Stimulus bill finally makes sense

My best shovel at the ready
My best shovel at the ready

I have to admit I’m a bit of a news junkie, and I have been following recent events in Washington with considerable interest and curiosity. All the talk about spending and stimulus and pork and earmarks and recession and recovery and left and right and depression, and yadda yadda yadda can get more than a little confusing. I was actually beginning to think that most of it was just a bunch of talk by the politicians and the analysts to try and justify their continued employment when so many people are losing their jobs.

I was particularly confused by the spending bill because it just didn’t make sense to me. How was a two million dollar ferry boat in San Juan, PR going to stimulate the economy? And, why does the Historic Jazz Society in Kansas City, MO need federal assistance? And, what is “Sustainable Las Vegas” and what’s it going to do with a million bucks? I just didn’t get it.

But then, I came across this: $178,000 to determine the effects of daylight savings time on the average fifty year old caucasion male living in central U.S. in the James River basin, on an eastern sloping hillside, who has a receding hairline, walks slightly bowlegged, and speaks with a southern drawl. As soon as I read that I became very stimulated. I thought, “Hey, I could be that guy.” I dug deeper and finally found the full requirements for qualifying for this assistance. Turned out it was a shovel-ready project so I raced out to the shed and retrieved my best shovel.

I ran back inside and finally found the phone number to call and apply for this very important study. Unfortunately, I forgot to set my clocks forward last night and I missed the deadline by one hour. Oh well, back to the drawing board I suppose. Maybe there’s some money in there to help late blooming baby boomers build boats by the bay.

Sincerely (not),

Tim Couch

Obama, A Man of his Word

by Tim Couch

Over the last few weeks we’ve heard a LOT about the stimulus/spending bill that was signed into law a couple of days ago. As news of the contents of the bill began to surface and it became evident that this was much more than a stimulus bill I kept asking myself, “Why?” Why would the President of our Country refuse to consider viable alternatives? Why would he race around the Country crying, “The sky is falling,” when no one else was trumpeting that tune? I think most people agreed that something needed to be done, but for the most part only the President seemed near hysteria in his dire warnings. And, why was Congress given so little time to assess the bill before having to cast a vote on it? It just didn’t make sense for normally intelligent and basically pragmatic people to behave in such a way as our President and Democrat Congress members have been acting recently.

I’m a bit of a muller. I like to take an item and set it out in the middle of the table and study it for a while. Then, I walk around to the other side of the table and study it some more. So, I took this particular piece of legislation and I set it out in the middle of the table, on a big turkey platter. Then, I placed the key players, those who were rabidly pushing this bill, around the platter. Then, I placed the lesser players, those who could potentially effect the direction or outcome of the bill in a loose circle around them. Finally, I encircled the whole with the three hundred million American citizens who, for the most part, are simply waiting to see what happens. Once I had the table set I stepped back and I pondered, “What would induce these few players in the inner circle to force feed this turkey to all these other people?”

In the end only one theory makes sense. Our President must be a man of his word. How else does a man of no background, no experience, and no credentials go from Community Organizer to President of the United States in the course of a few years?

Now, I’m not naive. I realize that promises and compromises must be made in the political arena. I understand the political concept that to be of service one must be in office. And, I believe that if someone were to come to me and say something like, “We have the power and the money to put you in the Whitehouse, and we are prepared to do so if you will agree to certain conditions,” my answer would depend on those conditions. I do not believe that my ambitions would outweigh my sense of right and wrong, and likewise I have no reason to believe that if our President were ever faced with such a proposition his sense of right and wrong would not determine his answer. I have no idea whether such a conversation ever took place, but what else can explain the relentless march to the passage of this bill?

I choose, at this juncture, to believe that our President and our Congress believe they are acting in the best interest of our Country. I do not agree with the path we have taken, but I do not believe our leaders are taking us down this path with any malicious intent. Regardless, the path is before us and we can either stand here and bicker about how we got here, or we can take steps to move us toward our goal.

It’s true that our Country is in dire need of change, but the change we need is going to have to come from us, the people. Our elected leaders, as well intentioned as they may be, can not take us where we need to go. They rely on us to tell them where we want to be led. I know it’s a convoluted metaphor but that’s the beauty of government of, by, and for the people.

American Solutions for Jobs and Prosperity

American Solutions for Winning the Future is a unique non-partisan organization designed to rise above traditional gridlocked partisanship to provide real, significant solutions to the most important issues facing our country.

The massive spending bill making its way through Congress is not a real solution. It’s doing for the sake of doing, and not for the sake of reasonable result. Through good old fashioned “people first” thinking American Solutions is offering a clear and decisive alternative that creates jobs and rewards work, saving, and investment.

Here are the twelve critical points of the American Solutions for Jobs and Prosperity. If after reading these points you want to endorse the American Solutions alternative, or join in the discussion regarding the plan, visit American Solutions for winning the future and help spread the word.

  1. Payroll Tax Stimulus.  With a temporary new tax credit to offset 50% of the payroll tax, every small business would have more money, and all Americans would take home more of what they earn.
  2. Real Middle-Income Tax Relief. Reduce the marginal tax rate of 25% down to 15%, in effect establishing a flat-rate tax of 15% for close to 9 out of 10 American workers.
  3. Reduce the Business Tax Rate.  Match Ireland’s rate of 12.5% to keep more jobs in America.
  4. Homeowner’s Assistance. Provide tax credit incentives to responsible home buyers so they can keep their homes.
  5. Controlling Spending So We Can Move to a Balanced Budget.  This begins with eliminating Congressional earmarks and wasteful pork-barrel spending.
  6. No State Aid Without Protection From Fraud.  Require state governments to adopt anti-fraud and anti-theft policies before giving them more money.
  7. More American Energy Now. Explore for more American oil and gas and invest in affordable energy for the future, including clean coal, ethanol, nuclear power and renewable fuels.
  8. Abolish Taxes on Capital Gains. Match China, Singapore and many other competitors. More investment in America means more jobs in America.
  9. Protect Our Right to Vote in the Workplace. We must protect a worker’s right to decide by secret ballot whether to join a union.
  10. Replace Sarbanes-Oxley.  This failed law is crippling entrepreneurial startups.  Replace it with affordable rules that help create jobs, not destroy them.
  11. Abolish the Death Tax. Americans should work for their families, not for Washington.
  12. Invest in Energy and Transportation Infrastructure. This includes a new, expanded electric power grid and a 21st century air traffic control system that will reduce delays in air travel and save passengers, employees and airlines billions of dollars per year.

Visit American Solutions for Winning the Future and endorse this plan. Thank you.

Stimulus Package Translation

by Tim Couch

I’ve been listening to a lot of news lately. Most of it having to do with the newly passed stimulus package. Now that I’ve had a couple of days to absorb and ponder I think a translation of sorts is in order. I think it’s time that our elected and appointed officials in Washington know what we hear when they talk about this package. So, here is a verbatim translation of a report that I heard earlier today:

“This massive stimulus package yadda, yadda, yadda billion. As well as blah, blah, blah, blah hundred million. Included in the package will be nanner, nanner, nanner millions. Which does not necessarily yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda trillion dollars. Except for wootie, wootie, wootie tax cuts there will be padink, padink, padink hundred billion or more.”

Have you ever listened to an adult trying to explain something to a child when they don’t really understand it themselves, but don’t want the child to know they don’t know what they’re talking about? That’s our government and our media. They can’t explain this stimulus package. No one can. It’s like a stimulus deity. It’s beyond comprehension. But, we’re going to do it anyway because something has to be done, damnit! So, let’s throw money at it.

Wait a minute. If we can just print a whole bunch of new money and throw it at our problems then why do we have problems? If all these ~illions are at our disposal then why is our economy stalled? Because, the problem is not one of cash; it’s one of confidence. The banks have stopped lending not because they don’t have money to lend, but because they are not confident they will get the money back. People have stopped spending because they are not confident there will be more money coming in. Throwing money at a problem of confidence is like tickling a person who’s depressed. It might make them laugh but it’s not going to cure their depression.

I agree that something has to be done. And, I accept that it’s going to be expensive. But, so far all I hear is how much it’s going to cost. I haven’t heard anything yet about the return we can expect from our investment. Where are the details of the back-end of this stimulus plan? How is all this government spending going to restore confidence and get people spending and banks lending again? Is it just a matter of poor communication, or are our officials actually trying to put together a puzzle in the dark?

What would make you feel more confident about our economy?