Banner Archive

Marvel Comics Timeline
Godzilla Timeline



« Russians Know How to Collect on Debts | Main | It's a Solid and a Liquid! »

What's good about the stimulus, and why i'm still not happy.

The Progressive Caucus has released a memo touting the good things that are in the stimulus bill.

Unemployment benefits (UI) extension. Cost = at least $12.7 billion

Anti-hunger provisions:

  • SNAP - 20% temporary increase in maximum food stamp level above the FY2009 level for two years. Cost = approximately $24 billion and increase in funds for state food stamp administrative costs Cost= $250 million;

  • WIC - increase funding to make up for shortfall not covered in the current Continuing Resolution. Cost = $450 million and increases for management information system and related infrastructure improvements. Cost = $50 million;

  • School meals - provide a 15% increase in funding for breakfast and school lunch programs. Cost = $1 billion;

Medicaid payments to states (FMAP). Cost = at least $15 billion

LIHEAP assistance to provide low-income Americans relief from higher energy costs. Cost = at least $5 billion

Job creation via down payment on rebuilding America's infrastructure and schools, starting with massive investment in commercialization of green technologies and related job training that promote environmental protection and energy independence. Cost = at least $100 billion

In general:

  • No funds for Iraq or Afghanistan wars and no funds for defense procurement.

  • Prevailing wage to be paid for jobs created and upholding of Davis-Bacon Act

Everything listed here is very good, but the focus here is helping the truly poor. Again, that's great (no sarcasm), but it continues the dichotomy of Democrats helping the poor and Republicans helping the rich, and no one really looking out for the middle class. The middle class is struggling in this recession, and that causes a spiral effect that deepens the recession as the middle class cuts back on spending. It's also bad from a political point of view; this is a chance for the Democrats to really show that they are the party of working people, and creating or expanding welfare programs while letting the middle class struggle creates resentment and turns people towards the Republicans.

I can't say enough that the items listed here are very valuable. They create a safety net that helps those teetering on the edge of middle class and that definitely has a bottom-up ripple effect as well. But we need real... "change". Massive infrastructure investments, more than just rebuilding schools, that will create high tech jobs and potentially improve the way we handle transportation and energy, reducing costs in those areas. Real health care reform. Changes that the average voter will be able to feel the impact of. It's still possible that the "green technologies

A lot of proposals that were initially being considered for the stimulus were dropped to make way for Republican tax cuts. Politically that sends a message to the middle class that the only way to help them is by cutting taxes; that government programs are never effective. In reality, tax cuts are not going to help very much in a recession because there is no guarantee that the saved money won't be hoarded away until the recession is over (in fact, for wealthy people, that is the likely effect).

By fnord12 | January 28, 2009, 1:42 PM | Liberal Outrage