Monday, February 23, 2009

My views on Obama's Stimulus bill...

If you don't feel like reading a lot, check back tomorrow... I'll have more pictures. This is going to be a long one...

Plenty of controversy in the news (click here) and everywhere else, about Obama's stimulus bill.

I was watching Sunday Morning news shows, and they were talking about the stimulus bill, and I decided I wanted to read it. Because I want to make up my own mind about it.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm purely a liberal democrat. Which will probably be obvious. It's not very "politically correct". Well, it's better now than it was Pre-Bush. But anyway, I believe in big government, I understand the reason for taxes -- not that I WANT to be taxed to death, but I understand it. I like the things taxes pay for, like roads and schools and protected wild areas. And I WANT someone taking care of the people who can't take care of themselves. There are often good reasons why someone needs a hand. I'm not against Republicans, but I'm a Democrat.

I am also someone who sincerely believes that there are more than two sides to every story. Just because I'm a Democrat, and a bleeding heart, and just because I WANT to believe it's gonna all work out fine, doesn't mean I want to be brainwashed.

I don't want to be "spun". I don't want to just listen to the Democrats and believe that it will all be fine because Obama's taking care of us now. I also don't want to just listen to the Republicans and believe that we are in serious trouble because Obama is creating huge inflation problems that are going to be more and more difficult to recover from. I want to make up my own mind.

I think most people want to make up their own mind, and it's a great thing that you can find the bill on line so easily. I was impressed by that. If it's government by the people and for the people, the people need easy access to what's going on, right?

But most people (well, me) spend all of the energy they (I) have on family and job, television and blogging, and don't have extra brain cells to even THINK about what's going on with the country. I think that's why we're all so susceptible to spin. I hate to think that I've let spin determine my opinion about something, but I do it all the time. Because it's too hard to get the kid to his doctor's appointment, make dinner, finish the laundry, never mind trying to figure out if the country is going in the right direction or down the hill in a hand basket.

(Of course, it's a litttttle late for me to be reading this stimulus thing now that it's already passed, isn't it? :D)

I thought it would be a good idea to have my own opinions, so I could be less affected by the spin.

So I really tried. And I made it through the first 17 pages. But I can tell you, I probably won't be reading much more. So this is as good as it gets, probably. Starting with Div. A, Appropriations, Title 1, Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related.

1. Those numbers mean nothing to me. I'm only a regular person. The only budget I manage is my household budget, and we aren't talking billions, we're talking hundreds. There is a difference in proportion that is impossible for me to grasp.

2. 24,000,000. for Agricultural buildings and facilities for construction and repair and improvements. Well, who is getting this money? What buildings? Do we need those buildings? It makes sense to do upkeep on assets that we already own; better than having them fall down and then we have to build new ones. And I guess it will help construction workers keep jobs, right? And some farmers maybe? Hope so. I hope no one from the Agricultural department decides to just funnel it into his farm, which he owns because it's a tax deduction because he grows tomatoes and keeps a pet sheep out back. I hope someone's watching where the money goes...

3. 22,500,000 for oversight and audit of programs, grants and activities funded in this act. That sounds like a good idea, someone to keep everyone honest. I hope the auditor is honest.

4. 176,000,000 for work on deferred maintenance at Agricultural Research Service Facilities.... I get that. Deferred maintenance is like when I needed a new roof, and kept putting it off until it was the right time to do it. And I guess it's a good time to pay roofers, when they are really out of work because nobody's building new houses right now. And I would assume that Bush probably deferred a LOT of maintenance, to balance the budget with all of that war expense going on.

5. .... the next part of that was "... provided that priority be given to critical deferred maintenance projects that can be completed, and to activities that can commence promptly." That seems like a good idea; don't start it if you can't finish it, and we need to start hiring people RIGHT NOW.

6. "50,000,000 to maintain and modernize information technology." In agriculture? I guess so; everyone uses computers now, right? And hopefully that will hire some IT guys for a while.

Allright, I just took a break for dinner. This is already a blog of mammoth proportions, and I am only on page three or something of the bill. I didn't find out where any of this money is coming from (my friends tell me it's coming straight off the printing press, manufactured just for this.) I didn't find out what happens when all of these dollars hit the economy and help us a little for now, and then the bubble bursts again next year.

I've gotta just sum it up.

There are so many facets to this mess that I can't see all of them. I bet no one can. I hope Obama and his advisors can see more of them than I do.

The rest of us will just have to keep crossing our fingers.


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