A Bill Called Stimulus and The Real Crisis

48 comments

The Republicans – forced to be principled once again – are at least back to doing one of the things they were always good at: keeping the Democrats from totally messing up our country.

We’ll see how well they do and if they hold their ground.  Unfortunately, with the overwhelming majorities given to the Democrats in both the House and Senate (thanks America) – it might prove to be an impossible job.

But yesterday the Republicans in the Senate released a list of things the Dems are proposing in this “stimulus” (things you wouldn’t have otherwise heard about).  It reveals their underlying agenda.  Keep in mind when reading this list that this is supposed to be that “stimulus” bill that gets us out of this recession.  This impending doom that Obama and his national media and party have made so apparent by their constant scary headlines.  Oh look – here’s this morning’s dose of scare: “Obama warns of irreversible recession – President stresses the urgency of now for the economic stimulus bill.”

Here’s the list:

  • $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient.
  • A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.
  • $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.
  • $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship).
  • $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters.
  • $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters.
  • $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.
  • $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD’s.
  • $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs.
  • $125 million for the Washington sewer system.
  • $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities.
  • $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion.
  • $75 million for “smoking cessation activities.”
  • $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.
  • $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI.
  • $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction.
  • $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River.
  • $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.
  • $6 billion to turn federal buildings into “green” buildings.
  • $500 million for state and local fire stations.
  • $650 million for wildland fire management on forest service lands.
  • $1.2 billion for “youth activities,” including youth summer job programs.
  • $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service.
  • $412 million for CDC buildings and property.
  • $500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.
  • $160 million for “paid volunteers” at the Corporation for National and Community Service.
  • $5.5 million for “energy efficiency initiatives” at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.
  • $850 million for Amtrak.
  • $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint.
  • $75 million to construct a “security training” facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.
  • $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems.
  • $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

None of these things belong in a stimulus package.  And this is just scratching the surface!  You can argue all day long about how you think these things are good in general, or that they should be passed anyway.  But you can’t argue why they should be in a “stimulus” package to save our economy from this Greatest Depression we’ve been brain-washed into believing we’re about to plummet into. There is no question that every one of these things should be it’s own separate bill that our representatives vote on.

But Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff, clarifies it even more for us:

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” – on the current economic problems

There you go.  Right from Obama’s right-hand man.  They have every intention of taking advantage of this “crisis” – of taking advantage of the American people.  They are going to use this as their chance to start programs and spend money on things these liberals have been wanting to do for decades – but could never actually pass legally.  Now, under the guise of “stimulus” and the fear of a real “crisis” they intend to sneak in every little thing they can.  They are going on a $900 billion shopping spree – courtesy of the American taxpayer!

This is a perfect example of the corruption of the political system.  Had somebody not pointed this out, they would have snuck all of these other things into the bill under the guise of “stimulus.”  When every single one of these things are actually political pandering, pay-off to their favorite lobbyists, a favor for big donations, or a deeper political agenda (as noted by Obama’s Chief of Staff above).

That’s why our current culture that puts so much faith in our government to be our Nanny (which is precisely what the Democratic Party platform aims to do) drives me absolutely nuts.  I don’t get it.  And with a growing, young populace who actually believes Government is all solution and no problem – the outlook does not look good.  All of those people need to read something like this here and wake up.

There is no question that this stimulus bill is at least part hoax.  Even Jim Cooper (a Democrat in the House of Reps) said this about the bill that passed the House – where he was one of the few Dems that voted against it:

“I probably shouldn’t tell you this but I actually got some quiet encouragement from the Obama folks for what I’m doing, because they know it’s a messy bill and they wanted a clean bill.”

The good news is that, at least according to this guy, Obama knows that if this bill gets passed as it is he will be hurt in the end once people realize the garbage being included in it.  Hopefully that viewpoint wins out.  But already, Cooper has come out and denied now that such a conversation with “the Obama folks” ever took place.  So which is it?  More political games and strongarming – no doubt.  Go figure.

And of course, as mentioned above, you have Obama putting daily pressure on Congress to hurry up and just pass this thing!  Don’t you know we’re in a huge crisis?  This is no time to be thoughtful or fair or just or reasonable.  This is the time to just pass a bill called “stimulus.”

The real crisis is that the democrats are running both houses of congress and the White House.  And they have every intent of forcing their agenda onto the American people under the ruse of a crisis.  We will see if the Republicans, under new leadership, can make enough noise and have enough guts to keep the pressure on and save us from this real crisis and this bill called “stimulus.”

48 comments Add comment

Casey February 5, 2009 at 11:52 am

The WPA similarly stimulated the economy after the Great Depression. I’m not arguing the advantages and disadvantages of such programs, I’m just saying: yes you can indeed argue such things should be in a stimulus package. Bush says you stimulate the economy by giving everyone $600 (…looks like that didn’t work…), now Obama says you stimulate it by employing people to build things that better the community.

Furthermore, you could be excused for not really trusting the Republican economic track record of the last 20 years. When tax cuts become more important than budget cuts, we see the U.S. fall steeply into deficit. Conservatives always try to blame Carter and Clinton for Reagan and Bush Jr’s economic failings and credit Reagan for Clinton’s success, but call me optimistic that the Democrats aren’t so much pushing their agenda- it’s just that they’re better at this than the Republicans.

Katie February 5, 2009 at 12:15 pm

I would love to have Reagan or Clinton back, slightly bi-polar, but thats ok. I also think that employment through building things that better the community is great. I worry that it is a lot like communism…looks great on paper, but doesn’t really work in practice.

Matthew Warner February 5, 2009 at 12:27 pm

First, it is very questionable how much the WPA actually ended up pulling us out of the recession. Ultimately, it was build up for the war that finally killed unemployment and subsequently terminated the WPA. There are valid arguments that actually say the WPA “stimulus” prolonged the problem.

And I’m not sure how similar the WPA is to the current stimulus package anyway. It had a MUCH higher percentage of money going towards the building of roads and other such projects. They weren’t funding the cessation of smoking, environmental research, digital TV, or Hollywood.

And they certainly weren’t giving money to something like Amtrak which has been losing money for decades.

For this bill, that’s all pork and everyone knows it. “Stimulus” does not mean supporting anything you think could possibly be positive for the economy anytime in the distant future. It’s things that give jobs now. Puts money in people’s pockets now.

Obama will not come out and defend this garbage as stimulus because it would be embarrassing for him to do so. The Dems in the house and senate were trying to sneak it through for their own agendas.

Matthew Warner February 5, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Which makes my next point. You can draw correlations between the economy and the president all you want – but that’s deceptive. The bottom line is that the congress controls the budget.

I’m not gonna make excuses for Republicans in the last 20 years. They’ve done terrible when it comes to fiscal responsibility (part of the reason GOV must be controlled and limited no matter which party! – not sent on shopping sprees in the name of a crisis and allowed to grow it self beyond measure).

But I’d ask you to take a look at the correlation between how the economy has done and who was in control of congress (and whether or not it was opposing the White house or same party). That has played a much bigger role in whether or not our country has been fiscally responsible and whether or not the economy has done well. (along with underlying principles like keeping taxes low)

The branches are supposed to keep each other in check. Right now you have no checks and an ideology that leans towards socialism, big government, and a nanny state – which is good for no one’s freedom. And you have them poised to “take advantage” of a “crisis” and do some very drastic things, put us further into debt than we’ve ever been, increase the scope of government bigger than its ever been before, and there is nothing standing in their way.

THAT’s the crisis.

Watanabex February 5, 2009 at 12:36 pm

i agree with you on this, this is very sneaky and awful, and if we need anything is less government in our lives not more

Andy February 5, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Thanks for the details of the bill, Matt. I’ll forward on to my folks so that we, the people, can all be informed as to the specifics of where the Democrat’s want to take us. I don’t think anyone reviewing this list objectively can argue that it has an agenda that favors the “pet projects” and business constituencies of the left. And only about half of them would logically stimulate jobs and activity now, which is the main objective, supposedly.

I see you got the info. from cnn.com. That would explain why some of the larger, and more ogregious line items were left out. Like the 4.2 Billion for community re-structuring (ie. ACORN), and some of the larger infrastructure projects which will largely go into the coffers of the big cities and have been known to get applied to “other things”. (Most will know that the money to fix the levees in N.O. was provided by the feds but somehow found it’s way to “other things”, just one ex.)

Sorry but I cannot trust a democratic administration with THOSE individuals in charge with THAT kind of money to do the right thing and not use it for political gains. Granted, many items can be labeled as both stimulative and ideological, and the republicans, if they had that level of control, would certainly look to slant it towards their pet projects. But this is WAY over the top !

One last thing, my opinion only, but I think we should wait a little longer and just see what happens before jumping off this cliff!

Casey February 5, 2009 at 1:50 pm

The WPA did fund the arts, quite a bit, along side roads and government buildings. It takes a little foresight, but all of the things you’ve mentioned create jobs and hopefully cut future costs. “Cessation of smoking” helps by having a healthier populace, one hopefully less dependent on state-funded health care. “Environmental research” is the new and pressing infrastructure. “Digital TV” is a calculated move to push people towards buying a whole new set of consumer goods (which generates a whole new set of tax revenue.) “Hollywood” is already cut from the bill, if I’m not mistaken, but the idea behind it was the same.

The idea of taking advantage of a crisis, despite your fears, doesn’t mean use a bad situation to run amok. It means, to use a recent example, build a much stronger hurricane protection system whereas previously we could find no support for one.

The branches do keep each other in check. That does not mean that one party is supposed to do congress while the other does the presidency. It is not the Democrats fault that Americans resoundingly chose them as representatives in the last election. And in most people’s opinion, Republican or Democrat, America decided on those representatives primarily because of the economic situation.

Casey February 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm

So the Democratic “agenda,” then, is to do what they think is in the best interest of the ones who voted for them. None of them ran on handing out pandering tax refunds, and so none of them are pushing for that to be part of the solution. It’s fine to critique the idea of the government spending your money. Conservatives have been doing it for years and years and years. It’s an ideological difference. But don’t blindly accuse the Democrats of trying to sneak in some socialist agenda. They have a different (and in my opinion, often successful) idea of how things should be done.

Matthew Warner February 5, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Andy – but according to Obama we MUST act as soon as possible or else we’re doomed!

Casey – Again, stimulus doesn’t mean that you can somehow tie it into future positive influences on the economy. That’s a ruse. And the proportions in the WPA are very different than this stimulus package (just because they both contained similar things doesn’t mean anything if they are in drastically different proportions). And again, not much proof that those investments helped nearly as effectively as other things could have or potentially did with the WPA. THESE THINGS ARE NOT STIMULUS and THEY know it.

And I never blamed the democrats for being in power – I blamed Americans. I blame the democrats for trying to mess up our country. :-) And I merely suggested that having opposing parties in branches is a more accurate cause of how fiscally responsible we have been in the past.

And I don’t think Americans (or even most of our politicians for that matter) understand the first thing about what should be done to “fix” our economy. I’m not sure anyone truly knows what’s wrong. But heck, free stuff?! Sounds good to me!

Matthew Warner February 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Those ideological differences and things they want to do should take the form of separate bills if they are going to be honest about it. My complaint here is that they are trying to shove it all through in one go during a crisis of apparent impending doom with Americans in a panic and call it STIMULUS – when it clearly is not.

If we all want to address each of those other ideological differences and ideas honestly and pass good, well thought-out legislation – the dems have earned the right to do that. But it’s borderline fraud to lump it into this bill and in the end those issues won’t get the attention and thought they deserve because it is being rushed on account of this crisis.

Andy February 5, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Yes Matt, “WE MUST ACT QUICKLY !!” ………before anyone has a chance to actually READ it !!!

Casey February 5, 2009 at 3:24 pm

So the Republicans are rejecting the bill based on these items. But the rest of the bill includes, for example, $50 million for the National Cemetery Administration for monument and memorial repairs. Almost $200 million for Military Reserves construction. $500 million for new explosive detectors at airports. Just three random examples- tell me how those do a better job of stimulating the economy than anything they’ve rejected? Yet of course Republicans won’t object to military reserves construction or bomb detectors. Instead they pull a political stunt that everyone knows just drags out the whole process. You will never achieve Matt’s perfect bill with 535 cooks in the kitchen, and if you do, then it certainly won’t be Casey’s perfect bill. If Republicans were objecting to the idea of the stimulus outright, then at least I could admit they are standing their political ground. But instead they object to a handful of items and ignore 100 more that their base would be confused by – that’s just grandstanding.

Phil February 5, 2009 at 3:26 pm

You can argue until you are blue in the face that this is all pork but every single item listed above will in some way, shape, or form put people to work. And not for just 5 months, but for 5 years.

And with all due respect to your points, the items you have listed make up 2% of the proposed stimulus. If you are going to write a blog about whether or not the stimulus package will stimulate that is fair and intellectually honest maybe you should take a look at the other 98% too.

Of course you can argue that these are DEM projects that geared towards DEM ideals…but then you should change the topic of your blog – maybe the title “Politics” would suffice.

Matthew Warner February 5, 2009 at 3:44 pm

As Andy and Casey both mention – there are plenty of other things in this “stimulus” bill that don’t belong there either. But to be fair, the list above was listed to make a point, not to represent everything the Republicans would cut.

They’re working on their own proposal which amounts to $713 billion. And it sounds much more like stimulus and immediate aid to me:

The proposal includes $430 billion in tax cuts, $114 billion for infrastructure projects, $138 billion for extending unemployment insurance, food stamps and other provisions to help those in need and $31 billion to address the housing crisis.

THESE things stimulate the economy and do so immediately. Americans want the economy out of a recession. They didn’t say we want the government to be the biggest employer of jobs for an extended period of time.

Phil – The difference between the two proposals amounts to $200 billion dollars. Quite a lot of money last time I checked – even for the US Gov. and especially to be lumped in as “stimulus.”

That said, I have not endorsed ANY “bailout.”

You guys are acting like I’ve once in this entire post said “we should do what the republicans want to do”. I’ve done quite the opposite suggesting that NO government should have this much power and we are all hurt when a single party has too much control.

Matthew Warner February 5, 2009 at 3:49 pm

I’m just not sure why honest democrats can’t admit that what the dems are trying to pull right now is wrong. They just point and say well the republicans would do it too! So what?

I admit that if/when the republicans do the same thing they are wrong too. In fact, I even expressed doubts in this post as to the real guts of the republicans to actually do the right thing and not cave into “the game.”

The dems have the power now and they need to be held accountable. And when they pull crap like this there is no way they will get, nor do they deserve, the benefit of the doubt. Let’s call it what it is.

The problem is that so many people have this pie-in-the-sky vision of Obama and this new administration that he is somehow a “different kind of politician.” I admit he has potential. But let’s not turn a blind eye to the fact that he plays all the same games and he’s a classic politician – he’s just better at it. And let’s also not forget that while the president “changed” we still have the same old democrats in the congress that have been there for decades. Nothing new there. If they can get away with it…they often will. That’s the unfortunate reality.

Phil February 5, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Matt, where in my post do I suggest that you are saying we should do what the Republicans say we should do? That’s not what I am saying. I am simplying point out that every single item on your list IS stimulus. But further to that, those items are rather irrelevent and trivial to focus on as they only make up 2% of the proposed plan, which is precisely why the Republicans aren’t up in arms about them (aside from the few they refused to accept which have since been eliminated). What they ARE up at arms about are ideological differences on the most effecient and proper way to stimulate.

If you want to do a blog on the ideological economic differences bewteen how the DEMS would stimulate the economy and how the GOP would do the same then do so. But after you made the point that politicans don’t know what is best for the economy anyways I don’t know how you could so I guess it’s moot. :)

Matthew Warner February 5, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Phil – I was addressing you and Casey together because he suggested that there were some other things in the bills that the republicans AREN’T paying as much attention to. And I’m sure he’s right. I’m not defending those either.

And I’m disagreeing with you that those things are STIMULUS in the sense of what this bill is supposed to do. You can make the case for just about ANY spending the government could possibly make that it SOMEHOW stimulates the economy sometime in the future and in some way. You’re missing the point.

There is no urgent need to put environmental research, smoking cessation subsidies, and all of these other things in AN EMERGENCY STIMULUS PACKAGE.

You admitted yourself that many of these things will not take affect for years. There is no URGENT need to SPEED through a bill with these things in them. Those are separate policies that if the dems want to enact they should do so under normal legislative circumstances. There is no need to rush them and pretend they need to be implemented as an EMERGENCY MEASURE. Everyone knows this is true.

The things that need to be in this emergency package that Obama claims needs to get passed ASAP are things that are going to affect the economy immediately – like immediate job creation projects and tax cuts/credits. That other stuff should be saved for separate bills later if they want them – NOT rushed through in haste during a crisis.

Phil February 5, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Matt, where did I admit that these things will not take affect for years? I never said that – you continue to put words in my mouth to try to prove your point – which is a falicy in my opinion.

These programs can and will stimulate, immediately. What I said was these are programs that, unlike temporary tax cuts, will keep my fellow Americans employed for years, not months. Not only will they help us climb out of this mess, they will strengthen our economy for years to come. They will help increase the standard of living in this country by keeping jobs here and building things. Most of these projects are aimed at cost savings and long term viability. But they also create employment instantly. If this bill and these programs are approved tomorrow, whats to stop the GOV from hiring 100,000 people on Monday to start these projects? You may scoff at 100,000 people but multiply that times 50 (for the full size of the stimulus) and you will see we are getting somewhere.

Personally, I wish the GOP would drop this reduced tax fantasy world they live in – it has been shown time and time again to be ineffective and counterproductive. People need jobs not tax cuts. Corporations like citigroup, walmart, etc. aren’t going to hire people right now no matter how low their taxes are. Most don’t even pay taxes now anyways. Delusional.

Matthew Warner February 5, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I apologize if I put words in your mouth. I certainly didn’t mean to and I certainly don’t need to in order to make my point.

The things that have kept Americans not only employed for generations but have built the strongest most powerful nation in the history of the world are NOT these things, my friend. It wasn’t done by the government artificially propping up different industries with borrowed money they don’t have. And it wasn’t done by over-taxing the very things that create jobs. It wasn’t done by what the government COULD do…it was done by setting what it CAN’T do. That’s what made our country great. That’s what made it different. That’s not a fantasy. That’s historical fact.

The entire idea of this “stimulus” bill goes against every principle that made this country great.

The gov needs to regulate. They need to oversee. They need to take as little money as possible to do that and defend out country. That’s the model that has worked.

If we are going to ignore that model and go the way of socialism and big government (which is exactly where we’re headed) then we can expect to be just what every other country has become that has gone that way: mediocre and less free.

(BTW tax cuts are not primarily so citigroup and walmart hire more people – they are for Small businesses. They are the ones who invest that money and create most of the new jobs in our economy. And OF COURSE lower taxes allow them to hire more people.)

Phil February 5, 2009 at 9:49 pm

No problem, I know it’s not intentional. :)

Well I disagree that this is socialsim by any means. A short-term stimulus package is what’s needed and that’s why it’s being done. You can call it socialsim but that was just BS campaign rhetoric that failed miserably – and that’s why the ‘Obama is a socialist talk’ has subsided. We are in crisis and the GOV is the only one willing to spend, i.e. to create demand.

Most small businesses are starting to feel the pinch. The demand for their goods and services is not there. Some are starting to fail. If nothing is done, many more will fail.

Cutting taxes for small businesses right now WILL NOT stimulate them to hire more people. As you know, I own one. Right now, if I am watching my business contract, month after month, and you gave me an extra $50,000 in tax cuts, why would I run out and hire someone to help me run my contracting, potentially failing, business?

Maybe on paper it looks good. Maybe in books it makes sense. But when I am worried about the short-term viability of my business and I have a family to feed, I am socking ANY tax cut away for when sunny days return. And I’m sure the majority of small business owners will agree with me on that one. Especially given that the weak dollar is increase my cost of goods sold, and unemployement is weakening demand for my products.

GOV is willing to spend – now, immediately, ASAP. This will create the short term demand I need to resotre health to my small business.

Phil February 5, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Personally, I think the best stimulus is a combination of three things:

1. Immediate GOV spending to shock the economy and stimulate demand. And I don’t care if it’s real or forced. Start the snowball rolling. It’s temporary anyways, and should last only a couple years.

2. Throw money at the housing problem. It took us down, it can help take us out. I agree with the GOP idea on this; actually it’s quite brilliant. Offer fixed, 3.5% – 4.0% mortgages. For most people these low mortgage rates don’t mean squat because they are all underwater and can’t refiniance anyway. Take me, for example. I bought last year and I am probably underwater already. Otherwise I would refinance. The GOV needs to create a program that will allow folks like me to re-fi by backing the principal that we are underwater on. Just a short term loan will enable folks to refinance. Don’t write off the principal, just move it off-balance sheet until things stablize. This will help folks who are struggling stay in their homes, and would free up mass amounts of money for the consumer (some estimate $300-$400 monthly). That’s a car payment for everyone. SOME of that money will definitely be spent, further increasing demand.

3. Now that jobs are being created, folks are able to stay in their homes, and actually save some money (or spend it), NOW cut small business taxes. If, as a small busines owner, I am seeing employment rise, I am saving money on my mortgage, now I am ready to hire.

All my opinion

Casey February 5, 2009 at 10:31 pm

The point here is that honest democrats don’t believe that house Dems are trying to pull anything over. That’s a genuine difference, we believe government spending can stimulate the economy. What’s disingenuous is pretending to be the party of social conservatism, not having any record to back it up, and asking a country that your party sort of screwed up to hold on a bit while you come up with a better idea. Here, Obama himself said it well today:

“We can’t delay and we can’t go back to the same worn-out ideas that led us here in the first place. In the last few days, we’ve seen proposals arise from some in Congress that you may not have read but you’d be very familiar with because you’ve been hearing them for the last 10 years, maybe longer. They’re rooted in the idea that tax cuts alone can solve all our problems; that government doesn’t have a role to play; that half-measures and tinkering are somehow enough; that we can afford to ignore our most fundamental economic challenges — the crushing cost of health care, the inadequate state of so many of our schools, our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.

So let me be clear: Those ideas have been tested, and they have failed. They’ve taken us from surpluses to an annual deficit of over a trillion dollars, and they’ve brought our economy to a halt. And that’s precisely what the election we just had was all about. The American people have rendered their judgment. And now is the time to move forward, not back.”

Phil February 5, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Matt, one further point. The GOP (and you) all seem to be screaming about socialsim, too much GOV spending, etc. This is not what made our country great, we don’t want a welfare nation etc. etc. etc.

I think people need to stop and think real hard about what it is the GOV is trying to do here. This is not some big, bad, liberal agenda to grow GOV, this is a short term, critical, necessary stimulus package. It’s about creating instant demand – immediate spending, immediate job creation. And further to that, it’s spending that may be beneficial two fold – one to shock demand and two sustained job creation via value added infrastructure projects that increase our standard of living and projects aimed at cutting costs which will strengthen this country’s balance sheet. And when those bridges are built, and those buildings are converted to green, that’s the end of the line for GOV involvement! Since when is building a bridge socialsim? Maybe responsible and worthy of investment but not socialist!

Matthew Warner February 6, 2009 at 12:16 am

Casey – I believe you that dems think gov spending is good…especially when it’s spending that supports their ideology. But it’s another thing to call it emergency stimulus that must be passed ASAP. That’s my rub.

And Obama is wrong in his quote. That’s the problem. These “ideas” haven’t been implemented, tested and failed – at least not in the past 20 years. Largely they adhere to a much bigger principle of limited government that HAS indeed been tested and HAS indeed succeeded – it’s called America.

All his talk tonight is just political rhetoric made to discount ANY point that the GOP might be making right now. And he needs to be careful. He was elected as an instrument of hope and a new politic of working together. He wasn’t elected (largely anyway) because of his liberal ideology. And if he forgets that he will regret it. He’s done ok so far. And the first part of his speech tonight started out ok. But when he starts putting himself at odds with EVERYTHING the GOP is saying and belittling them. And doesn’t recognize (as Phil did above) that AT LEAST some of it has some good ideas and compromise that will actually make this thing better…he’s disappointing the hopefuls that elected him. Sure, the hardcore dems love it. But that’s not the change most of America elected him for. My opinion. But I’m willing to bet if he doesn’t lead the way on a better compromise for this bill he’s gonna get a backlash – just as Clinton did.

Matthew Warner February 6, 2009 at 12:30 am

And I wouldn’t be so quick to put this whole economic blunder entirely on the GOP. I know the media portrayed it that way. But the Dems were running congress when the whole thing went down. I’m not placing all the blame on one side at all, but let’s not pretend that there wasn’t plenty of blame to go around on both sides.

Phil – I understand how it may seem to you. And it’s easy to look at one little part of it and say…THIS is not socialism. I agree. But that’s the danger. In case you haven’t noticed, the gov isn’t so good at getting smaller. When it starts new efforts and programs they tend to keep growing and growing.

And in 5 years they’ll suggest expanding it a little more (maybe on account of an energy crisis or another terrorist attack). And we’ll all say…that’s not socialism…it’s just a little investment here – and besides it’s a good investment. It’s smart. And we need it. And on it grows.

It’s the slippery slope. And we’re already on it. And if we think that just because we’re America we are immune to losing our republic then it’s only a matter of time until we do. We’re a young country. Many other great nations have passed and so shall we – unless we act differently and stay true to the founding principles.

There’s a great video on this in another post I did. You may still see these little acts now as not significant. But I believe they are.

Worth watching:
http://www.fallibleblogma.com/index.php/2008/10/22/the-freedom-to-freely-practice

Matthew Warner February 6, 2009 at 12:30 am

Thanks for the great convo fellas!

Pat Sicilia February 6, 2009 at 1:07 am

I am going to research this list, but tonight Obama explained why he wanted $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees. He feels this will spur private enterprise to do the same, thereby spurring the auto makers into building more hybrids, thereby causing more people to have jobs.

And I hope you don’t believe, as this sentence says that we are NOT heading for depression.

“But you can’t argue why they should be in a “stimulus” package to save our economy from this Greatest Depression we’ve been brain-washed into believing we’re about to plummet into.”

They also claim the democrats “… are going on a $900 billion shopping spree – courtesy of the American taxpayer!” What do you call last September’s bailout? It was perfectly okay to throw money at Buish’s friends and all the corporations that run this country, but give one buck to a little guy and it’s “welfare,” and a waste of the “Taxpayer’s money.”

I’d be more careful about what kind of sites you get your information from. I personally stopped going to Mass the Christmas Eve the monsignior’s sermon referred to “the Godless Liberals.” Well, we must not all be Godless, because I was there! That phrase is a direct quote from Bill O’Reilly, and I didn’t think it was appropriate to use that in a sermon in a church on Christmas Eve. I wasn’t there for a political lesson, I=2
0was there to talk to God. And the Catholic church has no more right to interfere in government than the government has to interfe

Pat Sicilia February 6, 2009 at 1:10 am

(continued)
… And the Catholic church has no more right to interfere in government than the government has to interfere with them. No one thinks abortion is a good thing, but sometimes it’s necessary and their movement to change the law is wrong. They need to clean up their own backyard. The church is going broke because of all these sex scandal lawsuits, and now we have bishops denying the holocaust. Does not make me want to admit to my Catholicism.

Matthew Warner February 6, 2009 at 9:24 am

Pat, thanks for the comments.

First – I never denied we have problems with the economy. To what extent or if this is a Great Drepression is questionable. Just because Barack Obama says it is doesn’t make it so. Just because an economist says it is doesn’t make it so either. I didn’t say I don’t believe it. Just skeptical – as we should all be. Further, if we ARE heading into a depression, there is evidence to believe that the government going into more debt and building a greater dependence on the government could make the problem worse long term. Not saying it will – just saying there are reasons to be skeptical. And there is no question the media over-hyped this issue all the way through the election to help their guy. That is undeniable. My point in this post was that many of these things, although they could be seen as “good” for the economy, do not – in my and many opinions – belong as EMERGENCY stimulus.

Second, I never defended the prior “stimulus” packages of the Bush administration either. However there are big fundamental differences here between some of these ideas. And Obama actually hit on it in a distortion in his speech last night.

He said, “Of course stimulus is SPENDING – what do they think stimulus is? come on”- (paraphrasing). His inference is that the GOV has to spend to stimulate the economy. Not true. Tax cuts are not EXPENSES – NOT GOV SPENDING. drives me nuts. Tax cuts are allowing people to keep more of THEIR money and spend it how they want.

Matthew Warner February 6, 2009 at 9:31 am

Third, I don’t know what your pastor meant by “Godless liberals.” BUt it certainly doesn’t mean that all liberals are godless? I don’t understand your beef? There are such a thing as Godless conservatives too. Doesn’t mean that all conservatives are Godless.

If you have stopped going to mass over something your pastor said then I would urge you to reevaluate your faith and why you are Catholic. The mass is so much more important than anything your pastor will say. If you disagree with how he said something, then address it with him. Don’t stop going to mass.

And finally, the Church not only has a right to protect innocent human lives that are killed by abortion – it has a moral obligation to do so. As do you and every other human on this planet.

And by the way your speaking about these current issues of the sex scandal and a formerly excommunicated bishop that denied aspects of the holocaust – I would urge you to reconsider your source of information as well. You show a very deeply skewed perspective of the reality of those issues. But you also reflect the views of a very anti-catholic main stream media…which is why I hope you have done other reading and research about those issues you are speaking about the Church OTHER than the anti-catholic MSM. God bless you.

Pat Sicilia February 6, 2009 at 9:40 am

Tax and spending cuts, and trickle down have all been tried to spur the economy since Reagan and THEY’VE NEVER WORKED! You should read a book called “The Myth of Ronald Reagan,” by Will Bunch. Reagan’s massive tax cuts to business one year were made up for in the following years by massive tax increases, and exploding unemployment. Plus, the only people who really benefit from tax cuts are the wealthy and corporations. Telling me I’m getting a $1,000 tax cut is peanuts, and sending me a $600 stimulus check only goes towards my gas bill, not into the market!

And I have been saying for 6 years that we are headed to a depression. Anyone who doesn’t believe that just has their heads in the sand. If anything worse happens to my husband and I’s 401ks, we are going to have to sell the house. That we worked for. That we sacrificed for. That we put off buying VCRs and microwaves and computers and all that other crap. And our dream of a little cabin in the woods someday- dashed when my husband lost his job in 2003 at age 59 due to NAFTA, a program the repubs sponsored and blackmailed Clinton into signing.

Pat Sicilia February 6, 2009 at 9:46 am

Of course it doesn’t mean all liberals are godless. But that was what the priest’s sermon inplied. The fact that the priest brought up a phrase used by BO, denigrating those he considered “Godless Liberals,” was inappropriate for a church sermon. He was not talking about religion, he was talking politics.

Are you denying the priest abuse situation? I myself was inappropriately handled by a priest at the age of 19. Granted, I was irresistable, but still …:)

The tax cut argument is fallacious on so many levels. Cutting my taxes isn’t going to help me out. Lowering my health insurance costs, lowering my food costs, lowering my utility costs — THAT will give me more disposable income. Cutting my taxes by $1,000 won’t even pay my property tax bill!

And when the church starts campaigning against capital punishment, I will listen to their abortion arguments.

Pat Sicilia February 6, 2009 at 9:49 am

As for the holocaust denying bishops, there are actually two of them, I DO read the newspapers. I know they are from a controversial sect. I know the Pope just reinstated them. I don’t care about their belonging to a controversial sect, but I DO care about them denying the holocaust. They should be defrocked.

Matthew Warner February 6, 2009 at 9:53 am

Pat – I don’t even know where to start in correcting how misinformed you are with every one of these issues – especially the ones about the Church. You have so much to learn about the Catholic Church and reality of its theology, its efforts against Capital punishment, current events going on within it, you name it. I don’t mean that to be offensive. It is just obvious that you have a VERY skewed perspective of every one of these issues within the Church and I would urge you to spend a little more time with an open mind and perhaps hearing what the Church herself has to say about them. You might be surprised.

Pat Sicilia February 6, 2009 at 10:04 am

I know the church purports to be against capital punishment, but they are NOT as vocal about it as they are about abortion.

Matthew Warner February 6, 2009 at 10:08 am

Do you know how many people were killed in our country by abortion last year? And in comparison how many people were killed by Capital punishment?

The ratio is more than 1000 – 1 (abortions to executions).

Phil February 6, 2009 at 10:15 am

Sorry to interject – couldn’t help myself. :)

Matt, since when does the Catholic Church base it’s ideals on statistics? If the ratio of murder to rape is moran that 1000 – 1 does that make it not worth fighting for? At least to stay consistent?

What does the % put to death have to do with the ideals surrounding putting someone to death?

Phil February 6, 2009 at 10:16 am

should say “more than” not “moran that”

Pat Sicilia February 6, 2009 at 10:19 am

My main problem with capital punishment is that too many innocents are on death row. If ONE innocent person is executed, it is too many.

Pat Sicilia February 6, 2009 at 10:19 am

And please tell how I am uninformed about the Holocaust deniers?

Matthew Warner February 6, 2009 at 10:28 am

Phil – I never said that’s how it bases its ideals. And I’m pretty sure you know that it does no such thing.

The question on the table was why does the Church seem to be NOT as vocal about capital punishment as it is about Abortion. It wasn’t a question of ideals. It was a question of practically addressing them.

More than a million innocent human lives were taken by abortion last year in the US. I think it was less than a thousand were taken by death row. If we are putting limited resources towards stopping injustice, obviously we will be much more focused on the millions of lives being taken, not the thousands. That’s just practical reality. If there is a burning building with a thousand people in it and a burning building with 1 person in it and you can only spend so much time putting out either fire…obviously, and unfortunately, you will spend most of your time putting out the fire endangering 1000 people. It doesn’t mean that the life of the ONE is any less important.

Pat – go read ANYTHING the Church has said on it. You obviously have not. I don’t have time to go into it all and explain everything for you. Here’s a start for you. The pope only LIFTED THE EXCOMMUNICATION. Go read what that means. It doesn’t mean the man has been reinstated as a validly acting bishop. You need to go spend some time learning about the Church and the faith you profess to believe in. It’s fun and worth your while – I promise!

Matthew Warner February 6, 2009 at 10:33 am

And regarding Capital punishment – I didn’t even go into the fact that the two issues are morally incomparable on a number of different levels. Abortion is a non-negotiable, absolute, objective wrong in the Catholic faith. There is NEVER a justification for it. No matter what the circumstances. That’s a matter of Church doctrine.

Capital punishment is different. It is not ALWAYS unjustified. HOWEVER, I’m in agreement with the recent popes who believed that in an advanced society like ours, there is no need for it and therefore it is morally wrong to practice. But you can’t compare the two things straight up as matters of faith. There is room for a Catholic to justify the Death Penalty (although it’s a tough case to make in the our present day society). There is NO SUCH ROOM with abortion. Those are the facts.

Pat Sicilia February 6, 2009 at 10:43 am

Even if the pope “only lifted their excommunication,” people still look at them as representatives of the church and so their denials are still not acceptable.

Matthew Warner February 6, 2009 at 10:55 am

That’s not true. You need to go learn more about it. No time to explain it all here. It’s very complicated matter.

And you’re right, it’s not “acceptable.” But lifting an excommunication is not in ANY way a sign of acceptance of what that person has done. You obviously don’t understand what excommunication is, how it works, and how serious it is (far more serious than ridiculously denying the holocaust). But if you’re set on believing what you want and aren’t going to open your mind to actually learn the truth about it…then nothing I am going to say is going to change your mind.

Cindy February 6, 2009 at 1:05 pm

I guess this is where the fallible comes in…all this raging back and forth. I suggest we try praying our way out of this mess. Neither the Republicans or the Democrats seem to have an answer but I bet a Borgia could figure it out. LOL

Pat Sicilia February 6, 2009 at 2:53 pm

We are not just talking about a regular person’s excommunicaiton here, we are talking about a bishop! Why weren’t his deviant beliefs detected before he was ordanined! IMO, that is grounds for disqualifying someone from the priesthood. Aren’t they supposed to go through psychological screenings?

Matthew Warner February 6, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Pat – You’re opinion on whether or not someone should or shouldn’t be excommunicated, or if they should be “disqualified” from the priesthood can only be meaningfully discussed if you know what the nature of the priesthood is or what excommunication means in the first place. I really do appreciate your thoughts but it makes it hard to have a meaningful discussion.

Whew. All this raging has made me tired. Thanks again for all the discussion everyone. I enjoyed it!

Pat Sicilia February 6, 2009 at 4:36 pm

I certainly do know what people can be excommunicated for! 12 years of Catholic school, thank you very much. And while just being a denier isn’t grounds for excommunication, it should be something to consider when psychologically examining a man for the priesthood! That’s just plain common sense.

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