Tag Archives: Stimulus

Tax Cuts Didn’t Work Last Time

Here we go again. The architect of the Recovery that was not a recovery is again advocating the exact same prescriptions as though something magical will happen this time:

Summers calls for new boost to economy | Reuters.

Our Stimulus Package that was originally slated to be $800bn in spending ended up being about $400bn in tax cuts and look where it got us. And the reason is simple: the amount of money the government gives up in revenue only amounts to a scant few dollars in the pockets of most Americans.

Oh, sure, “every little bit helps.” But if you’re wanting to stimulate the economy, an extra twenty bucks every two weeks is not going to compel the average worker to go buy a new TV. If anything, it will encourage saving, which while a good instinct, does nothing to stimulate the economy.

Summers’ suggestion of infrastructure spending seems like welcome news, until you remember that most of the Stimulus money still isn’t spent and what was spend didn’t happen nearly quickly enough. Maybe we aught to start spending on that job training we keep hearing so much about?

The Top 5 Monroe County Stimulus Award Winners

The list below includes links to the searches of each of the five top recipients in Monroe County. These are complied from the current list (August 27, 2010) of top NYS recipients.

  1. The University of Rochester, $45,846,317 (link)
  2. The Rochester City School District, $38,180,286 (link)
  3. The County of Monroe, $26,319,233 (link)
  4. The Monroe County Water Authority, $23,730,887 (link)
  5. Regional Greater Rochester Transit Authority – RGRTA, $20,915,542 (link)

RGRTA Gets 16M from Stimulus Money for 17 Jobs?

I’ve been keeping my eye on the Recovery.org website over the last few months, trying to see where Stimulus money is going in the Rochester area. The results are very interesting across the board – I’ll probably report more general information at some point later on.

But what jumped out at me today was the list of the highest-paid NYS award recipients. The Regional Greater Rochester Transit Authority, for example, won a $16 million award which according to the website has generated exactly 16.68 jobs:

This grant has resulted in the FTE of 16.68 jobs being sustained for the quarter ending June 30, 2010. These job hours are made up of manufacturing, design and legal work. To date, an additional 8,213 job hours have been sustained and reported in previous quarters as a result of this grant.

16 jobs? For that kind of loot? It appears that the RGRTA is planning on either replacing or augmenting the fleet with some new and nominally more energy efficient vehicles. Which of course means that while the money’s coming here, it’s not being spent here. It’s being spent wherever these busses are being made.

It would totally be worth asking a few questions about this project, I think. But I’m not the guy to do it. Conveniently, there is plenty of contact information right there on the award summary. Any takers?

Give Them Enough Rope…

Jeffery Feldman comments on the status of the town hall meetings being held across the country and the Teabaggers that are arriving to shout them down:

FRAMESHOP: Anodyne Town Halls are the Problem, Not Teabaggers.

Feldman’s solution sounds to me like a fairly typical overreaction, not sage advice of any kind. It’s classic Sean Connery, The Untouchables type of stuff, “What are you prepared to do?”

I actually think that, inside of a week, the Teabaggers will have overplayed their hand, badly. We’ve seen this kind of unhinged behavior before from their ilk: from the shouts of “kill him” at McCain/Palin rallies to the insane ramblings of Orly Taitz to the Hitler/Obama signs at Teabagger rallies. At this point, I very much doubt if anyone paying cursory attention to any of this can possibly tell one nut apart from the other, where indeed the difference is quantifiable.

Just because people are worried about what health care reform might mean for them is no reason to believe that Middle America – in whose hands, to repeat the obvious, the fate of our nation lies – is suddenly in support of the same nuts that they voted against in the 2008 election. Teabaggers are not offering a solution and in fact are actively hurting the cause of whatever “reform” Republicans want.

Once it becomes obvious that the same type of “outrage” present in Texas is present in Iowa, people will figure this out. And they’ve got all month – with no other distracting news – to do it. I actually see the Teabagger/THM Nexus as manna from heaven, if only because it so dilutes the Republican message.

Oh, and About that Cars for Clunkers Program..

I debated a Conservative friend of mine for a few hours via Twitter about this. Once again, Democrats need to step back on this one and let the Republicans hang themselves.

Because of course, giving the American people their money back and letting them stimulate the economy is precisely what Republicans have always advocated. And in this one case at least, that policy seems to be a rollicking success. Yet the Republicans on the hill and on TV are actively against this program as “wasteful.”

This kind of thing doesn’t just write itself. Kick back and enjoy the show.

AGH!! Duffy, Let.It.Die!

OK, so I’m not much on grammar when it comes to the Renn Square Project. But now Duffy’s on-again, off-again support for Renn Square appears to be on-again. And isn’t that lovely? Goodness knows we wouldn’t want to waste an opportunity to throw good money after bad on this misbegotten troglodyte of a project.

Can someone at least tell me what “Renaissance” means in this context? I mean, without any of the theaters?

Rep. Massa Lays Out Stimulus Plans in NY-29

Massa’s got a plan for NY-29’s part of the stimulus package and so far, the construction side of things looks pretty good. He sent out a press release this morning outlining some of the plans, which include repairing the bridge in Perinton on Rt 31 along with a number of others in the various counties of NY-29.

I’d post the actual numbers, but I don’t feel like dealing with tables and anyway, I’m sure Rotten at the 29th will be happy to oblige us all. Hint, hint, there, Rotten. . .

But by county, Monroe County will be receiving $6.26m, Ontario County will be receiving $5.6m and Steuben County will be getting $7.6m. I think the story here is not so much the by-county breakdown, though, as the sheer cost of some of the projects in Steuben County.

There are actually only two projects that make up the entire $7.6m. One of those projects alone, labeled “I86/415 Painted Post,” costs a total of $6.6m including Stimulus money and other moneys combined. I’d be interested in hearing more about this project and what is entailed. 6 million dollars is not an outrageous amount of money for an infrastructure project by any means, but I wonder what is involved.

Late Update: Well, there you go. Rotten’s got all the press releases on his site in one convenient location. The release in question for this post is available for your perusal here.

Rep Massa Appoints a Recovery Director for His Office

This is kind of interesting: Eric Massa’s office just announced that he has appointed a member of his staff to be the point man for ensuring transparent spending of the stimulus package in the 26th (erm. That’s the 29th) district. I’m not entirely sure how much impact a junior representative can really have in how the money gets spent, but if he has people monitoring what does get spent in the district, that’s probably a helpful thing in terms of building trust in a district where trust of President Obama is likely relatively low.

“On Tuesday night, President Obama spoke extensively about accountability and transparency in government, and that is exactly why I have appointed Michael Heenan to serve as your District Recovery Director,” said Congressman Eric Massa. “The families of New York’s 29th District deserve transparency and accountability in their government, and by dedicating one of your Congressional staff members to work hand in hand with Governor Paterson’s office, we will achieve just that. Mr. Heenan has proven himself to me and he will prove himself to the families of Western New York.”

Now, the question is: will they be developing some method of reporting these stats online in some sort of database? It might seem redundant at first, but knowing the breakdown of monies spent in the district would be a boon to local reportage.

Rep Massa Appoints a Recovery Director for His Office

This is kind of interesting: Eric Massa’s office just announced that he has appointed a member of his staff to be the point man for ensuring transparent spending of the stimulus package in the 26th district. I’m not entirely sure how much impact a junior representative can really have in how the money gets spent, but if he has people monitoring what does get spent in the district, that’s probably a helpful thing in terms of building trust in a district where trust of President Obama is likely relatively low.

“On Tuesday night, President Obama spoke extensively about accountability and transparency in government, and that is exactly why I have appointed Michael Heenan to serve as your District Recovery Director,” said Congressman Eric Massa. “The families of New York’s 29th District deserve transparency and accountability in their government, and by dedicating one of your Congressional staff members to work hand in hand with Governor Paterson’s office, we will achieve just that. Mr. Heenan has proven himself to me and he will prove himself to the families of Western New York.”

Now, the question is: will they be developing some method of reporting these stats to the rest of us? It might seem redundant at first, but knowing the breakdown of monies spent in the district would be a boon to local reportage.

CNN Decries “Waste” in Stimulus Package

Amazing that they don’t even try to have some sort of balance in their reporting. CNN declares the stimulus package “ripe for fraud, waste and corruption.” How do they know this? Are they aware of some corruption the rest of us don’t know about? They should just come right out and say it in that case.

No one’s claiming that fraud is not a risk with this or any other bill. But it’s funny how billions of dollars slip into a black hole in Iraq but CNN suddenly cares about fraud now.

Ideology

I know I shouldn’t be to surprised when the news nets let people speak crap without challenge, but I still am. The talk I’m seeing on television this morning centers on the idea that there is an ideological difference between the Republicans who oppose the stimulus package and the Democrats that support it. Obviously, there are many ideological differences between Dems and Republicans.

But this isn’t an ideological difference any more that arguing over the boiling temperature of water is. This is economics 101 and less, since I get it and I’ve never taken an economics class. ((Maybe I’ll pick one up when I go back to college, but that’s hardly the point.)) Basic economics says that you have supply on one side of the equation and you have demand on the other. When one goes away, the other side of the equation must balance out. Right now, demand is vapourizing in the face of a 7.6% unemployment rate which still doesn’t accurately reflect the total number of people who will be laid off based on the announcements of last week. People are scared shitless about their jobs and they should be, because the lack of demand necessarily precipitates a lack of supply which precipitates more layoffs.

And basic economics also says that when the people stop spending the money, the only thing that prevents a depression is the government spending money to compensate. It’s that simple. There’s no ideology in that statement, only time-tested economic theory of the most basic order.

It would be nice if someone in the mainstream media would do us all the favour of pointing that out.