Saturday, February 7, 2009

Faux New Deal..what does it mean for us?

What we need is a stimulus. $780,000,000,000 sounds like a lot of dough, but fortunately we're only talking in American dollars. I'll break it down, dollar-by-dollar..

  • Tax cuts ($275 billion)
This will include a $2,500 tax credit for higher education. Wow. I seriously doubt that this will actually provide very much significant relief for students paying their way through college. My parents paid over $20,000 for my first two years at OU, not including the house I shared with a few friends my soph year. How does a $2,500 tax credit begin to help my parents whose investments have tanked in the last year? Are these people serious? Also includes a $7,500 tax credit for first-time home buyers. This is basically the same as a government-issued ARM. We went after all of the banks who issued ARMs, but now we're going to do the exact same thing for the good of the economy. We're going to tell the newlywed 20-something couple that should really be renting for now to go ahead and buy that new cookie-cutter home out in the burbs even though they can't afford it in this economy, because we're going to give you a one-time tax credit on $7,500 that will expire after this year. Talk about promulgating the cause.

  • Education investments ($141.6 billion)
$120 billion in blank checks to school districts to essentially do whatever they want with as long as it can fall under the following categories: preventing cutbacks to key services, using existing federal formulas, meeting key performance measures, and my personal favorite--providing high-priority needs such as safety or critical needs, which may include education. The rest of the 141.6 goes into increasing the Pell grant by $500 (as if a majority of the population will ever see a penny of that) and "modernizing education" whatever that means. I wish someone would explain "modernizing education." I didn't realize it was education that was clearly still in the stone age. In that case, someone, please bring us out of the stone age!

  • Health care investments ($112.1 billion)
Obama has actually been so open (a rare thing for him) to allude that this will be needed in order to prepare America for government health care. I really think it might be time for America to have socialized health care, because the current system has left plenty uncovered and we know how tragic it can be when that happens in the most dire situations. Thinking prudently, we as a nation spend way more of our GDP on health care than any other western nation. Thinking principally, today we live in a world where society must be able to provide the following basic needs for its people: food, shelter, and now..medical care. Because of the exponential rise in medical costs due to unnecessary litigation, you won't get medical care unless you can afford the risk you represent to the current system. That needs to change.

  • Welfare programs ($102 billion)
This is mostly to cover the expected increase in welfare programs. The largest portion is to go towards an increase in unemployment benefits, the rest will go into Food Stamps and additional Medicaid insurance.

  • Infrastructure investments ($90 billion)
This is the small portion that is supposed to stimulate the economy and is creating all of the jobs Obama says that we'll need, or else. This is also what James Inhofe, not exactly my favorite Senator, was alluding to when he said the stimulus is 93% spending and 7% stimulation (which is the bizarre kind of statement only our beloved Senator Inhofe could make) which sounds like something a Sex-Ed-teacher-turned-Economic-Advisor would say. But I think he's spot-on in a way: So much money is being spent, but so little of it is actually intended to "stimulate" the economy. The federal breakdown is $31 billion for bringing infrastructure up to energy standards, $30 billion for highway construction, $19 billion for public works, and $10 billion for rail. To which I say.. you have to be kidding me, right? I would think that Obama of all politicians would understand the negative impact on urban planning and the entire nation for that matter that highways have inflicted, and in order to get out of this economic slump, we are to build more?

Oklahoma is only going to get $465 million of this $90 billion..that would be a big in-your-face for voting against Obama by the widest margin. We, the 28th most-populous state, are recieving 1/180th of this money. Is nobody up in arms about that? What can we even do with $465 million? That would build us like, one freeway. And you can forget any rail coming out of this. Tulsa and OKC are going to fight till the death for the money to put it to good use, and then they'll rise up and realize the Turnpike Authority gobbled it up. Phil Tomlinson, the director of the Turnpike Authority, has already told us where we can expect every penny of it to go: widening the Creek Turnpike and the Kilpatrick Turnpike. Phwew, because that will help with those nasty traffic jams that plague the Kilpatrick Turnpike.

  • Energy investments ($58 billion)
Most of this is to go toward funding an electric smart grid. I don't even know what that is, and neither do 99.4% of the population, so I'll just skip this. If Obama told me without this we would be living in the dark for 20 years, I would believe him and send frantic emails to my family's congressman.

  • Telecommunications investments ($3.85 billion)
Wireless broadband deployment grants, broadband data collection, and DTV-to-analog converter boxes. 1, I thought Al Gore already invented the Internet; and 2, I thought we already funded the DTV conversion? There isn't the possibility some of this is redundant spending? No way!

What a rip-off.

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