Reality is a sometimes hard to grasp… politicians find jealousy, blame and pipe dreams so much easier to sell.
The news is full of "stimulus" funding claims, complaints and simple lies. The talk totally fails to reflect the realities. First of all, the scale of the problem is totally misunderstood, as is the potential of this "stimulus" having any serious impact any time soon.
It took George Bush FIVE YEARS to spend about 750 BILLION total on both Iraq and Afghanistan. The total "cost" of the Bush tax cuts was estimated to be less than that! And the jury is still out on that since the "stimulus" value of those cuts is not clear and their terms won’t expire until next hear, over 6 years after their introduction.
Yet we allocated 700 BILLION in a matter of weeks last fall, spent half of that with virtually no oversight already, and are well on the way to allocating nearly another TRILLION in just a matter of weeks this quarter! Remember the "good old days" when the money spent on the Iraq War was thought to be a "huge" waste?
Politicians argue over a few hundred BILLION in tax credits to individuals and small businesses. These credits won’t appear in pay checks unless the individual changes their withholding (anticipating credits on 2009 taxes due April 15, 2010) and then add up to only $500 per single worker or $1000 per couple! Meanwhile, these same people will be paying about $7000 in FICA taxes alone! The small business credits require the businesses to be INVESTING in order to earn them…. thus the business must be profitable or well off enough to get a loan…. certainly NOT the case with MOST businesses who NEED help and are actually laying off people because they don’t have enough income to maintain their current operations, let alone INVEST in equipment! It is IDIOTIC to call these type of tax cuts "stimulative"! And note, the AMT adjustment, cancelling the bulk of taxes that have NEVER been paid in decades, is being called by some senators as "stimulus" in the proposed Senate bill.
And realize the yearly total TAX LOAD on the economy (or tax "stimulus" if you consider all government expenditures, including the Iraq war, a "stimulus") is over 5 TRILLION a year (across all levels of government and all forms of revenue; see USGovernmentRevenue.com for details.) A few hundred BILLION dollars showing up before April of next year isn’t much. IT WOULD BE FAR MORE OF A STIMULUS TO TELL EVERYBODY TO CLAIM A MAXIMUM NUMBER OF DEPENDENTS and bank the difference in take-home-pay until the taxes are due April 15, 2010!
And as to "shovel ready" INFRASTRUCTURE funding…. lets get REAL! Consider the Billions allocated to Katrina… IT STILL HAS NOT BEEN SPENT DUE TO GOVERNMENT RED TAPE AND CONTRACTING DELAYS:
I had to drive my wife "downtown" for jury duty today. As I’ve said before, we have a home near where Katrina came ashore. Bay St. Louis is the county seat of Hancock County. BSL and Waveland were devastated by the storm surge back on August 29th, 2005. Billions were allocated to rebuild the area, years ago! But the entire county government is STILL working out of double-wide construction trailers! There are over 30 of these trailers, side by side, filling up half of the county’s sports complex. The parking lot is pot-hole filled gravel and mud. VIRTUALLY ALL of the city streets in BSL and Waveland are torn up as water and sewage lines are FINALLY being installed, hopefully finished by the end of the YEAR!
So much for "shovel ready" infrastructure jobs fixing the unemployment problem quickly. Either it will take YEARS for the bidding, selecting, hiring, fielding of the work crews, oversight and construction and then clean up, or the FRAUD and ABUSE will make the Katrina fiascos look like child’s play.
These are the facts. The people and the politicians don’t want to face them, or simply do not have the mental acuity to visualize the size of the numbers involved.
It would be far better, as I and others have suggested, to take the TRILLION, spend it on a year’s worth of Social Security benefits, and in turn give every worker a year’s FICA tax holiday (7.5% more money to spend in their pay check) and every business a holiday from the "employer’s share" of FICA taxes (making labor 7.5% cheaper for a year.)
It would cost the SAME as the current "stimulus" proposals, but would get the money in the field starting with the next paycheck after passage and would be a REAL, IMMEDIATE stimulus to the economy…. it may actually shock the system back to life!
But it WON’T be tried…. because the politicians are too fearful of the precedence of actually trusting people with their OWN MONEY! The people may actually come to think the politicians are not so important after all! It is far easier to play blame games and spread class warfare, and safer for the politicians.