stimulus plan

stimulus plan: Page 1

Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Confronted, Harry Reid claims illegal aliens aren't working construction jobs (note: in Nevada, maybe on stimulus projects) - 07/13/10

The video at peekURL.com/vvjwb7a shows Harry Reid being confronted about not allowing a vote last year that would have required construction companies hiring in regards to the stimulus plan to use the eVerify system. Reid then seems to make the outrageous claim that no illegal aliens are working construction jobs in Nevada [1], and that's the way it's being presented by HotAir [2] and by the low-wattage "StandWithAZ" group (the video was uploaded by them).

Unfortunately, it's not clear whether Reid was referring to all construction jobs or just those funded by the stimulus. In the first case he's, of course, lying through his teeth: as the report points out, Pew Hispanic says that 17% of all construction workers are illegal aliens, and also per Pew, 12.2% of Nevada's labor force are illegal aliens, the highest in the U.S. In the second case, there's very little chance that he's right, but he might be less wrong than in the first case. And, because it's not clear what type of jobs they were talking about - stimulus or just in general - that gives him an out which he may use in the not-very-likely event that Sharron Angle brings it up.

UPDATE: As predicted, Reid has an explanation, even if it's different from the one I suggested above. From politico.com/news/stories/0710/39716.html:

When a reporter from KLAS-TV in Las Vegas told Reid a 2009 Pew Hispanic Center report found 17 percent of the nation’s construction workers were undocumented, the Nevada Democrat replied: “That may be some place, but it’s not here in Nevada.”

Political opponents have tried to twist Reid’s words, saying he believes there are no illegal workers in Nevada. But Reid spokesman Jim Manley clarified his boss’ comments on Wednesday, saying the majority leader was simply disputing the reporter’s statistic and did not say the state has zero illegal workers.

Dick Armey lobbied in regards to the Stimulus Plan; what did he do? - 11/20/09

Disclosure documents show that tea parties organizer, head of FreedomWorks, and former Rep. Dick Armey lobbied in regards to the stimulus plan. The documents don't indicate what the lobbying consisted of, but there's certainly a fair possibility that he wasn't lobbying to reduce the amount of the stimulus.

Hundreds of thousands more foreign citizens got work permits than any stimulus jobs "created or saved" - 10/30/09

The Obama administration claims (link) that the stimulus plan "saved or created" about 650,000 jobs. Meanwhile, since the plan was enacted, 1,125,000 foreign workers have gotten work permits to work in the U.S. (whether green cards or temporary). That's almost a half a million difference, and not on the American side of the ledger.

The calculations are here:

*Each month, the feds give out about 160,000 first-time permanent and temporary work permits to working-age foreign citizens.

* The 160,000 working-age foreign citizens are divided almost equally into those getting permanent work permits through green cards and those getting temporary work permits each month.

* Of the immigrants aged 18-65 who get permanent work permits each month, about 35,000 of them were already working in the U.S. on previous temporary work permits.

* Thus, the NET figure is 160,000 minus 35,000 equals about 125,000 foreign citizens who are getting a work permit for the first time each month.

This would be a great thing to ask politicians about. In fact, it would be a great topic to ask anyone who discusses these issues from any side, whether pundits or bloggers.

Obama pledges to do everything he can to create jobs; use leverage to get him asked why he won't enforce immigration laws - 10/14/09

Per this:

Standing at the site of a highway project funded by his economic stimulus plan, President Barack Obama said Wednesday he is committed to exploring all avenues to create jobs.

Obama said his administration is going to keep going until "every single American in this country who's looking for work is going to be able to get the kind of well-paying job that supports their families."

Obama spoke from the top of a large mound of dirt and gravel...

"We're going to continue to explore each and every avenue that I can think of that will lead to job creation and economic growth," he said while standing with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and four construction workers wearing hard hats.

..."We are moving in the right direction," he said.

One way to increase the number of jobs available for Americans would be to enforce our immigration laws, something that - like George W Bush - Obama has little interest in doing. One way to force a change is to have him pressed on that and publicly embarassed about the fact that hundreds of thousands or millions of foreign citizens are taking jobs that Americans could and should be doing.

And, one way to have him questioned is to have MSM reporters do it. Now, certainly, they aren't going to do it willingly; their idea of tough questions is to ask what most "enchants" Obama about his job and the like. However, there is a way to encourage reporters to ask tough questions, and you can see just one example of me trying to do that in the comment I left earlier today here. He's part of the White House press pool, and if half the comments on his entries pointed out what a disservice he was doing to the country eventually Time would be forced to do something, and that might be to have him ask a real question.

If you want to help out, visit MSM sites that discuss issues like unemployment and the stimulus, and call out the reporters for not asking about immigration enforcement. It's a very easy thing to do, but few others want to do it for an unknown reason.

Teen unemployment rate 25.5% in August 2009, highest since 1948. Can we enforce our immigration laws now? - 09/27/09

The unemployment rate among teenagers (ages 16 to 19) reached 25.5% in August 2009 (table here: bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm). That's the highest rate since 1948, the year the Department of Labor started keeping statistics.

Obama admin to make it easier for illegal aliens to get stimulus, other government jobs? (e-Verify) - 06/12/09

Numbers USA says:

Informed sources are telling our Capitol Hill Team that the Obama Administration plans to announce today or tomorrow new orders and rules that will gut most of the improvements in fighting illegal immigration at the end of the Bush Administration...

We are told that (a potential) new Obama Executive Order will retain the language requiring contractors to verify new hires (using eVerify). But it will eliminate the language requiring them to verify all previously employed workers on the contract.

That means that all the illegal aliens already working for federal contractors can keep their jobs and unemployed Americans will not have a chance at them.

I talked with a former official of the Department of Homeland Security who said there has been buzz about filling the new Executive Order full of loopholes so that federal contractors can "launder" newly hired illegal aliens through a part of the company not doing federal contracts and then transfer them to the federal contract jobs without having to put them through E-Verify.

You can write your representatives, but the much, much better thing to do about this is to embarrass politicians on video over this issue. I posted that link almost four months ago, and maybe some time before the end of the universe someone will decide to actually do something effective.

ThinkProgress now openly acting like White House PR department - 04/13/09

ThinkProgress - the very low-wattage blog run by the Obama-linked Center for American Progress - has, of course, been strongly pro-Obama since he won the election. However, the post "Obama: Stimulus transportation projects ‘under budget,’ ‘ahead of schedule’" [1] by Faiz Shakir is more like a press release or something you might find on Page D-8 of an 70s-era copy of Pravda or in 1984:

Today, President Obama and Vice President Biden will appear at the Transportation Department along with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to celebrate the 2,000th transportation project funded by the stimulus package. “Just 41 days ago we announced funding for the first transportation project,” Obama said, according to his prepared remarks. “I am proud to utter the two rarest phrases in the English language — projects are being approved ahead of schedule, and they are coming in under budget.” Administration officials say that billions in road and bridge money is going “farther” and being used “faster” than expected.

At least they didn't include anything in there about shoelace production being up 44% this quarter or about the wheat harvest exceeding the five-year plan.

[1] thinkprogress.org/2009/04/13/obama-on-transportation-stimulus/

Joshua Holland of Alternet: "I don't care" about illegal aliens taking stimulus jobs - 03/12/09

The latest trend in the illegal immigration-supporting community is to try to attack the month-old Heritage Foundation report (and one from the Center for Immigration Studies) claiming that 300,000 jobs from the stimulus plan will go to illegal aliens. None of them have actually claimed that no jobs will go to illegal aliens; they just try to pretend that they've "debunked" the studies by raising issues with the exact number of jobs.

So it is with Joshua Holland of Alternet [1]. After calling names and raising issues with the 300,000 number, he shows his regard for the American worker. About the possibility that illegal aliens will get jobs under the bill, he says:

Here's the thing: I don't care, and neither should you. Because the whole argument obscures the larger issue. Regardless of the merits of CIS's "estimate," there is no doubt that if we create a bunch of new jobs -- especially in construction -- unauthorized workers will get some of them. After all, they make up about 4-5 percent of the American workforce. And that's fine, because stimulus spending is not just about creating jobs... It's about stimulating demand -- "stimulus" -- by putting dollars into working people's pockets that they can go out and spend in the economy, and a worker's legal status has nothing to do with the goods and services he or she purchases with those dollars.

Every stimulus job that goes to an illegal alien is one that was taken away from a U.S. citizen. Joshua Holland is turning his back on his fellow citizens in order to help foreign citizens who are here illegally. Unemployed U.S. citizen construction workers - including those who are struggling to purchase goods and services - should let all their friends know which side Alternet is on.

Holland then shows a keen lack of self-awareness:

the real agenda of many of the politicians who oppose comprehensive reform [is to] to maintain a population of extraordinarily vulnerable workers rather than creating a process to bring them out of the shadows.

That claim is beyond ludicrous and shows that you can't trust Joshua Holland. Those who support immigration enforcement - such as in order to achieve attrition - want to reduce the numbers of "extraordinarily vulnerable workers" in the U.S. It's those like Holland who have continually supported massive illegal immigration who have enabled the current situation. Holland and Alternet will continue to support massive illegal immigration after "reform", and even if millions of illegal aliens were legalized they'd do their best to help the current situation form anew.

[1] alternet.org/blogs/rights/130950/
stimulus_spin%3A_unauthorized_immigrants_will_get_construction_jobs_

New York Immigration Coalition wants stimulus funds for immigrants, illegal aliens - 03/12/09

On Tuesday, the far-left New York Immigration Coalition, allied groups, and about a thousand supporters rallied in Albany, demanding that stimulus funds be given to immigrants. Over four years ago I noted that the NYIC doesn't differentiate between legal immigrants and illegal aliens, and that's also true in this case: although they'll take pains not to admit it, they clearly want stimulus funds to go to illegal aliens.

Seventy-five House members demand: no stimulus jobs for illegal aliens - 03/11/09

Yesterday, seventy-five House members - Dem and GOP - signed on to a letter to House leaders demanding that they block illegal aliens from taking stimulus plan jobs: link.

Immigration Policy Center needs help understand stimulus jobs going to illegal aliens (Walter Ewing) - 03/09/09

Over a month ago I discussed the Heritage Foundation article about how around 300,000 illegal aliens could get stimulus jobs. I raised a few issues, but in general they're right. Now, due to a recent USA Today article, the issue is finally in the news. Thus it is that Walter Ewing of the Immigration Policy Center has to rush to defend illegal aliens taking stimulus jobs from U.S. citizens in the blog post "CIS' Dubious Data Deflects Rational Immigration Debate" (immigrationimpact.com/2009/03/09/cis-data-immigration-myth-stimulus-bill). That references the claims from the Center for Immigration Studies, which are similar to those from Heritage.

However, Ewing's fingers got ahead of his brain:

CIS relies upon estimates from the 2005 Current Population Survey suggesting that approximately 15% of the construction workforce was undocumented in that year—before the U.S. economy and the construction industry took a nosedive and were hit by mass layoffs. As the Pew Hispanic Center notes in a recent report, Latino immigrants have been particularly hard hit by the current recession. As a result, it is doubtful that 15% of today’s decimated construction workforce consists of undocumented immigrants, most of whom are Latino. Yet CIS takes 15% of 2 million to come up with its estimate of 300,000 new construction jobs being filled by undocumented immigrants.

Just because some of that 15% might be unemployed doesn't mean they vanished into thin air. Most of them are still around and would be available to take stimulus jobs. In other words, they're part of the "potential workforce", even if some of them aren't part of the actual workforce. Certainly, some of them might have returned home, but that's not what Ewing is saying.

Better supporters of illegal immigration please.

Obama: the stimulus bill will save lives! (road construction) - 03/03/09

Earlier today, Barack Obama and Joe Biden made a historic joint appearance at the Department of Transportation. Video is here, transcript of Obama's remarks is here.

He said that the stimulus plan won't just create (or save) jobs, but will also save lives. His statement is a lesson not just in demagoguery, but in how to craft statements with lawyerly care:

Over the next few weeks, we will launch more then 200 construction projects across this country, fueling growth in an industry that's been hard hit by our economic crisis... All together, this investment in highways will create or save 150,000 jobs by the end of next year, most of them in the private sector... And just to give you a sense of perspective, that's more jobs being created or saved in one year than G.M., Ford and Chrysler have lost in manufacturing over the past three years combined. And the jobs that we're creating are good jobs, that pay more than average, jobs grinding asphalt and paving roads, filling potholes, making street signs, repairing stoplights, replacing guardrails... But what makes this investment so important is not simply that we will jump-start job creation or reduce the congestion that costs us nearly $80 billion a year, or rebuild the aging roads that cost drivers billions more a year in upkeep... What makes is so important is that by investing in roads that have earned a grade of D-minus by America's leading civil engineers, roads that should have been rebuilt long ago, we can save some 14,000 men and women who lose their lives each year due to bad roads and driving conditions... Like a broken levee or a bridge with a shaky foundation, poor roads are a public hazard, and we have a responsibility to fix them.

In addition to in effect saying that those who oppose the stimulus don't really care about people dying, there was also this:

Now, we have another responsibility. Having inherited a trillion-dollar deficit that we're working to cut in half, we also need to ensure that tax dollars aren't wasted on projects that don't deliver results. And that's why, as part of his duty, Joe will keep an eye on how precious tax dollars are being spent... It's an investment being made at an unprecedented pace, thanks in large part to Joe Biden, who's leading the effort to get the money out the door quickly.

Right.org's idiotic anti-stimulus video contest ("Bailout Prize Patrol", Snowe, Schumer) - 03/03/09

The website right.org is conducting a video competition seeking the best 30-second humorous video regarding the various bailouts. And, as a promotion for that they made a "humorous" video of their own involving a "Bailout Prize Patrol" (modeled after the Publisher's Clearinghouse campaign) for which they tried to give Citibank et al a check for $30 billion at the same time as giving invoices to regular citizens.

Rick Santelli is enough to make me a Democrat - 02/22/09

Reading how Los Angeles wants to spend their stimulus money and the rest brought out my inner Republican. Watching the videos featuring CNBC reporter Rick Santelli (link, link) brought out my inner Democrat. They're now fighting each other as my id watches from the sidelines.

Sen. Susan Collins: expect more intervention in the economy; no more bailouts, unless... - 02/18/09

Sen. Susan Collins was back in Maine earlier today (link)

[She] doesn't consider the stimulus plan to be a perfect one, but she felt it was much more important to find a compromise and get money out to people quickly. She also acknowledged that her vote has not made her popular within her own party, but she said, that doesn't bother her.

"My obligation is to the people of Maine," Sen. Collins said. "And they didn't send me to Washington to sit on the sidelines. They want me to try to solve problems, and they want me to work in a bipartisan way."

Collins said the stimulus plan will not work overnight and that it is just the beginning of government intervention in the economy. But she said she won't vote for another bailout of the financial industry unless the money goes directly into lending.

And, the financial industry can take that to the bank.

Recovery.gov: track what we did on your dime - 02/17/09

Yet another Barack Obama website has launched: recovery dot gov will track how the stimulus plan funds are being spent. There's very little actual information online now, but here's some random notes:

1. On the front page and at recovery.gov/?q=content/investments there are graphics that may give people the wrong impression about the allocation of funds, and that might have been intentional (who am I kidding? Of course it was intentional). The bar graph and the faux-zenn diagram depict "Tax Relief" as the largest graphic at $288 billion, followed by "State and Local Fiscal Relief" at $144 B, "Infrastructure and Science" at $111 B, and so on. Many people will probably concentrate on the largest graphic and not realize that the other graphics' amounts when added together are about 1.66 times larger. And, the "Tax Relief" is the only one with a footnote:

Tax Relief - includes $15 B for Infrastructure and Science, $61 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $25 B for Education and Training and $22 B for Energy, so total funds are $126 B for Infrastructure and Science, $142 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $78 B for Education and Training, and $65 B for Energy.

2. I'm going to assume that their definition of those who are "Vulnerable" is rather broad and includes people who in other systems would be called "Oppressed".

3. The sidebar contains this helpful note; it's good to know these things:

This is your money. You have a right to know where it's going and how it's being spent.

4. The site links to a photogallery about the stimulus from White House photographer/iconographer Pete Souza.

5. A map shows how many jobs will be "created/saved" over the next two years; California's projected amount is 396,000 and no doubt a fair percentage of that will be jobs for illegal aliens.

6. The site includes a timeline that currently only has a few things included. In fact, there's nothing listed on it after July 2009: everything after that is blank. Not only that, but the timeline goes on for decades - all blank - even after 2012 (when the world is supposed to end).

7. They have an "About" menu containing an "Our Mission" entry, something that's more appropriate for private companies than governmental entities.

8. Jason Kottke will be shocked to learn that the site's current robots.txt file tries to prevent all spidering of the site, something that Google at least appears to be ignoring.

"Financial Crisis Tab Already In The Trillions and Counting" - 02/16/09

The article "Financial Crisis Tab Already In The Trillions and Counting" (link) is from Nov. 28, 2008 and thus before the trillion/multi-trillion dollar stimulus plan:
it's a complicated cocktail of budgeted dollars, actual spending, guarantees, loans, swaps and other market mechanisms by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and other offices of government taken over roughly the last year, based on government data and news releases. Strictly speaking, not every cent is a direct result of what's called the financial crisis, but they're all arguably related to it.

The bulk of the sum falls under the Federal Reserve's umbrella, while another good chunk ($700 billion) is the under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) as defined under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, signed into law in early October.
See the table at the link.

Council Bluffs, Iowa wants $2.5 million for "lightly traveled" road (+many more) - 02/16/09

Casey Gillam of Reuters offers "U.S. states eager to start spending stimulus money" (link), which lists some of the projects that various localities want to spend their fair share of the stimulus plan on.

Ask this stimulus bill question (illegal aliens taking jobs from U.S. citizens) - 02/15/09

Please go to a public appearance of a political leader who supports the stimulus plan and ask them the following question. Feel free to modify it to match your speaking style, and if you can find a quicker way to state this question please leave it in comments:

Version 1:

Obama says that the stimulus bill will save or create millions of jobs. Whatever the exact number, there will still be millions of unemployed Americans, right? Unfortunately, in the final bill, provisions to prevent illegal aliens from receiving jobs were stripped out. That means that every stimulus job that's taken by an illegal alien is one that was in effect taken away from a U.S. citizen. What would you say to a U.S. citizen who can't get a stimulus job because it was taken from them by an illegal alien?

Andrew Rosenthal/New York Times wants stimulus money to go to illegal aliens - 02/15/09

The New York Times offers the editorial "Helping Workers in Hard Times" (link) in which they explicitly support stimulus plan jobs going to illegal aliens.

Rep. Dan Burton warns of hyperinflation due to stimulus bill - 02/15/09

Not being an economist I can't evaluate the attached video for accuracy, but Rep. Dan Burton presents a troubling scenario under which all the money being pumped into the economy will lead to too much money chasing too few goods, i.e, hyperinflation.

He also discusses how the Chinese are getting worried about putting all their money into dollars due to our profligate spending, but they're forced to do so because there's no alternative.

'For an additional amount for "Science", $400,000,000.' (stimulus bill) - 02/14/09

While most of what I've read of the final version of the stimulus plan so far is enough to make anyone who cares about proper management cry, there are some good parts, related to the arts. Well, not funding for the arts specifically, but what appears to be an attempt at creating art right in the bill. Specifically, the following section which would make any minimalist artist green with envy:

----------
SCIENCE

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

Prediction: if/when the stimulus bill fails, expect Republicans to be blamed - 02/14/09

If (or when) the stimulus plan fails, expect the Democratic Party to have some success affixing blame to... the Republican Party. Despite any other evidence to the contrary, they'll claim that the reason it failed is because, while our leader spent like drunken sailors, they weren't drunk enough and didn't spend a hundred or a few hundred billion dollars more.

Angry about the stimulus bill? Blame *all* your leaders - 02/13/09

The stimulus plan is now headed to Barack Obama's desk, and we all know what's probably going to happen: the U.S.

"Stimulus Bill Abolishes Welfare Reform and Adds New Welfare Spending" - 02/12/09

From this:

A major public policy success, welfare reform in the mid-1990s led to a dramatic reduction in welfare dependency and child poverty. This successful reform, however is now in jeopardy: Little-noted provisions in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate stimulus bills actually abolish this historic reform. In addition, the stimulus bills will add nearly $800 billion in new means-tested welfare spending over the next decade. This new spending amounts to around $22,500 for every poor person in the U.S. The cost of the new welfare spending amounts, on average, to over $10,000 for each family paying income tax...

Stimulus cost: $3.27 trillion over 10 years if Democratic programs allowed to continue - 02/12/09

Rep. Paul Ryan asked the Congressional Budget Office to estimate how much the stimulus plan would cost if increased funding for the twenty most Democratic Party-friendly provisions in the bill are made permanent.

Pajamas TV conducting "hearing" on stimulus healthcare effect, with Joe the Plumber - 02/11/09

Tomorrow, from noon to 2pm Eastern, Pajamas Media will be conducting their latest dog 'n' pony show, this time featuring Joe the Plumber and others holding a "hearing" on the healthcare impacts of the stimulus plan. They invite you to submit your questions that their panel will answer: pjtv.com/?cmd=page&page-id=60

Does Glenn Reynolds really oppose the stimulus, or is he just playing a game? Let's ask. - 02/10/09

Glenn Reynolds (instapundit.com) currently gets almost 400,000 visits per day, and he's posted several anti-stimulus plan blurbs. But, as with his election coverage in which he supposedly opposed Barack Obama, the fire just doesn't seem to be there (see "Instapundit, or The Strange Case of the GOP Hack Who Didn't Shill During the Election").

Who or what precipitated the financial crisis? (Soros? China? a setup to elect Obama? Did it just happen?) - 02/10/09

Someone needs to snug their tinfoil hat down tight and try to figure out who or what got us into this financial mess. Did it just happen, or was it a deliberate plan in order to make money or help Obama get elected? Consider the attached video featuring Rep. Paul Kanjorski saying the following:

How to stop the stimulus bill: ask tough questions (and I'll help) - 02/09/09

If you want to stop the stimulus plan, the most effective way is to publicly embarrass one of its nationally-known supporters on video by asking them a series of tough, "prosecutorial-style" questions. When uploaded to Youtube and similar sites, that video would get hundreds of thousands or millions of views. It would have an impact on the career of the person who was asked those questions, and it would send a message to the others.

"U.S. Taxpayers Risk $9.7 Trillion on Bailout Programs" - 02/09/09

From this:

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...

The pledges, amounting to almost two-thirds of the value of everything produced in the U.S. last year, are intended to rescue the financial system after the credit markets seized up about 18 months ago. The promises are composed of about $1 trillion in stimulus packages, around $3 trillion in lending and spending and $5.7 trillion in agreements to provide aid...

The $9.7 trillion in pledges would be enough to send a $1,430 check to every man, woman and child alive in the world. It’s 13 times what the U.S. has spent so far on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Congressional Budget Office data, and is almost enough to pay off every home mortgage loan in the U.S., calculated at $10.5 trillion by the Federal Reserve...

Pro-illegal immigration groups oppose E-Verify for stimulus bill - 02/09/09

Stephen Wall of the San Bernardino Sun brings us the shocking news that "immigrant advocacy groups" oppose the use of the EVerify program as part of the stimulus plan (link):

FreeRepublic delivers to-be-ignored letter to Specter about stimulus - 02/09/09

Earlier today, a group of people from FreeRepublic including their leader Jim Robinson ("JimRob") presented a letter to Arlen Specter's office opposing the stimulus plan (link).

CBO: predicts "slow recovery in 2010", non-disastrous recession *without a stimulus* - 02/09/09

On January 8, 2009, Robert Sunshine, Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office, offered "The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2009 to 2019" (PDF link, via this) in testimony before Congress. While the situation described sounds bleak, it's far from disastrous. In fact, they suggest that - without having to enact a stimulus - we'd have a "slow recovery in 2010".

So, while we'd go through some pain for a year or two, we'd come out of OK and without having to spend around a trillion dollars. Why not just grit our teeth for the next couple of years, perhaps taking a few relatively minor actions in order to help cushion the downtime?

Not only that, but - still not taking the stimulus plan into account - they say:

CBO anticipates that the current recession, which started in December 2007, will last until the second half of 2009, making it the longest recession since World War II. (The longest such recessions otherwise, the 1973–1974 and 1981–1982 recessions, both lasted 16 months. If the current recession were to continue beyond midyear, it would last at least 19 months.) It could also be the deepest recession during the postwar period: By CBO’s estimates, economic output over the next two years will average 6.8 percent below its potential - that is, the level of output that would be produced if the economy’s resources were fully employed (see Figure 1). This ecession, however, may not result in the highest unemployment rate. That rate, in CBO’s forecast, rises to 9.2 percent by early 2010 (up from a low of 4.4 percent at the end of 2006) but is still below the 10.8 percent rate seen near the end of the 1981–1982 recession.

Note that they are taking the TARP (mortgage mess) and fannie mae freddie mac bailouts into account, just not the stimulus bill.

Cement: another way stimulus money will flow to China (and Mexico, Canada, Korea...) - 02/08/09

A large part of the stimulus bill will go towards "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects involving heavy construction. And, that's going to require a lot of cement. In 2007, it looks like the U.S. used about 110 million metric tons of portland cement, at the same time as importing almost 23 million metric tons of cement and clinker (Portland Cement Association, link):

About 83% of cement and clinker imported in 2007 came from five major countries: China, Canada, Columbia, Mexico, and the Republic of Korea. Imports from China in 2007 declined to 7.5 million metric tons down 41.0% from 2006 levels

Despite operating at high efficiency, U.S. plants apparently can't meet demands, and there's a discussion of a cement shortage in 2005 here and here.

Your assignment: find out how much cement we'd have to import for all those stimulus-related projects, and calculate how much more China will be making off us.

Stimulus: *additional* welfare cost of $523 billion? - 02/08/09

From Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation (link):
The recently passed U.S. House of Representatives stimulus bill contains $816 billion in new spending and tax cuts. Of this sum, $264 billion (32 percent) is new means-tested welfare spending. This represents about $6,700 in new welfare spending for every poor person in the U.S.

But this welfare spending is only the tip of the iceberg. The bill sets in motion another $523 billion in new welfare spending that is hidden by budgetary gimmicks. If the bill is enacted, the total 10-year extra welfare cost is likely to be $787 billion.

The claim that Congress is temporarily increasing welfare spending for Keynesian purposes (to spark the economy by boosting consumer spending) is a red herring. The real goal is to get "the camel's nose under the tent" for a massive permanent expansion of the welfare state.
I'm hardly an expert on this field, and I don't know how to evaluate the details at the link or the ones outlined here.

Payback: union labor might be requirement on federal construction projects (example: the stimulus bill) - 02/07/09

On Friday, Barack Obama signed an Executive Order [1] that contains this:

...it is the policy of the Federal Government to encourage executive agencies to consider requiring the use of project labor agreements in connection with large-scale construction projects in order to promote economy and efficiency in Federal procurement.

"Project labor agreements" mean the exclusive use of union labor, as described elsewhere in the Order. A "large-scale" project is one over $25 million, and there would no doubt be a large number of such projects under the stimulus plan. On the one hand, this might minimize the number of illegal aliens employed under the plan. On the other, it's a sleazy payoff to unions, and a percentage of the money that Obama would distribute to them would find its way back into the coffers of the Democratic Party and their politicians.

Unfortunately, the RNC incorrectly implies that it would be a requirement when it's only an "encourage[ment]", saying (gop.com/news/NewsRead.aspx?Guid=1a19aba7-f84c-4a3a-aba0-60ab872fab6e):

President Obama’s executive order will drive up the cost of government at a time when we should be doing everything possible to save taxpayer dollars. Federal contracts should go to the businesses that can offer taxpayers the best value – not just the unions who supported the Democrats’ campaigns last year. Quietly signing executive orders to payback campaign backers undermines Obama promise to change Washington. It is a disappointment for Americans hoping for more transparency and less politics as usual in Washington.

[1] whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/
EXECUTIVEORDERUSEOFPROJECTLABORAGREEMENTSFORFEDERALCONSTRUCTIONPROJECTS

CBO: stimulus bill will *reduce* GDP over the next decade, do more harm than good - 02/05/09

From Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times comes this:
President Obama's economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing...

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