It’s just not enough

I’m pissed. Sorry, I refuse to get hopped up and excited about an effort that was too moderate and is unlikely to pass anyway. I didn’t even think the speech was all that great, but I suppose because expectations were so low going into this that just not fumbling is considered a win.

Here’s the thing… this isn’t big enough and it’s not focused enough. More than half is dedicated to extension of unemployment benefits and aid to states, both of which are great for holding steady but not really stimulative. They’re muddle-through measures. Then you have all the tax cut nonsense which will make hiring easier for employers, even incentivized, IF there was enough demand to require additional hiring. Take the MotS from the link above… they build houses. How much demand do you think there is right now for custom homes? If demand stays constant, and the builder is able to meet it with their current employees, why would they hire more even if taxes go to zero? For those of you who didn’t go through B school, that’s increasing fixed costs without increasing revenue which cuts into profits.

As for the spending side, again it’s not focused enough. Estimates for Texas alone in immediate need for road spending is upward of $70bn. For schools, I’d put the number far higher and that’s just Texas.

We needed a bold plan, one that would put back to work 3-4% of the workforce within the next year to eighteen months. Instead, we got a middling compromise as a starting point and I’m sure the buffoonish Republicans will cut it still further. Meanwhile, the middle class continues is downward track.

And then there was cutting Social Security and Medicare to save them. I can’t wait to see the deets on that plan. Keep in mind that for the bottom 80% of this country, lifespans haven’t really increased much so increasing the enrollment age is a de facto death sentence for those people, one the Republicans are only too happy to see in place. Because that will be the cornerstone of their 2012 election message.

Governor Perry, predictably, had to add his little, quite uninformed opinion to the mix

“President Obama’s call for nearly a half-trillion dollars in more government stimulus when America has more than $14 trillion in debt is guided by his mistaken belief that we can spend our way to prosperity,” Perry said in a written statement Thursday night. “America needs jobs, smaller government, less spending and a president with the courage to offer more than yet another speech.”

“Like the president’s earlier $800 billion stimulus program, this proposal offers little hope for millions of Americans who have lost jobs on his watch, and taxpayers who are rightly concerned that their children will inherit a mountain of debt,” Perry said.

The problem with these half measures is that it gives an opportunity to an asshat like the Princess from Paint Creek to say that spending doesn’t create jobs. Never mind that even Republican economists acknowledge that the stimulus saved millions of jobs and lessened the impact of the Great Recession which was caused, largely, by the same economic plan Governor Perry now says will pull us out. Only an idiot would recommend more of the cause rather than the cure, but then again I guess Perry’s never been mistaken for a smart man. Sure, technically, he’s right… the stimulus didn’t really create jobs, it saved them which is what you want. Had it been double the size, it would have created jobs because that’s what happens when you spend a lot of money building things.

That debt quote deserves special ridicule. Had Perry been running for President in 1940, and had he beaten FDR, it goes without saying that we wouldn’t even be the US right now. Half of the country would belong to the Germans and the other half to the Japanese. Why? Because World War 2 spending required us to pile on far more debt, as a percentage of GDP, than we have now. What pulled us out was economic growth and it can again if only people who think too small (like The Weakness) and people who don’t think at all (like Perry) would shut up.

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