Friday, February 13, 2009

No Republicans voted for the legislation

House passes $787 billion stimulus

Baltimore Business Journal - by Kent Hoover Washington Bureau Chief

The House passed a $787 billion economic stimulus bill Friday by a 246-183 margin.

No Republicans voted for the legislation.

Senate passage of the 1,071-page American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) is expected later Friday.

The legislation includes billions of dollars in spending on items including infrastructure, education, tax breaks for individuals and businesses, help for unemployed workers and aid for state governments.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the the bill can be “summed up in one word: jobs.” The White House estimates the legislation will save or create 3.5 million jobs over the next two years.

Republicans contended the bill will do little to help the economy and will hurt the country in the long run because of the debt burden it will add to taxpayers.

This legislation will not put people to work right away,” said House Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va. “Nor does it contain the time-honored incentives for work, investment, innovation and job creation that are proven to stimulate growth.

Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, conceded the bill is not perfect but said no legislation is. If anything, he said, the legislation is not large enough because of cuts made to win Senate approval.

“You show me a smaller problem we have to confront, and I’ll be happy to produce a smaller bill,” Obey said.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Data base to reduce healthcare costs how will it work

So how is this data base supposed to work - when everyone and their brother can get information?

maybe this article will help explain it, from a fellow blogger

UCI students victims of health insurer leak – United Healthcare

After several students had issued filing tax returns, the investigation is now pointed towards United HealthCare. After not being able to file tax returns and finding out someone else had used their information to file fake returns, the criminal investigation continued. So far, all the victims were covered by United Health Care after running a series of data queries to find what they all had in common.
As it appears now, the campus systems did not have a leak, and the jury is still out until finalized. It makes you wonder how safe is all your personal data and information and what are the full efforts that can be taken. When it comes to personal health records, I don’t think I am willing to trust an insurer at this time and would prefer either a Microsoft or Google account, or perhaps even a usb stick to carry with me.

IRVINE – A computer security breach at a health insurance company was responsible for an identity theft at UC Irvine that affected 1,132 students, and led to fake tax returns filed for at least 155 of them, officials said Thursday.
A criminal investigation is still underway in the case, which came from a leak at Minnesota-based UnitedHealthcare, the insurance provider for UCI graduate students.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Japan’s Big-Works Stimulus Is Lesson

Japan’s Big-Works Stimulus Is Lesson
Shiho Fukada for The New York Times

The soaring Marine Bridge in Hamada, Japan, built as a public works project, was almost devoid of traffic on a recent morning.

And it is not just the bridge. Two decades of generous public works spending have showered this city of 61,000 mostly graying residents with a highway, a two-lane bypass, a university, a prison, a children’s art museum, the Sun Village Hamada sports center, a bright red welcome center, a ski resort and an aquarium featuring three ring-blowing Beluga whales.

Nor is this remote port in western Japan unusual. Japan’s rural areas have been paved over and filled in with roads, dams and other big infrastructure projects, the legacy of trillions of dollars spent to lift the economy from a severe downturn caused by the bursting of a real estate bubble in the late 1980s. During those nearly two decades, Japan accumulated the largest public debt in the developed world — totaling 180 percent of its $5.5 trillion economy — while failing to generate a convincing recovery.

Now, as the Obama administration embarks on a similar path, proposing to spend more than $820 billion to stimulate the sagging American economy, many economists are taking a fresh look at Japan’s troubled experience. While Japan is not exactly comparable to the United States — especially as a late developer with a history of heavy state investment in infrastructure — economists say it can still offer important lessons about the pitfalls, and chances for success, of a stimulus package in an advanced economy.

In a nutshell, Japan’s experience suggests that infrastructure spending, while a blunt instrument, can help revive a developed economy, say many economists and one very important American official: Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who was a young financial attaché in Japan during the collapse and subsequent doldrums. One lesson Mr. Geithner has said he took away from that experience is that spending must come in quick, massive doses, and be continued until recovery takes firm root.

Moreover, it matters what gets built: Japan spent too much on increasingly wasteful roads and bridges, and not enough in areas like education and social services, which studies show deliver more bang for the buck than infrastructure spending.

“It is not enough just to hire workers to dig holes and then fill them in again,” said Toshihiro Ihori, an economics professor at the University of Tokyo. “One lesson from Japan is that public works get the best results when they create something useful for the future.”

In total, Japan spent $6.3 trillion on construction-related public investment between 1991 and September of last year, according to the Cabinet Office. The spending peaked in 1995 and remained high until the early 2000s, when it was cut amid growing concerns about ballooning budget deficits. More recently, the governing Liberal Democratic Party has increased spending again to revive the economy and the party’s own flagging popularity.

In the end, say economists, it was not public works but an expensive cleanup of the debt-ridden banking system, combined with growing exports to China and the United States, that brought a close to Japan’s Lost Decade. This has led many to conclude that spending did little more than sink Japan deeply into debt, leaving an enormous tax burden for future generations.

In the United States, it has also led to calls in Congress, particularly by Republicans, not to repeat the errors of Japan’s failed economic stimulus. They argue that it makes more sense to cut taxes, and let people decide how to spend their own money, than for the government to decide how to invest public funds. Japan put more emphasis on increased spending than tax cuts during its slump, but ultimately did reduce consumption taxes to encourage consumer spending as well.

Economists tend to divide into two camps on the question of Japan’s infrastructure spending: those, many of them Americans like Mr. Geithner, who think it did not go far enough; and those, many of them Japanese, who think it was a colossal waste.

Among ordinary Japanese, the spending is widely disparaged for having turned the nation into a public-works-based welfare state and making regional economies dependent on Tokyo for jobs. Much of the blame has fallen on the Liberal Democratic Party, which has long used government spending to grease rural vote-buying machines that help keep the party in power.

But some Western economists who have studied Japan’s experience say the stimulus accomplished more than it is now given credit for. At a minimum, they argue, it saved the economy from an outright, 1930s-style collapse.

Moreover, they say, any direct comparison of Japan and the United States is inevitably misleading, because Japan has spent so much more over the years on infrastructure. Having neglected its roads, bridges, water treatment plants and more over the years, the United States is bound to generate a greater payback for such spending than would Japan.

Beyond that, proponents of Keynesian-style stimulus spending in the United States say that Japan’s approach failed to accomplish more not because of waste but because it was never tried wholeheartedly. They argue that instead of making one big push to pump up the economy with economic shock therapy, Japan spread its spending out over several years, diluting the effects.

After years of heavy spending in the first half of the 1990s, economists say, Japan’s leaders grew concerned about growing budget deficits and cut back too soon, snuffing out the recovery in its infancy, much as Roosevelt did to the American economy in 1936. Growth that, by 1996, had reached 3 percent was suffocated by premature spending cuts and tax increases, they say. While spending remained high in the late 1990s, Japan never gave the economy another full-fledged push, these economists say.

They also say that the size of Japan’s apparently successful stimulus in the early 1990s suggests that the United States will need to spend far more than the current $820 billion to get results. Between 1991 and 1995, Japan spent some $2.1 trillion on public works, in an economy roughly half as large as that of the United States, according to the Cabinet Office. “Stimulus worked in Japan when it was tried,” said David Weinstein, a professor of Japanese economics at Columbia University. “Japan’s lesson is that, if anything, the current U.S. stimulus will not be enough.”

Most Japanese economists have tended to take a bleaker view of their nation’s track record, saying that Japan spent more than enough money, but wasted too much of it on roads to nowhere and other unneeded projects.

Dr. Ihori of the University of Tokyo did a survey of public works in the 1990s, concluding that the spending created almost no additional economic growth. Instead of spreading beneficial ripple effects across the economy, he found that the spending actually led to declines in business investment by driving out private investors. He also said job creation was too narrowly focused in the construction industry in rural areas to give much benefit to the overall economy.

He agreed with other critics that the 1990s stimulus failed because too much of it went to roads and bridges, overbuilding this already heavily developed nation. Critics also said decisions on how to spend the money were made behind closed doors by bureaucrats, politicians and the construction industry, and often reflected political considerations more than economic. Dr. Ihori said the United States appeared to be striking a better balance by investing in new energy and information-technology infrastructure as well as replacing aging infrastructure.

Japan’s experience also seems to argue for spending heavily to promote social development. A 1998 report by the Japan Institute for Local Government, a nonprofit policy research group, found that every 1 trillion yen, or about $11.2 billion, spent on social services like care for the elderly and monthly pension payments added 1.64 trillion yen in growth. Financing for schools and education delivered an even bigger boost of 1.74 trillion yen, the report found.

But every 1 trillion yen spent on infrastructure projects in the 1990s increased Japan’s gross domestic product, a measure of its overall economic size, by only 1.37 trillion yen, mainly by creating jobs and other improvements like reducing travel times.

Economists said the finding suggested that while infrastructure spending may yield strong results for developing nations, creating jobs in higher-paying knowledge-based services like health care and education can bring larger benefits to advanced economies like Japan, with its aging population.

“In hindsight, Japan should have built public works that address the problems it faces today, like aging, energy and food sources,” said Takehiko Hobo, a professor emeritus of public finance at Shimane University in Matsue, the main city of Shimane. “This obsession with building roads is a holdover from an earlier era.”

The fruits of that obsession are apparent across Shimane, a rural prefecture about the size of Delaware where Hamada is located. Each town seems to have its own art museum, domed athletic center and government-built tourist attraction like the Nima Sand Museum, a giant hourglass in a glass pyramid. The prefecture, with 740,000 residents, even has three commercial airports able to handle jets, including the $250 million Hagi-Iwami Airport, which sits eerily empty with just two flights per day.

In Hamada, residents say the city’s most visible “hakomono,” the Japanese equivalent of “white elephant,” was its own bridge to nowhere, the $70 million Marine Bridge, whose 1,006-foot span sat almost completely devoid of traffic on a recent morning. Built in 1999, the bridge links the city to a small, sparsely populated island already connected by a shorter bridge.

“The bridge? It’s a dud,” said Masahiro Shimada, 70, a retired city official who was fishing near the port. “Maybe we could use it for bungee jumping,” he joked.

Koichi Matsuoka, a retired professor of policy at the University of Shimane in Hamada, said useless projects like the Marine Bridge were the reason that years of huge spending had brought few long-term benefits here. While Shimane has had the highest per capita spending on public works in Japan for the last 18 years, thanks to powerful local politicians like the deceased former Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita, its per capita annual income of $26,000 ranked it 40th among Japan’s 47 prefectures, he said. He said the spending had left Shimane $11 billion in debt, twice the size of the prefectural government’s annual budget.

Still, local officials in Hamada warn that their city’s economy will collapse without public works, though they recognize the spending cannot continue forever. They offered their own lesson to American communities in the Obama era: when you choose public works projects, be sure to get ones with lasting economic impact.

Among Hamada’s many public works projects, the biggest benefits had come from the prison, the university and the Aquas aquarium, with its popular whales, they said. These had created hundreds of permanent jobs and attracted students and families with children to live in a city where nearly a third of residents were over 65.

“Roads and bridges are attractive, but they create jobs only during construction,” said Shunji Nakamura, chief of the city’s industrial policy section. “You need projects with good jobs that will last through a bad economy.”

Makiko Inoue contributed reporting.

The first (less than) 20 days

We have the first non-white president.

He campaigned on change - so how are we doing?

I would say change is in the air - lots of change - but it's not what the public thought they would get when they voted for him.

Too bad this soon, less than 20 days after this great moment, his presidency is getting blasted, and much of the media is turning on his program.

We are already dealing with his own party betraying his campaign mission with personal pork; a plan that does almost nothing until 2011; and a bigger debt load than this country has ever seen, with social programs that will force, as many annalists are saying, a depression to rival the Great Depression.
- a predicted outcome, and with much regret conservatives are restraining from saying "I told you so." But. Public polls for his stimulus program resemble falling rocks.
The change we got was more pork, and less effective legislation.

The people responsible for vetting potential cabinet members have failed him in recommending cabinet choices, and he's got at least 10 cabinet picks that will not pass ethics standards, before they are even fully reviewed.
The change we got was more corrupt people being proposed for cabinet offices.

He has met with the military leaders, and now knows we went into the war because if we did not, Israel would have nuked the country and 10,000,000 would have died (yes, I got that from someone deep inside)and he has had to back pedal on the withdrawal promise. He has proposed adding many more troops to Afghanistan, which the Russians already tried, and the Brits tried before them, and both failed. I spoke yesterday to a former ranking 30 year officer from Pakistan, who knows the area almost as well as he knows his hand. We are fighting against people who need no supplies, live off the land, have held a rifle since age 10, consider it an honor to kill another (American Indians anyone?) and we expect to maintain a supply line for 5,000 miles and beat them?
The change we are getting is greater troop deployment, and greater expense, with greater lives lost.

Soon he will be dealing with the fallout of having detainees released, and them creating more terror; yes they were released during the Bush administration, and yes the terror is being committed now and then; but no one will care about that. It will have the effect of throwing the closing of the detention camp into question.
The change we will get will be from a prevention to a post act terrorism world. We will wait until something happens, investigate who did it, try to decide who is responsible, go RE-capture them, put on a trial, and let the liberal lawyers argue that it was the trauma of American actions that made him/her do it. Yes - this is a prediction, but did Clinton not have Osama and let him go?!! Remember the first World Trade Center bombing?!! Then everyone will point fingers at everyone else for letting them go. And if I were a victim of a subsequent attack - I'd be 1st in line to sue the asshole responsible for letting the terrorist go.

So - we got change - and all those who voted for the man just because you wanted change - we have not yet had 20 days - how do you like it so far?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

stress management technique

Just in case you are having a rough day, here is a stress management technique recommended in all the latest psychological journals. The funny thing is that it really does work and will make you smile.

1. Picture yourself lying on your belly on a warm rock that hangs out over a crystal clear stream.
2. Picture yourself with both your hands dangling in the cool running water.
3. Birds are sweetly singing in the cool mountain air.
4. No one knows your secret place.
5. You are in total seclusion from that hectic place called the world.
6. The soothing sound of a gentle water fall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.
7. The water is so crystal clear that you can easily make out the face of the person you are holding underwater.

It really does work.

You're smiling already.

Feel free to forward this if you know others who might benefit from this technique.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Economic Stimulus Payment

This year, taxpayers will receive another Economic Stimulus Payment.

This is a very exciting program from the new administration. Please note this is one of the first changes from business as usual as promised by the new President.

WHEN WILL THE STIMULUS PACKAGE "KICK IN"? - An initial Congressional Budget Office analysis found that only $26 billion out of $274 billion (7%) in infrastructure spending would be delivered into the economy by next fall. An update determined that just 64% of the stimulus would reach the economy by 2011.

Since the majority of the infrastructure spending will not arrive until AFTER 2011 - it is up to the taxpayer to spend the next stimulus check wisely to start the economy.

This year, taxpayers will receive another Economic Stimulus Payment, late 2009.

As I said, this is a very exciting program from the new administration. Please support the new President.

In Part 1 I will explain this program using the Q and A format.

Please note that those who did not follow the recommendations of Part 2 may be held liable for prolonging the recession.

Q. The Stimulus package is said to be 1.2 Trillion dollars, and it's supposed to jump start the economy, so why is there only $ 274 Billion in infrastructure spending?
A. Because we are also going to give you another Economic Stimulus Payment.

Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China ?
A. Shut up.

Q. So where is all of the other money going?
A. To fix things we wanted fixed but could not get approved thru the last 8 years.

Q. Will that create jobs?
A. A few, for our favorite people.

Q. And isn't all of this the same method attempted by the Bush administration ?
A. Security! Security! Remove this conservative Republican hate monger!

Part 2

Part 2 is some helpful advice on how to best help the US economy by
doing your patriotic part and spend your stimulus check wisely:

Please note:

If you spend the money at Wal-Mart, all the money will go to China.

If you spend it on gasoline, it will go to the Arabs.

If you purchase a computer, it will go to India.

If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras, Chile
and Guatemala (unless you buy organic).

If you buy a car, it will go to Japan.

If you purchase useless crap, it will go to Taiwan.

And none of it will help the American economy.

We need to keep that money here in America. Here are options on how to spend it wisely, so those dollars stay in the American economy.

You can do that by spending it on:
upgrading your boat,
painting your house,
buying your landscape plants,
swap meets,
yard sales,
going to a baseball game,
corner restaurants.
and local Church suppers,

For those less Godly, try spending it on
American strippers, dancers, prostitutes,
pot (West Coast grown),
domestic beer,
whiskey and wine (again, domestic ONLY),
getting tattoos, or by buying American guns, since these are some of the few businesses still in the US.

Enjoy your stimulus payment - now do your part in supporting the new administration !!

More on the Stimulus Package and new Bills

So what does this all look like?

from Financial E news

THOUGHT PROCESS - Here is a hint to the thought process behind the economic stimulus package from the "second most powerful person in America"...the President's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel:
"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before. This is an opportunity. What used to be long-term problems -- be they in the health care area, energy area, education area, fiscal area, tax area, regulatory reform area -- things that we had postponed for too long that were long-term are now immediate and must be dealt with. And this crisis provides the opportunity for us, as I would say, the opportunity to do things that you could not do before."

- Where do we get the money to do this? Just print more? Spending-stimulus advocates claim that government can "inject" new money into the economy, increasing demand and therefore production. This raises the obvious question: Where does the government acquire the money it pumps into the economy? Congress does not have a vault of money waiting to be distributed. Therefore, every dollar Congress "injects" into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. No new spending power is created. It is merely redistributed from one group of people to another.

HOW MUCH IS $1.2 TRILLION? - "All sides agree the plan carries a hefty price tag: It will be paid for with borrowed funds and could swell an already mammoth $1.2 trillion deficit forecast for this year to more than $2 trillion." Well, it is hard to get your arms around, but $1.2 trillion is enough to pay $4,000 to every man, woman and child in the U.S.

- The stimulus legislation currently offers a payroll tax cut of $500 to individuals who earn less than $75,000 a year, and a $1,000 credit to married couples who earn less than $150,000 a year. Since many of the people who would be eligible pay no income taxes, a cynic might dub part of the cuts as welfare. The final version may also include an AMT "fix," at least for 2009.

SCHIP PROGRAM - Both the House and Senate have passed H.R. 2, the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, legislation supported by the President. Funded by an increase in the federal tobacco tax, the bill authorizes the expenditure of $32 billion over the next 4 years to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program to an estimated 11 million children from 7 million today.

If you do the math - that is 3,000 per child in federal monies, plus matching state funds

Monday, February 2, 2009

10 Reasons to Whack Obama's Stimulus Plan

U.S.News & World Report
10 Reasons to Whack Obama's Stimulus Plan
Tuesday January 27, 3:45 pm ET
By James Pethokoukis
Some people are going to oppose President Obama's ginormous stimulus package just because they're on a different political team. But when you look at the economic evidence, it sure seems like an economic recovery package that's heavy on government spending and light on tax cuts is just the opposite of what we should be doing right now. Try this closing argument on for size:
1) A 2005 study by Andrew Mountford and Harald Uhlig "analyzed three types of policy shocks: a deficit-financed spending increase, a balanced budget spending increase (financed with higher taxes) and a deficit-financed tax cut, in which revenues increase but government spending stays unchanged. We found that a deficit-spending shock stimulates the economy for the first 4 quarters but only weakly compared to that for a deficit-financed tax cut." In other words, FDR vs. Clinton vs. Reagan, Reagan wins.
2) Harvard economist Robert Barro looked at the multiplier effect of World War II military spending -- supposedly the Mother of All Stimulus Plans and found that "wartime production siphoned off resources from other economic uses -- there was a dampener, rather than a multiplier." Barro prefers eliminating the corporate income tax to massive government spending.
3) Alberto Alesina of Harvard and Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago want to address the fear and confidence issue by creating "the incentive for people to take more risk and move their savings from government bonds to risky assets. There is no better way to encourage this than a temporary elimination of the capital-gains tax for all the investments begun during 2009 and held for at least two years."
4) An initial CBO analysis found that a mere $26 billion out of $274 billion in infrastructure spending, just 7 percent, would be delivered into the economy by next fall. An update determined that just 64 percent of the stimulus would reach the economy by 2011.
5) University of Chicago economist and Nobel laureate Gary Becker doubts whether all this stimulus spending will do much to lower unemployment: "For one thing, the true value of these government programs may be limited because they will be put together hastily, and are likely to contain a lot of political pork and other inefficiencies. For another thing, with unemployment at 7% to 8% of the labor force, it is impossible to target effective spending programs that primarily utilize unemployed workers, or underemployed capital. Spending on infrastructure, and especially on health, energy, and education, will mainly attract employed persons from other activities to the activities stimulated by the government spending. The net job creation from these and related spending is likely to be rather small. In addition, if the private activities crowded out are more valuable than the activities hastily stimulated by this plan, the value of the increase in employment and GDP could be very small, even negative."
6) Christina Romer, the new head of the Council of Economic Advisers, coauthored a paper in which the following was written about taxes: "Tax increases appear to have a very large, sustained, and highly significant negative impact on output. Since most of our exogenous tax changes are in fact reductions, the more intuitive way to express this result is that tax cuts have very large and persistent positive output effects." And former Bush economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey tack on this addendum: "The macroeconomic benefits of tax cuts can be two to three times larger than common estimates of the benefits related to spending increases. The relative advantage of tax cuts over spending is even clearer when the recession is centered on the household balance sheet."
7) Economists Susan Woodward and Robert Hall find that the multiplier effect from infrastructure spending maybe just 1-for-1, less than that 3-to-1 ratio for tax cuts that Romer found: "We believe that the one-for-one rule derived from wartime increases in military spending would also apply to increases in infrastructure spending in a stimulus package. We should not count on any inducement of higher consumption from the infrastructure stimulus."
8) Economist John Taylor thinks it better to let the Federal Reserve deal with the short-term problems in the economy, while fiscal policy should attend to long-term issues: "In the current context of the U.S. economy, it seems best to let fiscal policy have its main countercyclical impact through the automatic stabilizer ... It seems hard to improve on this performance with a more active discretionary fiscal policy, and an activist discretionary fiscal policy might even make the job of monetary authorities more difficult. It would be appropriate in the present American context, for discretionary fiscal policy to be saved explicitly for longer-term issues, requiring less frequent changes. Examples of such a longer-term focus include fiscal policy proposals to balance the non-Social Security budget over the next ten years, to reduce marginal tax rates for long run economic efficiency, or even to reform the tax system and Social Security."
9) Massive stimulus didn't work in the Great Depression. As this Heritage Foundation study notes: "After the stock market collapse in 1929, the Hoover Administration increased federal spending by 47 percent over the following three years. As a result, federal spending increased from 3.4 percent of GDP in 1930 to 6.9 percent in 1932 and reached 9.8 percent by 1940. That same year-- 10 years into the Great Depression--America's unemployment rate stood at 14.6 percent." Same goes for Japan and its Great Stagnation of the 1990s.
10) Olivier Blanchard, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, coauthored a paper which found "that both increases in taxes and increases in government spending have a strong negative effect on private investment spending."

Bottom line: There is another model out there. One that worked in 2003, 1997 and 1981. But will America use it?


An initial CBO analysis found that a mere $26 billion out of $274 billion in infrastructure spending, just 7 percent, would be delivered into the economy by next fall. An update determined that just 64 percent of the stimulus would reach the economy by 2011.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

No Earmarks was the Presidential Promise

Let's see if he keeps his word - If not - I expect everyone who voted for him because of that promise to raise all kinds of fuss - because they were fooled again.

from one of my news release sources, Financial E News:

– Under the guise of "stimulus" and a Presidential promise of no earmarks, the House has passed President Obama's "emergency" bill that includes the following. The expectation is that the Senate will remove a number of these appropriations, but time will tell.
  • $200 million to rehabilitate the National Mall.
  • $276 million to fix the computer systems at the State Department.
  • $650 million to repair dilapidated Forest Service facilities.
  • $50 million outlay for the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • $44 million for repairs at the Agriculture Department headquarters.
  • $336 million for sexually transmitted disease efforts.
  • $360 million for new child care centers at military bases.
  • $1.8 billion to repair National Park Service facilities.
  • $276 million to update technology at the State Department.
  • $500 million for the Transportation Security Administration to install bomb detectors at airports.
  • $1.5 billion for a "carbon-capturing contest."
  • $600 million for General Services Administration to replace older vehicles with alternative fuel vehicles.
  • $2.5 billion to upgrade low-income housing.
  • $400 million for NASA scientists to conduct climate change research.
  • $426 million to construct facilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • $4.1 billion for "neighborhood stabilization activities"...groups like ACORN.
  • $572 million for the Coast Guard for "acquisition, construction, & improvements."
  • $800 million to clean up Superfund sites.
  • $150 million for the Coast Guard to repair or remove bridges deemed a hazard to navigation.
  • $6.7 billion to renovate and improve energy efficiency at federal buildings.
  • $400 million to replace the Social Security Administration's 30-year-old National Computer Center.
One could argue the value to society of any or all of the above. One could also argue that some of them will result in job creation. The question, however, is to what degree in the shorter term this spending package will help the tens of thousands of Americans who have lost their private-sector jobs, including the 100,000 plus just last week.