Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Fiscal Stimulus Debauchery

The fiscal stimulus bill coming out of Congress is the biggest fiscal debauchery of our country's history. It is 407 pages long, but I intend to read every page and question every financial outlay that seems to run counter to the President's statements of directly creating jobs.

Since this will take a while to read, I'll likely encapsulate each section of the bill and the ridiculousness of each in seperate posts, so stay tuned.

You too can read it and weep here:

Alright. It doesn't take very long to find our first contradiction - on page 2.


We pay some money to renovate buildings - 24million to be exact. Sounds like its creating jobs right away, I'm fine. However, then the office of the inspector general -$22.5million "to remain available until September 30, 2013" for ovesight and audit programs and grants and activities funded by this act!

Ok- so translation - we're outlaying $24m to renovate some buildings, then another $22.5m to report how the building is being renovated which won't be spent for 3 years?

On page 3 we spend $145m to purchase some land for flood plain easements. Though I'm sure this might be a good idea were we in a fiscal boom period, but wouldn't this $145m go a long way toward helping troubled homeowners. What is our return on flood plain purchases going to be long term?

In case you're getting infuriated already, the next paragraph helps calm you down with a cool $11billion to help out rural homeowners with their mortgages. Don't ask me how buying flood plain land easements fits in with this portion - and $145m compared to $11billion sure seems like an earmark to me (I thought we weren't having any of those in this bill Obama?).

Later on page 4 we spend on some sewage treatment facilities which I suppose generates some jobs, an infrastructure which seems fine. We all need clean water, right?

Page 5 we get some school lunch programs for needy children and food assistance to women, infants and children. Thought we had these programs already, but who can be against food for the hungry.

While we're on the topic of food - page 6 enacts "TEMPORARY INCREASE IN BENEFITS UNDER THE
SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. (a) MAXIMUM BENEFIT INCREASE." Sounds good, right. Well it increases to 113% the benefit for the good folks in Puerto Rico and American Samoa and American Indians living on the reservation - you know - the ones not subject to taxes? It then goes on to spend hundreds of millions for the administration of this and has about 7-8 pages of rules and exceptions for this.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What Happened in Retail in January

Real quick here - the January bump in sales was the effect of a simple over-conservation through the Christmas season. With the bad news in, many people overly tightened their wallets. The January bounce was a head fake and cannot be trusted.