Tag Archives: stimulus
For full disclosure I’m not an economist, I don’t even play one on TV, but what follows is my best efforts to understand the economic crisis and two easy ways to make it worse.
White House numbers suggest that Michigan stands to gain or maintain 109,000 jobs with the passage of the stimulus package.Â With 3.5 million jobs expected to be spread out over 300,000,000 Americans, and 10,000,000 Michiganders we should expect about 15,000,000 – ideally more given the fact that we have been harder hit than most states by the current economic downturn.Â Still 109,000 is a big number.Â To put that in perspective, there are 114,000 people in Ann Arbor.Â Imagine this entire city minus the 5,000 people on the College Dems listserve, and imagine all of them unemployed and getting a job as a result of this bill.Â Then imagine you’re a Republican member of the Michigan congressional delegation and decided to vote against this bill.Â You’d have to be crazy.Â Or just blinded by partisanship.
According to the New York Times Twitter alert, and the Times homepage, the conference committee has reached a deal on the stimulus package.Â If it’s anything like the most recent leak, it doesn’t look good.Â Earlier today the Times reported the package will be $789 billion.Â Education and health spending will be cut in favor of (ineffective) tax cuts.Â That sucks.Â But alas, it’s better than nothing.
Update: I think this is still right, but it could be wrong.Â Ohhhh – palace intrigue.
The new stimulus package making isn’t perfect.Â It’s not really even good.Â Education funding ought to be the backbone of any stimulus package lest the next generation will use the nice new roads to drive to the unemployment office.Â (I stole this quote from a fantastic op-ed by Thomas Friedman).Â Instead the new stimulus package focuses on tax-cuts which are known by every economist to be ineffective at stimulating the economy.Â Despite two consecutive overwhelming Democratic victories, this bill chock full of bad Republican ideas.Â I sympathize with Nathaniel’s anger.Â (more…)
In his interview this evening with Charlie Gibson, President Obama said – okay, we’ll say “implied” – that he wants the controversial (read: stupid) “Buy American” provisions removed from the stimulus bill:
CHARLES GIBSON: A couple of quick questions. There are “Buy America” provisions in this bill. A lot of people think that could set up a trade war, cost American jobs. You want them out?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I want provisions that are going to be a violation of World Trade Organization agreements or in other ways signal protectionism. I think that would be a mistake right now. That is a potential source of trade wars that we can’t afford at a time when trade is sinking all across the globe.
CHARLES GIBSON: What’s in there now? Do you think that does that? Do you want it out?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think we need to make sure that any provisions that are in there are not going to trigger a trade war.
Provisions like these almost always lead to far more negatives than positives. Â For example, following the pattern often seen with what is essentially protectionism in the form of a government subsidy (not a “direct subsidy” in the classical sense, but that’s not important), a studyÂ showed that these provisions would indeed create roughly 1,000 jobs in the US Steel industry. Â This, unfortunately, would be at the cost of as many as 65,000 (read “65 times as many”) jobs in other US industries as a result of increased input costs.
Also of note: the provision is, uh, illegal under WTO rules. Â Way to go, guys.
Kudos to Obama for not giving into protectionist pressures coming from Congress. Â Forgive them, Barack, they know not what they do.
(Via Marc Ambinder)
Although much of the public debate around the stimulus has focused on contraceptives and resodding the National Mall, there are hidden elements of the package that would have big effects on our daily lives.Â One aspect that has been largely overlooked is a provision that would increase funding andÂ access to Medicaid services, which is especially important in Michigan, as unemployment reached 10.6% in December.Â The stimulus package would pump $2.2 billion to the state’s Medicaid program–money that is desperately needed for our most vulnerable residents.
According to the Detroit Free Press:
Another provision could vastly extend Medicaid coverage by allowing states to provide coverage to anyone currently receiving unemployment benefits or having exhausted them on or after July 1, 2008.
States also could choose to provide Medicaid to anyone losing a job — whether they receive unemployment or not — and making up to twice the federal poverty limit, which is $44,100 for a family of four. Anyone receiving food stamps also could get Medicaid, if a state allowed it.
The federal government would cover the Medicaid costs through the end of 2010.
With the rising unemployment rate in our state, these provisions, coupled with the potential passage of SCHIP, could create an important safety net to ensure that Michigan’s families have consistent access to health care.
The stimulus passed the House 244-188. That’s pretty cool and puts us halfway to getting it signed and getting the economy back on track. However, the way that the Democrats handled the family planning portion of the funding was awful.
The background is that the Democrats provided 87 billion dollars in the stimulus for Medicaid funding to help out the states. This was a great idea because the states are basically bankrupt right now. This is a great way to directly pump money into the economy and help poor people get health care. Part of this funding was a couple hundred million dollars to help out with Medicaid family planning services, providing contraception to low income women.
Republicans threw a massive hissy fit. A great example of it is here. I’m going to blockquote a section because it is that horrible:
Makes a lot of sense. If we have more STD prevention, it will be safer for loose women to go into bars and pick up feckless men, thus stimulating the critical beer and nuts and jukebox industries. To do this, we need trillion-dollar deficits, which our children and grandchildren will have to pay off, but, with sufficient investment in prevention measures, there won’t be any children or grandchildren, so there’s that problem solved.
It’s easy to blame Republicans, but even worse when it’s members of your own party:
Apparently, the target group most in need of some good old fashioned sex ed can be found among the male members of the Democratic Party and among the talking heads in the media.
A number of Congressmen attending a House Caucus meeting on the economic package earlier this week reportedly could not stop snickering when the words â€œstimulusâ€ and â€œfamily planningâ€ were used in the same sentence, and continued to tee-hee their way through a presentation by female colleagues until asked to stop.
â€œThey acted like they were in junior high,â€ reported a participant in the meeting. â€œIt made me realize that not only did they not understand this issue, but that they are uncomfortable even talking about it.”
So, it got stripped. And millions of poor women will suffer because of a bunch of stupid immaturity. It’s sad. This even saves money for states by preventing unintended pregnancies that they would otherwise be required to spend money on. Of course, these concessions to Republicans gave a grand total of ZERO votes.
Barack Obama said “We won”. It’s time to start acting like it.
Governor Granholm was on CNN this morning and argued that the stimulus package needs to be passed and it needs to be passed now for Michigan and for the nation.Â Moody’s has predicted the stimulus could create 150,000 jobs in Michigan.Â That’s a lot.Â Michigan is, arguably, hurting more than any state in the country in the current recession.Â Unfortunantly, the rapid relief this country needs may be help up by the Senate Republicans.Â As usual, it relies on tax cuts.Â Points for consistency I suppose.Â If only their wren’t those pesky facts to deal with… you know the ones that say they don’t work.
For those of you who missed it, our beloved Governor Jennifer Granholm, stopped by Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss the importance of Obama’s stimulus package for Michigan and the rest of the country.Â Coupled with the release of December’s job report, Granholm apperance becomes all the more relevant. Issued just hours ago, the reports indicate 524,000 jobs were lost in December, bringing the yearly total to more than 2.6 million jobs lost. This is the largest loss since 1945, when nearly 2.8 million jobs were lost.