Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Some Things I think I think: I'm Sick of A Trillion

Looking back at the bailout, I called it a stupid idea when it was first brought up (here). I'm still calling it stupid. And now I'm going to call people in Washington stupid for only now realizing it's stupid. But what's even more ridiculous are members of Congress or The House who are trying to play up $1T dollars in creative measures to show how much money it really is. No shit it's a lot of money. But here's the most stupid explanation:

"One trillion $1 bills stacked one on top of the other would reach nearly 68,000 miles (about 109,400 kilometers) into the sky, or about a third of the way from the Earth to the moon." - Thanks CNN

What the hell does that mean? What if the bills were half the size or double the size. Then they'd only reach 38,000 miles or 136,000 miles. I still don't see the point of that relationship. I've been reading these ridiculous definitions all week. Senator Thune, in the video above, we can thank for starting all of this.

Yes, it would help to have a stimulus plan. A reasonable, coherent, and intelligent stimulus plan that stimulates the economy WITH longevity - not that just throws money at the problem. With programs like the one I mentioned last week about funding startups. But apparently that ain't happening, so instead we need a stimulus that calls for idiotic things like:

* $83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don't pay income tax.
* $54 billion will go to federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as "ineffective" or unable to pass basic financial audits.

* $462 Million for Equipment, Construction, and Renovation of Facilities at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (Page 137)

* $150 Million for Repairs to Smithsonian Institution Facilities (Page 128)

* $44 million to the Agricultural Research Service (Page 135)

* $227 million for oversight of the pork barrel spending in the stimulus (Page 11)

* $1 Billion for The Follow-Up To The 2010 Census (Page 49)

These are just a few. Sounds like business as usual. And we're surprised we're in this mess?


Big Blue said...

I have to say I agree with the argument that this “stimulus” bill is created by a number of stupid people. My favorite is the $227 million for oversight of the pork barrel spending. My view is that things have changed since FDR’s New Deal, which was successful but WW2 was really the catalyst for breaking that downward cycle.

Spending on infrastructure is great and does provide jobs but has an inherent problem. It is a finite cycle meaning once the job is done, then what? How about giving companies like IBM money with the provision that is needs to be spent in R&D departments? This would create jobs in the short and long term. Going back to one of your earlier points why not put aside funding for start ups? Again providing jobs for the long term. Also there are a number of mid sized companies with solid business models that are struggling and may be wiped off the map. Has anyone thought of the impact that would have?

Its time to stop focusing on large companies that are part of the problem, let the market correction flush out non-performers like the big auto’s or financial banks that are struggling due to poor business decisions. Why should a small or mid size company have to pay the price while auto companies are taking the money and continually putting it toward failed objectives? I guarantee the auto industry will be flat broke again before the end of the year.

Again I could be wrong; a cash ladder to the moon may be just what we need.

Lefty said...

@Big Blue - by the way, that was nickname of our town high school. Not sure why.

WW2 was certainly the catalyst for breaking that cycle. I've heard many rational arguments that say the New Deal prolonged the Depression. I'm not educated enough on the history to really know if that's the truth.

Large companies have been a huge part of the problem and are continuing to prevent intelligent solutions. R&D is a great point. How can investing in the future be a bad thing. It creates jobs and it creates the need for jobs requiring higher education, instilling better values in people hoping to succeed in America. Maybe that's a stretch, but it can't hurt.

I'm readying for that cash ladder too!