Stimulus is growing government

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

● Yuk. Yuk. Yuk. The left’s delight in depicting conservative leaders as their intellectual inferiors — Sarah Palin’s key word notes on her hand at the Tea Party convention being their latest evidence — prompts the question: What have those of superior intellect in Washington done to pull America out of its economic slump, to make us more secure, to establish trust or to connect with us?

● Toyota’s troubles — and the fact that it is a competitor to the car companies owned by the U.S. government and the auto workers’ union — present a real conflict of interest. The government has the power to destroy Toyota in America, and the unions have the power to destroy their competitor, Ford Motor Co. There oughta be a law that neither government nor the union can own more than 5 percent of a company whose fortunes are affected by their actions or marketplace-affecting decisions.

● The proper reaction to MARTA’s decision to identify its train line to Doraville with the color yellow is to put it aside for worry until America solves the more pressing problem of whether toenail fungus is getting sufficient research dollars.

● Douglas County is using the bulk of its $350,000 in federal “stimulus” money to fund two new positions. I’m not arguing here that they’re not legit or needed — but I do get the impression from these stimulus job-creation tidbits that the $862 billion will be used primarily to grow state and local governments. Nationally, that’s no surprise since 7.2 percent of the private sector is represented by unions, compared to 37.2 percent of the public sector. Unions are a key Democratic Party constituency.

● Gov. Sonny Perdue, a lad of fanciful dreams, proposes to ask voters to make four constitutional offices appointive. Voters now elect them, including the state school superintendent and the Labor, Insurance and Agriculture commissioners. Sooner expect Barack Obama to genuinely accept fault. Neither will happen. Georgians won’t. Obama won’t. (A strong argument could be made to appoint the Labor Commissioner. The department is essentially a federal money pass-through.)

● The U.S. House just upped the federal debt limit by $1.9 trillion, or $6,000 per citizen. More than 40 percent of every dollar Congress spends is borrowed from future generations. So how is it spent? DeKalb County schools just spent $380,000 in federal money to send about 185 employees to a conference in Hollywood. That’d be Hollywood, Calif., not Hollywood, Fla., or Hollywood, Ga. Free money has no value.

● Mr. President, with respect to Iran and its nuclear threat, how’s groveling working as an approach to civilizing/appeasing/befriending President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Iran’s now a nuclear state and is capable of producing weapons-grade uranium, says he. Taken at his word, Israel is in peril. Saddam Hussein may not have had weapons of mass destruction, but world leaders have no choice but to take them at their word.

● Georgia got $750,000 in federal money to conduct feasibility studies on an Atlanta-to-Birmingham rail line, an Atlanta-to-Chicago line and a Macon-to-Jacksonville line. Some lament that it wasn’t more. Frankly, it’s about right. Rail supporters insist that Georgia’s being punished by the Obama administration for failing to spend $80 million previously earmarked for Atlanta-to-Lovejoy commuter rail. But … it came as an earmark, meaning that nobody ever conducted a cost-benefit analysis of whether demand exists. An earmark. One of those items a congressman inserts in the budget without scrutiny.

● MARTA wants to charge riders by time of day and distance. No problem. Anything that reduces the needed subsidies.

62 comments Add your comment

intheditch

February 13th, 2010
11:56 pm

In a very humbling way Samuel, the article makes clear (in a comparative fashion) that we’ve lost another decade (2000 – 2009) in the battle to properly plan and upgrade our rapidly crumbling infrastructure, and in the competition for economic leadership in a 21st century competitive environment. 9/11 fostered exploitation of a domestic environment well-suited for justification and rationalization of costly international adventures (some necessary; some elective). Those ‘adventures’ along with our long-established domestic consumption (versus savings) habits, and the hubris with which we’ve apparently approached our ‘place’ in the world post-WWII all must be viewed as contributing culprits in that lost decade. There are many other contributing culprits, but I’ll leave enumeration and pontification to the folks who visit this site FAR MORE OFTEN than I.

What’s of far more interest to yours truly is the question: will we allow the next decade (i.e., 2010 – 2019) to be yet another one of wasted opportunities to address long-deferred infrastructure needs (among other deferred domestic responsibilities)? Perhaps the more appropriate question is could we even afford to ‘fix it’ if we were of a mind to? Not that I think we’re of a mind to; it’s far more comfortable to blame something (i.e., one political party or the other) or someone else (e.g., the Chinese) for the fact that we’re failing than to strap in and do something about it.

Michael H. Smith

February 14th, 2010
12:48 am

Quiet alot of uncovered ground in that synopsis. A lost decade didn’t simply appear beginning with the year 2000. Several decades were lost that proceeded it in addition to bring this country to the present proverbial precipice, intheditch.

Judging the current political sobriety of Americans, they are far more comfortable “taking aim” than “making blame”. Anti-incumbency, “throw-the-bums-out” fever is rising across the nation, as witnessed in the emergence of the Tea Party movement which is beholding to neither major political party or any of the other minor political parties.

2010 is going to be an very interesting year.

travis weins

February 14th, 2010
3:04 am

hey im interested in your programs about free money if you can see it in your wisdom to let me know cause Ive been fired from my job cause of a deference of opinion with a boss hey no one’s perfect so if you can give me some info. about your programs let me know please

Auntie Kepila

February 14th, 2010
10:02 am

Intheditch, that was written beautifully.

Michael H. Smith

February 14th, 2010
12:32 pm

Note form the Right Thinking Conservative to the Thinking Right Republican Jim Wooten:

Having given the title of your present column ~ Stimulus is growing government ~ a great deal of considerable thought, me thinks the government has been over stimulated since the days shortly after all the founders of this nation had passed away.

Jefferson would be so disappointed with our present endurance of the tyranny we suffer:

“The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.”

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as they are injurious to others.”

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

“The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management.”

“Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When the people fear the government, tyranny has found victory. The federal government is our servant, not our master!

Once we were a Republic Dr. Franklin – I fear we have lost it.

Jess

February 14th, 2010
4:53 pm

samuel,

China does not have the highway systems we have, and they rely on rail as their primary means of moving goods. Also at this time, though they are making great strides, a relatively small number of their citizens have cars. Again, because of the under developed system of highways and roads, busses are scarce and rail is many people’s only mode of transportation other than bicycles.

JW's worst nightmare

February 14th, 2010
8:03 pm

The left doesn’t need to delight in depicting anything – the facts speak for themselves. It is the stupid right that continues to find new lows in the IQ range.

BW's worst nighmare

February 14th, 2010
9:44 pm

Nah, the right has no need to find new lows in the IQ range. The left was discovered long ago residing at the bottom in the state of denial.

Auntie Kepila

February 15th, 2010
1:53 pm

Samuel, I’m nowhere near as traveled as you, but MARTA is smart, in my experience. It’s just that it doesn’t much help in getting a guy where a guy needs to go. (kindly pardon the poetic sexism.). You probably know this, but in transportation you need saturation and detail. Otherwise you’re just moving loads, and dumping them from place to place, like lumps.

JW's worst nightmare

February 15th, 2010
6:04 pm

Wooten – You seemingly disagree with Obama’s approach to Iran’s development of nuclear material. Could you please remind us how different Bush’s approach was to this issue? LOL!!!

You ‘conservative’ journalist are totally clue-less!

JustPathetic

February 15th, 2010
10:26 pm

Jim, Bitchin & moanin without a solution. So easy. So juvenile. So pathetic. Go back to bed.

William in Lithonia;

February 23rd, 2010
9:33 pm

I have a solution to our 30 year economic slide.

Look at what has worked in the past, we dont have to reinvent the wheel, we just have to do what has worked.

America had the biggest middle class when tarrifs (taxes on imported goods) protected American Jobs – and the top corporate tax rate was 90 percent in the 40’s and 50’s, and 70 percent in the 60’s and 70’s… until the Reagan Revolution.

America was the largest exporter of finished goods, and the largest creditor nation, until the Reagan Revolution. Then we became the largest importer of finished goods (also aided by Bill Clinton and NAFTA), and the largest debtor nation (also aided by George W. Bush).

America’s standard of living HAS GONE DOWN since cutting tarrifs on imported goods and cutting the top tax rate.

Other Civilized countries do have higher personal and corporate tax rates, but they also have a higher standard of living with higher wages (negating the tax increase) universal health care and government paid college.

College was nearly free in California, before Ronald Reagan became governor, btw.

Cutting the top tax rate did not trickle down jobs and higher wages on us peons. Infact just the opposite. Before the Reagan Tax cuts the top 2 percent rather than paying taxes, would reinvest their money in plants and equipment and higher wages in America. That would generate tax revenue as well as jobs. Jobs did trickle down when tarrifs and tax rates were higher.

Tarrifs were also high enough so they couldn’t just take their jobs to Communist China either, like so many ‘communist haters’ do today.

Now, the top 2 percent take the money they have because of the tax cuts and buy US Treasury Bonds. They buy the US debt that was created with the tax cuts.

Now we have to pay them interest on that debt too! Rather than creating jobs with those tax cuts they make us dig our grave deeper.

The top 2 percent also use their tax cut billions to inflate the stock market until it pops and takes all our 401k’s down with it. The top 2 percent know how to profit in the bubbles and the crashes leaving the middle class in ashes.

They do not create jobs with their tax cuts, they are the first to cut jobs when things go sour. They are the first to move jobs overseas when they can evade our standard of living such as environmental laws, tax laws, and wage laws. They have no alliegence to this country.

Money in the working people’s pockets create jobs. 2/3rds of our GDP is consumer spending. The other 1/3rd is spent by business when their businesses have customers. Money in the pockets of the wealthy don’t even provide for their worker’s health care as our Reagan Revolution has shown us.

The Reagan Revolution, combined with the Religious Right, has made us the Worlds’ Largest Per Capita Prison population as we continue to spend 90 Billion a year on the insane war on drugs. (That’s as much money as we spent each year on the Iraq War.) 50 percent of most large cities local taxes go to police and prisons neglecting education and a reasonable drug policy.

The money alone given in bonuses to the employees of the banks we bailed out could cover the cost of the states debt in all 50 States.