Monday, December 22, 2008
The Stimulus PackageA prediction: It'll be largely wasted.
Barack Obama's plan must not become a vehicle for old-fashioned earmarking.
Washington Post editorial
We're happy to see that the shroud of secrecy surrounding the formulation of an economic stimulus plan by President-elect Barack Obama is lifting, albeit through leaks. Since his advisers met with congressional leaders last week, details from the Capitol Hill briefing have trickled out that are bringing the impending stimulus package into focus. Yet concern about transparency has given way to concern that the economic crisis will be used as an excuse to throw sacks of cash at projects instead of leading to the development of discrete proposals that pack a lot of punch in the short term. That Mr. Obama is reportedly prepared for his plan to rise from as little as $670 billion to as much as $850 billion because of additions from Congress only reinforces that fear.
Mr. Obama has said that the economic crisis provides the nation with an opportunity to transform its economy. If it's not done right, it will have been an opportunity wasted. [link] [my emphasis]
Experience tells us that funds will be spent on train stations that serve no trains or passengers, horseback riding trails ... to nowhere, and visitor centers on top of visitor centers that see no visitors.
Experience provided by Southwest Virginia's representative to Congress.
Projects, all of which have Congressman Rick Boucher's name on them.
Projects, none of which he's apologized for.
Projects, more of which he's vowed to support.
Waste? You ain't seen nothing yet.
Uncertainty Grows Over Parent’s Role in ChryslerSo Chrysler ownership will be migrating to the UAW and the United States government (and some lesser entities, perhaps). Is that a match made in Democrat heaven, or what?
By Bill Vlasic, New York Times
Unlike General Motors, Chrysler has provided few specifics on how it plans to overhaul its operations after receiving federal loans.
After President Bush announced loans for both companies on Friday, Chrysler’s parent, the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, said in a statement that it hoped to “facilitate the restructuring and the recapitalization of Chrysler.”
But in the same statement, Cerberus raised questions about whether it would remain an investor if Chrysler survives.
“Cerberus has advised the Treasury that it would contribute its equity in Chrysler automotive to labor and creditors as currency to facilitate the accommodations necessary to effect the restructuring,” Cerberus said.In other words, Cerberus appears willing to give up its 80.1 percent stake in Chrysler to the United Automobile Workers and anyone else the troubled automaker owes money to. [link]
Only problem is, never in the history of the country has such an arrangement been successful. So how long are you, the taxpayer, willing to prop this dead horse up just to maintain UAW jobs?
It cannot be a defence of British policy that the war was unpopular at home. Our mission was to provide security for the Iraqi people, and in that the US and Maliki’s government have recently had marked success and we have failed. The fault does not lie with our fighters. They have been extremely brave and as effective as their orders and their equipment would allow.
It raises questions about the stamina of our nation and the resolve of our political class. It is an uncomfortable conclusion that Britain, with nuclear weapons, cruise missiles, aircraft carriers and the latest generation of fighter-bombers, is incapable of securing a medium-size conurbation. Making Basra safe was an essential part of the overall strategy; having committed ourselves to our allies we let them down.
The extent of Britain’s fiasco has been masked by the media’s relief that we are at last leaving Iraq. Those who have been urging Britain to quit are not in a strong position to criticise the government’s lack of staying power. Reporting of Basra has mainly focused on British casualties and the prospect for withdrawal. The British media and public have shown scant regard for our failure to protect Iraqis, so the British nation, not just its government, has attracted distrust. We should reflect on what sort of country we have become. We may enjoy patronising Americans but they demonstrate a fibre that we now lack.
Perhaps they'll find their way again some day.
"Keep it up, Joe. At this rate, you'll know more about the Constitution than your non-lawyer predecessor in, well, never."