Archive for the ‘stimulus’ Category

Obama Stimulus Job Numbers for Massachusetts “Manufactured in Washington DC”

March 27, 2009

“The question to me was, ‘How in God’s name did Obama’s guys come up with these job numbers for us?’  So, being a good accountant I dove into it.”

“I think they used a ouija board.”

That’s from my friend in Massachusetts speaking about the number of jobs that would be saved there as estimated by team Obama.  The people in Massachusetts have no idea how they can ever save that number of jobs, we were told….

“They must have just manufactured these numbers in Washington DC….”


By STEVE LeBLANC, Associated Press Writer

State officials overseeing the federal economic stimulus program in Massachusetts say they have no idea how the White House came up with one key pledge — the promise to save or create 79,000 jobs in the state.

They say they’re not even sure how to measure saved jobs — and fear the jobs figure sets an unrealistic yardstick against which the success or failure of the program will be measured.

“The federal estimate of 79,000, we really don’t know what’s behind that, we just plain don’t,” Jeffrey Simon, Director of Infrastructure Investment in Massachusetts, told The Associated Press.

“I’m not saying it’s not 79,000, but I just don’t have any way of knowing that,” he said.

Simon and his counterparts overseeing the distribution of stimulus funds in Massachusetts said concerns about the state jobs numbers were raised at a meeting earlier this month in Washington between state and federal leaders.

Massachusetts Undersecretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez also attended the Washington meeting and said other states complained that issuing job estimates undercut the administration’s vow of transparency because it was unclear where the estimates came from.

Gonzalez said he was asked at one point how he might come up with a jobs estimate and pointed federal officials to a state task force report, but cautioned them the estimate was very rough and came with “qualifications all over it.”

He said he was surprised when the state was presented with the estimate of 79,000.

“We have no idea where that number came from and now we’re going to be measured against it,” Gonzalez told the AP. “They haven’t even decided yet how they are going to require that we measure new and retained jobs.”

Job creation has been a key selling point of the $787 billion federal stimulus package. The Obama administration said they stimulus package will save or create 3.5 million nationwide.

Critics say the numbers are fuzzy, particularly when it comes to saved jobs.

In a one-page explanation on the federal stimulus Web site, the administration said it arrived at the state numbers by using an average of three different methods of estimating job growth.

The first looks at the total working-age population of each state. (If a state accounted for 10 percent of the country’s total working age population, it was allotted 10 percent of the national job impact of the stimulus package.) The second uses a similar method based on 2007 employment records, before the beginning of the current recession.

The administration said the two methods are reasonable because states with larger populations will get a proportionately larger share of tax cuts, education spending and fiscal relief from the stimulus package.

Read the rest:

Obama’s end of the beginning and possibly the beginning of the end

Stimulus: Example of More Wise Spending on “Infrastructure”?

Obama Stimulus; Fewer Jobs, Real Growth Industry is Government Counting, Regulating Jobs (Go Figure)

Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

 The Great Give Away of Taxpayer Money By Bigger and Bigger Government

 President Tries To Harness Public Anger To Move His Budget

Obama Dead Wrong On Stimulus, Caterpillar Company Jobs, Recovery

 Stumulus: Obama and Congress Sold Us A Lot Of Useless Swampland; Ready To Buy More?

Stimulus: Example of More Wise Spending on “Infrastructure”?

March 27, 2009

One man jumped to his death off the All-America Bridge this year.

Two more used the Akron bridge — more commonly known as the Y-Bridge — to commit suicide in 2008.

Akron hopes to curtail future deaths on what has been dubbed ”Suicide Bridge” by installing a fence.

The controversial fencing — some have been pushing for it, while others think it’s a waste of money — was among the local projects the state approved Thursday for federal stimulus funds.

The Akron Beacon Journal

Read the rest:

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, holding a book prepared by Senator Sherrod Brown’s office explaining the stimulus plan, explains how Akron’s share of the $937 million transportation infrastructure stimulus will be used to create 240 new jobs in the Akron area during a press conference Thursday in Akron. (Paul Tople/Akron Beacon Journal)


We also noted stories today that taxes will be raised by the states of California and New York despite the stimulus…


New York:


The number  of jobs promised by the stimulus will not be realized we know now:

Stumulus: Obama and Congress Sold Us A Lot Of Useless Swampland; Ready To Buy More? Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

Obama Stimulus; Fewer Jobs, Real Growth Industry is Government Counting, Regulating Jobs (Go Figure)

Obama Stimulus; Fewer Jobs, Real Growth Industry is Government Counting, Regulating Jobs (Go Figure)

March 27, 2009

When President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus bill last month, he promised it would create or save 3.5 million jobs. Federal and state officials are ramping up efforts to count those jobs, but it won’t be easy.

In Marlborough, N.H., population 2,085, residents meet in the school gym to vote on every detail of the town’s budget for the coming year. Headlining the debate on a recent evening was a plan to dig two wells for drinking water.


At one point, a man in a leather vest steps to the microphone and asks Selectman John Northcott what sources of money might pay for this.

“We have first applied for stimulus funds from the state,” Northcott says.

In the end, residents vote in favor of digging the wells. And a stimulus job might be born.

 Stimulus: Example of More Wise Spending on “Infrastructure”?

Complicated Job Calculations

Let’s assume Marlborough gets stimulus money for all or part of the project. The federal dollars will pay for some jobs, and the contractor will send a form to the state saying how many jobs were involved and how much those jobs paid.

It sounds simple. But it isn’t.

In an office at the state Capitol in Concord, Bud Fitch flips through a fat white binder. It’s his magna carta for the federal regulations that guide his work as director of New Hampshire’s Office of Economic Stimulus.

Page 174 tells him he must count the jobs, but he’s still waiting for the pages that will tell him how. In the past, government agencies have used different approaches.

“Some would count noses. ‘How many did you hire?’ — without a lot of constraint on whether it’s full-time, part-time, low-paying, high-paying,” says Fitch. “Others would have you count hours, without consideration of how many people work those hours.”

Creating A Yardstick

What’s needed is a yardstick so that a job counted under one program will be the same as a job counted under another. Part of the complication is that not all jobs are created equal. Some are seasonal; some allow a person to work on more than one project at once, and so on.

Picking one yardstick might seem relatively easy compared to the next challenge: How do you tell the difference between a job that was saved by the stimulus and a job that would have been there anyway?

Bruce Meyer, a professor at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, analyzes the labor supply. He says there are reasonable methods, but it’s almost impossible to know what a firm would have done if left on its own.

“They might have increased their employment even without the jobs subsidy,” he says, “because firms increase and decrease all the time.”

Keeping Tally

The agency in Washington that has to sort this out is the Office of Management and Budget. OMB’s Deputy Director, Rob Nabors, agrees that counting jobs, particularly saved jobs, is tricky.

He says agencies will use several methods. They will ask for documentation that layoffs would have occurred without the stimulus. And there will be some estimating. But Nabors says his office will be conservative.

Read the rest and here the radio broadcast:

Stumulus: Obama and Congress Sold Us A Lot Of Useless Swampland; Ready To Buy More?

 Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

 The Great Give Away of Taxpayer Money By Bigger and Bigger Government

 President Tries To Harness Public Anger To Move His Budget

Obama Dead Wrong On Stimulus, Caterpillar Company Jobs, Recovery

Stumulus: Obama and Congress Sold Us A Lot Of Useless Swampland; Ready To Buy More?

March 26, 2009

The stimulus cost taxpeyers $787 billion.  It was rushed through congress to create jobs.  Few in congress even admitted to reading its 1,000 plus pages.  The stimulus authorized the AIG bonus payments that nearly eveyone since saw as “outrage.”

Thanks to Chris Dodd and Tim Geithner apparently….

Now the president said he will use that anger and outrage that he himslf and congress fueled to sell more spending: his budget.  The $3.6 trillion budget.

Did we get jobs from the stimulus or will we?

Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press said it pretty well today, “If space exploration were conducted like the job forecasts under the government’s new stimulus law, man surely would have missed the moon.”

 Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought

 The Great Give Away of Taxpayer Money By Bigger and Bigger Government

 President Tries To Harness Public Anger To Move His Budget

Obama Dead Wrong On Stimulus, Caterpillar Company Jobs, Recovery

File:Gator and Python.jpg


CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – If space exploration were conducted like the job forecasts under the government’s new stimulus law, man surely would have missed the moon. But this isn’t rocket science.

No promise from President Barack Obama is more important to the wounded economy than his vow to save or create some 3.5 million jobs in two years. In support of that bottom line, the government even tells states how many jobs they can expect to see from the spending and tax cuts.

But precise trajectories are impossible to plot and even approximations can be wildly off, as the authors of these forecasts acknowledge, usually more readily than the policymakers who use them to promote the plan.

Flip through the stacks of economic analyses underpinning the stimulus plan and you find a lot of throat-clearing qualifications and angst:

–“Very uncertain.”

–“Difficult to distinguish among alternative estimates.”

–“We confess to considerable uncertainty.”

–“Subject to substantial margins of error.”

In other words, who really knows?

Economic modeling may prove to be a haywire navigational device in this crisis.

“Large fiscal stimulus is rarely attempted,” Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, told lawmakers. “For those reasons, some economists remain skeptical that there will be any significant effects, while others expect very large ones.”

Zero to nirvana? Even for economists, who routinely differ among themselves, that’s a range beyond the norm.

Read the rest:

Read Michelle Malkin:

President, Congress, Media “Vacant” in Time of Crisis

March 25, 2009

We live in interesting time and cripples are running the nation.

“What kind of politician brings a teleprompter to a news conference? asked the Associated Press’ Ron Fournier.

Well, what kind of lawmaker enacts a law by voting for it even though he or she never read it?  Our Congress on the stimulus.

Then they threw a fit because AIG paid bonuses: which were protected in the stimulus legislation they voted for…

In one of the nations’ biggest crisis since World War II, our leadership is, well, found wanting….

Reading the teleprompter instead of reading the legislation.  This is the White House and Congress of no work, TV appearances and Nancy Pelosi’s cats on YouTube.

This is the media found wanting presidency too.

The president’s  only flash of emotion  came in last night’s news conference when pressed by CNN’s Ed Henry about his slowness in decrying the AIG bonuses.

“It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak,” he replied.

And write remarks and get them into the teleprompter.  Roosevelt responded to Pearl Harbor faster…..

Said Andrew Kohut of the non-partisan Pew Research Center, “In so many of these cases, he has to say, “Yes, but …’ ”

We want our leaders to think.  Not just make appearances.
Less than one month ago, while President Barack Obama was still making his own budget with his own numbers (and everything was rosy) he assured reporters that he likes being president.

“And it turns out I’m very good at it,” he said.

One month later, nobody can be sure that the president is good at anything.

President Barack Obama's TelePrompTer is seen before a news ...

President Barack Obama’s TelePrompTer is seen before a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 24, 2009.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)


See USA Today:

 Obama Throws In The Towel

 After Leno, Laughter on “60 Minutes,” Boredom From “No Drama” Obama

House of Representatives Could Undo Obama (At This Rate)

March 24, 2009

Why are Democrats undermining President Obama? It’s easy to understand why Rush Limbaugh is hoping Obama will fail. From his perspective, Obama’s energy, labor and health care policies (among others) will yank the country hard to the left, weakening our capitalist economy and ushering in failed socialist policies. But why is his own party running so scared?

From the moment Nancy Pelosi instituted crassly partisan procedural rules on the opening day of the 111th Congress, mocking Obama’s promised new bipartisan era, Democrats in the House and Senate have done their utmost to discredit the president.
From wresting control of the Stimulus bill to packing that dismal piece of legislation with pork and an uncomfortable violation of NAFTA to the latest witch hunt over AIG bonuses, Congressional Democrats have worked to weaken the president and his deputies — most especially his beleaguered Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner. What gives?

It is possible that my brain does not contain enough dark eddies to comprehend the devious calculations that have led to these maneuvers.


If Congress continues to waver in its support of Obama’s agenda, the result may be even more internecine warfare and a watered-down list of programs. It will be a sad outcome for the party that has finally won control of the White House and Congress.

Read it all:

Obama’s Economy Now: Once You Break It, You Own It

March 23, 2009

Now that President Obama has taken the “Harry Truman pledge” about the economy by saying “The buck stops with me,” it also seems appropriate for him to take the “Colin Powell pledge” by acknowledging of himself, “Once you break it, you are going to own it.”

By Jon Kraushar
Fox News

The first quote is a paraphrase of the sign on former President Truman’s desk reading, “The buck stops here” and the second is what former Secretary of State Powell says he told President Bush in 2002 about the danger of invading Iraq. Powell told The Atlantic magazine:

…what I did say was…once you break it, you are going to own it, and we’re going to be responsible for 26 million people standing there looking at us…And it’s going to take all the oxygen out of the political environment …

The real problem with Obama and the sentiments expressed in the two quotes above is that while the president would pay a political price by failing to turn around the economy, the buck actually stops with taxpayers and if the economy becomes even more broken we, the taxpayers, will own the consequences.

The question is, will Obama clean up this mess or add to it? Our fortunes—in every sense of the word—are riding on the outcome of that gamble.

The total tab for taxpayers is already mind-boggling. So far, it includes the $410-billion omnibus spending bill (with more than 8,500 earmarks) that Obama signed on March 11. Then there’s the $787-billion economic stimulus bill which passed with no Republican support in the House and only three Republican votes in the Senate. On Friday, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that the president’s proposed budget would produce a $9.3-trillion deficit during the period from 2010-19. That’s $2.3 trillion worse than the White House predicted in its budget and, if accurate, would make the deficit unsustainable, according to the president’s own budget director!

Further raising the stakes is a new program announced on Monday by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that would partner the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Treasury Department with private investors to buy from banks at a discount up to $1 trillion in deeply distressed (aka “toxic”) assets—mostly from soured mortgage loans—with the goal of finally properly pricing the assets and then, hopefully, selling them at a profit in the future. Hopefully.

According to The Wall Street Journal this past weekend:

“To encourage investors to buy those assets, the U.S. government will offer lucrative subsidies and shoulder much of the risk.”

That risk and other unknowns in all of this are staggering. Not since the Great Depression have we bet “the house”— “the house” being the economy—to this extent.

Both the danger and the opportunity of the situation take on additional meaning when you look into the origin of Truman’s phrase. “The buck stops here” derives from the expression “pass the buck.” In frontier days, during poker games, a knife with a buckhorn handle was placed in front of the person meant to deal next and if they didn’t want to, they “passed the buck.”

We’ve let Obama do the dealing and the stack of chips he’s gambling with is huge. — After all it’s our money and our nest eggs! The president could bankrupt our country (as New Hampshire Republican Senator Judd Gregg warned recently) or his plans could help it rebound, as Christina Romer, head of the White House Council of Economic Advisors has predicted.

Read the rest:

Obama Rhetoric, Reality Clash, Causing Backpedaling, Messy Messages

March 21, 2009

Barack Obama’s optimistic campaign rhetoric has crashed headlong into the stark reality of governing.

In office two months, he has backpedaled on an array of issues, gingerly shifting positions as circumstances dictate while ducking for political cover to avoid undercutting his credibility and authority. That’s happened on the Iraq troop withdrawal timeline, on lobbyists in his administration and on money for lawmakers’ pet projects.

From the Associated Press

”Change doesn’t happen overnight,” Obama said at a town-hall style event in California on Thursday, seeming to acknowledge the difficulty in translating campaign pledges into actual policy. Asked by a campaign volunteer how his supporters can be most effective in helping him bring the sweeping change he promised, Obama said: ”Patience.”

The event was part of a weeklong media blitz that Obama had hoped would help sell his budget — the foundation of the health care, education and energy changes he promised in the campaign. But his budget message was overshadowed for much of the week by the public furor over $165 million in executive bonuses paid by American International Group Inc. after the insurance giant had received billions in federal bailout funds.

”There was a lot of excitement during the campaign and we were talking about the importance of bringing about change,” Obama told the volunteer. ”We are moving systematically to bring about change. But change is hard.”

It’s the same delicate dance each of his predecessors faced in moving from candidate to president, only to find he couldn’t stick exactly by his word. Each was hamstrung by his responsibility to the entire nation and to individual constituencies, changes in the foreign and domestic landscapes, and the trappings of the federal government and Washington itself.

Once in the White House, presidents quickly learn they are only one part of the political system, not in charge of it. They discover the trade-offs they must make and the parties they must please to get things done. Inevitably, they find out that it’s impossible to follow through completely on their campaign proposals.

For now at least, Obama’s deviations have served only to invite occasional cries of hypocrisy from some Republicans and infrequent grumbles of disappointment from some Democrats. He has popularity on his side, and it seems people mostly are chalking up his moves to much-needed flexibility at a difficult time.

But the shifts could take a toll over time if they become a persistent pattern and the public grows weary. His overall job-performance marks could suffer and jeopardize his likely re-election campaign in 2012. People could perceive him as a say-one-thing-do-another politician and the Democratic-controlled Congress could see him as a weak chief executive.

Obama’s moves and maneuvering for political cover run the gamut.

He spent most of the campaign promising to bring combat troops home from Iraq 16 months after taking office, though he left himself wiggle room.

After directing his commanders to map out a responsible pullout, President Obama adjusted that timeline to 19 months and said 50,000 troops, about one-third of the current force, would remain.

While campaigning, Obama frequently swiped at lobbyists, saying, ”When I am president, they won’t find a job in my White House.”

Then he took office and had to fill thousands of positions. He did allow former lobbyists to join his administration. But he imposed ethics rules barring them from dealing with matters related to their lobbying work or joining agencies that they had lobbied in the previous two years. In several cases, he has made outright exceptions.

Obama the candidate pledged to curb spending directed at lawmakers’ pet projects; they’re known in Washington as ”earmarks.” Obama the president signed an ”imperfect” $410 billion budget measure that included 8,500 earmarks.

He had little choice. The measure, a holdover from last year, was needed to keep government from shutting down. But to blunt the fallout, Obama outlined guidelines to ensure tighter restraints on the spending and made a new promise: Future earmarks won’t become law so easily.

As for politics, Obama campaigned as a new-style leader who chastised partisanship and renounced divisiveness in Washington. But as president, Obama’s White House aides wasted little time pouncing on Republicans and mocking conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh as the GOP’s leader.

On fiscal matters, Obama the candidate urged Americans to tighten their belts. Once in office and saddled with recession, though, he signed a $787 billion stimulus measure and outlined a $3.6 trillion budget plan that will plunge the nation deeper into the red. But again he paired the proposal with a new promise, to cut the deficit by more than half by the end of his first term.

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American Democracy With Checks and Balances is Broken; Media, Congress Failing

March 21, 2009

Budgets make policy.  Budgets are policy.

Politics has become, “Listen to what I say, but if you really want to know the truth, dig into where the money goes.”

President Obama is a perfect example of that.  Ignore the speeches: research the budgets.

In the era of sound bites and videos and You Tube, nobody seems to want to do any tough work any more.  So it is easy to lap up the cool aid of political talk and then ignore the budget.

But your money is being spent in the budget.  That is where words turn into actions.

And the Obama budgets so far are full of waste and mistakes and bad policy: that is why congress was told to rush through the stimulus which ultimately created the AIG bonus flap.

Now that’s an outrage.

If $165 million cause that “outrage”, think what a careful review of the other $170 some BILLION may have found?

And because of media acquiessence which had given Obama carte blanche, and a free ride most of the time, our Democrocy is just about broken.

Two legs of our system of checks and balances are paralyzed: Congress and the media.  The AIG snafu should be all the proof anyone needs.

Geithner and everyone who had their hands on the stimulus should be fired because rapid fire legislation and budgeting is almost always bad legislation and budgeting.

You ever do a 5 hour term paper in 20 minutes?

Obama already enjoys a huge Democrat majority in the congress and can get anything he wants: why add rushed legislation and other tricks to the supposedly “deliberative process”?

Because the budgets are hiding many serious problems that, when they see the light of day, can be fixed.

“Inside budgets you’ll find a lot of bad political judgment,” a friend and senior policy advisor told me. “Budget guys aren’t policy guys and political guys rarely have time to read the budget.  When the stimulus raced through the congress without hearings, you had no checks and balances.  Congress gave that role up.  So there were bound to be problems.”

The End of America As We Knew It?


By Philip Rucker
The Washington Post

It was a diverse group of veterans that showed up Monday morning at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Two retired generals, a blind man, three men with prosthetic legs and one in a wheelchair.

They gathered in the historic Roosevelt Room, where Teddy Roosevelt’s Medal of Honor is displayed in a corner. For some veterans leaders, it was their first visit to the West Wing. When President Obama came into the room, he shook their hands, thanked them for their service and asked each for his opinion.

“He kind of blew me away,” said Randy L. Pleva Sr., president of Paralyzed Veterans of America.

They thanked Obama for proposing an 11 percent increase in the budget of the Department of Veterans Affairs and expanding health care to more veterans. But the leaders of veterans service organizations warned the president that their goodwill would vanish if he pursued a budget proposal to bill veterans’ private insurance companies for treatment of amputations, post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related injuries.

One Vietnam veteran summoned his deep voice to address Obama, calling the change “a dumb move.” An Iraq veteran said the move would be “a deal-breaker” because it would represent an abrogation of the government’s responsibility to care for the wounded and could jeopardize veterans’ insurance benefits.

After 45 minutes, the veterans posed with Obama for photographs in the Oval Office but left with no resolution. Within hours they set a media campaign in motion. A headline on Drudge Report said Obama was betraying veterans. A top Democratic senator called the proposal “dead on arrival.” An American Legion spokesman railed against it in 42 interviews with conservative talk radio hosts.

On Wednesday, trying to gain control of the situation, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel summoned the same group of veterans back to the White House. “We said, ‘Look, don’t give [Republicans] an opportunity to slam you,’ ” said one veteran, who detailed the conversation only on the condition of anonymity. “I really don’t think there was malicious intent there. I think it was more a matter of a bad political judgment.”

Read the rest:

Dodd’s political stock tumbles; political capital zero

March 20, 2009

Democrats may want to start thinking about a bailout for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, whose political stock has slipped amid the financial meltdown.

As a five-term Democrat who blew out his last two opponents by 2-1 margins in a blue state that President Barack Obama won handily, Dodd, D-Conn., should be cruising to re-election in 2010. Instead, he’s feeling heat from a Republican challenger eager to make him a poster boy for the tumult in the housing and financial markets.

By ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press Writer

A recent poll showed former Rep. Rob Simmons running about even with Dodd, a former national Democratic Party chairman.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. ... 
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. listens to witness testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 19, 2009, during the committee’s hearing on bank regulation and supervision.(AP photo/Harry Hamburg)

As head of the banking panel, Dodd, 64, has become a convenient target for voter anger over the economic crisis.

“The fact that we have been beaten up, beaten around the head for the last eight or nine months on a regular basis has contributed to it as well,” Dodd said.

Some of the worst blows came amid the furor over $165 million in bonuses American International Group Inc. paid some of its employees while receiving billions of dollars in federal bailout money. After first denying it, Dodd admitted he agreed to a request by Treasury Department officials to dilute an executive bonus restriction in the big economic stimulus bill that Congress passed last month. The change to Dodd’s amendment allowed AIG to hand out the bonuses and sparked a blame game between Dodd and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Dodd was guarded Thursday when asked about Geithner.

“This is obviously a matter that obviously should have been dealt with differently, but we are where we are,” he said.

Read the rest:

 Teachers Ask Pelosi, Dodd For Teaching on “American Values, Truth, Honesty, Competence”