Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Thoughts on the "Recovery" Bill

Are most people still asleep or are they simply choosing not to acknowledge what is happening in the news everyday? As I've said before here on my blog, I stay away from the "political speak" but I've just got to vent about a couple of things. I heard someone say yesterday that when someone gets elected, they'll never be more popular than the day they were elected. I think that's incredibly true. Whether it is President Obama, W, or any other elected official, governor, senator, etc. Now that the inauguration is a month gone by, it really seems that most Americans are still living in the haze and believing all of the hype. Instead of just spreading propaganda and running off at the mouth, let me explain:

If you're not living in a sound-proof box, you've certainly heard critics say that are country is on the path towards socialism. (Soviet Union ring a bell??? USSR???) One of socialism's "features" is one of massive government where "they" are making more and more of your decisions for you and "controlling" more and more of our country's infrastructure. Basically, our basic freedoms that we all hold near and dear are being stripped away one piece at a time. This last week, President Obama flew to Denver to sign the new Economic Recovery bill into law. You may have heard of it before called the "Stimulus Package"...but it's name was changed. Ever wonder why? Pure marketing. That's it. They (the government) needed to "sell" it to the American public and since the stimulus package was getting such a bad rap and people tied it to the last administration, they re-branded it the recovery bill. Still, it's nearly 800 BILLION dollars of money. many zeros are in there? Another way to look at it is $787,000,000,000. Look a little bigger now? When have you seen it shown to you that way?? Next part: where does that come from? We're in big bad debt, aren't we?! The Obama campaign team often mentioned how bad "W" drove us into a horrendous national deficit so you know we're already in the red in our national "checkbook." So, if we don't have any money in the bank, then how on earth does this work? Borrow it from other countries? Well, we're already indebted big time to the big ones and they're hurting, too. Well, the only thing left is to...PRINT some more!!! You know that money tree we all want planted in our yard where we can just walk out and pluck from? We all want one of those. Unfortunately, nothing in life is free like that and this "recovery" money is no exception. Take that horrible deficit and ratchet it up yet again. However, don't expect to see that in the liberal press. That's not worthy of headline news. So who will pay for it eventually? How about my kids, your kids, their kids, and their kids, and their kids, etc. You get the picture. Eventually, it'll get paid for...and it won't come from the money tree on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

So the big issue is the economy and job creation which is the overall goal of the $787,000,000,000, right? On the same day that President Obama jumped in Air Force One and flew to Denver (do you have any idea how much THAT cost??!!!), the stock market dove nearly 300 points. OK, you don't need to understand stocks and Wall St. to "get this." As a previous financial advisor, let me just tell you that the stock market is an "emotional machine." It literally operates on human emotions. If those trading on Wall St. just hear a hint of good or bad news, hear that interest rates might or might not change, or even if a hurricane is approaching oil drilling platforms, the market "reacts" as it thinks it should. It is an emotional animal. So very little of the daily ups and downs are based on fact, but instead on what folks "think" will happen. So Obama signs this thing in Denver and the market dives nearly 300 points. Coincidence? Take it another step further, for a second: one of the goals of the bill is to infuse more $$$ into the banking system and to get the banks lending, right? They (the government) is saying to the banks "Lend some money!!!!" Why? If you and I are borrowing, then we are spending. If we are spending, then we will help the economy "recover." Right now, most Americans are sitting on their hands and not borrowing and spending way less. They want us to stop doing that and get out there and spend. OK, hold that thought for a second. Remember where our whole economic downturn started? It was the mortgage mess. Lenders (banks) were lending to people who shouldn't have been getting the loans and they were defaulting on them (not paying on them). Many got into variable rate loans that became unpayable when those rates went up. The cumulative effect of that crushed our financial system. Sloppy lending practices and giving money to whomever, whenever they wanted it got us into this mess and now, this "recovery" bill's intent is to get the banks to do it again...but this time, with money from the "money tree." Is any of this soaking in? Do you see anything wrong with it? Oh yea, General Motors also announced thousands of more layoffs and also said they need more money. Where does it end? It doesn't. Once the original "bailout" money was handed out to the banks by the Bush administration, it was all downhill from there. Now, the government can't say no. The floodgates are wide open.

Another feature of a socialist environment is "income redistribution." Many call this welfare. Basically, money is taken (in the form of taxes) and "redistributed" to others in our country (ie: free medical, cash assistance, welfare). Take from the "rich" and give to the poor. I'm all for helping out the needy and in fact, I do it for a living working for Uncle Sam. However, I think we all have a job to pull our own weight and do our job to make our great country thrive. It's the blood and guts of good 'ol Americans that made this country great in the first place...not more government. (that's a fact you can't dispute) No American is beneath doing anything. We need to do whatever it takes to be a fruitful member of society. Unfortunately, a lot of people have been handed a bad deck of cards. They may be disabled so bad that there's nothing they can do and I believe we have a duty to care for care for our fellow neighbor. However, there are many who abuse that very system who are NOT doing their part. It's those folks who need to step up and contribute. One other feature of the "recovery" bill are additional checks to those on federal disability. Call it their "stimulus" payment, if you will. I believe it's about $250 over and above their normal checks. The idea? The government hopes that this money will be used to "boost" the economy and will be spent and infused back in. Keep in mind that those in receipt of these checks don't pay taxes because their income is too low to start with. I'm not sure of the correct technical name for this check but I'll make it simple for you to remember...just call it the "IR" check...or "income redistribution" check. Makes sense, right?

I want our government to succeed and to thrive. No one, regardless of party affiliation, should want our government to fail. However, I can't find a glimmer of hope in any of this. I don't see how this bill is going to help our economy, create the millions and millions of jobs it claims it will, or help friends right here in our community get work and pay their mortgage. I'm not a pessimist at all. I'd call myself a realist and one who can look at nearly all things objectively...intelligently...and without prejudice. I really do hope this "bill" works because this funk our country is in is really bad. I do believe everything works in a cycle and we will eventually come out of it. It's just a matter of how long it will take, what it will cost "us" as U.S. citizens, and what we have to go through to get there. I think we're just in the beginning of a long down time. I hope and pray I'm wrong. For me and my family, I'm going to do my best every day and be the best contributing member of society that I can be, for there really is nothing else I can do. I encourage you to do the same.Oh yea, one other tidbit: why did President Obama fly to Denver and sign the bill at a company that makes solar panels? Was it to show a more "green" president? Support alternative forms of energy? Perhaps. However, what you WON'T read in the headlines is this fact: the company he went to has 55 employees. Everyone at this company makes the exact same salary, works the same hours, gets same 6 weeks of vacation per year. Regardless of their job, they get paid the same. They also have a portion of their check held back and given to charity, without their consent or "freedom" of choice to do so, or not to do so. I'm not going to continue to beat a dead horse, but I hope you see the "socialist" structure at this company and don't really think that was some coincidence yet again. I have never heard of a company structure like that in my entire life, but the president found it. Just more food for thought.

I'm sorry if I disappointed some my "regular" readers by venturing away from running for one post, but hey, this blog is about sharing my thoughts, right? Now you know them! But really, running is great! I logged over 50 miles between last Friday and by the time I returned to work on Tuesday. I took yesterday and today off for the sole purpose to rebuild and recover. I didn't want to but I was begging for injury if I didn't. I'll hit the trails for 3 hours tomorrow, though, and from what I hear in the forecast, it'll be in fresh snow once again. SPRING, please come to Ohio!

Happy Trails, everyone!


Kron (Chris Z) said...

Our new President has proclaimed that it has been the “failed Republican policies of the last eight years” that has brought this economic crisis upon us. Why then would he seek their counsel in crafting a solution? A bipartisan solution would, by virtue of the President’s own words, be flawed.

After correctly barring Republicans from the process, how then can Democrats claim that Republican opposition to the stimulus was completely partisan?

The President tells us that paying bonuses that were contractually due to Wall Street executives is “shameful”, and the “height of irresponsibility”.

GM, Ford and Chrysler all lost money last year. Is it irresponsible for them to honor the contracts they have with employees?

If the height of irresponsibility is measured as determined by the President, where does non-payment of child support fall? Where does buying your children toys, games, ear rings and tattoos before you buy them health insurance fall? Where does dealing drugs fall? Where does assaulting the elderly fall?

Nominating tax cheats for cabinet positions is shameful. Selling Senate seats is shameful.

President Bush’s words were dissected and evaluated until he was ultimately made out to be either a fool or a demon. To let our new President’s words go unchallenged is shameful and the height of irresponsibility.

When the President calls Wall Street bonuses “the height of irresponsibility” and “shameful”, I have to wonder if he understands what he himself presides over.

Collecting and spending upwards of 700 BILLION dollars to be elected to a job that pays just 400 thousand dollars seems to me to be shameful. To ignore the hundreds of billions of dollars of wasteful spending that comes out of the federal government annually is the height of irresponsibility.

It is time for the President to denounce Washington instead of trumpeting the populist themes that truly divide the country.

Furthermore, our new President is sending 17,000more troops into Afghanistan but he has not articulated an exit strategy. That’s not change!

He signed a spending bill, which is what a stimulus bill is, totaling almost 800 billion dollars and tells us it might not work. That’s not change!

He has not been transparent in his dealings. That’s not change!

He speaks well but says nothing. That is change.

One last thing to think about, I just saw the ad about "going green" by switching to paperless billing. So if a company saves money, and I get to feel good about saving the planet. How about passing those savings along to your customers? Our President just scolded greedy Wall Street. Do you want to be next?

God Bless you and your family Nick!
Thank you for your service.

Lloyd said...


The recovery bill is a lot to stomach, so to speak. Thanks for your opinions on it.

My take: There's no partisan blame or credit for the mess the economy. It's not possible to point the finger at one political party or leader.

I don't believe the solution lies in choosing between the increase or decrease of spending and taxing.

The problem is systemic and might be argued that deregulation caused the collapse of the financial system. But what good is that to point fingers now?

Financial companies have and will continue to have bad balance sheets that will only come to surface when their holdings become illiquid. It's a bad mess.

I'm not sure if you've seen the Frontlines report on the banking collapse, but it's a good report. Linked below:

jeff said...

brilliant. the thread woven through that post is the responsibility that we each have as members of society, to pull our own weight.

i think it's funny that i found this post through a friend in the uk who shared this on google reader.

keep running and never apologize about sharing your thoughts.