Want to read the stimulus bill?

It’s 1,434 pages long. If you don’t have to read that much, you can at least skim through it. I guarantee that will be more than most members of Congress do who will soon be voting on it. Go here to download it.

HT: Michelle Malkin

UPDATE: The Democrats purposefully posted the bill at the last minute and formatted it so that the document is not searchable! Read this. Neither the Congressmen who are being asked to vote on this bill nor the citizens of this democratic republic are being allowed full access to what is in this bill before it passes. This is tyranny and corruption.

HT: Strange Herring

Enough to just pay off everyone’s mortgage

According to Bloomberg.com, if you count the guarantees we are liable for, the federal government is making a financial commitment big enough to pay off over 90% of the nation’s mortgages:

The stimulus package the U.S. Congress is completing would raise the government’s commitment to solving the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion, enough to pay off more than 90 percent of the nation’s home mortgages.

The Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have lent or spent almost $3 trillion over the past two years and pledged up to $5.7 trillion more. The Senate is to vote this week on an economic-stimulus measure of at least $780 billion. It would need to be reconciled with an $819 billion plan the House approved last month.

Only the stimulus bill to be approved this week, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program passed four months ago and $168 billion in tax cuts and rebates enacted in 2008 have been voted on by lawmakers. The remaining $8 trillion is in lending programs and guarantees, almost all under the Fed and FDIC.

The Bloomberg article is overstated, of course, since we surely won’t have to pay out all of those guarantees. Still, it puts the government intervention into perspective.

Notice that we have two separate programs trying to fix the economy: a bailout for our financial sector; and a stimulus package to get money circulating. Again, I’m not sure that either is addressing the problem that was the catalyst for the current collapse; namely, the mortgage crisis.

I am NOT recommending that the government pay off everyone’s mortgage. This article just shows the scale of the government’s commitments while also suggesting that they are missing the fundamental issue. Can you think of anything that might help in the housing sector?

How will the stimulus plan affect you?

Here is an Associated Press Q&A about the just-passed Congressional solution to our economic woes. Read it all for your edification, but reflect on this excerpt from Meltdown 101: Highlights of economic stimulus plan:

Q: What are some of the tax breaks in the bill?

A: It includes Obama’s signature “Making Work Pay” tax credit for 95 percent of workers, though negotiators agreed to trim the credit to $400 a year instead of $500 — or $800 for married couples, cut from Obama’s original proposal of $1,000. It would begin showing up in most workers’ paychecks in June as an extra $13 a week in take-home pay, falling to about $8 a week next January.

There is also a $70 billion, one-year fix for the alternative minimum tax. The fix would save some 20 million mainly upper-middle-income taxpayers about $2,000 in taxes for 2009.

Q: How will infrastructure spending affect jobs?

A: The Federal Highway Administration has estimated that every $1 billion the federal government spends on infrastructure projects translates to 35,000 jobs. Collins put the total infrastructure spending — including highways, mass transit, environmental cleanups and broadband facilities — at $150 billion. Do the math and that translates into more than 5 million jobs, based on the highway administration’s assumptions.

All of this, and taxpayers will just get $13 a week? Falling to $8 a week? How is that going to stimulate anything? To be patriotic we must not use this windfall to pay down our debts but spend it so as to give a mighty jolt to our economy. Let’s see, doing the math as the article recommends, this means we will have $1.85 per day. What should we spend this on to get our economy going again? A newspaper? That will help the struggling news industry. Chewing gum? That will help the struggling chewing gum industry.

It’s fascinating to learn a $1 billion will give create 35,000 jobs? Is that all? I did the math, as recommended, multiplying 150 and 35000 and the numbers do come up to 5,250,000. But then I did the division and it comes to $28,571 per job. Again, I thought, is that all? The stimulus plan will create a huge hiring boom in low-paid construction workers. Are there enough of them? Will people laid off of high-paying industrial, service, and executive jobs go out and pick up a shovel? And if they did, would they know how to use it?

To build roads and bridges, a good part of that money has to go for concrete, steel, equipment, and engineering. That will boost employment in those sectors, but the higher wages will mean fewer jobs than calculated. More to the point, the massive raw material costs can’t all be counted as wages for “new jobs.”

I just don’t see how all of this will do much to help the economy. Read through the Q&A and answer the question, what will this mean for me?

Embracing the S-word

We conservative pundits have been criticizing for uttering the word. Now “Newsweek” is admitting that we have moved to a European-style state-controlled economy. The title of the cover story says it all: We Are All Socialists Now.

How much is a trillion dollars?

The Houston Chronicle helps us get our minds around just how much money the bailout and stimulus sums are talking about:

We could spend one million dollars every day since the day Jesus was born and we would still not have one trillion dollars. Do the math. Jesus was born about 2012 years ago. 2012 x 365.2 = 734,782.4. So if we spent one million dollars every day since the day Jesus was born, we’d have spent $734,782,400,000 or almost 735 billon dollars.

That’s less than the stimulus bill but still far short of a trillion bucks. Amanda Shaw over at
First Things draws on some more calculations from the Family Research Council:

With $1.1 trillion, the grand total so far of Obama’s stimulus plan, we could pave the entire US interstate highway system with 23.5-karat gold, we could build 16.6 million Habitat for Humanity houses, we could hire 1.9 million teachers.

To put this further in perspective:

* The Marshall Plan cost $12.7 billion ($115.3 billion, adjusted for inflation)
* The space race cost $36.4 billion ($237 billion with inflation)
* The Korean War cost $54 billion ($454 billion with inflation)
* The New Deal cost $32 billion (estimated; $500 billion with inflation)
* The invasion of Iraq cost $551 billion ($597 billion with inflation)
* The Vietnam War cost $111 billion ($698 billion with inflation)

So, the total cost of the Marshall Plan, the Korean War, and the New Deal—using all figures adjusted for inflation—is less than that of the current economic stimulus package. That’s how much $1.1 trillion is.

Government to limit executive pay

President Obama is saying that companies that accept government bailout money can pay executives no more than $500,000 a year.

I too am irked by C.E.O.s of failing companies making so much money, especially when it comes in the form of bonuses. The heads of companies that perform so terribly do not deserve the rewards that should go only to success. But still, I recoil at the thought that state power is now mandating how much private companies are allowed to pay their employees.

This will become a major disincentive for companies to ask for a bailout. That would be for the better. But still, it is apparent that the government is not just concerned about injecting money into the economy to solve its problems; rather, it is using this economic crisis as a means of increasing its power. For its money, the government is achieving both ownership and control of the private sector. This is socialism.

Meanwhile, look at the unintended consequences of these government attempts to rule the free market. This executive compensation diktat is causing panic in New York City, where lots of executives make more than that in the city with an astronomically high cost of living. Such pay restrictions could mean a brain drain from America’s leading companies, as well as one of America’s leading cities.

What other unintended consequences could the stimulus plan lead to?

UPDATE: This article gives more details, along with the startling news that plans are underway in Congress to limit executive pay in ALL companies, even those that do not take bailout money!

Broader executive compensation rules could already be on the way. House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said a consensus in Congress is building to give the Federal Reserve the authority to police threats to the financial system, including by limiting compensation awarded to corporate executives for excessively risky behavior.

Such restrictions would apply to all firms, not just those that accept government rescue funds, Frank said, and could include a requirement that senior executives lose money when they make a bad business decision instead of simply gaining money when their bets pay off.