Friday, 30 January 2009

Stimulus Weed, Smoke a Bit

Just so you know....because Senator Sparky from the Democrats didn't want to talk about this....part of the stimulus includes tax credits of $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple. The nifty thing about this....is that you don't need a social security number. The idiots actually wrote the deal up.....where you just need a individual taxpayer identification number in order to qualify. So your friends from foreign countries....get the same deal.

Don't forget, this is YOUR stimulus package.

Middle-Class Working-Families Task Force

Fighting Joe Biden was appointed today....with pen and paper....to form up the Middle-Class Working-Families Task Force (hereby named MCWFTF, for short).

Somewhere in the midst of this formation....the President indicated that he wanted poor families to know that they weren't forgotten. This is simply because the White House for so many years (he didn't say eight but he didn't say sixteen years either).....had not helped the middle class of America. He indicated that he considered, as a emphasis to this effort, that labor unions are part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

I sat there for a while thinking about this. Usually, when some political figure lumps you into a special group....it means you just got screwed in some fashion....either with too many rules or laws, or you lost some tax credit advantage. In this case, I doubt that anyone in the middle class really gets anything that they'd want to brag about to grandma or their old high school math teacher.

Having "Fighting Joe" run this? Well....Joe doesn't have alot of fancy projects and to be honest, he'd appreciate getting some work outside of the White House where he could travel, eat free food, and meet new people. Joe won't complain about this deal.

The media? Well.....they gushed about this.....like some fancy date at a prom. It was like getting kissed by Brittney Spears.

How much mileage will the team get out of this? To be honest, they can proudly proclaim just about anything in four years....even if they just meet once a year in Jackson, Mississippi, and consume some kind of budget. I'm guessing at least three or four million is budgeted for this effort....free drinks and finger-food mostly....at nice hotels or resorts. The neat thing is that they will meet on Monday.....work half of Tuesday....golf all afternoon on Tuesday....repeat this cycle for Wed, Thur, and then on Friday....all meet to say good-bye and fly back home.....compliments of the US government.

Pretty nice deal for the Middle-Class Working Families Task Force.

How Things Change

Years ago, when I was a young Air Force member, we had "dorm managers". This was a simple job for a young NCO, who managed the operation and the "protection" of the barracks.

To be honest, it was a loser job and where you stuck guys who were going to be kicked out or disciplined heavily. They generally asked for volunteers and rarely got anyone who'd take the job. I remember once asking a guy what he did....for this one-year period, and he simply laughed. He barely showed up for thirty hours of work a week, although it was supposed to be a full time job. He had a refrigerator in the office, where he kept cases of beer, which he drank from mid-afternoon on. He knew every illicit affair going on in the barracks and every bit of dirt on folks. This was the guy who got drunk one Friday night at a barracks party and was found the next day in his underwear.....about 300 feet from the parking lot....passed out.

Today's base paper....had a quarter page write-up....wanting to advertise for dorm managers. They stressed it was a highly desirable job with lots of opportunity to be recognized and honored. Highly capable professionals were urged from the base ranks....to apply for the dozen jobs they were going to advertise.

I kinda sat there. I remember this job in a slightly different light. I don't remember professionals being in the position. I don't remember this being a great opportunity. And I don't remember it being highly desirable.

Maybe things have changed. Maybe, but I seriously doubt it.

Stimulus

Stimulus is an awful hard concept to grasp.

The reality of the concept for economics...is that you are triggering something that will shift positive numbers and help gain momentum. The $819 billion stimulus package has been questioned since day one. If you asked will it trigger a momentum push from day one.....the answer is yes. If you asked if you could delete half of the $819 billion and still get the same amount of momentum.....that answer might very well be yes as well.

Today, the "gang of fourteen" arose in the Senate. For Bush, this was a very tight and middle-of-the-road group with both Republican and Democrat leadership in it. These fourteen folks made the Bush projects very difficult.....particularly for the federal judge episodes. The tide now is turning....against the Obama crew.

I suspect that by the end of next week.....the "gang of fourteen" will have settled a great deal of debate and shifted momentum of this bill to rebuild itself. They could find various parts of this package which irritates the Republicans and trim almost $200 billion off the amount. For Pelosi, its a win, but a soft win. Considering the fact that the states are lined up and waiting for this to pass before they haul their $1 trillion package up....anything here that passes....is positive.

For the Obama team, this is an amusing episode. They could have passed the entire package through the House and the Senate, with 10 percent less fat on this, with zero support from the Republicans. There never was any need to make them happy. I suspect now that a small number of Democratic senators had issues from day one, and they already knew that they would have trouble.

The truth of the matter is that the "real" Democratic party has maybe 30 members in the senate and the "real" Republican party has maybe 20 members. And the other fifty are simply pretenders who will vote on both sides of the aisle. Few people grasp the composition of the senate and realize that most of these guys aren't absolutely dedicated to their party line.

There will be stimulus in the end, and it might help a small bit.....but the honest truth is that you could do the same thing with $400 billion, that you could do with $800 billion. That ought to make you stand and think about the reality of this mess.