Mark Hemingway points to Sen. Tom Coburn’s monitoring of the billions being wasted in the name of stimulus.
1. $1.5 million in “free” stimulus money for a new wastewater treatment plant results in higher utility costs for residents of Perkins, Oklahoma.
2. $1 billion for FutureGen in Mattoon, Illinois is the “biggest earmark of all time” for a power plant that may never work.
3. $15 million for “shovel-ready” repairs to little-used bridges in rural Wisconsin are given priority over widely used bridges that are structurally deficient.
4. $800,000 for little-used John Murtha Airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania airport to repave a back-up runway; the ‘Airport for Nobody’ Has Already Received Tens of Millions in Taxpayer dollars.
5. $3.4 million for a wildlife “eco-passage” in Florida to take animals safely under a busy roadway.
6. Nevada non-profit gets $2 million weatherization contract after recently being fired for same type of work.
7. $1.15 million for installation of a new guard rail for the non-existent Optima Lake in Oklahoma.
8. Nearly $10 million to renovate an abandoned train station that hasn’t been used in 30 years.
9. 10,000 dead people get stimulus checks, but the Social Security Administration blames a tough deadline.
10. Town of Union, New York, encouraged to spend a $578,000 grant it did not request for a homelessness problem it claims it does not have.
Forget Halliburton, Enron, etc. — AIG is the metaphor of our new century. Let’s get this straight: Our president takes over $100,000 from AIG in campaign donations. Then he signs into legislation a bill crafted by his own party, with input from his own Treasury secretary, giving mega-bonuses to the execs of this bankrupt, federally bailed-out company — and then goes on the stump to trash the culture of Wall Street as typified by . . . AIG, of course.
CEI’s Hans Bader suggests there is an eerie parallel between current and proposed policies and a Depression-era President:
In the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover raised marginal tax rates to 63%, and went on a deficit spending binge. He also signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff, which helped turn a recession into the Great Depression by triggering a trade war with other countries.
Under President Obama, we have a budding trade war with Mexico over the exclusion of Mexican trucks (in violation of NAFTA), a proposed budget that will explode the deficit and increase marginal tax rates, and new legislation to tax bonuses at AIG and other companies at 90 percent (which could actually cause some folks to receive negative pay). And, to top it off, the Administration is suggesting it wants to regulate executive compensation across the board.
From the Financial Post:
Helicopter Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve is dropping trillions of fresh paper dollars on the world economy, the President of the United States is cracking jokes on late night comedy shows, his energy minister is threatening a trade war over carbon emissions, his treasury secretary is dithering over a banking reform program amid rising concerns over his competence and a monumentally dysfunctional U.S. Congress is launching another public jihad against corporations and bankers.
As an aghast world — from China to Chicago and Chihuahua — watches, the circus-like U.S. political system seems to be declining into near chaos. Through it all, stock and financial markets are paralyzed. The more the policy regime does, the worse the outlook gets. The multi-ringed spectacle raises a disturbing question in many minds: Is this the end of America?
Numerous commentators, including me, have pointed to this never-waste-a-crisis mantra as evidence that Obama’s budget priorities are a great ideological bait-and-switch. He says he wants to fix the financial crisis, but he’s focusing on selling his longstanding liberal agenda on health care, energy, and education as the way to do it, even though his proposals have absolutely nothing to do with addressing the housing and toxic-debt problems that are the direct causes of our predicament. Indeed, some — particularly on Wall Street — would argue that his policies are making the crisis worse.
March 9 (Bloomberg) — Back in the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson gave us the War on Poverty. In the 1970s, Richard Nixon launched the War on Drugs. Now that we have seen President Barack Obama’s first-year legislative agenda, we know what kind of a war he intends to wage.
The illusion that Barack Obama will lead from the economic center has quickly come to an end. Instead of combining the best policies of past Democratic presidents — John Kennedy on taxes, Bill Clinton on welfare reform and a balanced budget, for instance — President Obama is returning to Jimmy Carter’s higher taxes and Mr. Clinton’s draconian defense drawdown.
We just hit another milestone. The market has now fallen farther faster than it did during the Great Crash of 1929-1932.
WASHINGTON – The Senate voted overwhelmingly to preserve thousands of earmarks in a $410 billion spending bill on Tuesday, brushing aside Sen. John McCain’s claim that President Barack Obama and Congress are merely conducting business as usual in a time of economic hardship.
Full article here.
Via “The Corner“:
When Obama had his first press conference, he promised it would be a detailed plan by Geithner the next morning. There was none. The market tanked. It looks as if this administration is entirely at sea on what to do on the principle element of our collapse, the banks, and they may not have any idea is what is scaring the markets. If they don’t, we are all at sea.
When you don’t know what to do, change the subject. Find a scapegoat. Demonize somebody.
That’s been a tried and true tactic for despots and demagogues through the ages and Chris Matthews’ Leg is thrilled to see that Chris, Keith and Rachel got the talking points memo from Rahm Emanuel about diverting attention from the devastating effects of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama TARPorkalypse.
The unexpected bonus for The Leg was seeing RNC chairman Micheal Steele stumble into the trap–inexplicably allowing Rush to be the topic instead of turning the tables and pointing to the staggering hypocrisy of liberals crying about a politically biased voice in the media.
How could AIG’s destruction have been caused by banking regulation? Most people wil probably be surprised by the very idea. After all, they’ve been told that what really happened to AIG involved unregulated credit default swaps, insurance contracts on bonds that AIG sold across the world. They suspect AIG might have been caused by too little regulation.
In fact, much of AIG’s problem was caused by credit default swaps and regulation.