan on our behalf and "injected" it into the credit market and banking system. We the people said that no we don't want to or can't go into more debt, so the contraction continued. Our government has now decided that the only course of action now is for them to take out another loan on our behalf to buy more stuff for us, since we can't or won't buy more stuff ourselves. We will have to repay these loans with higher taxes and most likely higher inflation depending on where the money is comming from. This in turn lowers the common persons buying power and starts the cycle again with the country deeper in debt.

The problem here is the national debt that requires our economy to inflate to keep up with intrest on that debt. We either need to create a system that allows everyones income to slide up with the growth of the economy so that the input and output are equal or we should be paying the debt down, slowing the need to inflate the economy.

From what I've been able to see so far there is no plan other than spending money that we don't have and hoping for the best.

Godot 9 years ago

"I am a simple man. I really don't care who caused this problem, because they sure ain't comming back to fix it. "

Oh, yes they are. That is the problem. Obama's team of economic advisors have their fingerprints all over this disaster, and his Treasury Secretary was one of the architects of the TARP.

MHL50 9 years ago

Tom and Pilgram2

My KSU student admitted regret for her absentee vote BEFORE the election after realizing the the gubament would control her medical related income in her profession of study and choice. Now she just doesn;t want to hear about it. You get what you play for...

Mixolydian 9 years ago

kugrad (Anonymous) says…

By the way, I have to totally agree with this statement by mixolydian “300 freaking million people in this country and Pelosi and Reid are the best we can come up with?”

The EXACT same thing can be said regarding the Republican leadership. Surely we can do better than this in Congress.

And I totally agree with that as to Republican leadership. Mitch McConnell? uggh. Not like the days when the country had Bob Dole, Sam Ervin and a host of others on both sides of the aisle.

JohnBrown 9 years ago

George W Bush and his ilk frittered away the wealth of this nation. They DOUBLED our debt (just like Reagan), ran our military into the ground, started a war without a plan, and refused to pay for all their spending, spending, spending like all previous war presidents did Plus they insidiously eroded the checks and balances of our financial system.

We are in big trouble, but Bush 43 and his ilk (many of them are posting here today) put us here. THEY brought us to where we are. We need no advice from them even if we are at a place we have never been before (and therefor unsure how to fix it). What we do know is we cannot repeat what happened in the very recent past.

You had your chance and you blew it. Buck up.

Godot 9 years ago

He said, "ilk," twice. roflmao.

"We need no advice from them even if we are at a place we have never been before (and therefor unsure how to fix it). What we do know is we cannot repeat what happened in the very recent past."

Yeah, that's why Obama is relying on two bush holdovers, Geithner and Bernanke, to get us out of this mess.


thelonious 9 years ago

I am so sick of you right-wingers with your revisionist history. Here's a little history lesson for you.

Where was Cal Thomas when Reagan ran what were at the time the largest federal budget deficits since WWII in the early 80's after his tax cuts? It can be argued that the resulting deficit spending pulled the economy out of what was at the time the worst post WWII recession (10% unemployment). Also, the right-wing posse tends to overlook that, as soon as the economy began to recover, Reagan took back a huge portion of the earlier tax cuts with what was, at the time, the largest tax increase in history.

Where was Cal Thomas when Dick Cheney famously said to Paul O'Neill, Bush's first Treasury Secretary, that "deficits don't matter" when O'Neill questioned the propriety of Bush's first round of tax cuts. It's in O'Neill's book - you right-wingers can look it up.

Oh, by the way, the reason that the top 25% of Americans pay 85% of the taxes is that they also have 70% or more of the income. It's no mystery - if income and wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, then those same few will pay most of the taxes, because they are the only ones who have the money to pay. Get it?

The policy of giving large tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans is what got us into this mess - to do more of the same and expect a different result makes no sense to rational people.

So right-wingers, get over yourselves, or at least start spending a little of all of that money you have been hoarding.

Godot 9 years ago

Change you can believe in. And you thought Obama was in charge. Not hardly. The Banksters are still calling the shots:

Geithner's Bank Plan Led To Hasty Goldman Meeting by Charlie Gasparino | 12 Feb 2009 | 02:28 PM ET How worried was Wall Street about a lack clarity in Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s plan to save the banking system by buying toxic debt? So worried that Goldman Sachs called a meeting to figure out how to fix the problem.

—This meeting known as the “Goldman Sachs rountable” took place just hours after Geithner’s speech (and the dismal market reaction) on Tuesday at the headquarters of Goldman Sachs [GS 92.15 -2.56 (-2.7%) ] in lower Manhattan.

—Around 20 of the firm’s biggest hedge fund and private equity clients from around the country showed up—a testament to just how concerned financial industry insiders are about what few details geithner presented.

—They included representatives of KKR, Fortress Investment Group[FIG 1.72 0.06 (+3.61%) ], Bain Capital, Perry Capital, Capital Research, Putnam and Citadel.

Goldman sachs says the meeting was planned well in advance. But people who attended tell CNBC that they received the invitation after the speech and decided to attend because of the speech. Goldman Sachs initially denied that the meeting, hosted by co-presidents John Winkelried and Gary Cohn, took place.

Here are some of the upshots from that meeting:

  1. While it is better to wait for a good plan as opposed to quick-and-dirty bad one, time is important. What the group concluded was that the longer the plan takes to produce, the more diffucult the situation becomes. That's because reviving the securitization market is key toward reviving the economy and it’s a viscious cycle: The longer it takes to revive securitization, the worse the economy becomes and the securized products held by the banks lose more value.

  2. Ken Griffen, the founder of Citadel, stressed the need not merely to fix the prices of the securitized bonds, but also that any plan must stabilize the root cause of the problem—the mortgages themselves. And he came up with several ideas to spur homeownership that could revive the housing market.

  3. Also some worry over speculation that Obama economic adviser Paul Volker doesn’t have a more formal role in the process of coming up with a bailout plan.

  4. Some actually had met with officials at the New York Federal Reserve after Geithner's speech and were told the plan is still weeks away. That wasn’t received well.

JohnBrown 9 years ago

Ilk, ilk, ilk.

Any time you want to discuss just how great W was at eroding our nation's wealth just let me know.

Your maleficence is showing.

Godot 9 years ago

Oh, great, now the Whitehouse is going to buy the bad mortgages and refinance them into "affordable" mortgages.

" The White House is considering a proposal to head off potentially millions more home foreclosures by using federal funds to buy up at-risk loans and then refinance them with more affordable terms.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other Obama administration officials met Wednesday with a group of top bankers, community groups and financial industry representatives to discuss the plan.

So far, government efforts to prevent foreclosures have focused on pressing the lending industry to work with at-risk homeowners voluntarily and provide them with more affordable payment terms. But the new proposal signals a shift to a more direct government approach, according to John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, who attended the meeting with Geithner, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and other Obama administration officials.

The White House is considering a proposal to head off potentially millions more home foreclosures by using federal funds to buy up at-risk loans and then refinance them with more affordable terms.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other Obama administration officials met Wednesday with a group of top bankers, community groups and financial industry representatives to discuss the plan.......

Under the proposal, the government would draw on $50 billion in funds already approved for the financial bailout to buy up millions of mortgages at a discount. A $300,000 mortgage on a house now worth $200,000, for example, might be bought at a 30 percent discount.

The homeowner then would be able to refinance the smaller mortgage with lower monthly payments. The government could then sell the loan back to investors, freeing money to buy more loans. "

And, Mr. Obama, just how does one make a $200,000 mortgage "affordable?"

Godot 9 years ago

The US is now being run like a Banana Republic.

jaywalker 9 years ago

"The policy of giving large tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans is what got us into this mess"

Probably the dumbest thing posted on this string all day, and that's with anxiousatheist and invictus posting more than a dozen times. Congrats.

BigDog 9 years ago

The market is tanking because most investors don't believe this spending package will do much to stimulate the US economy.

PosseComitatus 9 years ago

I find it way too easy to point fingers and throw around blame. It's ___ fault, he is a _. You are a ___ for following ___.

Lets take this up a notch, whats your solution ???

Mine is the reduction of the national debt. This should be the long term goal of any plan we come up with.

Orwell 9 years ago

Gallup, 2/09/09:

67% of all Americans approve Obama's handling of the stimulus bill. 58% disapprove of the Congressional Republicans' actions on the issue.

Go ahead and bay at the moon, wingnuts.

Jock Navels 9 years ago

where was all this fiscal responsibility when the bush administration turned the clinton budget surpluses into record budget deficits? huh? or when the reagan administration racked up record budget deficits? where were you then? republicans have been the party of borrow and spend the last half century, not the dems.

thelonious 9 years ago

Hey jaywalker -

You apparently think that giving large tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans would fix our problems. If this is so, please explain how this would make everything better.

I can explain why I don't think this will work. It's because the wealthy simply hoard the money and it does nothing to help the economy - just concentrates wealth further, which makes the situation worse, not better. That is my theory.

Now, I would like to hear you explain how tax cuts for the rich would help. Please explain - this is more effective than simply labeling other's ideas dumb.

BigDog 9 years ago

Rassmussen 2/11/09

67% of Americans believe they could do a better job with economy than Congress

75% of Republicans 73% unaffiliated 53% of Democrats

Doesn't show me that American's have a lot of faith in Congress' ability to lead us out of this recession.

Richard Heckler 9 years ago

Stimulating the economy will require major steps: ending the mideast invasion/occupation. The world does not accept this concept and USA citizens cannot afford $3 trillion dollar wars Stop electing the PNAC Republican war machine to elected positions : a. b. c. d. all incumbent republican candidates subscribe to PNAC e. the world has no respect for the republican PNAC war machine

Next: New source for jobs jobs jobs that cannot be outsourced Demand National Health Insurance - this will save tons of money for 95% of citizens Increase expenditures in public education and Vocational Technical Training a significant tax break to the middle class - this increases spending and they pay the bills. Stop bailing out Wall Street - That money would be better spent on National Health Insurance or Vocational-Technical education Stop the corporate american welfare free lunch program. Local taxpayers get burned :

Corporate american free lunch money would be better spent on National Health Insurance,Public Education and Vocational-Technical education

BigDog 9 years ago

So merrill you want to stop corporate welfare and create more individual welfare?

Richard Heckler 9 years ago

Hey Cal, The last 3 republican administrations DID NOT produce robust economies but robust debt and spent tons on the war machine. They also have a tendency to rob financial institutions:

The repub party is largest law breaker in our nations history:

Isn't it odd each time our nations financial institutions crumble there are Bush family near by and a McCain still in office?

Who has history with financial institutions going south such as the savings and loan scandal? Republicans!

McCain: The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five. The story of "the Keating Five" has become a scandal rivaling Teapot Dome and Watergate ...

CRIME: Who hosted the Iran Contra secret illegal sale of weapons? Republicans!

cthulhu_4_president 9 years ago

My brother writes with his left hand. I have always written with my right.

We hate each other, obviously.

PosseComitatus 9 years ago

Merrill, I was getting ready to thank you for engaging in constructive debate on this issue, then you went on to blast the people you feel are responsible. We are all responsible. This happened on our watch. Do our represenitatives know how we feel on each issue? Do they vote according to that each and every time? Why not? That being said the economy needs to be fixed... not just stimulated.

PosseComitatus 9 years ago

Merrill I do like your plan, as long as this can be accomplished with a common sense budget approach. I would like to see something around a dedicated 10% of taxes go to paying down the debt with a balanced budget.

tbaker 9 years ago

The far-left liberals are so thrilled to finally be in the drivers seat they don't realize they are drag-racing our country down Thelma and Louise Boulevard. Their mad rush to pass porkulus and grow Fedzilla by an order of magnitude will only accelerate the coming depression and prolong it. As any reader of 8th grade history and economics will tell you, GDP is not expanded by government deficit spending. It has the opposite effect. They've also wasted a golden opportunity to blame this ever-worsening mess on Bush and republicans for at least the next six months, and insulate themselves from all the bad news yet to come. They now own this mess. The price of their haste may well be paid in the next election.

Godot 9 years ago

The market ended nearly even - big moonshot in the last hour. Someone must have gotten a leak about the banks from Timothy the Tax Cheat.

Godot 9 years ago

Wait, maybe it was caused by Senator Gregg withdrawing from nomination as Commerce Secretary.

Poor Obambi got jilted.

Godot 9 years ago

Obama on campaign trail. " I will not sign a bill with earmarks." Obama earlier this week: "There is no pork in this bill."

Andrew Taylor of AP, today: " In late-stage talks, Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pressed for $8 billion to construct high-speed rail lines, quadrupling the amount in the bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday.

Reid's office issued a statement noting that a proposed Los Angeles-to-Las Vegas rail might get a big chunk of the money. "

I know, promises, like apes, evolve.

beawolf 9 years ago

"As any reader of 8th grade history and economics will tell you, GDP is not expanded by government deficit spending."

Tbaker, ...... apperently you flunked out before 8th grade. GDP = consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports - imports)

The GDP attempts to measure production through the means of expenditure, private or public.

jayhawklawrence 9 years ago

Well, we have rehashed a lot of right winger economic theories today, but the bottom line is that your guys were in charge for the last 8 years and the American people finally got sick of you.

Thelonius points about the Reagan administration were right on.

p 9 years ago

We should have let the banks fail. Yea, people get hurt and liquidity is a problem for a bit but if the banks failed the population would actually assume agency to create real, meaningful change in our economic system. With the same leadership in the banking industry it is highly likely we will just get government regulation that is nothing but a smoke screen for the fundamental change we needed. This article is kind of dumb though, as it supposes we can attain our old definition of "prosperity". Legacy costs are too high, raw materials cost too much. It is China's turn in the sun, we settle for second place from here on out. Anyone who thinks differently are welcome to argue but are probably to full of pride or delusional.

p 9 years ago

At this point we might as well at least treat our people humanely.

Godot 9 years ago

jayhawklawrence, in a democratic republic, the winner of the election does not become dictator - at least, not so far.

beawolf 9 years ago


I agree, but that assumes private investment is available.

Godot 9 years ago

Just lost another one: Office of Thrift Supervision chairman steps down Reich, Obama administration officials disagree on mortgage modifications By Ronald D. Orol, MarketWatch Last update: 6:08 p.m. EST Feb. 12, 2009 WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Office of Thrift Supervision Chairman John Reich on Thursday announced his resignation from the agency. Reich and Obama administration officials may have been in disagreement over whether the government should be involved in mitigating mortgages to help troubled homeowners. In November, Reich said he had concerns about using federal dollars to complete loan modification programs, a perspective that clashed with the Obama administration's viewpoint on the subject. Reich also disagreed with Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairwoman Sheila Bair, who is seeking billions in government funds to alter loans. Nevertheless, the OTS on Wednesday called on its member savings-and-loan institutions to suspend foreclosing on troubled homeowners until Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner completes work on a $50 billion mortgage modification program. Reich's resignation also changes the make up of the FDIC board, which has five members. In addition to Reich, Bair, Office of Comptroller of the Currency chairman John Dugan and two others sit on the division's board. Reich's resignation adds to speculation that the Obama administration may consider combining both the OTS and OCC. The Obama administration could replace Reich with a chairperson that would be focused on combining the agencies, said an observer familiar with the agencies. End of Story

Godot 9 years ago

"Nevertheless, the OTS on Wednesday called on its member savings-and-loan institutions to suspend foreclosing on troubled homeowners until Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner completes work on a $50 billion mortgage modification program."

If you are making your mortgage payments, you are a fool.

Kryptenx 9 years ago

Interesting that this article is full of doomsday scenarios, yet does not cite a single person other than some jackass who can't even explain how he got to such conclusions. Honestly, it sounds like high school debate rounds where if your disadvantage did not end in global nuclear war and extinction, you shouldn't run it. At least in HS debate you had to have uniqueness (why the impacts won't occur in the status quo), links (linking the bill to the outrageous impacts), and finally your impact (which for this column, is the U.S. being "crushed" and turned into a "socialist economy"). This article is one big massive FAlL.

Godot 9 years ago

kryptenx, the outrageous impact of the bill will be felt soon - when the S&P 500 sinks to 500, and when no one trusts the future of the US enough to be willing to buy Obama bonds.

beatrice 9 years ago

So the stimulus package's debt will crush America - yet the national debt that was already ten times greater won't. Riiight.

Tom, why are you still predicting things? Didn't you predict that Obama would never win? But keep blaming the three week old administration of President Obama on the world's economic problems if you wish. Really, it doesn't make you and your neocon friends look at all ridiculous. Not at all.

Godot 9 years ago

It is math. Try it sometime, you might find it fun.

jaywalker 9 years ago

Hey thelonius:

Apparently you think re-writing your initial post makes it less idiotic. And I never insinuated that I thought "tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans would fix our economy", but nice try at putting words in my mouth. I would also refer you to Liberty_one's post for what they do impact, though. For the record, these were your exact words:

“The policy of giving large tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans is what got us into this mess”

That is dumb, unintelligent, and devoid of fact. The policy of blah blah blah has nothing-nada-nil-zilch to do with our current "mess". Now, in your second post you backpedal and say this was all just your theory. If you'd originally put that out as a theory I probably would have just explained the immense flaws in your thinking. But you typed the above as a statement of fact as if you knew what you were talking about. And when someone opines on something they obviously know nothing about and invents crappola with their mouth, there's not much left to do but call it dumb. Sorry, charlie. The mess we're in revolves around the collapse of the housing industry and the domino effect radiating from it. It has nothing to do with tax cuts for the wealthy or someone with wealth deciding to "hoard" that money (by the way, while I won't call that theory dumb, I will say it's awfully funny!).

Godot 9 years ago

Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy - Plato

bstoppel 9 years ago

So it's this ~800 billion dollar bailout that will burden our children and cause the fall of the United States and not the ~600 billion dollars spent on the war in Iraq or the trillions of dollars of national debt that came before Obama? Hmm.

Take a look at the graph on this page,, and notice that its the Republicans that can't balance a budget and are destroying America.

Under Carter the debt went from ~$1 trillion to ~$1 trillion Under Reagan the debt went from ~ $1 trillion to $3 trillion Under the first Bush from ~$3 trillion to ~$5 trillion Under Clinton from ~$5 trillion to ~$6 trillion Under W from ~$6 trillion to ~$10 trillion

So of our ~$11 trillion debt, the Democrats are responsible for ~$2 trillion and the Republicans for ~$8 trillion. The first trillion is a freebie.

This is a problem caused by the horrible fiscal leadership of the Republican Party. We need to vote every single one of them out of office. They don't deserve to run our country.

At least with Democrats we get a balanced budget (save for this extraordinary pile of crap that Obama inherited), our constitutional rights, and our right to pursue happiness.

Godot 9 years ago

Count em and weep:

$750 Billion TARP - a bill that transferred the power of the purse from the Congress to the Executive, a bill that was so important to Obama that he left the campaign trail to go to Washington to see that the bill was passed.

Bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, guaranteeing trillions of dollars of bad loans with future tax receipts. Unknown Trillions.

The slosh provided by the Federal Reserve, lending money at zero per cent to keep banks functioning. To date, at least $2 trillion.

The so called rescue, which is really just a vote buying spending bill, giving billions of dollars to bail out outrageously irresponsible and incompetent state and local governments, including universities. $790 billion.

The newest boondoggle,, announced today by "the Whitehouse," that they will use the powers granted them under the travesty of the forementioned TARP-EESA bill, to purchase troubled and failed mortgages in order to pay them down and refinance them, at taxpayer expense. Seed money: $50 billion; unintended consequence: trillions of dollars of losses incurred as the result of fraud and fakery, transferred from the investors who bought the bill of goods, and placed onto the backs of the US taxpayer.

And all of this in 6 months. Thank you, Obamamessiah.

Obama is a tool of Wallstreet and the hedge funds.

This wasn't the most expensive purchase of a presidency in the history of the country for nothing.

Godot 9 years ago

Where are they going to get the money for this fianacial coup de tat? Best be on guard for what remains of your 401-K, 403b or IRA. They'll come get that next.

Sigmund 9 years ago

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. However, this will in fact kill us.

thelonious 9 years ago

jaywalker -

As I suspected, you cannot say why or how tax cuts for the wealthy will work, or why or how federal stimulus spending will lead to ruin. All you have is uncivil invective, labeling my ideas dumb, idiotic, etc., blah, blah, blah.

My "ideas" and "theories" are not mine, they come from a large body of economic research. I have a business degree with a minor in economics. As you may or may not know, there are many competing economic theories - there is not one absolute truth. What we can say right now, though, is that the "trickle down" theory of giving large tax cuts to the wealthy on the assumption that they will make productive use of the money and create jobs, etc., has been pretty much discredited by our recent experience.

As for the collapse of the housing industry contibuting to our mess, you are at least partially correct, and it also partially proves my point - the misallocation of capital into McMansions, etc. was probably partially driven by wealthy recipients of tax cuts looking for something "productive" to do with the money. After all, I have observed many times in my life that people who are wealthy are not necessarily smart.

You seem, more than anything else, angry. I am sorry you perhaps lost money during the financial meltdown, and that your candidate lost, but at least President Obama is trying to fix our problems and move beyond idealogy.

As for my quote “The policy of giving large tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans is what got us into this mess”: again, a large body of economic research shows that an extreme concentration of wealth leads to the kind of conditions we are in currently. Do you suppose that it is a coincidence that the last time wealth was so concentrated in the US was in 1929?

camper 9 years ago

There simply is no good answer to this mess that we are now in. These current stimulus plans will burden our future generations. However, the free market sector right now is in a downward spiral, and if it is not turned around, defecits will grow anyways, because less tax revenues will be available as people go out of work, and businesses pile up red numbers (and the resulting loss carryforwards).

Obama said that no plan is not going to be perfect, but he stated that the Government is the only entity that has the resources stimulate the economy, or to slow down the alarming increase in loss jobs.

In my opinion, the US economy is in intensive care. Right now we gotta save the patient....and Yep (I agree) there is gonna be a bill later.

And just one gripe. I'm sick of the Republicans self righteous (fiscaly conservative pretense) right now. Just a couple of months a significant # of them voted for Bush's trillion dollar stimulus plan. Now only about three are voting for Obama's plan? Did there ideaologies change so quickly? Do they have the American public in mind?

jonas_opines 9 years ago

"Then we should also remember that the New Deal approach failed, as well."

Because two UCLA economists say so? Somehow I think if they had suggested the opposite you would be deriding them as clueless academics.

Lindsey Buscher 9 years ago

So let me get this straight retardlicans...

Spending billions upon billions of dollars on killing Iragis = GOOD

Spending billions upon billions of dollars to stimulate our own economy = BAD

Retardlicans burying head in sand =NORMAL

jaywalker 9 years ago


"As I suspected, you cannot say why or how tax cuts for the wealthy will work, or why or how federal stimulus spending will lead to ruin."

When was that my "assignment"? I never said tax cuts for the wealthy are a solution (and I've pointed that out already), nor did I say that the stimulus would lead to ruin. Can you make some more stuff up to try and bolster your position? As to your business degree and minor in economics I'm simply going to say I'm skeptical. "The misallocation of capital into Mcmansions....?" You must be kidding. And that "partially proves your point"? Your 'point' was that tax cuts for the wealthy have caused this economic meltdown. That's a flat, blanket statement. And it's wrong and uneducated, which justifies my skepticism of your supposed educational background. You're damn right that I'm angry. This was all preventable if someone on the Hill had a touch of foresight and a tad of intestinal fortitude. But the man I voted for is sitting in the White House, pal. And I'm angry with his decision to jump right into printing money, and I'm angry that instead of doing the work himself he handed it off to Pelosi who proceeded to walk it down the aisle allowing every jackass up there to stuff it full of pork like it was a sausage casing. Obfuscate some more if you dare, thelonious. My comments to you were about that one statement no matter how much you wish to broaden the topic. And I'll take my business background and acumen which is based on actual experience over whatever research you claim to have done that would lead you to blame all this on tax cuts for the wealthy. I can't stop chuckling at that position. Thanks for the smile.

jaywalker 9 years ago

Camper: "I'm sick of the Republicans self righteous (fiscaly conservative pretense) right now. Just a couple of months a significant # of them voted for Bush's trillion dollar stimulus plan. Now only about three are voting for Obama's plan? Did there ideaologies change so quickly? Do they have the American public in mind?"

A significant number, camper? Pay attention to the last sentence here, boyo: “The vote was 263 to 171, with a number of Democrats and Republicans switching sides to give the rescue package a majority. More Republicans continued to oppose the measure than support it, however."

More opposed than supported. Hmmmm............. And do you honestly believe that Obama wouldn't have done the exact same thing if he was in office already?

Godot 9 years ago

The army of MBA's that our esteemed business schools churned out in the last couple of decades, trained by so-called economists, are at the root of this mess, as well. They had all these theories, and formulas, and dreams of making it rich, dancing in their heads. They created the SIV's, CDS's, MBS, CDO's which turned out to be opaque vehicles of fraud and double dealing.

shutnmdown 9 years ago

Opinions opinions opinions, don't actually do anything unless you the one in the office moving the bills. Next time run for president, since you got a opinion, does that make you a politician? Probaly not, but leave the work to those that dared to be different and put themselves in the position of power to make things good or bad.

Satirical 9 years ago

I haven't read all the comments, but most of the responses by liberals have been something like this...

"LIberals may be expanding government just for the sake of making people more dependent on government, and the stimulus package might be more about spreading the wealth than fixing the economy, but conservatives have messed up in the past too!" (i.e. I can't defend my position so I will attack your position)

KatWrangler 9 years ago

Cal your tinfoil hat is too tight. Take it off because its smooshing your brain.

Flap Doodle 9 years ago

Will Pelosi & Reid give Congress time to actually read the bill before it's voted on?

Godot 9 years ago

No, they are voting without reading it. However, the lobbyists got an advance copy (actually, there are several versions rolling around). Lobbyists run Obama/Pelosi/Reid.

There is $2,000,000,000 for Acorn, though. Funding for illegal voter registration is at the top of their list of priorities.

Godot 9 years ago

This is what the world thinks of Obamanomics:

"NEW YORK -- Treasurys suffered from a wave of selling Friday morning on concern of a sharp increase in government debt supply amid rising funding needs.

Some dealers who bought bonds from $67 billion of government debt supply this week also unloaded some of their holdings ahead of the long weekend, traders said. Lower prices will also make it easier for dealers to sell their inventories to investors next week, they said.

The Treasury market will close at 2 p.m. EST Friday and will remain shut Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.

"Some long positions were cut," said Rick Klingman, "..

Godot 9 years ago

The true 10 year cost of this bailout is over $2.5 TRILLION dollars when you calculate the cost of continuing to fund the new entitlements, plus over $800 billion in interest carrying charges, assuming that the goverment can sell bonds at .75 per cent return.

To quote John McCain: "This is generational theft."

Godot 9 years ago

To quote Godot, this is a financial coup d'etat - it began in June, 2008, and accelerated on September 20, 2008. Someone pulled $550,000,000,000 out of money market funds and threatened to keep liquidating if the TARP was not implemented. Wonder who has control over that much money?

Godot 9 years ago

The disgusting, traitorous Democrats in Congress (less 9 brave Dem souls) just passed the largest spending bill in Congress, one that is over 1,000 pages long, without even reading it. One was quoted as saying that he just had to close his eyes, cross his fingers and vote in favor while trusting in the Obamamessiah.

Traitors. Incomepetents. Fools.

peach_plum_pear 9 years ago

let me get this straight...

under bush, the usa invaded iraq under false pretenses. between 2003 and 2009 the war in iraq cost:

$845 billion directly to the usa estimated over $3 trillion to the us economy as of aug. 8, 2008 4,136 members of the us military lost their lives in the war.

all this for a country that's not even ours, that wasn't a threat to our safety?

and now our own citizens are out of work, homeless, without health care, and it's considered 'wasteful spending' to try fix it.

give me a break! there's not much obama could do to spend money more wastefully than bush did. this thing may not be perfect, but somehow i have trouble believing that it's going to be the crushing blow to the u.s.

Godot 9 years ago

You voted for it, you asked for it.. Good luck.

Godot 9 years ago

Now that I think of it, I am relieved. You liberals just crapped in your own bed, and now I don't have to take care of it. You own it. It is yours.

temperance 9 years ago

Does anyone remember Cal's 2003 column "Iraq War Debt Will Crush US?"

Neither do I.

PosseComitatus 9 years ago

Its time for more simple questions. If the Iraq war has cost us over $800 billion, where does that money go? Soldiers Equipment Supplies Basically it goes back into our economy.

If that alone didn't prop up our economy how is another $800 billion going to help?

jaywalker 9 years ago

"Now we have to watch the once GOP commit suicide"

I thought we'd already witnessed that.

jonas_opines 9 years ago

" If the Iraq war has cost us over $800 billion, where does that money go? Soldiers Equipment Supplies Basically it goes back into our economy"

Unless our military used products produced abroad. Then only the soldier's salary would go towards our economy.

I don't, by the way, know where the military's products come from.

Godot 9 years ago

Well, I think I have figured out what I will get out of this abysmal product of graft, corruption and self dealing:

higher taxes and the loss of privacy of my medical records.

I wonder if Tiller will be required to submit his medical records to the Health Information Minister, or if he paid enough to Queen Kathy to get an exemption?

igby 9 years ago

Heaping contempt on the tax payers!

The state will get paid if it plays the liberal game. That's at the root of this bail-out bill.

One section deals with federal and state welfare for the criminally habitual prone. The state has to manage their release from jail pending trial while the cops get paid for chasing them at low speeds for public safety reasons. If their wearing their seat belt when caught then the cops have to let them go. However, if they use a cell phone to call for help during the low speed chase their disqualified from their per-paid release from jail. This is going to cost the tax payers a lot so why even arrest them in the first place.

igby 9 years ago

Paying back the federal deficit from this bail out will be easy because there will be a new Federal property tax on all housing, real estate and real property. This will be paid each year along with the state and county property tax. The fed will own the state therefore taxes due the state will belong to the fed.

Godot 9 years ago

Several months ago, I predicted that, if Obama were to win the election, eventually the Federal government would be the de-factor owner of all housing in the US.

My prediction is very close to becoming a reality. And it hasn't even been a month.

West_Sider 9 years ago

kugrad (Anonymous) says…

How convenient to blame the crushing deficit only on the new stimulus, rather than look at it as a whole. When Bush took office, we had a massive surplus.

Please put the crack pipe down. We haven't been free from debt as a country in a VERY VERY long time.

Strontius 9 years ago

"Its time for more simple questions. If the Iraq war has cost us over $800 billion, where does that money go?"

Mainly it goes to the major military contractors, but much of it went to the Iraqi government for failed building projects.

Why are there so many comments by know-nothing, right-wing nutbars crying doom? Is that really what it's come to? The right runs out of ideas and just wants to sit back and hope for the destruction of the nation? Absolutely pathetic. It would be funny if so many of you crazies didn't own automatic assault rifles with traitorous ambitions against your democratically elected government.

Get behind your president, or get out of the country. Remember that line you fed the rest of us for eight years? Well, now it's your turn. All Republicans know how to do is whine whine WHINE while out of power. You nitwits did it for eight years under Clinton, and now you're doing it again under Obama.

Enjoy your time on the bench. You'll be there for quite some time, while those of us with an IQ above 80 and a high school education sort out your mess and account for the war crimes you all have a share in creating through your vote.

ursulabirtha 9 years ago

I blame that jacka** Bush and the nasty, greedy Republicans.

sibkiss 9 years ago

Check out Congressman Ron Paul on youtube or when he talked about this debt debacle and so called stimulus package Feb 13. Since last year the Dr. has also been interviewed on top money shows because he is making a lot of sense and people are listening. Then there is a Dollars and Sense youtube 5 part video. But in the slide toward socialism, quick debt- financed patches sell best.

Godot 9 years ago

Up next, GM fails to meet its goal of reducing costs and restructuing, thanks to the recalicitrance and obstruction of the UAW; Congress declares GM in default of their agreement; Obama, by executive order, nationalizes GM; Obama, by executive order, gives the UAW ownership of GM.

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