Archive for the ‘government spending’ Category

U.S. Taxpayers Risk $9.7 Trillion on Bailouts as Senate Votes

February 9, 2009

The stimulus package the U.S. Congress is completing would raise the government’s commitment to solving the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion, enough to pay off more than 90 percent of the nation’s home mortgages.

By Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry
Bloomberg
.
The Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have lent or spent almost $3 trillion over the past two years and pledged to provide up to $5.7 trillion more if needed. The total already tapped has decreased about 1 percent since November, mostly because foreign central banks are using fewer dollars in currency-exchange agreements called swaps. The Senate is to vote early this week on a stimulus package totaling at least $780 billion that President Barack Obama says is needed to avert a deeper recession. That measure would need to be reconciled with an $819 billion plan the House approved last month.

Only the stimulus package to be approved this week, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program passed four months ago and $168 billion in tax cuts and rebates approved in 2008 have been voted on by lawmakers. The remaining $8 trillion in commitments are lending programs and guarantees, almost all under the authority of the Fed and the FDIC. The recipients’ names have not been disclosed.

“We’ve seen money go out the back door of this government unlike any time in the history of our country,” Senator Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, said on the Senate floor Feb. 3. “Nobody knows what went out of the Federal Reserve Board, to whom and for what purpose. How much from the FDIC? How much from TARP? When? Why?”

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news
?pid=washingtonstory&sid=aGq2B3XeGKok

Advertisements

Obama’s Stimulus: Routine Repairs; Lacks “Power to stir men’s souls”

December 14, 2008

President-elect  Barack Obama calls it “the largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s.” New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg compares it to the New Deal — when workers built hundreds of bridges, dams and parkways — while saying it could help close the gap with China, where he recently traveled on a Shanghai train at 267 mph.

By Alec MacGillis and Michael D. Shear
The Washington Post


Above: Shanghai’s high speed train

Most of the infrastructure spending being proposed for the massive stimulus package that Obama and congressional Democrats are readying, however, is not exactly the stuff of history, but destined for routine projects that have been on the to-do lists of state highway departments for years. Oklahoma wants to repave stretches of Interstates 35 and 40 and build “cable barriers” to keep wayward cars from crossing medians. New Jersey wants to repaint 88 bridges and restore Route 35 from Toms River to Mantoloking. Scottsdale, Ariz., wants to widen 1.5 miles of Scottsdale Road.

On the campaign trail, Obama said he would “rebuild America” with an “infrastructure bank” run by a new board that would award $60 billion over a decade to projects such as high-speed rail to take the country in a more energy-efficient direction. But the crumbling economy, while giving impetus to big spending plans, has also put a new emphasis on projects that can be started immediately — “use it or lose it,” Obama said last week — and created a clear tension between the need to create jobs fast and the desire for a lasting legacy.

“It doesn’t have the power to stir men’s souls,” said David Goldberg of Smart Growth America. “Repair and maintenance are good. We need to make sure we’re building bridges that stand, not bridges to nowhere. But to gild the lily . . . where we’re resurfacing pieces of road that aren’t that critical, just to be able to say we spent the money, is not what we’re after.”

Related:
Obama is, Viewed Pragmatically, Interested in “What Works,” Practically

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/arti
cle/2008/12/13/AR2008121301819.html?hpid=topnews