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The economic times are scary, but it's good to know we have a President who is aware of the scale of the problem.  According to a report in this morning's Wall Street Journal, Obama is now considering a stimulus plan substantially larger than first indictated:

With the unemployment rate now expected to hit 9% without aggressive intervention, Obama aides and advisers have set $600 billion over two years as "a very low-end estimate," one person familiar with the matter said. The final number is expected to be significantly higher, possibly between $700 billion and $1 trillion over two years.

As a reminder, the original plan was going to be in the ballpark of about $500 billion, a number that even some conservative economists said was too low.

The general sense among economists being canvassed by the Obama team is that "every day there's a new bad number," one of the people familiar with the matter said. "And people's sense of what the appropriate stimulus is rises" with the news.

Yup, things are bad - and in a deep, structural sense.  Highly aggressive action needs to be taken and taken as quickly as possible.  This raises the question: what about the politics of it?  Will there be Republicans, constrained by ideology as so many of them proved to be this week, who will vote against it?  What about "Blue Dog Dems?"

Well, the Obama team is reaching out to economists across the spectrum to build its case in advance:

Christina Romer, who will lead Mr. Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, is also surveying economists, trying to build political consensus around a larger number before it is presented to Congress in early January.

People familiar with the discussion say Lawrence Lindsey, President George W. Bush's first NEC director, has counseled $800 billion to $1 trillion in stimulus over two years. Harvard University economist Martin Feldstein, a Reagan White House economic adviser, has raised his initial, one-year, $300 billion figure to at least $400 billion.

When the final number is rolled out, it appears it will be accompanied by a strong chorus of respected voices - both liberal and conservative - who will say it's necessary.  Presented with that sort of ammunition, Obama is trying to make it very difficult to vote against this (and I'd hope we'll be there to help ensure that's the case).

As economic conditions worsen, Obama economists now say the package will have to be larger than expected to ensure the needed stimulus actually reaches the economy. Households will save some percentage of the initial tax cut. And some amount of spending, especially on infrastructure, won't reach the economy in the expected time frame of the package, since contracts and projects may be delayed.

Indeed - there are a lot of bills that need to be paid off by households, and that's not going to be enough to stimulate the economy.  So we're going to have to spend a great deal to get things really moving in the right direction.

The government is the spender of last-resort, and it's pretty clear to most of us that we're getting to "last-resort" time.

The good news is we have an incoming President who sees that reality too.

Originally posted to dansac on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:19 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips/Recs for a much-needed stimulus (245+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eclectic, sakitume, Ed in Montana, boydog, Terri, tmo, PLS, Chi, askew, gogol, miasmo, livosh1, ScientistMom in NY, lysias, rhubarb, eeff, TX Unmuzzled, leftyboy666, wenchacha, deaniac83, perro amarillo, bigforkgirl, bara, Gustogirl, EvieCZ, concernedamerican, bronte17, missLotus, understandinglife, DAVE DIAL, srkp23, CoolOnion, highacidity, buckhorn okie, michelle, peraspera, L0kI, itskevin, oceanview, wader, dangoch, oldjohnbrown, Dallasdoc, grannyhelen, Nina, Drew J Jones, homo neurotic, attydave, tabbycat in tenn, lcrp, alizard, Tasini, side pocket, KayCeSF, tomjones, bablhous, rapala, maybeeso in michigan, historys mysteries, radarlady, Tinfoil Hat, freakofsociety, mjd in florida, Clem Yeobright, Brooke In Seattle, reflectionsv37, Arken, Morrigan, Frank Palmer, Nellebracht, GreyHawk, eaglecries, Wufacta, blue jersey mom, demmefatale, paxpdx, kaliope, algebrateacher, noemie maxwell, cerulean, FindingMyVoice, Rogneid, Ekaterin, begone, reddbierd, Jennifer Clare, sherlyle, cybersaur, ruleoflaw, Albatross, carolita, greenearth, triv33, tecampbell, A Siegel, Bob Sackamento, bleeding heart, PJHood, doinaheckuvanutjob, MBNYC, SingerInTheChoir, doingbusinessas, MadMs, revgerry, coolsub, ms badger, markthshark, Aaa T Tudeattack, One Pissed Off Liberal, BoyBlue, Noor B, pgm 01, Randall Sherman, dotsright, Cronesense, Loudoun County Dem, dmh44, desertguy, mamabigdog, Dartagnan, moosely2006, karmsy, Matt Z, SJLeonidas, Jimdotz, deepeco, drchelo, Drowning Wave, Seneca Doane, chicago jeff, jnhobbs, Wreck Smurfy, madgranny, kubrick2008, TomP, Empower Ink, MKinTN, Patricia Bruner, kafkananda, rogerdaddy, ratador, ChocolateChris, hulagirl, NotGeorgeWill, Youffraita, bythesea, LI Mike, CDH in Brooklyn, royce, mayim, pamelabrown, Haplogroup V, NMLib, hwmnbn, pickandshovel, Somebody Else For President, mofembot, Gemina13, Horsefeathers, DixieDishrag, MizC, binkycat, In her own Voice, HoosierDeb, sydneyluv, Mike Taylor, humanunit, maggiejean, JesusFists, arainsb123, Fonsia, snackdoodle, Shhs, be the change you seek, DFutureIsNow, SciVo, BlueInRedCincy, Patch Adam, JesseCW, Fixed Point Theorem, platypus60, oxfdblue, ZilV, kw7777777, hyper, allep10, Losty, elropsych, audiored, Lava20, PalGirl2008, rubthorn, Little Flower, sherijr, jfromga, FundaMental Transformation, Sleepwalkr, Wisteacher, Leftcandid, stanjz, kfd313, ATLSandlapper, RomeyDa, ArtSchmart, FritztheCat, LaughingPlanet, Flagship, My mom is my hero, Susan from 29, amk for obama, voracious, fidellio, TheWesternSun, on board 47, Big Danny, taiping1, cgirard, ATFILLINOIS, deboChicago, NY brit expat, Anubis Bard, abrauer, Le Gauchiste, USHomeopath, jonwilliamsl, otter 8, nosleep4u, AMfromATL, Its a New Day, dmet, gobears2000, Freelance Escapologist, FeloniousMonk, Sport, Olon, blueinmn, Luthe, ftwfl, sethtriggs, Carolyn in Oregon, theone718, eppa, sjr1, ArmedLiberal, PeggyD

    Most of the economic news out there is bad, so this report, therefore, is good news.

    I'm shocked to learn that 1 in 12 Americans do not know that the bird, is in fact, that word.

    by dansac on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:19:36 AM PST

      •  My assemblywoman hopes for cash (16+ / 0-)

        Unencumbered cash from the federal government to help with the 80% of the state budget that has nothing to do with roads.  She is also on a committee that has the Solomon-like job of deciding how to impose a tax on services (heretofore untaxed in Wisconsin).

        You won't have Putin's rearing head to kick around anymore.

        by rhubarb on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:31:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps some (18+ / 0-)

          unencumbered cash ... But, let us hope that much of the stimulus is structured for the long-term, fostering investments across the country that will not only spur the economy in the near term but strengthen society in the long term.  Not 'just' my focus arenas of energy and global warming, but also in terms of education and workforce training (for example).  Simply providing "cash" doesn't necessarily meet the need to be thinking long term.

          •  Look to the Roosevelt programs (25+ / 0-)

            Duh.  We need a new WPA and CCC do put people back to work, repair our crumbling infrastraucture, and build new things (mass transit, high speed rail, parks, trails, etc.).  It worked in the 1930s, and we've been enjoying the results (and living off them) ever since.  Time to do it again.


              Join more than 100 economists in calling for an economic recovery plan that is sustained, substantial and strategic, at least $900b over two years of much-needed investment in our country:


              •  Bush moved trillion$ over to the 'supply-side' (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mike Taylor

                maybe as much as ten trillion dollars in the last 8 years.  

                So any stimulus package short of a trillion dollars just isn't serious.

                (I refer you to government accounting stats that say medium income has gone down 5% while the top .01% has gone up 500% under Bush - that's a big number, but then consider the size of the numbers that they are multiplying that against (millionaires and billionaires), and only then do you see the magnitude of the wealth redistribution Bush enacted).  The problem is this was done on top of 20 years of 'supply-side' economics - we knew we had a problem this way eight years ago because we had stock market bubbles and deflationary recession - both are signs of too much wealth concentration).

                How big is a trillion dollars?  Consider this: South Korea produces more cars and steel than any nation in western Europe other than Germany and also is #1 or #2 in the world in the production of ships, semiconductors, cell phones and flat panel displays, and it's economy is roughly just under $1 trillion in GNP.  That trillion dollars in GNP provides nearly 50million people with a middle class existence.  That's how much a trillion dollars is - now consider that George Bush has given as much as ten times that number to as few as 3,000 of our wealthiest families and you begin to get the picture of how unbalanced our economy is.

                For a society wealth concentration is like standing up in a canoe, it causes sudden epic catastrophy (such as the collapse of the Roman empire - see nobel laureate Douglas North's "structure and change in economic history" pages 100-115).  

                2/3rds of the economy is driven by consumption (i.e. demand).  By shifting trillions of dollars over to the supply side of the economy, he basically hollowed out the demand side of the economy - like a termite infected house.  

                Any stimulus package short of a trillion dollars just isn't serious.

                Somewhere along the way, we are either going to have to move ten trillion dollars over from the 'supply side' back to the 'demand side' and since the constitution forbids confiscation of property we have a real problem on our hands.  


            •  Quite. (9+ / 0-)

              One example, and one that stares me in the face every day:  the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  The two spans are fifty and thirty years old (the second one was built later as traffic increased).  We had a  really nasty accident on it earlier this year, and the scanning that was done showed up some corrosion issues in the concrete-encased steel.  It's said to be safe, but come on -- this is a heavily travelled structure, and old.  We need a new bridge, badly.  I white-knuckle my across it every workday.

              But -- and here's the rub -- it can't just be a bridge for cars and trucks.  If we are going to do this, it should also include provision for a rail span, one that can hook up further inland with an expanding rail network.  And this time the Shore needs to be made part of the rail network.

              "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18 (-8.50, -7.23)

              by Noor B on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:49:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And Make It Out Of Carbon Composite (0+ / 0-)

                It will last for several hundred years and sequester carbon at the same time!


                The Bushiter's Iraq 2004 - 1268 Dead, about 25K Medivacs and 9000 Maimed... It's the Bushiter Way, wasting other people's money and lives. And it's worse now.

                by RedMeatDem on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 05:16:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Well ... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rhubarb, Jesterfox

              Perhaps the Architecture 2030 plan to Massively efficient stimulate the economy via subsidizing mortgages and refinancing on the basis of energy efficiency investments.

              •  Every time I think about this (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PLS, dejavu, A Siegel

                or hear about "green jobs" and energy policy from the Obama people, I have to pinch myself!

                It is such a relief, after (in my case) worrying myself sick for 19 years and seeing no effort from government to encourage the kind of change we all know we have to do, and which is long overdue.

                It just seems wrong, somehow, against a law of nature, if you will, to have a government looking out for the common good.  I hope it is true!

                You won't have Putin's rearing head to kick around anymore.

                by rhubarb on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 03:37:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely (0+ / 0-)

            However she and others were also concerned that fast-forwarding existing construction projects would do little to help a green future or the immediate structural deficit.

            You won't have Putin's rearing head to kick around anymore.

            by rhubarb on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 03:34:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Well, my salary comes from the state of TN (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          which saw a 13% drop in its tax revenues over the last quarter, as opposed to the increase they expected when they made up their budgets.

          And next year they confidently predict things will get worse.  And by the way, they are constitutionally mandated to run a balanced budget, so that means people will be laid off.

          Hey Obama, does any of that money go to bail out state governments?

          The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

          by MadScientist on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 06:13:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Need to see the strings attached to the (21+ / 0-)

        stimulus package, greener technology, decent wages, small and minority business support, if the Obama administration do it right (odd are they will) , he is going to get an additional  large number of people to support him real fast and with that support for the most difficult goals such as health care and immigration reform

        "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

        by IamTheJudge on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:34:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. The last thing the progressive movement (7+ / 0-)

          needs to do is become like the republicans did during the Bush years. A bunch of rubber stamping "we support you in all things!" kowtowing sheep.

          Presented with that sort of ammunition, Obama is trying to make it very difficult to vote against this (and I'd hope we'll be there to help ensure that's the case).

          Yes, we should support Obama as long as the programs put forth are good. As we've learned particularly through the Bush years, no one should be given a preemptive blank check.

          President Barack Obama - #44

          by Yalin on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:21:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's the wonderful thing about stimuli, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kalihikane, Tinfoil Hat, JesseCW

          they kill 2 birds with one stone.  We pump money into the economy, but we also choose exactly where to pump it.  You can be sure that this cash won't go to Wall Street or Big Oil, it will go to new technology, infrastructure, and green energy.

          "The earthly paradise had been discredited at exactly the moment when it became realizable." -from 1984 by George Orwell

          by dmet on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 12:43:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Great slogan! Wish I had more tips for you (4+ / 0-)

        In TX-32, track the voting record of Pete Sessions at SessionsWatch.

        by CoolOnion on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:05:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sounds like tax hikes are built into the strategy (50+ / 0-)

      Obama is a chess player, while Republicans are playing checkers.  The Pubbies are trying to reinvent themselves as fiscally responsible (after doubling the national debt during Bush's years), so they're going to rail against deficits.  It's already baked into the cake.

      Obama's response will come in two phases:

      1. We can't worry about deficits in the middle of an economic crisis.  He'll create conditions where Republicans will look like latter-day Hoovers intent on killing jobs.  The auto bailout fiasco is a fine start.
      1. Once the economy begins to recover, we'll have to raise taxes to get the deficit under control.  New spending on renewable energy, health care, and jobs programs that keep people afloat will be very hard to kill.  Raising taxes on the rich, a stock and bond transfer tax to get Wall Street to start paying us back, and maybe a small but rising carbon tax to pay for renewable energy programs are prime candidates.

      Obama's going to run rings around the Republicans.  It all hangs on getting enough people into jobs that he appears to be successful in that.  Once he's done that, he's truly in the driver's seat.  Thus the bigger the initial stimulus, the better for the long run.

      Our long national nightmare is almost over. Congratulations and blessings to all.

      by Dallasdoc on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:53:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But those tax hikes have to be timed properly (19+ / 0-)

        FDR hiked taxes the first time the economy was on the upswing and it drove the economy down again (along with spending cuts of course).   You have to be really certain that the economy is on stable footing before messing with anything.

        I'm shocked to learn that 1 in 12 Americans do not know that the bird, is in fact, that word.

        by dansac on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:54:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, but not concerned. (11+ / 0-)

          When the economy comes back from this, I think it's probably going to come roaring back in a way that will take most people by surprise.  A couple quarters of near-double-digit growth at the start wouldn't shock me.

          When it comes back, you'll know it.

          "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

          by Drew J Jones on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:59:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yup. That's what happened when WW2 hit (7+ / 0-)

            FDR finally hit with enough of a "stimulus" package that it did some good.

            And yeah, the deficit soared, but that was OK in wartime. Eisenhower paid it off--and the tax rates on the rich in the 1950s were astronomical--yet the economy still soared.

            Eisenhower had to fight Republicans to get the interstate highway system. Finally he argued that it was a military necessity to move missiles around the country quickly. What actually moved were trucks and commerce.

            The GI bill seems like a no-brainer now. But before WW2, only the rich went to college--no one else was supposed to care about it. So Congress thought the working class wouldn't want college, that it wouldn't be an expensive benefit to grant. The working class went to college in droves and created the modern middle class in America.

            Obama has said several times that the money should be spent on things that will last. He gets this, and this current economic crisis will give him the latitude to do it.

            May your entire existence be one sensuous, frolic-filled experience lived in defiance of care!

            by Fonsia on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:53:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe, maybe not (38+ / 0-)

          No tax increases until the economy begins to recover -- they'd be politically unpalatable and maybe economically unwise.  But raising taxes on the rich is relatively risk-free.  

          Taxing the rich keeps capital in this country which often flees abroad for better returns.  It incentivizes business managers to keep money in the business rather than taking out huge sums in compensation.  It reduces government borrowing, freeing up capital for private uses.

          A stock and bond transfer tax reduces meaningless speculation in the markets, and helps to refocus them on investment.  A carbon tax makes renewables more economically attractive while helping to pay for them.

          Taxes are not all bad.  The secret to raising taxes is to do it in a way that helps the middle class and thus the economy, rather than in Bush's rich-getting-richer way.

          Our long national nightmare is almost over. Congratulations and blessings to all.

          by Dallasdoc on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:00:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  some good points (6+ / 0-)

            especially about keeping the capital in the business instead of taking it out as compensation.  
            But this not make sense to me:

            "Taxing the rich keeps capital in this country which often flees abroad for better returns."

            Isn't that what they are complaining about, taxes being too high on businesses so they are forced to go abroad??

          •  A stock and bond transfer tax seems (16+ / 0-)

            a reasonable thing to do.  However, I haven't seen anything mentioned about that before your post here.

            Do you know if it is something that might be considered seriously?

            •  Yes. (18+ / 0-)

              It was talked about as a means to paying for the Wall Street bailout later.  The Brits have one, and our side has been pointing to it.

              "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

              by Drew J Jones on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:25:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  The British have one (25+ / 0-)

              The City of London survives just fine with an 0.25% stock transfer tax, collected on every stock sale.  In this country it would raise over $100 billion a year, and probably more than double that if bonds were included.  

              It was discussed briefly during the September debate about the $700 billion bailout, but seems to have sunk without a trace since.

              Our long national nightmare is almost over. Congratulations and blessings to all.

              by Dallasdoc on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:25:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's a good idea. (14+ / 0-)

                Not terribly painful, and it's a lot of revenue.

                "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

                by Drew J Jones on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:34:12 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  A derivatives tax would be a better one (16+ / 0-)

                  If credit default swaps and the like are permitted to continue, they should be heavily regulated and taxed at a higher rate, maybe 1%.  That would shut down the casino in a hurry.

                  Our long national nightmare is almost over. Congratulations and blessings to all.

                  by Dallasdoc on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:36:10 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Both would be better. (12+ / 0-)

                    But I agree.  Regulate them and levy a fairly heavy tax.  I think that would probably wind up doing better for the public in the long run than trying to get rid of them altogether.

                    "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

                    by Drew J Jones on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:39:40 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  The ideal tax (8+ / 0-)

                    ... is a tax that someone else pays. That's one reason we tax tobacco more and more, as the percentage of smokers declines.

                    Since I don't play in the stock or financial markets, I think it's a great idea to tax those transactions :) But seriously, I do think it's a good idea. It would raise a lot of revenue, discourage rank speculation, and encourage investment in the real economy.

                    But we can expect heavy push back from the NY and CT delegations, since it's their constituents who would be paying the tax. Hillary, Shumer, Rangel, Dodd... some powerful Democrats in that group.

                    •  You're probably right (7+ / 0-)

                      ... but I don't think they should be allowed to succeed.  Big financial institutions, which are located all over the country, would pay most of the tax on own-account trading.  Stock traders would accumulate some heavy tax burdens, and day-trading would become much less attractive.

                      For investors, who buy and sell infrequently, the tax would be minuscule.  Mutual funds charge far higher fees on an annual basis, and don't seem to deter folks.

                      Our long national nightmare is almost over. Congratulations and blessings to all.

                      by Dallasdoc on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:15:12 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  I'd prefer a derivatives ban (10+ / 0-)

                    It's the ponzi scheme of derivatives that torpedoed this economy in the first place, and the attempt to avoid having to maintain cash reserves pegged to the amount of loans/debt that financial institutions had taken on.

                    The current situation is the result of financial institutions engaging in activity that falls within a narrow range between recklessness and, as in the case of Madoff, outright criminality.

                    The SEC has been complicit, and taking the private Wall Street investment banks that were for most of their history private partnerships public only allowed them to shift the risk of their reckless speculation away from themselves and onto their shareholders, who had no idea what they were doing.

                    There's not enough money in the world to cover the losses that this huge Ponzi scheme we call our financial infrastructure has racked up.  I've read estimates of $64 trillion in suspect financial instruments are lurking just under the surface of the economic sea, like a WWII era mine in the harbor.

                    Giving money to the financial sector is like giving a cash infusion to a gambling addict.

                    •  What you said! (5+ / 0-)

                      Ponzi schemes is the right word for "derivatives". And all financial services should regulated.  Self regulation does not work with these greedy bastards.

                      President Barack Obama

                      by Lefty Ladig on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:17:35 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  The problem is unregulation, not existence. (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Dallasdoc, alizard, moosely2006, JesseCW

                      There's nothing intrinsically wrong with derivatives. As long as leverage is unregulated, there are plenty of other ways of building up similar houses of cards. All we need to do is reform our regulations to apply to all present and future financial instruments, agreements and institutions, including the ones that we can't imagine yet, so that there is no way to innovate out from under prudent reserve and reporting requirements.

                      I want to live in a civilization.

                      by SciVo on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:20:12 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Certain derivatives serve a (7+ / 0-)

                      purpose.  Credit default swaps (CDS) securitize debt, which is useful because it reduces uncertainty.  The key isn't that derivatives are bad per se, it's that they are bad when they secure the same underlying debt multiple times.  And moreso, it's bad when private companies secure far more debt than they can ever pay back, so the government has to pick up the bill.

                      Since this is the case, this should be a government function.  There should be a government entity along the lines of the FDIC that securitizes debt, and charges the parties involved a fee to do so.  It would create a new revenue source for the government, and it would allow the government to regulate these things.


                      by ManfromMiddletown on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:40:11 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  There may be something to this (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        Since the US Taxpayer has been cast into the role of insurer of last result time and time again, I think it's entirely appropriate that the Fed take a slice of the pie in the form of transaction fees, taxes, whatever...the private sector needs to pay some sort of premium upon the accumulated financial transactions they engage in.  In this, I include brokerage firms, individual traders, mutual funds, investment banks, private banks, insurance companies of every sort.

                        You can go back to the S&L meltdown and take that as a starting point.  WE bailed them out.  The Milken's, the Silverado's, the Keatings.  This isn't the first time, either, that Detroit has come scurrying to the Congress.  I seem to remember Chrysler.  And New York City.  A consortium of insurance companies after various catastrophic hurricanes in the Southeast.  The Airline Industry after 9/11...and again the insurance industry.  I'm sure I've forgotten a few less storied bailouts along the way.

                        Take the example of $20 Billion for Citigroup.  I'd be curious to know how much in corporate taxes they have paid to Uncle Sam in the entire history of their existence as a corporate entity, compared to that $20 Billion care package.  That Auto executives have had to eat humble pie as they jave in this process, and plead mea culpa so publicly before having a bone thrown to them, in light of how easily the Wall Street elite have been allowed to hide in the shadows, is disgusting to say the least.  Detroit, to put it in legal terms, committed third degree murder.  What Wall St has perpetrated upon the American taxpayer is nothing more nor less than pre-meditated, calculated, intentional murder...with a huge dose of conspiracy between parties.

                        Smartest guys in the room my ass.  Yes...they were, measured rather basely in nthe amount of ca-ching that all of them have manage to walk away with while the rest of us poor schlubs pick up the tab, and other, even poorer schlubs, lose their jobs, their dreams for retirement or seeing their children go to college, even their homes.  There is a whole generation of Wall Street traders that should be forced to wear the equivalent pf the Star of David on their arms...not to identify them by their ethnicity or religious affilliation...but to earmark them for all to see as one of the breathtakingly selfish and greedy herd of irresponsible "financial movers and shakers" who ate high on the hog while condemning 90% of their fellow citizens to shovelling up the shit they left in their wake.

                        We don't need change, as Obama repeated on the campaign trail...We need a revolutionary way of rethinking the relationship between government and private enterprise.  Our banking system doesn't need needs reinventing.

                        I don't argue that the financial infrastructure is vital and must be protected, but the individual players MUST NOT BE ABLE TO HIDE BEHIND THE SHIELD OF INCORPORATION to defend themselves from personal responsibility for their own actions and their own decisions.

                        If corporations are to be treated as "individuals" with respect to freedom of speech issues vis-a-vis advertising and political contributions, they should be treated as individuals vis-a-vis their actions which poison the country's economic well.  There has GOT TO BE A MECHANISM to make the players responsible for their actions, sans the legal protection of incorporation.  

                        I would propose a flat tax on every American financial institution's profits as, in effect, an insurance premium for the future shitstorm that we will inevitably have to bail them out of.  There ought, also, be some way of ranking their activity in terms of risk, and charging an additional rate upon the most risky behavior.  Finally...this tax should extend to foreign financial entities, to reduce the enticement for US based financial titans to incorporate overseas.  None of these players would choose not to pay, if the choice meant they couldn't play in the US arena.  

                        Obama needs to huddle with his economic team and come up with not just a stimuluous plan...but a whole new vision of how the Federal Government and private enterprise inter-relates.

                        We aren't in an era of post-partisanship...we're in an era of post-capitalism, and post-socialism.  We need a new path, and a new paradigm.  That isn't's revolution.  Without the rifles and molotov cocktails.

                        I wish Krugman and Reich were in the lineup, instead of on the bench or in the farm club.

              •  Why tax investment? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Sure, you can collect as much as you want, but these companies such as Detroit can't make money because no one is buying cars or investing in their company.  Investing should be easy and free of taxes to stimulate investment so these companies can employ people.  

                •  Why not? (6+ / 0-)

                  Detroit isn't going broke because people aren't buying their stock.  Investment is a transfer of money from one party to another.  We tax those all the time:  that's what income and sales taxes are based on.  

                  What's wrong with a small tax on stock transfers?  It won't hit real investors much, just day-traders and institutional traders.  Discouraging churning in the markets isn't a bad thing, to my mind.

                  Our long national nightmare is almost over. Congratulations and blessings to all.

                  by Dallasdoc on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:21:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Investments are risks (0+ / 0-)

                    When someone invests, there is no exchange of goods.  Instead, they're hoping for a return on investment only when the company profits.  To profit, most companies hire more people.  By believing an investment is a simple exchange of goods is wrong.  By taxing those investments up front, the company receives less money to invest in profit and therefore jobs.

                    •  Ummm (7+ / 0-)

                      When someone invests (buys stock) they are buying ownership in a company. THey receive the benefit of both capital and labor skills. It is a direct purchase of goods and services.

                      The only reason we do not tax investment purchases is because all the fat cats that really run our government have buried us in libertarian market hooey double speak. Capitalists love using up government services (court system, infrastructure etc etc) yet always claim we'll just ruin the markets if they actually have to pay for any of this.'s called a redistribution of wealth from the tax payer to the rich boys and girls.

                      Tax the crap out of them - and their little offshore satellites too.

                      -7.5 -7.28, What's a guy gotta do to get impeached around here?

                      by Blueslide on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:33:38 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  False (6+ / 0-)

                  You're operating under the false presumption that investment automatically creates jobs.  It can do so only when there's not already an oversupply of goods and services in the market, as there is now.  If there is an oversupply, investment goes to increasing productivity and overall competitiveness, which involves firing unnecessary workers, making them work longer hours for less pay, and replacing them with automation.  

                  And investment is not always a good thing.  There are individual and social risks associated with investment, and those risks must be paid for so they can be mitigated.  Further, those who make their incomes almost entirely from investment would be benefiting from social infrastructures, from the court system to roads and schools, that they wouldn't be paying to support.

                  When the problem with an economy is oversupply, supply-side incentives, such as lowering investment costs, don't make any sense.  It's like pushing on a string.  The solution to oversupply is the addition of supply-side costs and demand-side incentives.  That means higher taxes on investment, profits, industry and imports and the very wealthy, raising interest rates, and refundable tax credits or tax rebates for consumers, and subsidies for larger purchases.  The higher interest rates will split the use of the consumption incentives between consuming and saving, stabilizing and growing the middle class for the future while other consumption subsidies will help clear inventory.

                  From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

                  by Nellebracht on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:29:32 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  not a "tax" (5+ / 0-)

              a "market stabilization fee".

              And completely ban the LBO so companies can accrue their own capital reserves (and build real equity for their investors) without fear of hostile takeover.

        •  They may not need tax increases ... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peraspera, Dallasdoc, JesseCW, Lava20

          economic growth and increased employment will mean that there will be more revenue available from those that actually pay taxes. What they need to do is to alter the tax structure, close loopholes and actually tax the wealthy and make hiding money in tax havens extremely expensive (garnishing 1/2 of the money off the top with the help of governments of the G8 will enable this); that money can be used to good benefit now as part of a financial stimulus (by shifting money from those with a high marginal propensity to save to those with a high marginal propensity to consume) and later to repay the deficit when we are in a stable and sustained up-turn. The whole social welfare state has always been funded by transfers of revenue between the working and middle classes to the poor. They need to force the wealthy to kick in some money.

          •  Our national debt is skyrocketing (16+ / 0-)

            Future payments for Social Security and health care for the aging baby boomers loom in the near future.

            We need to improve our fiscal stance after the irresponsibilities of Republican government since Reagan.  Tax hikes in good times, focused mainly on the wealthy, are necessary.  Cutting taxes on the poor and working class should accompany them.  

            We need to rebuild the middle class in this country to have a healthy economy, and using tax policy is one of the main ways to do it.  Republicans redistributed wealth to the top over the past 30 years; it's time we redistributed it back.

            Our long national nightmare is almost over. Congratulations and blessings to all.

            by Dallasdoc on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:32:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Definitely! I am strongly in favour of a tax (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zeke L, wader, Dallasdoc, doc superdog, PeggyD

              policy that actually redistributes wealth from the wealthy to the poor. I was thinking that they may not need tax increases for the middle and working class in the future, rather that they could shift the burden of taxation onto the wealthy and make it stick; with the economy growing and with more people employed and with better pay, the current level of taxation for the middle and working classes would generate a massive amount of revenue, probably enough to cover the deficit and repay it. Taxes hikes on the wealthy can be done now and the money can be used to strengthen a coherent and well-directed fiscal policy that I am hoping will be coming from the Obama administration.

              There has been so much concentration on tax policy that I really want to stress the importance of good fiscal policy that puts money into the hands of the middle and working class to ensure economic recovery. An excellent example would be health care provision, if people do not have to pay the insane ridiculous fees for health insurance and a national health service is provided (at least a single-payer system) that will put money into the pockets of middle and working class people which they will spend thereby increasing effective demand leading to increased employment, production and investment.

              •  The real Adam Smith agrees (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                NY brit expat

                It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion. V.ii.ii.286 The Wealth of Nations

                Friedmans fictional Smith, rather like Jerry Falwells fictional Jesus, would disagree...but who cares.

                •  Having read (and taught) the real Adam Smith (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dallasdoc, scotths

                  for years, I am certain that the people who claim to be his supporters (E.g., the Adam Smith Institute, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman, et al ad nauseum) have never really read the Wealth of Nations enough to understand the way he conceived the economy to function. In fact, I am certain that they would be truly appalled to see his support for high wages for workers.The only good thing about their misappropriation of his work is that the libertarians have republished the Works of Adam Smith originally done by Oxford University Press as a very reasonably priced paperback series, so now I can afford to own the set ... I only worry that they may find out what he really believed and stop re-printing the series. :)

            •  I agree (5+ / 0-)

              & no more living on credit as basis for our society

              Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

              by DiAnne on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:52:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  This dialogue has been an education (3+ / 0-)

              Good diary and commentaries.

              Strength through Peace.

              by Billdbq on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:07:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  debt is the problem, not the solution (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bablhous, JesseCW, NY brit expat

              Bailouts are not necessarily bad, but they should be paid for not by a tax on the future, but by a tax on the accumulated wealth that made the bailout necessary.

              Don't tax the kids of tomorrow, tax the rich of today.  They're the ones who caused the problem.

          •  I just re-read and instead of financial, I meant (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to say fiscal stimulus ... I must have money on my mind, sorry, that really changes the meaning.

        •  Very true...but (9+ / 0-)

          Unlike FDR, we have FDR to learn from.

          We know the good things that were done then and how (the WPA for instance) and we know the mistakes- the 1937 tax increase and spending cuts.

          You can be sure that the same mistake won't be made twice.

          "Senator Obama, are you ready to take the oath of office as President of the United States?" --Chief Justice John Roberts, January 20, 2009

          by oxfdblue on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:40:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Those tax hikes must be predictive. (6+ / 0-)

        Obama must establish the tax rates and brackets for 2010-2012 now. No change in 2009-10, big changes a year or two thereafter, is my guess.

        Predictability is key. Let people make plans for the long term, because it's short-term thinking that has gotten us in this mess.

        You kids behave or I'm turning this universe around RIGHT NOW! - god

        by Clem Yeobright on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:44:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Just imagine (5+ / 0-)

        Even with all the malfeasance, deregulatory crap, ignored warnings, and whatnot that Shrub has inflicted on this country... just imagine if his party had actually been 'fiscally conservative'.  If they'd maintained the surplus at Clinton's levels for the last 8 years and paid down the debt.  We'd be looking at a national debt of what, $4T and falling?  All this crap could go wrong and the government could step in with a $3T, $5T, even $7T stimulus and rescue package if it wanted, because we'd have the ability to float that much debt to deal with a crisis.  Assholes.

    •  an excerpt from a Thomas Jefferson letter in 1819 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chrispadem, Lava20

      Thomas Jefferson on Banks' Fictitious Capital

      •  Um, okay. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Interesting to see that, but I don't see that being directly related to the subject of the diary.

        I'm shocked to learn that 1 in 12 Americans do not know that the bird, is in fact, that word.

        by dansac on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:16:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Thomas Jefferson quote is interesting... (0+ / 0-)

        given that he was such a profligate spender, he was unable to free his slaves after his death and bequeath that they work their whole lives to pay off his insane debts, racked up by his frequent trips to Europe to scarf up everything in sight. This was unlike other founders who freed their slaves upon the death of themselves or their wives i.e. George Washington.

        In many ways, TJ was a do as I say not as I do kind of guy.

        •  Frequent trips to Europe? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larry Bailey

          Which Thomas Jefferson are we talking about here?

          You kids behave or I'm turning this universe around RIGHT NOW! - god

          by Clem Yeobright on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:53:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  former prez of US, writer of declaration of indy (0+ / 0-)

            yeah him.

            he cut a deal with one of his slaves, sally hemmings' brother. as slavery was illgal in france, TJ offered Mr. Hemmings this deal. Come with me (TJ) to France for five years as my chef and I will free you upon our return to the states. Mr. Hemmings was the only member of the Hemmings family who was freed. Read the legal scholar Paul Finkelman's Slavery and the Founders. The footnotes are especially intriguing.

            Fact: TJ owned more than 500 slaves throughout his life.

            There has been a constant fight on wikipedia for years about TJ's profligate ways with fans demanding to limit negative information about this founding father and with others saying, no, tell the truth when scholars have found it to be so.

            There's also an ongoing fight over the page to the words "All men are created equal" which Jefferson wrote but did not personally believe as he also wrote many nasty racist things about the intelligence of black people.

            Finkelman is the editor of the 20+ volume encyclopedia of slavery in the US, and author of many other scholarly books. He teaches constitutional law.

    •  With a stimulus this large, you have to wonder (16+ / 0-)

      why the Senate GOoPers are so obsessed with a $14 billion LOAN to the auto companies. It just underlines their naked attempts to destroy unions and curry favor with foreign auto makers with factories down South. The next time Republicans try to trumpet their supposed patriotism, we need to shove this whole episode down their Goddamn throats.

      Willing to mismanage and fail for bailout

      by John Campanelli on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:34:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  With $1+ trillion ... (4+ / 0-)

      $170 billion for mortgage assistance (refinancing and purchase) based on energy efficiency in the private sector building infrastructure is a reasonable share. Put another $50 billion or so into the government for energy efficiency in buildings and we're really going to be killing multiple birds with $250 billion or so of stones: economic stimulus, job training, reducing energy wastage, cutting into GHG emissions, improving US competitiveness, health improvement, etc ...

      This is good news.

    •  stop proping up an unsustainable system (4+ / 0-)

      The real crux of the issue is our system is akin to a world wide pyramid scheme that depends on continued growth and consumption to keep it going. At the very core lies the basic fact the unlimited growth and consumption simply cannot happen on a finite planet. The more we try to prop up this mess, the deeper we go and that harder the eventual collapse and rebuilding will be.

      I know no one wants to take away the punch bowl when the party is raging, but real leaders would have what it takes to tell the truth even if it is unplesant.

    •  Thanks, dansac; nice diary. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ("Nice" as in both "well done" and "somewhat reassuring." :-) )

      One thing I don't think we've heard too much about is another side of the contraction of government over the last twenty years, and that is the push for "welfare reform" in the 1990s. Ideologicaly, TANF and related measures placed the burden of responsibility for unemployment back onto the unemployed, and undermined the notion of welfare as an entitlement.

      Now, I haven't followed the post-history of TANF very closely. But my suspicion is that, after a few years of "success" artificially inflated by the prosperity of the economic boom coinciding with its passage, many of those who have subsequently been kicked off the rolls will find the present situation daunting indeed.

      So what has been the post-history of welfare reform, and how is that working out for us?

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 12:04:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good (29+ / 0-)
    lets take this mandate out for a drive.  I want to see them be bold and aggressive.

    Don't be cautious now.

    "They want to win, at any price. So, you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -Steve Gilliard.

    by demkat620 on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:23:30 AM PST

    •  If it's invested the right way, it could (25+ / 0-)

      lead to much greater economic growth in the long-run (as well as smaller-to-no deficits eventually)

      I'm shocked to learn that 1 in 12 Americans do not know that the bird, is in fact, that word.

      by dansac on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:24:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (22+ / 0-)

        And build the infrastructure for the next couple of generations.  We're still living off the infrastructure of the Depression, WWII, and '50s.

        Long term this can make a huge difference if we do it right.

        Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth. -Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by SJLeonidas on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:27:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Trains or Planes for non-coasters? (9+ / 0-)

        I am all for green building codes, wind, solar, hybrids, etc.  The one aspect I have difficulty selling myself on is high speed rail that's NOT along the coasts. I'm thinking would the cost/benefit rationalizations go for the typical american deciding between air and rail between, say...Las Vegas and Nashville:

        Air:  (1) Drive to or get dropped off at the airport, (2) Fly to Nashville (3.5 hrs), (3) Get picked up by a friend or rent a car in Nashville.

        Train:  (1) Drive to or get dropped off at the train station. (2) Bullet to Nashville (9 hrs..without stopping at about 200 mph) (3) Get picked up by a friend or rent a car in Nashville.

        Air advantages:  Saves time
        Air disadvantages:  Carbon stamp, crummy or no food.

        Train advantages:  Get to see the countryside, trendy, different, better on-board mobility, low carbon stamp.

        Train disadvantages:  Time demand

        So, I guess for business travelers, the train would be a tough sell unless the rail line offered on-board cell and internet service.  

        Hearkening back to the glory days of train travel...serving nice meals and building an air of sophistication, could also be a selling point for more leisurely travelers.

        What does everyone think?  NYC to DC by train would be competitive with air...I guess a pilot program along the coasts would be a good place to start before expanding.

        One other random thought: There is considerable optimization among truck lines for getting a load from one location to another, but air travel routes seem to be mostly static, i.e. there are X flights from A to B on a given day, regardless of flight loading.  I know the FAA has a use it or lose it policy in this regard, but this could probably be changed.  Some of you guys that know ALOT more about this than me, what do you think?

        Keep going Barackstars! Act now:,

        by IamtheReason on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:17:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think the starting point is for cities closer (10+ / 0-)

          to each other than your example - particularly in the midwest and south.

          What about connecting Indianapolis to Cincinnati to Nashville etc?  St. Louis to Chicago to Milwaukee to Green Bay?  Cleveland to Detroit?

          I would focus on the smaller connections, and then help cities out with their mass transit.  

          The more we can get people used to public transit in their daily lives, the bigger impact we'll have.

          I'm shocked to learn that 1 in 12 Americans do not know that the bird, is in fact, that word.

          by dansac on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:20:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yeah that's a good point but then price (0+ / 0-)

            competitiveness will kick in:  having to rent a car once you get there (true in cities not public transit friendly)...would compete with...well if I just drive my own car then I won't have to rent one when I get there.

            Keep going Barackstars! Act now:,

            by IamtheReason on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 12:32:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You're right, the obvious start is city to city (0+ / 0-)

            Of Course, once Los Angeles is connected to Las Vegas, and Los Vegas is connected to Salt Lake and Salt lake is connected to just makes sense to Connect Denver to Topeka and Topeka would have long been connected to K.C. so we link the coasts...

            Still, a lot of people would probably still prefer to save time by flying coast to coast...but distances of less than a thousand miles, high-speed rail almost certainly wins.

        •  A true comparison of time demand should include (7+ / 0-)

          the time spent waiting to board, waiting for luggage, etc., and most especially, time in line for "homeland security" in facilities (airports) that were not designed for this kind of use.

          "It's not enough to be right. You still have to use your nice voice." -said by my then six-year-old daughter; "Love binds us all."-willb48

          by be the change you seek on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:33:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Trains: All-weather, 100% laptop/phone time (10+ / 0-)

          Planes are a pain in the ass for business travelers. You can't open your laptop while delayed on a runway, you can't use your cell phone, and you have to go through that TWICE during the trip, whereas a train can be a mobile office practically, hopefully with a "business center" car where you can print documents and copy them for presentations, etc.

          Out of time at the office? No problem, "I'll finish it on the train!" Students, too.

          Trains will replace intra-continental regional travel.

        •  I'm not sure you can fly... (6+ / 0-)

          ...from Nashville to Las Vegas in 3.5 hours once you include having to arrive several hours early for security checks.

          Trains have less onerous security, not because you can't blow up a train, but because it's really hard to run one into a skyscraper. (People tend to notice the tracks.)

          But I think the best targets for high-speed rail are for routes which people often choose to drive, or where the time in the air is but a tiny fraction of the total trip time, which is why LA to SF makes so much sense. I'm sure there are many other candidates in non-coastal areas (maybe San Antonio to Austin?).

          "That which I am writing about so tediously may be obvious to someone whose mind is less decrepit." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

          by Mad Dog Rackham on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:42:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Don't rule out air travel... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          There's an airline called Seaport Air in Portland, OR, which uses Pilatus-12 (or something like that) aircraft which use roughly the same amount of fuel per passenger as a full size car.

          In addition to focusing on alternative transportation and fuels, we need to acknowledge that the system we have in place isn't going to vanish overnight, and that the stakeholders (from the parking lot attendants to the airport hotels, from the pilots union to the guys slingin' sandwiches, and the passengers who love to fly and the businessmen who believe their time is more valuable than God's) in the current system aren't going to just give up and walk away.

          The problems we have--economic and environmental--are so serious that we need to throw everythign we have at solving them, including improving the systems that we hope to eventually transition out of.

          •  You can sling sandwiches in a train station (0+ / 0-)

            as easily as an airport, and trains need mechanics too.

            I don't see any net job loss here.

            •  There is a whole economy built up around airports (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              hotels, restaurants, off-airport parking, etc.  You can't pick up a hotel and move it, especially not to a downtown rail station.  The guys working at the airport on the edge of a city for minimum wage aren't going to schlep downtown to do the same thing.  People have paid their life savings to set up a food stand in an airport aren't going to just fold it up.

              I didn't suggest that there would be job losses--quite the contrary, I think that rail is probably more labor intensive than air, I'm saying that there is a lot of money at stake in the status quo, and it's not going to embrace change the same way those of us who are unattached will.  

              •  Funny thing is, we can't assume (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                That high-speed rail terminals are necessarily going to be the same places as our current rail hubs, or at least, that the main stations will be.

                It actually makes more sense to route them through airport hubs when possible, for exactly the reasons you state.  That's where the hotels ect. are.

                To me, one great thing about doing that would be that people could more easily shop for tickets out of various airports, at least in a lot of markets.  Also, we could avoid some major airport expansions by spreading the load out, possibly even reclaiming some valuable land in our cities.

                As a regional example I don't know if you will get (don't know if you're familiar with Southern California) if High Speed Rail ran through the Ontario California airport...we could reclaim LAX and provide housing closer to where people work.

                I see your point about turmoil and individual hardship, though.  We ought to set up to retrain Aircraft Mechanics, for example, as Train Mechanics BEFORE the hardship hits.  After all, we already know they've essentially got what it takes to do the job.

              •  great point...would be nice to site the train (0+ / 0-)

                terminals at or near existing airports to mitigate sprawl and to maximize use of existing infrastructure.

                Keep going Barackstars! Act now:,

                by IamtheReason on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 01:03:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Let's do demkat. Despite my fear due to the (11+ / 0-)

      financial crisis (I lost my job), I am excited at the possibilities it presents us. Obama seems ready to use his mandate wisely and that excites me. We will never have a better chance to get these much needed changes in place.

    •  OK, I'm ready for change (7+ / 0-)

      but can someone point me in the right direction that spells out what all this money will do? I can understand construction people will be covered.  That is easy.  But I'm a 57 YO computer expert that doesn't want to move to India to get a job.  Sadly, many of the jobs are for people that have very specific skills.  I apply but get no word.  Yesterday, I got a layoff notice on a job that I hadn't even gotten yet.  GE was looking for a video System expert (my particular expertise) and the person informed me that they cancelled the job before I could even interview.  I suspect that is happening all over.  Who else will get helped in this stimulus package?  I have heard that there is hope of getting health care info computerized.  That's nice, not my area.  There are probably a million programmers that will cover that, so I'm screwed again.  Anywhere else?  Amazingly, the job I was laid off from was into video surveillance.  One might think that would be big.  It is, in India.  My job went to India.  I live in Silicon Valley.  You can not imagine the empty parking lots in front of empty buildings that 10 years ago were thriving.  Most of those jobs went to India.  

      I'm hoping this $1 trillion will get spread around.  I'm ready to send Obama my bank account info.  He can put my share in my account.  Otherwise, I guess I can dig ditches for the fat cats that have contractor's licenses.  I'll last an hour maybe.  I hope we get good medical care.  My heart attack will keep me out of the ditches for awhile.  AFLACK anyone?  Quack

      "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength", George Orwell, "1984" -7.63 -5.95

      by dangoch on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:40:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As he should be (20+ / 0-)
    Obviously when times are good, it's better to to shoot for a balanced budget, but in these times, the government absolutely needs to pick up its spending to stimulate the economy.

    Well done Mr. President-elect.

  •  Better to err with too much than (25+ / 0-)

    not enough.

    Earlier this month, Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard University professor who was an adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain, and Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner who served in President Bill Clinton’s White House called for a trillion dollars over two years.

    Stiglitz, Galbraith, and McCain Advisor Call for $1 Trillion Stimulus

    Others also agree it should be high:

    "Every day it looks like the stimulus package needs to be bigger," said Bill Samuel, the lead lobbyist for the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor federation. "You’re talking $500, $600, $700 billion or even more" for a year.


    "Congress should think in terms of $900 billion in 2009, with possibly more in 2010," said James Galbraith, a self-styled liberal economics professor at the University of Texas in Austin who has talked with the Obama transition team about the issue. "I may be higher than they are at this point," he said, "but things are evolving."


    "If the government doesn’t operate to fill that gap, we are going to see not only rising unemployment but a shockingly high level of unemployment over the next 12 to 24 months," Corzine said in Bloomberg Television interview yesterday. He called for a stimulus of "overwhelming force."

    Stiglitz, Galbraith, and McCain Advisor Call for $1 Trillion Stimulus

    Good diary.  I'm glad Obama is adjusting based on circumstances.

    "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

    by TomP on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:27:12 AM PST

    •  Needs to keep adjusting (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pgm 01, TomP, JesseCW, Lava20

      I think Galbraith's number is probably the one to go with, and that's quite a bit higher than what others are talking about.  As you and I talked about in your diary on this a while back, better to do the big number and go a little too high than the small number going too low.

      I generally appreciate Obama's cautiousness.  But this isn't a bill to be cautious with.

      "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

      by Drew J Jones on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:29:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  January will see, possibly, the highest layoffs (0+ / 0-)

      in our nations history.

      A hell of a lot of retailers have already announced plans to close significant numbers of stores.

      Given dismal christmas sales, those numbers won't be going down.

      The possible silver lining is that those massive cuts - and I'm expecting better than a million jobs to evaporate next month - may well be the shock needed to get a real recovery package through.

      If that's not enough to create the political will, it's time for the unemployed to march on Washington and start occupying government buildings, Bonus Army style.

  •  Will we see a kind of progressive Shock Doctrine? (28+ / 0-)

    I don't mean that as a negative.  I mean in the sense of using a moment of crisis as an opportunity to push through a Change.  I for one would like to see the stimulus go toward greening the economy, rather than re-igniting consumerism.

    His ignorance covered the whole earth like a blanket and there was hardly a hole in it anywhere. --Mark Twain on G.W. Bush.

    by Anubis Bard on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:28:00 AM PST

  •  How soon before the Rethugs start yelling (22+ / 0-)

    about "deficit spending'; after all their years of worse spending than any Democrat?

    They will try to sabotage anything he does.

  •  It's not the size that matters (20+ / 0-)

    It's how you use it.

    Seriously. If this money goes to augment food stamps, unemployment insurance, green infrastructure, aid to state and local governments, and includes provisions to aid those with mortgages and student loans, then it could stop the economic collapse cold in its tracks - AND set us up very nicely for the future.

    If it does little to any of that though, it won't make much difference.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
    Neither is California High Speed Rail

    by eugene on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:34:13 AM PST

    •  That's right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The worst thing we could do would be to spend that money on "no-bid" contractors with little oversight or accountability.

      Personally, I'd like to see some of this money used to enlarge the EITC, remove the phase-in, and make it available to childless one and two-person households.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:39:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  EITC doesn't help all that much (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenearth, NY brit expat

        I'm forgetting some of the other reasons that it isn't such a great economic stimulus, but among them are the fact that a tax credit doesn't necessarily put more money in your pocket over a long period. Nor does it seem to help those facing immediate problems - foreclosure, unemployment, health care, etc.

        But making some changes to it along the lines you describe may be worth doing as a longer-term policy.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
        Neither is California High Speed Rail

        by eugene on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:41:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nonsense (4+ / 0-)

          It's fully refundable, which means it's added income to those who qualify (or at the very least, a substantially reduced tax rate) so it certainly helps those who could be facing immediate problems from letting them become immediate.

          There are two separate tasks to take here.  The first is trying to keep the economy from completely tanking into another Great Depression.  The second is to lay the infrastructural groundwork for a thriving, prosperous economy.  The EITC is part of what does the first.  There are an awful lot of people who are gonna be left out of the Green Revolution in its initial stages, and while they are transitioning to new roles, they're gonna be flirting with poverty and a high possibility of digging a deep financial hole for themselves.  EITC is probably the best tool we have for directly fighting poverty.

          From Wiki:

          The EITC is the largest poverty reduction program in the United States. Almost 21 million American families received more than $36 billion in refunds through the EITC in 2004. These EITC dollars had a significant impact on the lives and communities of the nation’s lowest paid working people, lifting more than 5 million of these families above the federal poverty line.  

          Further, economists suggest that every increased dollar received by low and moderate-income families has a multiplier effect of between 1.5 to 2 times the original amount, in terms of its impact on the local economy and how much money is spent in and around the communities where these families live. Using the conservative estimate that for every $1 in EITC funds received, $1.50 ends up being spent locally, would mean that low income neighborhoods are effectively gaining as much as $18.4 billion.

          (emphasis mine)

          I emphasize the multiplier effect reported here largely to note that this is the local effect, not the total multiplier it has the the economy.  Like estimating its cost, figuring its multiplier effect is difficult.

          From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

          by Nellebracht on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:01:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  was that specific to EITC? (5+ / 0-)

          I know broad tax cuts aren't effective because people just save it or use it to pay debt.  But because EITC helps lower-income working people with kids, wouldn't it be more effective than other tax cuts, because  it would be much more likely to be spent?

          For healthcare, we should just make SCHIP to cover all kids and federalize it to take pressure off the state budgets.  Enough with this means-testing BS.

    •  It's both. (7+ / 0-)

      The size of it most certainly does matter.  As Krugman pointed out, this isn't the kind of thing you want to lowball.  If you lowball it, you'll wind up having spent a ton of money without dragging the country out of the slump.

      "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

      by Drew J Jones on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:48:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True, but (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, Drew J Jones, JesseCW, NY brit expat

        Throwing money around without a clear plan isn't going to accomplish much aside from making it more difficult to use government to provide long-term solutions beyond the stimulus.

        Ideally we have a large AND well-targeted stimulus.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
        Neither is California High Speed Rail

        by eugene on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:50:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course. (5+ / 0-)

          The decision on who immediately benefits matters a great deal, which is why it has to be targeted at the currently-unemployed (and those who will be by the time we get around to passage).  They're the ones who will have the high marginal propensity to consume.

          "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

          by Drew J Jones on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:52:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Who benefits is a big concern (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LI Mike, JesseCW

            Builders and developers who helped bring us the housing bubble -- and whose national association pressed for destruction of agricultural land, wetlands, and anything else in the way of its strip malls and cookie cutter developments -- would love to see a trillion dollar construction package.

            Building shit is not what we need. In fact, I'd rather pay for the demolition of empty Wal-Marts and strip malls where the government could subsidize local food production and CSAs.

            If we use stimulus money to do the same old things -- support an energy guzzling, mall shopping car culture - we'll end up wasting every dollar.

            For some reasoned thought on this, read James Howard Kunstler's blog:

            •  It won't be for that. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Obama's talking about green energy infrastructure.

              I'm not at all in favor of demolition.  Build the incentives correctly, and the private sector will sort out the big-box locations.  No sense in demolishing them if developers will do it for us and build stuff we like.

              And the empty stuff that's been built is not an altogether bad thing.  It means new small businesses can start up and have access to cheaper office space, and it means people who couldn't afford homes before will be able to as the bubble continues to deflate.

              You have to look at these things from all angles.

              "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

              by Drew J Jones on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:05:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  We see the future differently (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Terri, bablhous

                I don't think there's going to be a boom in small business creation for the next decade. But a need for people to grow food? Make do? You bet. I could be wrong -- god, even I hope so -- but too much talk is focused on sustaining the unsustainable. Fixing roads so cars can keep moving, and all that. Why, even where I live they plan to dump millions of taxpayer money into "roundabouts" to enhance traffic flow -- it's always about cars and it's always about directing traffic efficiently to the politicians' friends businesses. To me, this seems like living in a nightmare.

                We have a huge monstrosity Wal-Mart left empty when the company built a Super Wal-Mart nearby. No one has moved into that untenable, unheatable, ridiculous building in 10 years and I doubt they will any time soon. The land, though, once supported crops. Yes, I'd demolish the structure. And grow something that we can stop importing from melamine-happy China.

                I guess -- bottom line -- I think we're in for a radical restructuring of what we are doing. I believe it is going to be hard. I believe it is going to hurt. And oh how I wish it weren't so.

              •  We can "fix" a good deal of the big box mess (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Drew J Jones

                You're absolutely right.

                We can turn empty Best Buys into day care centers easily enough, and use the empty Home Depot to warehouse those solar panels we'll be installing.

                The majority of them can be re-tasked rather than shut down.

      •  GOP's pols vs Mr. PhD Econ Prof. Nobel Laurate (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Drew J Jones, Clem Yeobright, JesseCW

        As Krugman pointed out

        who are you going to believe if you are not part of El Rushbo alternate reality vortex?

        "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

        by IamTheJudge on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:53:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  How we use the moment (5+ / 0-)
      At the macro level, we have to "get the economy moving again". At the micro level, we have to stop the avalanche of personal tragedies, the economic devastation of tens of millions of individuals and families.

      And yes, as we do so we have to be setting ourselves up for the next 20, 50, and 100 years-- your green infrastructure point.

      But there's another point that has to be made in this "teachable moment". The plain fact is that nothing can be done to really help the bottom 85%, so long as our de facto policy is to maximize the private wealth of the top 10%, 1%, and most especially the top 0.1%.

      The excessive concentration of wealth at the top of the economic pyramid is not just unfair, it is the reason the whole pyramid is now crumbling. It is why health care costs are out of control, our schools are failing, our real economy has been hollowed out, and our financial system has imploded. Going deeper, it is at the root of the ennvironmental/ecological crisis.

      If we can use this moment of crisis to establish this somewhat shocking point, then we have a chance to solve both our near- and long-term problems. If we can't, I don't see us ever climbing out of this hole.

    •  Don't see that. (0+ / 0-)

      Only your 'green infrastructure' component puts people to work - the rest of your agenda is just transfer payments that may or may not contribute to stopping the economic collapse.

      Last summer's rebate giveaway proved a bust as an economic stimulus. We can learn from that.

      You kids behave or I'm turning this universe around RIGHT NOW! - god

      by Clem Yeobright on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:33:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They need to be organized and thorough about it (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, LI Mike, JesseCW, on board 47

    $700B to $1T over two years is not sufficient.  Under the current circumstances it seems to me more like a one year to 18 month total.  

    But besides from the obvious issues with borrowing so much money, there are other issues that will govern the planning of a stimulus.  

    First, especially in view of the borrowing, there has to be a return on investment.  That means a bias toward infrastructure and/or toward schemes that boost the taxable income of ordinary Americans.  An example is to proceed immediately with transit and highway projects that already have design work and environmental permitting completed.  In the transit arena alone that amounts to around $130 billion.  

    Beyond that, it gets more complicated.  We desperately need major improvements to our rail infrastructure, but even if we began design and permitting work immediately it could take some time for projects to begin.  One good example is a particularly gummy rail intersection in Fort Worth, Texas, the busiest at-grade crossing in the country, where they are still arguing over which of three plans to choose.  A much broader example is health care reform, which will not produce a return on investment unless we squeeze cost out of the system through attacking insurance industry dysfunction and hospital turf wars and overbuilding.  But that means seriously taking on lobbyists, which means mobilizing a lot of political well I don't see yet.

    All of these various factors and more need to be going into the planning now.  The question I have is whether the Obama administration's ambition is limited more by economic over-caution, or by the kinds of implementation realities on the ground I have just outlined.

  •  well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    0wn, shann

    we can't even find out WHERE the last monies went. Not trying to rain on the parade but wouldn't it be a good idea to at least ask who will get the money? How much (since WE, our children AND grandchildren will be paying for this)?

    by Soma on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:35:52 AM PST

    •  always good to ask (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bablhous, JesseCW

      but have we seen anything to lead us to believe that:

      a) Obama wouldn't be interested to know where the first part of the TARP went?


      b) That he wouldn't require where and how the money will be spent?

      I'm very burnt by politicians at the moment but there's no reason to think that Obama is going to act just like Bush. If he does we must hold his feet to the fire but I do expect a sea change in the way government conducts business after January 20th, that party better be over.

  •  This is good news. I always feared (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, on board 47

    that the Prez would 'err on the side of caution' by injesting too little.  

    Tips/recs for this dairy.  Thanks a bunch!

    To all my ancestors who have moved from "sense to soul", a mountain of gold could not repay you.

    by rubthorn on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:36:11 AM PST

  •  As I said in an earlier comment... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dansac, ggwoman55, blackstone26

    in Ken's diary, Obama should consider suspending the payroll tax for period of 5 years with 10% benefitting the employee and the rest the employer. This would in affect give everyone in the country a 10% raise, which would be enough for them to service debt and continue to consume and perhaps even save a bit.

    It would help struggling homeowners and anyone over their heads in debt. After 5 years it can be phased out at 2.5% a year or immediately if things are going well.

    I sent this in as a suggestion to Obama's economic team, we'll see if they respond...

    What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. (Albert Pine)

    by laughingriver on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:36:24 AM PST

    •  They won't, hopefully. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, ferg, bablhous, JesseCW, NY brit expat

      It's a really bad idea.  Tax cuts aren't the answer here.  This is a liquidity trap kind of situation.  The stimulus needs to be used to put people to work directly.

      "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

      by Drew J Jones on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:46:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nah, sorry the problem... (0+ / 0-)

        is income levels have not kept up with the requirements of the consumption economy. People need income to pay off debt and continue to be able to consume, you can put as many people to work on various things, but if at some point income levels don't rise to match housing prices and to enable people to consume without going into ever increasing debt then nothing and I mean nothing will solve this issue.

        The root of this issue is a decreasing population base in the middle class, coupled with decreasing income all as a direct result of hallowing out our industrial base.

        And apparently Obama thinks tax cuts will help as they are part of his plan, I'm just saying that they need to be much much larger and there is a natural place to do it that will provide massive stimulus that can be initiated very quickly.

        If we don't manage to keep consumption going then we will lose many millions of jobs in the retail industry alone next year and there simply is no way we can fuel it using debt anymore, we already had to tap into subprime borrowers as all the qualified borrowers of debt are tapped out. The only way out of this mess is to increase the income of the wage and salary employee base and we cannot force corporations to give everyone in the country a 10% raise...

        What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. (Albert Pine)

        by laughingriver on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 01:31:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  House prices? (0+ / 0-)

          I have news for ya: House prices aren't going to be matched by incomes.  Houses are overpriced.  The prices are falling and will continue to fall.  Until that is complete, there's nothing to talk about.

          "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

          by Drew J Jones on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 03:17:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ding Ding Ding, we have a winner.... (0+ / 0-)

            That's the point, we will have a hell of a deflationary event as prices fall to match the incomes that can support them without consumption fueled debt. House prices are going to fall no matter what, but increasing wages and salaries are known contributors to inflation, putting more money in the hands of real people so that they can service debt and continue to consume will go a long way towards stopping the mother of all deflationary events and will go a long way towards stopping the current bleeding. It would be a direct $400 billion dollar fiscal stimulus that would provide nearly 1.2 trillion in overall stimulus...

            Oh and don't get me wrong, I am saying that this needs to be done on top of the things already discussed, increasing income levels is the only way to provide the foundation to make all the other things work in the long run because the lack of income growth along with a declining employment to population ratio, that is, the overall size of the middle class is declining, is the root of the problem...

            What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. (Albert Pine)

            by laughingriver on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 04:15:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  You'd have to find a way to prevent employers (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JuliaAnn, JesseCW, Sleepwalkr, soundchaser

      from cutting wages by just the amount of the tax saving the employees would otherwise get.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:58:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am glad they are doing this the right way by.. (2+ / 0-)

    building a consensus.
    The country needs that
    and if the Republicans try to obstruct, it will only to their own peril.

    This year we can declare our independence...Barack Obama

    by PalGirl2008 on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:41:15 AM PST

  •  1 trillion should be for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Drew J Jones, JesseCW, serecovery
    1 year, not two.  These eggheads are thinking too small.  Huge middle class tax rebates, massive and immediate infrastructure spending, and down-payments on big priorities for the future.  800 billion (400 per year) over two years will do very little for the economy.  It will bounce off of this recession like a pebble to an incoming asteroid.  That should be the very low-end of a 1 YEAR NUMBER.

    On November 5, 2008, history was made.

    by Prince Georges for Obama on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:48:54 AM PST

  •  Mr. President-elect, please GO FOR IT! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dansac, Rogneid, LI Mike

    I couldn't agree more that any stimulus plan should be bold and well thought out.
    I think that any Obama plan will definitely be those two things.
    I think that Obama's focus will be jobs, jobs, jobs, which is exactly what America needs right now.

    -7.88/-4.41 "Republicans are men of narrow vision, who are afraid of the future." Jimmy Carter

    by Interceptor7 on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:57:36 AM PST

  •  One of the biggest stimuli. . . (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, ferg, dansac, lysias, skywriter, NY brit expat

    Health Care Reform!

    That will be an enormous weight from the shoulders of American business.

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    by Pacifist on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:13:05 AM PST

  •  Christy Romer is well-positioned... (10+ / 0-)

    to win over Republicans as her research on how the Great Depression was ended (it wasn't WWII as most claim, she says)is a primary resource in these trying times.

    This is the key article where she explains what ended the Great Depression.
    Page 1
    What Ended the Great Depression?
    Christina D. Romer
    The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 52, No. 4. (Dec., 1992), pp. 757-784.

    Her recent observations are contained in this article.

    A study of the 1930s by Christina D. Romer, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley ("What Ended the Great Depression?," Journal of Economic History, 1992), confirmed that expansionary monetary policy was the key to the partial recovery of the 1930s. The worst years of the New Deal were 1937 and 1938, right after the Fed increased reserve requirements for banks, thereby curbing lending and moving the economy back to dangerous deflationary pressures.

    search for her name in this pdf, summarizing her research:

    Finally, McCain economic adviser, Kevin Hassett, who is with AEI and also writes a column for Bloomberg is a big fan of Christy Romer and her research. He frequently praises her work. This reinforces the idea that Christy Romer is the best economist for the job of reaching across the aisle and convincing The Other Ones to pass a Big Stimulus.

    Finally, Christy and her husband Paul supported Obama consistently throughout the campaign, so she can't be all bad, right?

  •  Let's go for 1.5 trillion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, shpilk, Drew J Jones

    I think that would be a better starting point.

    Proud to be a pro-"torture" Democrat.

    by IhateBush on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:15:51 AM PST

  •  Well let's at least be thankful (10+ / 0-)

    that we don't have a President-elect whose only response to the tough economic times is to call for cutting earmarks.


  •  Good idea. (6+ / 0-)

    Rumor is they are worried about a very deep recession. If they are wrong, the stimulus (if well spent on developing infrastructure and alternative energies) will pay off in the long term anyway. If they are right, then they'll save us from a load of trouble. Hopefully they'll spend the $$ wisely.

    Also, I'd like to express my disappointment in this country's leadership since the Great Depression. It was necessary for FDR to put is in debt to win WW2 and get out of the Great Depression. But during boon-times (especially the 90's until Sep. 2008), we should've been digging ourselves out of debt (a la Clinton) so we'd have more leverage when the shit hits the fan like right now. Of course we're starting off this recession deep in the hole already, and we're going to have to dig deeper to stave it off.

    Please for the love of God, manage the debt better in the future after this crisis subsides.

    The day may come, when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny.

    by Tetris on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:26:52 AM PST

    •  I'd apply that to Mayor Bloomberg of NYC (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogemperor, JesseCW

      Who has done a mostly good job, but when the city was in surplus he insisted on returning it to homeowners with massive property tax rebates.

      Now, I wouldn't have a problem with that if it were targeted to lower incomes, but how about a "Rainy Day Fund" to keep the city afloat in the bad times?

      I'm shocked to learn that 1 in 12 Americans do not know that the bird, is in fact, that word.

      by dansac on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:31:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Heck, let's make it $3 Trillion!!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And bail out everyone!!!!!

    I'd like $$$ to pay my credit cards, my mortgage, my car, my travel expenses, my nights out, etc.

    It's the new America!

    •  It's not a bailout. (11+ / 0-)

      It's an investment in a new America.

      "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

      by TomP on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:48:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah? I have a bridge to sell to you (0+ / 0-)
        •  That is a simplistic one liner. (12+ / 0-)

          Perhaps you should read Krugman and Stiglitz.  Corzine also lays it out:

          "If the government doesn’t operate to fill that gap, we are going to see not only rising unemployment but a shockingly high level of unemployment over the next 12 to 24 months," Corzine said in Bloomberg Television interview yesterday. He called for a stimulus of "overwhelming force."

          It's basic economics: government spending to create demand in a deep recession to try to prevent a depression.

          "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

          by TomP on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:03:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure Tom, but (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jj32, TomP, JesseCW, BigVegan, ccallure

            Sure Tom, but that would take actual thought and reason to read and think through.

            It's much easier to make posts that show "concern", panic or are accusatory if you don't actually understand what the Hell is going on.

            Some people want to restructure our whole economy, infrastructure, changing over to new sources of energy, transportation. Stuff like that.

            Others want to wait for Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to finally trickle down to them.

            McCain: US economic woes 'psychological'

            by DAVE DIAL on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:57:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  if I had a nickle (10+ / 0-)

          if I had a dime for every concern troll that wasted my time, I be rich!

          Investments in anything is illusory.  If you have a job right now, it is illusory.  If you sell to others and they have lost their jobs, they cannot buy your product.  If you build, same story.  The money you make is illusory.  You think you have a pension?  You think you have a 401k?  Maybe, maybe not!  I worked for a phone company who had bucks galore.  (It is just amazing how much money they brought in - and wasted or not on various projects).  What is the phone system - it is really really illusory as it depends upon wires, switches, cell towers etc. and the voice just travels on that ether.  And have you noticed?  The quality is better and better (maybe due to some of those failed projects I worked on?)

          So now Obama is talking about investing in America, something that Eisenhower did last with his network of roads.  (If you don't count going to the moon thanks to JFK.  Which then led to the Hubble - have you seen those pictures - WOW!)  A lot of what was done in the 30s lasted for quite a spell.  Now we need new sewer systems, new schools, new roads, new transit systems.  It takes public money to do some of those things.  Public money and will.  Some money we've already agreed to - like the road tax and some considerable monies we haven't as yet agreed to put out.

          Some bridges will be in the mix as well.  And possibly airport improvements to add to the mix.
          And for everybody who gets employed, the state, feds and some cities take a cut of that pay bringing health back to those governments.

          But let me guess, you are a "let em die" groupie?

          Bad life choice that.  We have to help each other, we have to stick together and we sure don't want any of us to die.  Cause sure as shooting, it will be us that goes.

        •  No, you don't. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clem Yeobright, RussRocks

          Since when I sold it to you it wasn't mine in the firs-- uhm... bye!
          :::sounds of running:::

          To have faith in the power of a human being is no crime. The crime is to have no faith in your fellow human being.

          by RElland on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:22:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The point of this money... (10+ / 0-) it's an investment, not a bailout.

      Despite Wall Street getting bailed out of their bad decisions, I don't think this money should be (or is envisioned as being) for bailing anyone out. That's why I think the suggestions that this money include student loan forgiveness are non-starters.

      Spend this money on things which actually result in long-lasting tangible benefits. I cross a Depression-era bridge built via the New Deal every day. It was money well spent, but it's too narrow for current trucks, and there is exposed rebar where the concrete has spalled. Multiply this by many thousands of such bridges. I'd be happy to see money being spent to employ people to build things that will last 75 years.

      "That which I am writing about so tediously may be obvious to someone whose mind is less decrepit." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

      by Mad Dog Rackham on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:50:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We need $25T (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, carolita

      The cost for building a sustainable country with a totally new infrastructure, solving housing, manufacturing and transportation needs will cost about $25 Trillion. We might as well borrow it now and start building. That's a stimulus of about $300,000 per family. That should get us going nicely and leave no money for decades for offshore military adventurism, kinda reverse Reaganism.

      •  Well, perhaps not $25T to start, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Wizard

        but the plan is sound.

        By loaning money at low interest rates to the middle class and making it attractive to adopt green [US made] technology, we can put Americans back to work. This will work towards rejecting coal, oil, and gas as fuels, and build the national security by diversifying and decentralizing the power grid and methods of energy production.

        I think $3 or $4T should do it. And the speculators and the rich that got us into this mess need to be taxed to get some of that money back into the Federal coffers. Bring back the tax rates of the 1950s, kill the loopholes and tax cap gains, interest and dividend payments progressively, based upon income levels.

        Oh ya, .. the Estate Tax should be increased to the point of being literally confiscatory over a few million dollars a year. 95% would be a good number for the Estate Tax for people over, oh let's say a million bucks.

        No more unlimited oligarchy.
        No more plutocrats who control whole industries.
        No more family dynasties which control whole market segments and government.

        That's where we SHOULD be heading.

        The path we are on is totally unsustainable.

        Does Obama have these ideas in his head?
        I seriously doubt it. I think we'll patch quilt a recovery together and it will work, for a while, maybe another 20, 30 years, and then every thing will devolve into utter and complete chaos.

        2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

        by shpilk on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 06:01:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  A bailout? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, mollyk, sethtriggs

      A bailout is giving money to a company to stop them from going bankrupt.

      An economic stimulus package is used to create jobs by investing money into infrastructure contracts. So if money is invested into more energy efficient buildings or maintaining bridges or upgrading the electrical grid then people are put to work. The money goes to companies providing the work and in return, the workers spend the money on food, clothing, entertainment, housing, etc, therefore stimulating the economy. We also end up with better roads, less energy cost for government buildings and a national electrical grid that can be connected to solar or wind power.

      This is fantastic news. The fact that he is building a bipartisan consensus among economists is also wonderful.

  •  How about off shore wind and wave power in (6+ / 0-)

    Lake Michigan!

    A New Jersey version

    The proposal by Garden State Offshore Energy includes installing 96 turbines to produce as much as 346 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about tens of thousands of houses. The turbines would be arranged in a rectangle about a half-mile long by one-third of a mile wide. The project, which would cost more than $1 billion, would not start producing electricity until 2013.

    The turbines, though, would be between 16 and 20 miles off the coast of New Jersey’s Atlantic and Ocean counties, and thus in much deeper water than other proposed projects. Deepwater Wind, which will work with P.S.E.G to build the wind farm, said it can affordably build turbines in 100 feet of water with the same technology used to build oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and other locations.

    Why offshore?

    Wind energy consultant Robert Owen of Middleton, who has studied the potential of building a wind farm in Lake Michigan, said he considers the portion of the lake east of Sheboygan and Milwaukee to be one of the best spots for offshore wind power on the Great Lakes. That's because the water is shallower there.

    Owen said interest in offshore projects has increased in part because of opposition to land-based wind farms.

    Wind maps also show stronger more consistent winds offshore.

    This is cutting edge technology as people are just now figuring out who to build a deep water wind projects and the European Union appears in the lead with the Beatrice Wind Farm in the North Sea as a test bed demonstrator.

    The "know how" associated with building off shore deep water wind facilities would itself constitute a source of economic re-vitalization as shown by these quotes from the Beatrice project:

    ■  Design and development of the first "jacket structure" (and associated transition piece) for use in fastening the wind turbine and tower to the seabed in deeper water than had ever before been attempted. This groundbreaking work subsequently led to the development of new mass production techniques for producing "jacket" structures in volume.

    ■  Establishment of a new "on-shore" assembly process for the turbine, rotor, blades and tower, in order to maximize all aspects of assembly work "onshore" and thereby contain the enormous costs associated with working at sea.

    and this

    SeaEnergy has identified, and is in active discussions about joining, a number of potential opportunities in the EU. Whilst the initial focus will be this region, SeaEnergy expects to be at the forefront of the offshore wind industry globally.

    We should incubate an American version of this company and a stimulus package is a great mechanism for doing that.

    Oh, and there is plenty of room for deep water off shore wind turbines:

    A power consultant from Jackson calculated that an 8,806-square mile area in the middle of Lake Michigan from northern Beaver Island to southern Chicago could house 36,400 towers -- equally spaced 2,050 feet apart -- none of which could be seen from the shoreline.

    Although McCleer Power Inc. is not suggesting that many towers be located on the lake, Mahawili said the power that 36,400 turbines could produce is startling. They would generate 182,000 megawatts, the equivalent to 180 large nuclear power plants. By comparison, Muskegon's B.C. Cobb coal-fired power plant produces 320 megawatts.

    "Even if the Lake Michigan wind calculation is off by a factor of 10, that still is (18,000 megawatts)," Mahawili said, pointing out that Michigan produces only 25,000 megawatts of power from all sources today. "And that's huge."

    Health care crisis in a nutshell: Too much is expended on "managing" & too little on "caregiving"

    by Bill White on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:39:27 AM PST

  •  Implementing single payer, universal health (8+ / 0-)

    coverage would lead to an explosive growth in small businesses, the kind that provide the majority of jobs in this country.  

    Damn the neo-cons! Full speed ahead!

    by Aaa T Tudeattack on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:41:09 AM PST

  •  High-speed intercity passenger rail, dammit! (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terri, Gray, rlharry, dogemperor, LI Mike, JesseCW, Losty

    We need a national TGV-like passenger rail system within 10-15 years. Period. It will likely never turn a direct profit and need to be subsidized by government forever, which is of absolutely no consequence, because, like the interstate highway system, the indirect but quite tangible economic benefits will vastly outweigh its direct costs, not least of which will be to the environment. We're talking electified trains here, not the present Diesel-based rail system, which has got to be slowly eliminated, except, perhaps, for use over mountain passes. That ought to give the Big 3 something to do!

    The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

    by kovie on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:41:26 AM PST

    •  Well yes & we need improved electric grid & power (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogemperor, kovie, Losty

      Health care crisis in a nutshell: Too much is expended on "managing" & too little on "caregiving"

      by Bill White on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:43:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Start by providing federal funding and manpower (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to expedite all of the rail projects that have been approved by local voters in the past couple of elections. This would provide jobs AND show immediate results that would increase the national movement towards trains and other public transit initiatives.

      A good example is the SMART light rail line approved by voters last month for Marin and Sonoma counties in the SF Bay area. The transit agency already holds the right of way for most of the land. Many of the needed studies have been done, but construction isn't expected to start until 2010-11 and isn't expected to be finished for years after that.

      There is no reason that this (and similar) projects could not be completed within a few years with intensive government assistance (i.e. hiring workers, relocating qualified unemployed workers from elsewhere, etc.). This would put people to work in decent-paying jobs, help the environment, and show how great transit can be to a region.

      You can retool the auto plants to build the rail cars, source as much of the track and other needs from US companies, hire construction crews to build the stations.... Think of all of the decent-paying jobs that would be created over this time period.

      •  To the extent that national, regional, (0+ / 0-)

        commuter and municipal passenger rail lines share tracks, rights of way, equipment, facilities, etc., sure, shared funding makes sense. But to the extent that national passenger rail has its own resource needs, these should be funded separately. There is certainly overlap, especially in the NE where you can get from many cities via either Amtrak or commuter rail, with or without connections. But for mid to long-haul intercity travel, you really need a whole new rail system. Plus, high-speed rail has its own track and crossing requirements, that makes resource sharing complicated.

        We should be able to get from NY to Chicago in 5 hours or less within 10-15 years. When you factor in the time to get to/from the airport from the city centers, that's certainly time-competitive with air travel. Add the fact that trains are roomier, more comfortable, and offer food and other amenities like cell and even WiFi, and you more than break even from a productivety point of view.

        We need to do this.

        The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

        by kovie on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 06:09:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    Recommended by:
    rlharry, dogemperor, LI Mike, JesseCW

    Of the money we have seen thrown around thus far let me ask you this, that 168 billion that our country borrowed to give away to us in the form of an "economic stimulus package" ...did it do a darn thing to create jobs or stimulate our economy. NO, nothing. And we borrowed the money from China. This past year the high cost of gas nearly destroyed our economy and society. More people lost jobs and homes as a direct result of that than any other factor in our history. Fannie and Freddie continue to get all the blame. Of all the homes I have seen lost in my area SW FL and believe me I have seen many, none were due to an adjustable mortgage. They were due to lack of work. Families went broke at the pump alone. Then added to that were increased electric rates FPL raised ours 16%. The high cost of fuel resulted in higher production and shipping costs that were passed on to the consumer, in most cases higher prices for smaller packaging. Consumers tightened their belts, cut back, went out to eat less or stopped totally. Drove around on tires that needed replacing longer, some even quit buying medicines they really need. Unfortunately cutting back and spending less results in even more layoffs. A real economical catch-22. And, as we are doing the happy dance around the lower prices at the pumps OPEC is planning to cut production to raise prices. They are even getting Russia in on the cutbacks. Oil is finite. We have used up the easy to get to reserves already. It will run out one day. We have so much available to us. Solar and Wind are free sources of energy. Of course to get the harnessing process set up is somewhat costly it is still free energy. It would cost the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive an electric car. The electricity to charge the car could be generated by solar or wind at least in part and in most cases totally. Why not use some of these billions to promote the set up of alternative energy projects on a national level? Give tax breaks and incentives to promote this. We could create clean cheap electricity, create millions of BADLY needed new green collar jobs, and most importantly get out from under our dependence on foreign oil. We should never allow anyone to have that much control over us as a nation. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and suv’s instead had plug-in electric drive trains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota. What a powerful resources we have neglected. Jeff Wilson has a profound new book out called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. I suggest anyone interested in this subject read this book.

  •  After the auto bailout fiasco (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JuliaAnn, rosabw

    I am beginning to worry whether any of these great plans Obama is discussing will come to fruition.

    We already do not have a 60 vote majority in the Senate.  58, maybe 59 if Franken pulls through.  Still not enough to block filibuster.

    It makes me sick that while we were the minority, not once did we stand up and shut the GOP down the same way they are effectively stopping Democrats now.

    Let's not forget this:

    The average hourly wage of a UAW autoworker is actually $38 per hour, not $70/hr which is FUD spread by right leaning media.  

    So do the math, based on 2080 working hours per year (40 hour work week):

    21,000,000 / 2,080 = $10,096 per hour

    10,096 / 38 = 265

    So, one hour of CEO pay equals the average hourly wages of 265 UAW workers.

    Garden and farm services in the Atlanta area:

    by pkbarbiedoll on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:54:37 AM PST

    •  Moderates like Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, etc (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew, jj32, JesseCW, lookit, Into The Stars, Losty

      are going to vote for this stimulus package - their political lives depend on it.

      I'm shocked to learn that 1 in 12 Americans do not know that the bird, is in fact, that word.

      by dansac on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:08:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm wondering if we will have nationwide strikes (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pkbarbiedoll, JesseCW

        as well.

        Things are getting bad. I saw figures yesterday of 2-3 million families losing health insurance each month now due to job loss.

        People are going to get restless and soon. It is going to be a major test for Obama to deal with such sentiments and move forward in a positive manner.

    •  and all the new workers only make (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      like $14 or 16 per hour. So they make the same or less than foreign ones.

      just like everything else the republicans take a tiny morsel of the truth and lie lie lie.

      if we can fix health care and get rid of overpaid ceo's and bad designers, we have fixed the problem!!

    •  I dont know if you can make a comparison (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      between the two. For one thing, we'll have 57 votes at least, for the stimulus package, with some moderate Republicans(Snowe, Specter, Collins) and even some  conservative ones voting for it. The auto bailout was more controversial, we had less than 50 Democratic senators(with Biden and Obama not voting).  

  •  If we got enough of a stimulus (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JuliaAnn, dogemperor, LI Mike

    we could re-inflate the housing market, bring oil back to $140/bbl, bring obscene profits back to the investment bankers and start buying more extra large sized SUVs.

    My point is that we had better think carefully about what we want for the next economy. This crash could be a gift as it may allow us to fix a totally broken, but profitable past economy. What do we want?

    Sustainability, universal health care, a fair living wage for everyone, peace and opportunity for all are good goals. If this is so, then we should target the stimulus to build this new economy.

  •  To borrow from the PNAC, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mayim, mollyk

    Obama's stimulus program ought to be called:


    •  I like it... (0+ / 0-)

      how  do we also add words that talks about health care - - so that we can be healthy and 'rebuilt' - kind of like how JFK had the physical fitness as a big thing....

      "Make no small plans. They will fail to stir humanity's blood, and will not be built anyway." - Daniel Burnham

      by mollyk on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:59:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What many people don't realize, myself included (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, annan, dogemperor, mayim, JesseCW, Losty

    is that projects abound from the WPA of the 1930's, projects that are still in use today. I wrote about it here: What a real legacy looks like.

    If the stimulus is done correctly, 70 years from now many of the projects of today will still be in use. Think about it - three generations on.

  •  Pre-positioned Recall Petitions? (0+ / 0-)

    Considering what good work the Obama team is doing with pre-positioned legislation, maybe there's something the netroots can do to help get his legislation passed.

    What prevents a netroots effort to:

    1. Predetermine Congress people who are likely to vote against the Obama driven legislation,
    1. Write, post and push recall petitions for each of them, to be activated only if they vote against Obama's proposals.

    Maybe THEN the Congress will remember they report to the people. Of course, that won't work in every state and Congressional district. But, the 50 state strategy worked in the general election, why not at the lower levels? The netroots infrastructure is already in place. Why not use it?

    This strikes me as a perfect way to restore the power of the people. The threat of recalls could set a precedent that would be heard for a long time after this crisis and could possibly change the mindset of certain Congress-critters.

    Front Page articles need to use "There's More" when > 1000(?) words. His Kossness doesn't allow it ... nonsensical. What hurts more, helps less.

    by FeloniousMonk on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:29:03 AM PST

    •  It won't work at all. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Federal legislators cannot be recalled.


      "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
      "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

      by Leftie Gunner on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:53:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then maybe Right of Recall is a law (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Uncle Irish, JesseCW

        worth passing at all costs.

        Before posting this comment I did a Google search that led me to think such a thing is possible, but, I bow to your wisdom.

        Assuming recall of Congress people is NOT NOW possible, that may be the perfect approach to get our Congress to pay attention.

        No doubt it would take several election cycles to force the issue. But, the mere spectre (Specter? :-) of a national, grass/net -roots effort to pass a law/amendment allowing the electorate to recall their representatives/senators would get the attention of these dumbasses (which includes Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi).

        Front Page articles need to use "There's More" when > 1000(?) words. His Kossness doesn't allow it ... nonsensical. What hurts more, helps less.

        by FeloniousMonk on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 02:47:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I still don't think it'd work... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Short of a Constitutional Convention, Amendments originate in Congress. And Congresspeople are going to vote to allow themselves to be recalled... why?

          Even with massive public pressure, it's still the smart move to vote "no". At worst, you've pissed off your voters enough that you have to take your chances in the next election. You might even get primaried. But your odds of keeping your job are still better than they would be if the Amendment passed. And the number of people who'd likely get pissed enough about this to remove a legislator that didn't vote for it is so small as to be irrelevant.

          Hell, given the 2/3s vote of both Houses needed to submit an Amendment to the States, any legislator whose reelection chances were actually endangered could vote "yes", knowing full well that there were enough members from safe Districts to keep it from crossing the finish line.

          The amount of public force required to do this would be better spent simply getting rid of the Legislators in question. In other words, if it became possible, it would no longer be needed.


          "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
          "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

          by Leftie Gunner on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 03:50:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay, Okay ... I get your message ... Dammit! (0+ / 0-)

            You get my point though, right? I can't fault your logic.

            OTOH, we really ARE in a situation where our lawmakers don't listen to their constituents because they don't have to. That's a situation that has to change. I assume you'd agree with that principle, right?

            What we (the net-/grass- roots) need is an initiative that can change that principle. After all, that is, at it's base, the problem ... a lack of representation of We the people. Too idealistic? Sure. Required? Yes.

            Electing more and better Democrats seems no less idealistic and no more likely to succeed. So, what are we supposed to do? Sit back and take it? Or, ... maybe we should listen to OPOL and take it back on our own.

            Front Page articles need to use "There's More" when > 1000(?) words. His Kossness doesn't allow it ... nonsensical. What hurts more, helps less.

            by FeloniousMonk on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 04:00:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, no doubt it needs to be taken back. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              It just that the only way to do it will be District by District, Democrat by Democrat.

              Take our lessons (at least tactically) from the Conservatives. The Reagan Revolution didn't just change the Republican party, it changed the electorate. This really did become a center-right country, and it stayed that way from 1980 to 2006.

              The pendulum has started to swing back. We need to push it, but at least the momentum is finally on our side.


              "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
              "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

              by Leftie Gunner on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 12:12:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Hopefully not all that money (0+ / 0-)

    will be used in trickle down plans, like giving it all away to bailout corporations.

  •  canned fillet of Investment banker (0+ / 0-)

    Fuck the cake! I want me some fillet of investment banker!

  •  I want to see the amount increased... (0+ / 0-)

    but many whiney conservatives still want the money to fund the wrong things.

    As others are mentioning in the comments, we need to be funding transit, intercity rail, sustainable energy infrastructure, scientific research, and health care for all Americans.  We should be transforming infrastructure and industries quickly becoming obsolete, not propping up those industries and sinking money into roads.

    I can't wait to see the administration's concrete proposals.

  •  I hope he's planning a fundamental step (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    American investors and savers (note: not all Americans but key stakeholders in a recovery and one that largely overlaps consumers) requires something Bush never addressed after Enron, details on how the feds will do their job & preventing reoccurrence of the same mistakes/crimes.

    This group is savvy wrt markets and will not play again without trust.

    Among other things, the country needs to know how derivatives, CDSs, and risk will be managed and regulated. We need to be told, like adults.

    Inherent in rebuilding a stable economy is building trust which requires trust in the management and regulatory functions. Part of that latter trust is seeing the adjudication of mistakes, crimes, and bad audits. I'm not calling for perp walks - I'm noting their absence.

    The country is poised with 76 million Boomers impatiently focused on recovery of mutual funds (i.e., 401ks). Once they recover, and they will, it makes sense to expect a huge selloff. No matter what creative incentives there will be to retain those trillions, the only mitigating factor will be trust...and by then it'll be all uphill from there.

    HR 676 - Health care reform we can believe in.

    by kck on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:49:57 AM PST

  •  The Employee Free Choice Act and the Stimulus (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SciVo, JesseCW, PeggyD

    Changing our labor laws to favor the working class should be part of any longterm stimulus package. The weakness of our labor movement was one of the factors that brought us to the precipice of economic ruin.

    Higher wages and better benefits beat credit cards and other forms of consumer debt any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:56:25 AM PST

    •  I am not sure about the employee (0+ / 0-)

      free choice act... I understand there are some flaws in that path....

      One is the union member/representative does not have to inform the potential member the pro's and the con's....  So the potential member will only hear the pro's and of course anyone likes anything when every thing is rosy...  Then later the potential member might get better educated and change their minds...  So we need to ensure that potential members are fully informed - of the pro's and cons before the vote is cast....  That was why we have the '2nd vote' today - if we remove that we need to fill in the holes so that we really will have 'employee free and informed choice'.

      "Make no small plans. They will fail to stir humanity's blood, and will not be built anyway." - Daniel Burnham

      by mollyk on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 12:08:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We have a second vote so that (0+ / 0-)

        Employers have a couple weeks to bully, threaten, spy on, fire, harrass, and intimidate workers they consider to be the "problem".

        If you don't understand that, you haven't been through the process.

        I've seen Drivers labled as "the ones who tried to bring the union in" forced to drive death traps during that gap, forced to try to unload 15,000 pound items by hand alone, ordered to violate their hours of service restrictions...

        and then fired for "refusal to work" when they wouldn't, or fired for violating company policy when they did.

  •  Spend more on the schools, first (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, peraspera, mollyk

    Keep teachers working.
    Keep school district employees working.
    Hire a bunch of people to fix the buildings and make them energy-efficient, if not energy-producing (let's fill those California school roof tops with solar panels).
    Feed the students.

    Do lots and lots of things that say we care about what kind of society we want our children to grow up in.

    Public education is the most visible and comprehensive government program; it is being dismantled and sold for parts.

    by algebrateacher on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:34:18 AM PST

  •  Old slogan... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Audacity, audacity, audacity!

    - N. Bonaparte

  •  You have to spend money (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, JesseCW

    To make it. People say FDR wasn't bold enough when he layed out the new deal. Obama has studied his history and he sees these mistakes. He will pack this bill with only things that will aid the American people.

  •  As a Jewish man would say(jk) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


  •  Right on the money... (0+ / 0-)

    I've been thinking between $750 billion and $1 trillion. :-)

  •  Well, since Obama specifically mentioned that he (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Losty, PeggyD

    wants to implement an electronic medical record and that is what I used to do, here goes.

    Before I left the healthcare system where I worked, we brought up labs, radiology, inpatient pharmacy, and one or two other diagnostic services electronically. These implementations were humongous. It takes a lot of prep work: cleaning out & consolidating the paper records; getting a handle on the logistics viv-a-vis technology deployed; training, training, training and then for good measure, train some more; Implement and hold hands. Patient safety and patient care is paramount so you want to be sure that an army of well trained consultants, advisors are on hand to make sure all of this goes smoothly; constant vigilence -- need permanent IT staff and trainers, implementers to ensure that the inevitable changes to the system are implemented as quickly and efficiently as possible. One of our key players was a tech-savvy physician assistant.

    Needless to say, this costs a lot of money for both temporary and new staff. (The old med rec dept should be able to shift some staff into this.)

    Before I left I opened discussions about meshing the electronic record with our financial systems to create a GOOD cost accounting system. (There are probably only a handful of hospitals in the country that can drill down and provide cost specifics on a procedure, test, ICD-9, CPT4, DRG, MDC, or MD level.) When hospitals can truly measure their costs at the micro level, then we'll get some efficiencies in the system. (The customary and usual costing methods are not sufficiently specific.)

    I've been away from this for a few years now, anyone who can update, love to hear from them.    

  •  2 trillion over 2 years... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is what the Japanese and the Norwegians spent to bail themselves out in the 90s....

    We need more!

    "War is the health of the state." Rudolf Bourne "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."Samuel Johnson

    by american pastoral on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 12:32:25 PM PST

    •  I agree, wholeheartedly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      american pastoral

      The real stimulus needs to be somewhere between $4 to $6T overall, and hopefully a lot of that spent building infrastructure to get us the hell off of coal, oil and gas ..

      This requires a major shift in a lot of things at once, but it can be done.

      Payback has to be from restoration of the progressive taxation system we had in place back in the 50s and 60s for the upper middle classes and the ultra rich, as well as loans to the middle class and those more wealthy in the blue collar sector to buy into these changes.

      A massive shift in where money is, and how it is spent is required, and the government can do this by lending money to drive green technology.

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 05:52:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Make sure that "midnight basketball" isn't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    part of this. I remember that that is why the Clinton stimulus package failed.

  •  Obama went from Billion to Trillion dollar man! (0+ / 0-)


    McCain/(Hagee+Parsley) '08 "We Hunt Jews and Muslims So You Dont Have To. Straight Talk"

    by DFutureIsNow on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 12:54:13 PM PST

  •  Krugman has been saying this all along. (0+ / 0-)

    Money should immediately be sent to state and local governments so we can at least keep our teachers and firemen working at a living wage without having to raise taxes to stay solvent.

    Piffle crack eat monkey snow. Really. Leonard Pitts, Miami Herald

    by Susan Grigsby on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 03:39:24 PM PST

  •  Deficit (0+ / 0-)

    Anyone remember Mr. Deficit?

    •  We can't worry (0+ / 0-)

      About the deficit too much during this recession. You get out a recession by SPENDING money and deficit spending is needed right now. That being said we can also be fiscally responsible by cutting any pork in this bill and using it to plan for short term and long term fixes to our broken infrastructure, health care system, and energy problems. Obama has said all of this which is very reassuring indeed.

    •  warning, bad TV show dialog follows (0+ / 0-)

      "We're going to lose the patient unless we deal with the massive bleed out, Doctor. Now is not the time to worry about the carcinoma .."

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 05:43:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am happy to see (0+ / 0-)

    that the country's infrastructure will receive much-needed attention. But I wouldn't be expecting some miraculous return to growth. We have a huge debt load to deal with. That's going to take another decade. Times will be tougher in 2009 and thereafter for quite some time. We are headed toward a radically different world.

  •  Until we fix the trade deficit (0+ / 0-)

    any economic stimulus will be like pouring water into a bucket filled with holes.
    Any meaningful economic restructuring will require a policy of balanced trade.

    •  I agree..and getting scared (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike Taylor

      Ive heard that this credit crisis is not what would eventually do us over , but it's our huge debt and the fact that we "may" eventually default.

      Or the chinneses could decide to dump the dollar...Once that happens , it will create a huge panic in the market and the dollar will start its final nose dive to the floor.

      I hope this is wrong , but the huge stimilus package could accelerate our demise by adding into our debt.

    •  Here's my idea for part of the stimulus. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike Taylor

      Take Detroit, and change over part of the factories from building luxury cars and wasteful gas hogs to mass produced passive solar, reactors to make biodiesel, and stills to make ethanol.

      Give a government loans to people to adopt these US made technologies, and install them on their homes and businesses, loans set up so that it's less expensive to pay back the loan than to pay the current electrical or heating bills.

      The government gets the money back, the nation shifts away from coal, oil and gas and the funds stay here, employing US citizens.

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 06:10:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  MY HOPE IS (0+ / 0-)

    Obama will wisely use every single dollar of this money because he will need to show and produce result for it.

    Obama needs eomthing revolutioning...Maybe mass production of electrict cars , and putting electric batteries in every gaz station so that people who buys these cars could recharge.

    My hope is , he does something that could quickly transition us a bit away from foreign oil....He could kill 3 birds in one stone by deprieving Iran , Russia and Venezuela , of oil money.

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