Pork

So, now, birth control is a stimulus to the economy.  Have you seen all the pork, besides this birth control idiocy, that is attached to the so called stimulus bill?  It’s a joke!  Computers in the classrooms, money for roads, etc….nothing of which will truly spur on the economy much.  Remember, FDR tried this and we actually had a depression within the great depression in 1937.   How about some real stimulus…cutting our taxes!  If they put a MORATORIUM on income taxes for, say, one or two months, can you imagine the money that would be going back into the economy?  But, no, Govco would never, ever do that!

What I want to know is where Mark Elrod stands on this pork.  I mean, when the GOP controlled congress he would constantly harp on the pork in their bills.  How about it Mark?  Are you going to be just as critical of this pork bill?

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29 Responses to “Pork”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    Why do you consider “Computers in the classrooms, money for roads” pork?

    Also, the proposed stimulus package includes $300 billion in tax cuts, a significant fraction of the total package. Here is a link to a WSJ article discussing the tax cuts:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123111279694652423.html

  2. Dingo C. Says:

    I think it’s pork in that it won’t stimulate the economy much. Here is a link of the break down which shows much of this pork:

    http://wsbradio.com/blogs/jamie_dupree/2009/01/just-some-of-the-economic-stim.html

    Money for Homeless prevention? How is that going to stimulate the economy?

    What we really need is for more people to keep more of their money. That will get this economy going.

  3. Robin Says:

    How exactly do computers in the classroom stimulate the economy. Computers made in China or India will really get folks jobs here in the US. Thanks for starting my day with the biggest laugh I’ve had in awhile.

    Baah, baah, baah, say the sheeple.

  4. Doug Says:

    What a joke! How can anyone defend this? Well, Liberals will find out how.

  5. Jonathan Says:

    I understand the perspective now…but I don’t see computers in the classroom in the post Dingo linked nor do I find it searching the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” document directly. Looking at the things that are listed there, it appears be some things to help people in crisis (e.g. emergency food assistance) and (mostly) spending on infrastructure designed to get the economy moving again and create jobs while at the same time serving a strategic purpose. Though not unanimous, that is what most economists think should be done.

    So, to summarize, Roland’s post criticizes the stimulus for including something (classroom computers) it apparently doesn’t actually include (post a link to documentation if I’m wrong) and criticizes it for not including something (tax cuts) that actually makes up nearly half the stimulus (and, as the WSJ suggests, is of comparable or bigger impact than Bush’s tax cuts were…though it sounds like they’ll be targeted more for the middle class this time). Sounds like a fair critique to me. 😉

  6. Doug Says:

    Birth Control? Homeless Assistance? That is supposed to spur on the economy? Have you looked at the link that Mr. Dingo put up? Many of those items, in no way, will spur on the economy. You want to help people? Drop all that pork spending and cut taxes BIG time.

    Jonathan, if those are truly tax cuts (and not “tax cuts”) and are bigger (and I would assume better) than Bush’s, then why are the Democrats going to let his expire? Why are these “tax cuts” not permenant? From what I read in your post, tax cuts are good so why in the world don’t they make ALL of them permenant?

    Like it or not, there is a ton of pork in this bill. A ton of SPENDING and not reducing the burden on people. I have also seen the proposal for two months of income tax cuts and I think that is great.

    BTW, who is Mark Elrod?

  7. Bex Says:

    This site is a waste of bandwidth.

  8. Dude Says:

    What is really sad is that the very people who helped get us in this situation with the housing market are the ones putting together this bail out plan. You don’t give the arsonist the keys to the house!

  9. Jonathan Says:

    I don’t follow the logic of including funding for birth control either, but most of the stuff is reasonable…some things designed to enhance the safety net to help the least of us as the economy tanks (low-income home energy assistance, homeless prevention, etc.), some things to stimulate the economy by increasing demand for goods and services and creating jobs (construction projects, road projects, rail projects, etc.), and tax cuts (to put money immediately into peoples’ hands).

    You can’t rely on tax cuts alone to stimulate the economy because many people will want to save it rather than spend it. From the WSJ story, in reference to last year’s tax rebate:

    Economists of all political stripes widely agree the checks sent out last spring were ineffective in stemming the economic slide, partly because many strapped consumers paid bills or saved the cash rather than spend it.

    I think the tendency (which is certainly wise from an individual’s point of view) will be even stronger to save this time around since folks have seen their investments and 401ks plummet in value recently.

    Why let Bush’s tax cuts expire? Not all tax cuts are created equal. They want to let Bush’s tax cuts to expire because they want to target more low- and moderate-income people.

    Yesterday alone, US employers slashed 55,000 jobs with a total of nearly 200,000 in January. The economy is stuck in a downward spiral, and the spending is intended to get it moving again. I don’t doubt that assistance for low-income folks and homeless prevention will be needed even more in the coming months. I’m not saying there is absolutely nothing questionable in the package, but it is mostly reasonable, non-pork spending that will provide stimulus. Also, http://recovery.gov/ is planned to provide transparency regarding how the stimulus money is spent.

  10. Robin Says:

    I like the proposed Obama/Rush recovery package better.

  11. Dude Says:

    Yes, these will really help get the economy going:
    $400 million for “habitat restoration and mitigation activities” at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    $300 million for “Major Research Insrumentation program” (science)
    $800 million of that is for biomass research and $400 million for geothermal technologies
    $2.4 billion to demonstrate “carbon capture and sequestration technologies”
    $1.2 billion in grants to states for youth summer jobs programs and other activities
    $1 billion for “Periodic Censuses and Programs”

    And that is just a few!

    Jonathan, can you point me to where the Constitution states it is the job of the Government to create jobs? As Roland pointed out, job creation was tried in the 30’s and the result was not pretty.

  12. Roland Says:

    Jonathan, you are starting to sound like a college professor I know…critical when the GOP does it but not when the Liberals do it. lol. Anyone with common sense cannot read items in that bill and not see all the pork. Well, people who are so blinded by their jersey cannot but those of us who actually take off the “R” or “D” jersey sure can.

  13. Bex Says:

    Can I get some of that money for the time wasted at this site?

  14. Dude Says:

    Oh, and Money to Acorn so they can commit more voter fraud and get more loans for people who can’t afford them is really going to get the economy going!

  15. Jonathan Says:

    Dude,

    Obviously I don’t know the detailed plans for the things you’ve listed but by funding a project and hiring people to do it you can create jobs and stimulate the economy.

    About job creation in the 30’s, Roland’s summary of what happened is a view held by some but not most economists. Most believe that a stimulus package is the right prescription. Most of the disagreement is about how large it should be, not about whether there should be one.

    About Acorn…the San Francisco Chronicle reported it, then Boehner claimed it, and now Rush has claimed it…but it’s false. The bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding. You can follow the link Dingo posted and then from the link there access the pdf of the bill and do a search. It isn’t in there.

    Roland,

    After you explain the logic for criticizing the stimulus for not containing tax cuts even though nearly half of it ($300 billion) is tax cuts (because I’m still waiting for that explanation), please explain in more detail how I’m being “critical when the GOP does it but not when the Liberals do it.” If you mean that I’m not being critical of the Liberals’ pork, my response is that this is a different kind of bill, one intended to create jobs and unfreeze the economy by spending on miscellaneous beneficial projects, and I’m confident that most things listed fit those criteria. Again, I’m not claiming that there is nothing questionable, but that most of it fits within the bounds of the bills intent.

    As a general comment about our discussion here: “Computers in the classrooms”, “How about some real stimulus…cutting our taxes!”, “Money to Acorn” – I’m volunteering as fact-checker but maybe the staff at the Moratorium Site should stimulate the economy and make it a paid position. 😉 Seriously, if we’re having a discussion and I make a claim that you show to be untrue, doesn’t it make sense or seem reasonable for me to at least acknowledge that I was wrong and/or thank you for providing better info or something…instead of just ignoring it?

    In other news, it appears that Obama reads The Moratorium Site:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/AP/story/874323.html

    It must not be true, though, since “When Democrats talk about crossing the aisle they mean for Republicans to come to their side, to cave…”

  16. Dingo C. Says:

    “If you mean that I’m not being critical of the Liberals’ pork, my response is that this is a different kind of bill,”

    You mean, it’s dark pork and not white pork? ROFL!! How can you even consider that it’s not pork???? Did you not read the list? What about just the things Dude pointed out? Your ignorance is really showing Mr. J. It’s shinning through in fact.

    BTW, many economists do point out about what Roland stated on the depression within a depression. In fact, when you look at the numbers, it’s a FACT. You should take some time to read a great book called “FDR’s Folly”. Excellent read.

  17. Jonathan Says:

    Here we go with the ad hominem again. There’s nothing like you misspelling shining in the midst of calling me ignorant.

    I’ve already explained more than once why I don’t consider most of this stuff (including the things Dude listed) pork…because it is spending that will create jobs which is the purpose of the bill. One of the things he listed had the word jobs right in the title.

    Pork…

    …usually refers to spending that is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes

    It’s my belief that this spending is intended to benefit all of us, not some specific constituency, by jump-starting the economy.

    I already agreed that some economists believe that FDR’s policies prolonged the depression, but that is not the majority view.

    Also, I forgot to respond to the Dude’s question about whether I think the Constitution states that it is the government’s role to create jobs. I realize that some see the constitution as describing and severely limiting the role of government. However, the majority on both sides see it as document that does describe some things the government should do and some things it must not do but they don’t see it as being restrictive in the way that the first group does. Though I’m obviously no constitutional scholar, I guess I’m in the latter camp.

  18. Roland Says:

    Actually, if you do any study of the Constitution or the thought process of our Founders you will see that the role of Government was what they wanted to limit. Not expand.

    You can call it what you want to Jonathan but it’s still pork. By your standards, nothing would be pork as long as it created at least one job. Heck, the bridge to nowhere couldn’t even be called that since it employed people. All the roads and toilets and statues and brothels in West Virginia honoring “Sheets” Byrd, the king of pork wouldn’t be considered either, under your definition.

  19. Jonathan Says:

    It’s not my definition of pork. It’s Merriam-Webster’s:

    government funds, jobs, or favors distributed by politicians to gain political advantage

    I don’t think it’s that fine of a point, but I seem to be struggling to communicate it. I’m not saying that something can’t be pork if it creates jobs. $1 million to build the Roland Memorial Moratorium Center at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte attached to a defense appropriations bill is pork. However, if the purpose of a bill is spend money on generally beneficial projects to create jobs and unfreeze the economy for the benefit of the nation as a whole, then items in the bill that serve that purpose while not being intended to gain political advantage are by definition not pork.

  20. Dan The Man Says:

    Mind if I jump in?

    The Heritage Foundation has a great article on how government spending does not, historically, help to get the economy the viagra it desperately needs. Some key points from it are:

    1. Taxes. Most government spending is financed by taxes, and high tax rates reduce incentives to work, save, and invest–resulting in a less motivated workforce as well as less business investment in new capital and technology. Few government expenditures raise productivity enough to offset the productivity lost due to taxes;
    2. Incentives. Social spending often reduces in¬centives for productivity by subsidizing leisure and unemployment. Combined with taxes, it is clear that taxing Peter to subsidize Paul reduces both of their incentives to be productive, since productivity no longer determines one’s income;
    3. Displacement. Every dollar spent by politicians means one dollar less to be allocated based on market forces within the more productive pri¬vate sector. For example, rather than allowing the market to allocate investments, politicians seize that money and earmark it for favored organizations with little regard for improve¬ments to economic efficiency; and
    4. Inefficiencies. Government provision of housing, education, and postal operations are often much less efficient than the private sector. Government also distorts existing health care and education markets by promoting third-party payers, resulting in over-consumption and insensitivity to prices and outcomes. Another example of inefficiency is when politicians earmark highway money for wasteful pork projects rather than expanding highway capacity where it is most needed.

    They also list further studies from different journals and reports that back up their points.

    I really like the government inefficiencies part. Very good. Find me a Government program or agency that works better then the private sector. There might be a few out there but they are few and far between.

    As has been noted, give people more of their own money back (and not a one time check) each month and they will grow the economy like never before.

    I agree and last I checked, across the board tax cuts work. Giving people “tax cuts” who don’t even pay taxes in the first place does not. All that does is breed laziness and more welfare.

    BTW, the link is: http://www.heritage.org/research/budget/bg2208.cfm

  21. Dan The Man Says:

    BTW, I love the name “Govco”. Can I steal it? 🙂

  22. Jonathan Says:

    I take it back a little…after reading these articles

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/us/28health.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/education/28educ.html

    I can understand how it would enrage folks for whom the department of education and government-funded expansion of health insurance for the poor are anathema.

  23. Rita Says:

    According to the Drudge Report, there is $335,000,000 for S.T.D. prevention is in the Stimulus Bill.

    I guess this is change we can believe in! Yes We Can!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Rita @ P&C

  24. Roland Says:

    Oh, how I wish we could get rid of the Department of Education!!!! What progress could be made and money saved by doing away with that monstrous institution.

  25. Dan The Man Says:

    Government funding of health care is quite another point to discuss. I’m not sure I really see the logic and/or common sense in stealing from Paul to help Peter. Now, if Paul wants to help Peter out of his own moral sense of responsibility, absolutely! If a private charity or church wants to, that would be fine but I do no really see where it is the role of Government or, “Govco” to do that. As I said, that is another beast of an issue.

    I would agree with Roland that boarding up the Department of Education would be for the best. There is a quote in that article that speaks of education traditionally being the responsibility of state and local governments. If that were the case, that would be grand however, it is not as we already have a national Department of Education and now, with the ridiculous “No Child Left Behind”, the federal government took even more away from the local level.

    Bottom line is, from my perspective, that this stimulus will do nothing to grow the economy. I think that the Heritage Foundation article really nails it. I will have some more thoughts on this later on.

  26. Roland Says:

    Great points Dan. Welcome!

    Jonathan, per the WSJ, only 12 cents could maybe be used for stimulas. 12 cents. So much for Obama and his promise that this bill would not contain any pork.

  27. Dan The Man Says:

    Here are a few additional points I would like to make:

    – If spending works so well…why are we in a recession? The Government has been spending like drunks over the past eight years so, why the downturn?

    – If giving money out is so helpful, how about giving us a couple of million dollars each?

    – What needs to happen is more to encourage more production, lower impediments such as high taxes, penalties and restrictions and give folks more of their own money to spend.

    – A radical idea would be to give all American’s who pay taxes, a one year tax refund of all the taxes they have paid the prior year. People would go out and buy, they would invest, they would buid that deck and buy materials and high labor, they would pay off a 2nd mtg which, in turn, would send more money to the banks who, in turn, would have more to lend. Sure, people would save a lot but that would also help the banks. You might have to deal with some inflation but then again, maybe not. Even so, it would not be a long term inflation concern. With more money, people would be giving more to church, to charity, to just helping their neighbor. Will it happen, no, but still, it’s an idea worrth considering.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Have a great day!

  28. Dude Says:

    I was very glad the GOP stood up against this and voted no. That way, when it fails big time, he cannot go back and say it was bi-partisan (as long as the Senate votes it down).

  29. Dan The Man Says:

    I was reading that not only does that bill possibly include money for illegals but also, there is some nice conflict of interest in there. There is 2.25 billion for the National Parks Service. How that simulates the economy is anyones guess however the chief lobbyist for the National Parks Conservation Association is the son of the House Appropriations Committee Chairman.

    If the Republicans can stay united and really make headlines how this bill will do nothing but create higher debt and sink us deeper into recession, they have a good chance of retaking the house and Senate in 2010. I don’t see that happening though as John McCain is still a Senator and still a member of the GOP and he will, along with others such as Lindsey Graham, get nice and cozy with President Obama and his fellow Democrats and will pour ice water on any attempts by the GOP to separate themselves from this boondogle.

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