A Mark Steyn Masterpiece on The Stimulus Bill Posted by Former Author on 31 January, 2009 at 8:41 pm. 74 comments already! [DELETED BY AUTHOR] Mike's America says: February 2, 2009 at 10:09 am @blast: Unending Bush Bashing is not a debate and we are ALL tired of it. Give it a rest or else. MataHarley says: February 2, 2009 at 10:31 am *There’s” the James Manning I remember… LOL If there is to be this massive amount of spending, there needs to be more time to see just how they are spending it, and what it is supposed to “create” in jobs. Do we really need to expand government jobs? Do we place such faith in temporary jobs if they do not lead to more permanent jobs? And shouldn’t we be informed on how many of each are in that promising “job creation” figure? Agreed that the past 12 years have been the economic snowball from hell that smacked reality in the our faces a year and a half ago…. under the Bush Administration. I do not agree with blast that this is an onus borne just by Bush and the GOP for their failure to stave off the inevitable. I place even more blame on Congress… *both* parties…. for this. There were half-hearted tries in 2003 and 2005 by Bush and some GOP voices. The did not get enough support from their own, or the Dems. Greenspan was majorly in error with his handling of the interest rates, but had Bush replaced him with Bernanke sooner, I doubt it would have been handled any better. Perhaps we would have just seen banking “federalized” a lot sooner. Also, blast… I really can’t agree with the “meaning of *is*” type argument that Obama’s spending isn’t a reality because Congress hasn’t passed the bill… This is a nit pick thing, guy. What is obvious is it’s not a matter of “if”, but “when and how much”. So if you want to play the game that Obama’s pushing and prodding for big spending doesn’t count until he signs the bill, you may be technically correct. But you are still far from the mark in defending his plans in spending. Something that will be easily achieved in the first two years with the Congressional composition. I have no doubts that under this President, we will see the budget astronomically increased for social welfare, expensive and inefficient cars and alternative energy, affirmative action administration and increased programs, and more Education Dept money being thrown down the drain. But if you want to deal with he’s done, and doing…. He’s increased international spending for abortion by lifting the bans. The first bill out of the gate was the Lily Ledbetter, increasing litigation rights (and thereby more costs, as litigation usually begats). He’s pushing Congress to pass the porkulus, and tho it doesn’t need the GOP approval, they are slinging media mud at anyone who opposes it as those advocating for America’s economic failure. In the meantime, I’ve seen a couple of articles over the past few days that indicates Obama might be rethinking his Afghanistan “surge”. Now I wonder just what he does have planned for the military defense budget. Not sure what the financial repercussions are going to be for transferring, trying and holding terror suspects on US soil and running them thru our court systems, but I doubt it’s going to be cheaper than military tribunals. Call me old fashioned, but I believe my federal government is supposed to safeguard our nation and print money. The rest of their dalliance I just consider part of their decades old over reach for power. Just like the New Deal stepped up that interference and control considerably in a short time… and continued a slow increase… I think this Obama term is going to result in another high speed boost in federal control. And I, for one, don’t like it. And oh, BTW, Eric #3. If you knew anything about FEMA’s organization prior to Bush’s administration, you’d know they were inefficient (as most federal departments) before Katrina. They have, however, become far more efficient after Katrina. It’s not a Bush creation, it was a Bush inheritance.. that has been improved. Katrina put far more demands on FEMA than ever experienced. Ice storms in Kentucky should be a breeze after Katrina. However in order for FEMA to work, the lower local, county and state authorities must do their bit as well. I believe the appropriate criticism should be directed to the press… who publicly blamed Bush for FEMA’s performance and accused him of racism, and yet give Obama as pass for even less publicly demonstrated concern for the citizens of Kentucky. blast says: February 2, 2009 at 10:52 am Mata: Also, blast… I really can’t agree with the “meaning of *is*” type argument that Obama’s spending isn’t a reality because Congress hasn’t passed the bill… This is a nit pick thing, guy. What is obvious is it’s not a matter of “if”, but “when and how much”. I hear you, don’t get me wrong, the idea of stimulus is sickening in the first place, secondly, the package that passed the house is atrocious. I think Pelosi from the ‘get go’ is the biggest idiot on the planet for including some of the pork that got into the bill… some of which was yanked out because of bad PR. What are they thinking! In the risk of being censored… BUSH BASHING BILE DELETED james manning says: February 2, 2009 at 11:13 am If there were an easy solution to this we would have done it by now. Nancy P. is tone deaf and that’s why we have this bill. But something needs to get done because we are shedding jobs very fast and people are losing their homes at record numbers. I’m not an economist so I really can say what should happen. @Mata, I haven’t gone anywhere it’s just that anytime I disagree with you guys I get insulted as Hard Right did in another post. Ron says: February 2, 2009 at 11:28 am To James: Hard Right is a lunatic and does not represent the true quality of authors and posters on FA. Mata, Wordsmith, Curt, Rob, Scott, Rocky B., Aye, Missy…and sometimes Mike A (when he’s taken his Prozac) are examples of people who are open to debate, even if they don’t agree with you, without being insulting. Of course if you start out with an insulting tone, you’re pretty much dead meat. Anyway my point being, Hard Right is the angry little man who gets off through insults and jabs. So just ignore him. Ron Aye says: February 2, 2009 at 11:41 am @Ron: Of course if you start out with an insulting tone, you’re pretty much dead meat. That made me laugh. I needed it today. Thanks. @james manning: I haven’t gone anywhere it’s just that anytime I disagree with you guys I get insulted as Hard Right did in another post. Callouses man. You gotta grow yourself some callouses and sharpen your elbows. Don’t make yourself a stranger. With a little work, we could turn you into a fine conservative. 🙂 The secret to getting this economy back on track is three fold: 1) Sensible, across the board tax cuts including, but not limited to, capital gains, business, personal income, real estate, etc. 2) Across the board spending cuts starting with the $93,000 per representative petty cash increase that each CongressCritter just received and the $100 plus per pound steak that is being eaten at the White House. 3) Get the Fed Gov’t out of the economy/free market. Make the free market “free” again. There’s a huge amount that can be done outside of $1 TRILLION of useless spending which will have to be followed up by more spending. SPENDING will not solve this. Did anyone learn the lesson that the Great Depression and the New Deal should have taught us? We desperately need to get back to the principles of the Founding Fathers. We’ve lost our way and the only way to find our way back to the path is to figure out where the path is. Mike's America says: February 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm @Ron: Insulting me while making a plea for civility is one sure way to earn you the label HYPOCRITE! You’re in my house now so mind your manners. james manning says: February 2, 2009 at 1:07 pm @aye, don’t worry. i don’t sweat the insults. i can dish as much as i can take. besides, when its all said and done, i’m going to end the day with some good food and a nice dose of 24 on the big screen. and i’m sure most of you folks are much nicer in person… not that i’d ever want to meet of you 🙂 openid.aol.com/runnswim says: February 2, 2009 at 1:27 pm Mitch McConnell advocates allowing all credit worthy Americans to finance or refinance their homes with government-backed, 4% – 4.5% mortgages. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/02/02/republicans-stimulus-address-housing-crisis/ I think this is a darn good idea. – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA MataHarley says: February 2, 2009 at 2:04 pm I’m not so sure, Larry. But then, I’m not sure what McConnell means by “government backed”. For example VA loans are government “guaranteed” by the VA Dept for veterans and active service members. FHA/HUD loans are government “insured”. Most loans, even those made by the private sector, are bought out and held by Fannie/Freddie… GSE’s. And as I think last year showed, they’ve decided that GSE means the govt will bail them out, despite no mandated obligation to do so. In all cases, “government” is taking responsibility for these loans in the event of default. To shuffle massive amounts of refinances and purchase loans will bog down a system already in overload. Even now, so many refinance closings are going far beyond the three day rescission date because of backlog. And add to that, many of those “job losses” touted for the past year have occurred in the mortgage/banking/lending industry, real estate professions and occupations related to construction/building/remodeling. This means the banking and/or lending facilities have few representatives doing the needed jobs to push this thru now. And frankly, if the rates are low enough, it doesn’t make much difference whether that 4-5% is with a government “insure”, “guarantee” or “backed” (in McConnell terms)…. except that it will transfer the risk of default to the government… or, in reality, the taxpayers. Quite frankly, most of the loans will end up in the Fannie/Freddie portfolio… despite it’s origination. Just as it’s been for years. McConnell’s proposal will increase the government bureauracy to implement it, shooting up costs. To me, this seems like taking what the private sector can already do – with loans issued privately but purchased by the GSE’s on the secondary market – and getting us nowhere but just creating a larger percentage of possible defaults the the taxpayer has to bail out. Then the other issue I don’t see addressed (and haven’t read McConnells bill for specifics and don’t see it yet on Gov Track) is whether this allows for a LTV (loan to value) limit. In other words, borrowers may take advantage of the cheap rates and keep their payments high by pulling out any equity, and have a loan that is close to 100% of the current (and probably dropping) value of the home. Another monkey wrench in the works that’s a debacle waiting to happen. From the article you linked, I have to agree with the naysayers on this one. “McConnell’s 4 percent proposal would allow for several trillions of dollars of mortgages to be refinanced and that would overwhelm the mortgage system,” said Bert Ely, President of Ely and Company, a financial institutions and monetary policy consulting firm. “It might sound good, conceptually, but it’s simply not feasible and would have a lot of unintended consequences,” he said. Ely said McConnell’s plan would be costly for taxpayers as it would require a lot of labor and expense to implement it. And it would offer little financial relief to renters or people who already own their homes, he said. “It would be very disruptive to the banks,” Ely added. “One of the major problems they have right now is finding the right borrowers, and McConnell’s proposal would pull a lot of lending from their books.” Ely said it would be a lot simpler to for the government to send people a mortgage check instead. “It’s a terrible idea,” added John Tamney, a senior economist at H.C. Waintright Economics in Washington. “I’ve always voted Republican, but Republicans have lost their mind on this. It would put more money into the debt economy. The more money that goes there, the less money there is for the entrepreneurial economy,” Tamney said. The more the government is on the hook for defaulted loans, and the more in danger of bleeding cash the taxpayer is. Heaven help us from either party and their “solutions”… because no matter which side of the aisle they come from, it all ends up being the burden of the tax payers, and not wise practices by the private sector. It’s time to bite the bullet, let the time pass with minimal government input, and let the market values correct, and lending practices return to sane qualifications for borrowers pre-1996 criteria. MataHarley says: February 2, 2009 at 2:27 pm Missy #42 They’re talking the creme de la creme Kobe beef from Japan. I’ve had some, and one can’t deny that it’s truly top notch stuff. It’s different not only from the very select breed, but the very slow and methodical care for the cattle. Talk about “happy cows”, they are fed organic grains, Japanese beer, and sake mash. If you’ve ever tasted the difference between organic fed roasting chickens, and those you buy in the store, you’ll know what I mean. I have some friends with an organic chicken farm, now gettting into other arenas. I buy all my roasting hens from them (supporting my local small businesses… :0), and use them for my holiday meals instead of turkeys. It’s much the same with Kobe beef. But we have great local farms here with “happy cows”. Perhaps not the quality of Kobe beef, but distinctly better than your run of the mill beef from the grocery store chains. Not to get into the argument of justifying Kobe beef being served at the WH, as I’m sure they’d always have prime quality food for guests and the POTUS. But it would be nice to see them serving top of the line US beef product instead. But perhaps our resident cowboy, Wisdom, can add some sage advice on beef here as well. MataHarley says: February 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm blast, INRE your comment #53: Mata said: greed that the past 12 years have been the economic snowball from hell that smacked reality in the our faces a year and a half ago…. under the Bush Administration. I do not agree with blast that this is an onus borne just by Bush and the GOP for their failure to stave off the inevitable. I place even more blame on Congress… *both* parties…. for this. is. There were half-hearted tries in 2003 and 2005 by Bush and some GOP voices. The did not get enough support from their own, or the Dems. Greenspan was majorly in error with his handling of the interest rates, but had Bush replaced him with Bernanke sooner, I doubt it would have been handled any better. Perhaps we would have just seen banking “federalized” a lot sooner. ~~~ blast responded: No doubt there is tons of blame to go around Mata, but the music stopped after 7 years of the Bush Administration, so his level of culpability is very high in my estimation. Not purely his fault granted, but a larger portion of responsibility. I keep harking back to deficits because they mattered all along. Now we are painted into a corner with “banks that cannot fail” and bailouts and stimulus. Teddy Roosevelt moved the party to do unpopular things within the base… namely breaking up trusts. He did it partly because they represented a power greater than the government. Just like these GINORMOUS multinational banks who cooked up schemes to fabricate money. A true historic leader would have done something about it. Let’s talk about US economics and a POTUS’s responsibility in general. You can’t say that the Bush admin has culpability, yet not admit prior administrations’ culpability that led to his circumstance. Remember that Reagan inherited a Carter admin that was on a steady upswing, and it took most of the Reagan years to reverse that trend. This stuff doesn’t have a “fiscal year” that relates to POTUS terms in reality. I think most of us agree that the Republican Congress and Bush spending isn’t anything to hang his Stetson on for a legacy. Where I do believe Bush was a “historic leader” was in foreign policy. And we can debate that stuff on other threads and dodge Mike’s “thread nanny” instincts.. which he picked up from me, mind you. LOL Guilty as charged. Fact is a “true historic leader” still needs a cooperative Congress that controls the purse strings. The quid pro quo in the beltway is shameful, and real. Bills may have been signed that… had they been clean and on subject/target… may have been veto’ed. But so far… if you are looking for a “true historic leader” in these early days, it looks like we may be worse off than under what you so chastise with Bush. Congress… with Bush’s power of the pen… overspent. This Congress… with Obama’s power of the pen… is armed to overspend in it’s first weeks of governance. It’s not a good start. All any of us can do is find the places that we agree, and hope to thwart more economic damage that is on the horizon. openid.aol.com/runnswim says: February 2, 2009 at 3:22 pm I’m not defending the stimulus. The only part of any of the bailout or stimulus plans which make any sense at all to me is Mitch McConnell’s recent trial balloon that the US govt should guarantee mortgages and refinancings to all qualified borrowers at 4% – 4.5% interest rates. Having said that, you are wildly lowballing the ultimate cost of the Iraq War: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/stiglitz200804 Please don’t just say “Vanity Fair” and dismiss this. Post, if you have a different credible estimate, a link to a different forecast of the ultimate cost of the Iraq War. – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA blast says: February 2, 2009 at 3:39 pm mata: Let’s talk about US economics and a POTUS’s responsibility in general. You can’t say that the Bush admin has culpability, yet not admit prior administrations’ culpability that led to his circumstance. I have no problem blaming Clinton as well… We knew there was a Clinton hangover, but Bush BUSH BASHING DELETED Carter was president for 4 years, and of course the economy was trashed. Do you consider the economy worse today than during Carter? BUSH BASHING DELETED [edited by post moderator] MataHarley says: February 2, 2009 at 4:29 pm Going on memory here, blast. No I do not consider the economy worse than under the problems instigated by Carter. And no….. totally disagree that today’s economic problems have *anything* to do with defense spending. It’s a drop in the bucket by comparison at approx $5-7bil monthly. Also, had not the Bush cuts been in force after 911, this economy would be worse. But thread “rules”… we’re not talking defense spending here. Just domestic economic spending. And the “7 years/music stopped” doesn’t apply. The full force of the housing/lending crash didn’t occur until late 2006/early 2007. Too late to correct the problems that started it a decade before. It was inevitable it would be a “hangover”. MataHarley says: February 2, 2009 at 4:39 pm Larry, perhaps I’m missing something… When did anyone say “vanity fair” or “wildly” underestimate Iraq costs? Sort of an out of the blue comment here that I can see. But then… don’t answer. We’re not talking defense spending here.. But wait.. there’s MORE! (at the risk of being deleted myself by the thread nanny, which I will graciously accept… :0) Defense spending is STILL a drop in the bucket compared to what is going on by all accounts. Not to mention,as a taxpayer, I’ll take a hit on defense spending before I take a hit on social welfare any day. It is the prime reason that the feds exist, IMHO. Missy says: February 3, 2009 at 5:26 am @MataHarley: Thanks Mata. I’ve had organic chicken, our friends down south just call them fresh. It’s like eating a tomato off the vine as opposed to hot house tomatoes IMO. The only farming we do on our farm is hay, from time to time we sell it to an organic buffalo farmer. We had a Springer Spaniel for 15 years that had a terrible reaction when our neighbors had their lawn treated, she almost died. From that point on, my husband would not allow any chemicals to be used on any of the acreage because she roamed every square inch of the place. So, now it’s been over 19 years without chemicals, it tested out to be able to be able to be sold as organic, the buffalo farmer had that done when he became interested in it. We have a farmer friend down there that wants to triple our hay income, claims he can come in and make the place a real money maker, hubby said no because he’s afraid the same thing could happen to the little guy we have now. He won’t even let me use weed-be-gone. Ron says: February 3, 2009 at 7:11 am To Mike: I wasn’t making a plea for civility whatsoever Mike so you apparently misinterpreted my comments. I was explaining to James that Hard Right is abrasive and rude. That was the point of my post. At the same time I was trying to pay a compliment to some of the authors and posters on FA. And yes I took a lighthearted jab at you but you obviously took offense so for that I APOLOGIZE! Having said that I’ll just come right out and say what I think, without insulting you. I do think you insult people more than any other author on here. I do think you come across as angry in some of your posts. I do think you censor posters far too much as well. And I remember the back and forth between you and Wordsmith about the subject of civility between posters. Wordsmith sounded much more civil than you. Sorry but that’s my opinion. I’m not saying this to start a fight or to make you look bad Mike, I’m trying to point out something as a reader of your threads and posts. You are extremely intelligent and articulate with your arguments, but to me, the anger and insults takes away from your points. It makes you sound unreasonable when in fact I know you are. I just think we are better than that….but as you said it’s your house Mike so if you like, I won’t post anymore comments on your threads and I won’t make any more comments about you. One final comment: I’ll always apologize or admit a mistakes when they occur, but don’t mistake me for some sort of pussy. The hypocrite insult was way out of line and you don’t know me well enough to insult me like that Mike! You are wrong, very wrong! But I’ll let it slide since you felt insulted first. Ron Mike's America says: February 3, 2009 at 7:59 am @Ron: Ron: If you find my posts so angry and insulting there is no one forcing you to read them. You’re more than welcome to ignore them entirely. Wordsmith’s civility and his willingness to bend over backwards to be fair to moonbats is commendable. But we don’t live in a world of uniformity and it would be a dull dull blog if everyone who contributed here comported themselves exactly the same. Frankly, I think we need a bit more of an edge in our politics on the GOP side. Far too often we’re being told to go along to get along. That kind of bipartisanship always seems to be a one way street. I don’t see how we can ask our GOP leaders to show a little backbone if we aren’t willing to express our own emotions rather strongly from time to time. And I do take a page out of Obama’s book. You may recall he instructed his supporters to get in our faces and challenge us. You may decide to take a different tack in responding to that or in general how you wish to communicate on political issues. Is your way better? The old saying goes “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” but I don’t see the people who follow that line catching many flies. Do you? Again, it’s a difference in tone we are talking about here. And if you don’t like mine, well that’s too bad. I wasn’t put on this earth to make everyone happy. And yes, if you insist on insulting me with some comment about “prozac” then you have some nerve saying that my response was out of line. Or do you follow the Democrat playbook where anything you say is excused (an honest mistake perhaps) and any response is condemned? Man up Ron! See Skye’s post on getting a pair if you need assistance. Ron says: February 3, 2009 at 8:47 am To mike: Democrat playbook? Do you even know my politics? By your comment I’d say you don’t. But I’m not surprised. You strike me as someone who shoots first and asks questions later which is to your disadvantage as it makes you sound uninformed. I’m certainly not a Democrat (I’d never vote for one) so I’m not sure where that comes from. I was trying to be nice and offer an apology but of course you respond exactly how I described you (angry and insulting)so you just proved my point. You always attack people on your side of the political spectrum? I agree with about 90% of what you post but the fact that I am not mean and spiteful like you, I must be weak or something right? You’re funny Mike, really funny. I said it was a lighthearted jab and not an insult but apparently you don’t understand what that means so I won’t bother trying to explain it to you. Obviously you lack a sense of humor. And get a pair? Man up? My pair are bigger than your pair Mike. Much bigger. I just don’t have to act like you to prove it. Ever heard of walk softly and carry a big stick? Apparently not. It’s easy to act tough on a website Mike. Real life is a whole different story Mike. And trust me when I tell you, people that actually know me, would beg to differ with your childish remark but then again you have no idea what you are talking about. This has been educational. Ron Mike's America says: February 3, 2009 at 8:52 am “Or do you follow the Democrat playbook where anything you say is excused (an honest mistake perhaps) and any response is condemned?” That was a question Ron, not an accusation. Seems to me YOU are the one being hypersensitive here. Oh well, as I said, it’s not my job to try and please everyone. I just hope that for every unsatisfied reader I have two who are. Ron says: February 3, 2009 at 9:43 am to Mike: l shouldn’t of said anything. Again my fault. Ron Mike's America says: February 3, 2009 at 10:18 am You’re forgiven Ron. Thank you! Wisdom says: February 4, 2009 at 9:13 pm But perhaps our resident cowboy, Wisdom, can add some sage advice on beef here as well. Well, I grew up in a butcher shop (no, not Butch Cassidy’s, but a few blocks away) but I’m hardly an expert on cattle. I’ve had Kobe beef, and while it was good, I wouldn’t say it’s worth alienating the American people over. Honestly, my problem with it being served in the WH is less about the fact he served expensive food, and more about the hypocrisy of serving expensive food while asking the American people for an extra trillion dollars, preaching sacrifice, and at the same time lambasting corporate America for their own excesses. The President should be eating fine foods in the WH while he entertains visiting heads of state, but that party wasn’t for visiting heads of state, it was for visiting Obamatons and supporters. As for this “cowboy’s” sage advice on beef? Ribeye, thick cut, medium rare. 9 Iron Grill at the golf course in Rock Springs, El Toro’s in Hudson, and Fire Rock in Casper all serve damn good steaks. If you’re cooking it at home, spend the extra money and get buffalo. Sooooo much better than even Kobe beef.