Stimulus Bill Is Not A Pork Bill For Politically Powerful

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by JimofPennsylvan, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. JimofPennsylvan
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    JimofPennsylvan VIP Member

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    The American people aren’t getting excellent political representation with the crafting of this economic stimulus legislation currently being put together in Washington. The public analysis on specific spending initiatives aren’t nearly as thorough as they should be nor is there sufficient public discussion going on about better or wiser alternative spending initiatives in this legislation that those that seem to be a lock. Take for instance the highway and bridge construction expenditures planned for the bill, a few weeks ago the nation’s governors came out and said we have $130 billion dollars of shovel ready projects for spring of 2009 the stimulus plan should fund and America’s political establishment is like fill in a like number in the stimulus bill and let’s pass this bill and get these projects rolling. This is terrible government leadership going on here. What the American people know quite well is whenever there is an increase in construction in a certain area the contractors and suppliers that work in that area jack up their prices whether it be for oil infrastructure construction or commercial construction (high rise buildings, convention centers, airports, etc.). The gospel members of Congress should be following on this economic stimulus legislation is that Congress is not embarking on any spending initiatives where U.S. taxpayers monies are going to be paying inflated prices on infrastructure spending; there is plenty, absolutely plenty, of different types of infrastructure projects which America needs and the stimulus legislation could fund so that American taxpayer monies aren’t being used to pay inflated prices.

    On this stimulus bridge and highway construction initiative, the American people need to have many questions answered for a thorough analysis to be taking place here, questions like the following. Without the stimulus spending in this area of construction what is the projected spending across the nation in this area of construction? How does the combined planned stimulus and non stimulus spending in this area compare with recent years spending levels? Can the present number of contractors and subcontractors working in the industry readily absorb the number of new projects being sought to be completed over the next two years with this stimulus legislation? Will these contractors and subcontractors be charging more because of the rise in the number of projects being undertaken over the next two years and if they will be charging more, how much more?

    God forbid if a huge amount of this stimulus money specified for road and bridge construction ends up being used just to repave roads, this will be an egregious waste of money. Less refineries today make asphalt than even only recently, long-term prices for oil the feedstock for asphalt will be extremely expensive these developments make long-term prices for asphalt enormously high, the nations prior standards for when to stop repairing roads and do a total road repavement have to be thrown in the garbage can, long-term America will have to live much longer with patched roads – so now is the time to start living by the new standards so that billions of dollars can be saved and redirected to better public uses.

    It is a given that some money in the economic stimulus legislation should be used for road and bridge reconstruction, done prudently it is a good way to immediately inject money into the U.S. economy. And as terrible a hand it is for Governors across America to be dealt with their states’ roads and bridges in significant disrepair because of prior state governments not fulfilling their duty in this area, this stimulus bill should not be used as a bailout for the nation’s Governors on this problem, this stimulus legislation should largely be focused on providing direct and significant long-term benefits to the U.S. economy. Members of Congress have to keep in mind that when a bridge is rebuilt there is no significant improvement in the economy, before the project there was a bridge moving people from point A to point B and after the project there is still only a bridge moving people from the same point A to point B. There is a lot of people who have a vested interests in this stimulus bill going overboard on spending on road and bridge construction who can exert a lot of political pressure on Congress and the White House to go with the overboard program, a real test exists here for America’s national elected officials do they stick with the old ways of doing business and give this political lobby their way or do they do what is best for the American people and spread the spending around to other types of spending that provide a better long-term economic benefit to the American people.

    The same criticism of a lack of direct significant economic benefit for America from some of this stimulus spending on road and bridge construction applies to stimulus spending on school construction. It is very hip and sophisticated to say America needs to build modern schools and one would could find an army of experts with sterling credentials that have called for such an initiative and the political winds very much call for supporting such spending. Nevertheless, if Congress spends a huge amount of money on this initiative Congress will have wasted an opportunity to spend money on other initiatives that will produce direct significant improvements in America’s economy. The U.S. government could build new and the most modern schools for every student in every school in every school system across America and it would still not solve America’s problem of producing too many students coming out of the America school system who are not well educated. All these gung-ho build new schools boosters are forgetting common sense on this issue. To make a school system that produces well-educated students a school system needs three things. First, teachers with the skills and commitment to teach the lessons that the students need to be taught to be well-educated; secondly, school administrators that provide and an environment where teachers can do this teaching and thirdly, student families where the parents of the students engender in their children and continually engender in their children the desire for an education and the children respond to that engendering and are committed to becoming well educated. The greatest state of the art school in the world is not going to produce a well-educated student without these three elements existing in the school.

    The criticism on how this economic stimulus legislation is coming into existence not only is warranted toward political officials but also toward media officials in America . Collectively, it seems like the America media is acting like a press office for the Democratic leadership in Congress who is driving the stimulus legislation. Where is the main stream media asking the questions described above on how this stimulus spending is going to inflate prices in the road and bridge construction industry? Where are the media stories responsibly scrutinizing in-depth the planned stimulus spending? Furthermore, I am sure there is an abundance of responsible and knowledgeable people working in different segments of the economy that can offer excellent ideas on how this stimulus money can be used in their segment of the economy and would result in a direct improvement in America’s economy and wisdom calls for America to be pursuing such ideas; why isn’t the American media educating the American people more in such a manner? The American media needs to stop being bell-hops for the political establishment’s initiatives on this stimulus bill and do their job as media on this bill for the American people. The following includes a list of spending proposals which have not received much if any media attention and which would significantly improve the U.S. economy if pursued.

    It is projected that in 2009 there will be a drop off of natural gas pipeline construction in the U.S. and it is not because of demand, in part, it is due problems in the credit market and skittishness amongst investor about the economy. Because of the industries recent ability to extract natural gas from shale deposits production has recently grown in these shale deposit areas of the U.S., if the U.S. government with this stimulus legislation could increase natural-gas pipeline construction they would be increasing natural gas production thus increasing long-term employment in this industry. In the stimulus bill give the Treasury department $20 to $25 billion to support this construction by either insuring the burrowing on such construction projects or investing as a partner in these projects whatever is needed to make the projects fly.

    When natural gas is extracted in the U.S. it has large amounts of carbon dioxide in it which has to be separated out; and, of course this CO2 is a troublesome green house gas which is widely believed to be partly responsible for global warming. The technology already exists and is in wide use where this carbon-dioxide gas can be separated out and transported through pipelines and pumped back into the earth in sites where oil production is taking place which increases oil production because of the pressures created by the pumped in CO2 where the oil lies in the ground. There is currently a demand for this CO2 in oil production, the supplies of CO2 need only be bought on line. Why doesn’t the government with this stimulus legislation support this capturing of CO2 in natural gas production and sequestering it in oil development sites, this would create jobs long-term at both natural gas and oil production sites?

    Some experts tell us that sixty percent of the new jobs created in the U.S. over the past decade were by small businesses. One can find an abundance of stories in the media where entrepreneurs are struggling to find financing to set-up or grow their business. Wisdom calls for the conclusion that small businesses in America offer a gold mine of economic opportunities for America in terms of employment and wealth growth. The U.S. government needs to see that the small business sector of the economy reaches its full potential. Why doesn’t the U.S. government in this stimulus legislation channel $25 billion dollars in 2009 and $20 billion in 2010 to the Small Business Administration to finance small business growth. Of course, in this stimulus legislation there would also be provisions that make a great effort to see this money is not spent foolishly, like requiring the small business owners to put up large portions of their personal wealth as equity in the small business so that there is a great incentive and thus a great effort that will be made to see the government doesn’t lose money on these initiatives.

    Another good spending initiative for this stimulus would be government sponsored low income housing. Even before the U.S. economy meltdown over the last six months, there was a shortage of low income housing across the country. With home mortgage lenders being burned on the sub-prime mortgage issue it is really going to be tough for low-income Americans to get financing for home purchases for the indefinite future. It would show a lot of foresight on Congress’s part if they directed a significant amount of money in this stimulus legislation to support government sponsored low-income housing.

    Congress should spend some money in this stimulus legislation for preparing land that hasn’t been used for farming to be able to be used to grow crops especially in areas of the U.S. that are not considered the farm belt. The U.S. overall has been really lucky the last few yields with high crop yields especially this past year with the flooding in the Midwest in the early part of the summer that looked like it would decimate U.S. crop production in 2008 and then outstanding weather for the next three months which allowed a good crop to be brought to harvest. If America’s leaders are prudent they will prepare America for when its luck runs out on favorable weather for growing crops and have land ready for farming in reserve that can be planted during the needed season or the American people and the economy will pay for it dearly with higher food prices. One can complain and fight as much as one wants about how America has to stop diverting crops to biofuels but as a practical matter it will never happen even if it is the right thing to do which is highly doubtful, America is land rich – America should fully use that resource.

    The Congress should use some of the money in the stimulus legislation for building water reservoirs and flood plains along America’s rivers. Many communities in regions of America fight amongst one another over these issues. Certain communities need these items as flood protections other need the water to serve their communities. There is a compelling public interests that warrant spending in this area in this legislation.

    Many areas of America have a shortage of trash landfills or the challenge of high fees communities must pay to dump their trash in available landfills. America has about eighty-five trash to steam plants operating which produce electricity from burning trash saving landfills and saving communities money. Prudent spending calls for Congress to spend some of this money in the stimulus legislation on providing grants to build five or ten more of these trash-to-steam plants across America, it obviously would be proving the nation with a direct long-term economic benefit.
     
  2. garyd
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    garyd Senior Member

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    To blame the former governors for road problems in thier states is to blame them for Federal unfunded mandates that have in many cases stripped the states of the cash to do this. Either fund the mandates or cancell them and you'd free up a lot of money for necessary repairs and replacement.

    If one calculates state, federal, county, and local expenditures I suspect you'd discover that we already spend more money on government in the US than the entire GDP of any other country in the world.
     

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