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Let's Talk Stimulus
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ezkcdude
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Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2009-02-05, 17:28

I'm for it, and support primarily spending. Why? Because temporary tax cuts will not result in stimulus - the money will just be saved or used to pay down debt. Job creation is the only way to get us out of this mess. I think the GOP is in awfully dangerous territory here trying to fight this.
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curiousuburb
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2009-02-05, 17:32

Let's talk response.

Or would that just be Pavlovian... or Newtonian.
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Moogs
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2009-02-05, 17:32

I think only the hard-core partisan jack-asses are fighting this one. The more moderate republicans seem to be falling in line and maybe just asking for moderate cut-backs in a few areas based on what I'm reading. Hopefully the far left and far right keep their mouths shut and their noses to the grindstone for the next year or so and let the people who want to work together to get stuff done, work....

...into the light of a dark black night.
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Elysium
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2009-02-05, 18:58

Two things that would greatly benefit me:

- Environmental clean-up (Dept. of Energy 500 mill and EPA 1 billion)
- $15000 tax break for 1st time home buyers

My industry gets a boost in revenue allowing for much needed projects to go through resulting in more work. Although my division is not feeling the pinch as much as others it will benefit the overall company immensely.

The housing part is the key in my eyes. I just moved back to where I grew up to take a great job offer. Because it was short notice I moved back in with my parents. Certainly less than ideal, but the monetary benefits were needed at the time. I started looking for a decent apartment, but am now holding off to see where the housing portion of the bill ends up.

The housing market around here was already a buyers market, however with the closure of another manufacturing facility (see automotive thread) it is going to becoming even better. So with good credit and a hefty tax break I would probably buy a house as it would probably work out much less than what some people are looking for rent around here.

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jdcfsu
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2009-02-05, 19:03

I agree with both Elysium and ezkcdude. Temporary tax cuts or "stimulus checks" are pretty silly (though I won't refuse it if it's what they settle on). Whenever I think about those, the first thing that comes to mind is the episode of Futurama where Fry buys 300 cups of coffee with his rebate and saves the world -- so I guess some good can come out of it.

Regarding the actual means of stimulating the economy, job creation and home buying are the two keys I see, so hopefully the final bill addresses those. I'd love to see some healthy first-time credits again as I'm currently in the same boat Elysium is.

90% of statistics can be made to say anything 50% of the time.
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billybobsky
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2009-02-05, 22:26

Tax cuts are certainly less bang for the same buck. The fact that they have to be temporary since we are in massive debt (and our taxes are hence too low for our expenditures and interest already) only makes this all the more clear.

Infrastructure projects make the most sense, but it seems that those have been pushed aside by an attempt to hit virtually every sector.

I have reason to believe that we may need a third stimulus, even if this trillion dollar one passes.

It has not escaped my notice that people who railed against the bailout aren't lining up against this measure... lessons learned, perhaps? or do they just trust the new administration more?

One worrying feature: China is beginning to import more than it exports (hence becoming a debtor nation).... When there are no economies left to borrow from, what the hell happens to the world economy? I think we may be on the verge of finding out...
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Brave Ulysses
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2009-02-05, 23:57

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moogs View Post
I think only the hard-core partisan jack-asses are fighting this one. The more moderate republicans seem to be falling in line and maybe just asking for moderate cut-backs in a few areas based on what I'm reading. Hopefully the far left and far right keep their mouths shut and their noses to the grindstone for the next year or so and let the people who want to work together to get stuff done, work....

I don't see how you can possibly say that assuming you have actually read a decent amount about the stimulus package.


I have to say that I am very surprised (and disappointed) by the stimulus package presented by Obama. I really do have to take the side that this is not the path I had seen Obama taking and I really don't think it is Change or anything.... the package is fool off pet projects and agendas and earmarks, and I can't see how Obama is honestly denying that and actually getting worked up about criticism and attacks on the plan. It is a shitty rushed proposal that has not been well thought out, has not reflected the advice of a wide range of people, and has no guarantee of working or even moderate success.

This is an incredibly large package, and an incredible amount of money. Obama argues the economy is getting worse and worse everyday and that we need to act now rather than later, but honestly.... this has been in the work for quite some time now, and has been being debated for 3 weeks now... they just are not working efficiently. Time is not an excuse. Imposing stupid meaningless deadlines such as president's day (simply so everyone can take their vacations) is not appropriate.

For his first few weeks in office, Obama has made some really questionable decisions and has not lead in a manner that I expected.
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billybobsky
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2009-02-06, 00:23

BU,

This stimulus isn't Obama's... It is Congress's... No worse IMO, but that distinction must be made.
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Brave Ulysses
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2009-02-06, 00:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by billybobsky View Post
BU,

This stimulus isn't Obama's... It is Congress's... No worse IMO, but that distinction must be made.
Ya know, I really don't think it can be made in this distinction, at least not as easily as you suggest. Obama has initiated this, been involved in it, promoted it, pushed it.... this is Obama's signature piece that will really be his tone setter.

He has let Congress turn it into typical Washington crap and for the most part accepted it simply because things need to happen fast!

It's just a surprisingly different tone that when he was campaigning.
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Banana
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Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2009-02-06, 06:21

My question for stimulus package is same as the one for bailout; "Where will the money come from?"

If they basically pulled it out of their ass, we're now worse off because we're now deeper in the debt, even if we used the money to invest in something. More money != more wealth.
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ezkcdude
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2009-02-06, 07:17

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses View Post


I have to say that I am very surprised (and disappointed) by the stimulus package presented by Obama. I really do have to take the side that this is not the path I had seen Obama taking and I really don't think it is Change or anything.... the package is fool off pet projects and agendas and earmarks, and I can't see how Obama is honestly denying that and actually getting worked up about criticism and attacks on the plan. It is a shitty rushed proposal that has not been well thought out, has not reflected the advice of a wide range of people, and has no guarantee of working or even moderate success.
As Obama said last night: what do you think stimulus is? It's spending. If it results in jobs anywhere, that's exactly the point.
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Brave Ulysses
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2009-02-06, 08:39

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
As Obama said last night: what do you think stimulus is? It's spending. If it results in jobs anywhere, that's exactly the point.
I'm amazed at how quickly those that support the elected side become no questions asked followers.

If Bush has presented this, everyone would be against it and for sure Billybobsky would not be deflecting the blame to Congress but saying how Bush's policies and agendas are dangerous.

No doubt stimulus is spending, but it's how the money is spent and how much should be spent. This is a trillion dollars of spending that pretty much equates to a trillion dollars of additional deficit. It is large and unfocused with no clear path to success. It's dangerous and the spending is out of control, Democrats accused the Republicans of it, Obama campaigned against it, and now they are doing it an order of magnitude bigger.
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ezkcdude
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2009-02-06, 08:41

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses View Post

No doubt stimulus is spending, but it's how the money is spent and how much should be spent. This is a trillion dollars of spending that pretty much equates to a trillion dollars of additional deficit. It is large and unfocused with no clear path to success. It's dangerous and the spending is out of control, Democrats accused the Republicans of it, Obama campaigned against it, and now they are doing it an order of magnitude bigger.
So, instead of broad sweeping accusations, please tell us where the pork is? What appropriations in the bill do you consider "pork", and what percentage of the total package do those amount to? Moreover, what is your idea of a better alternative to stimulus? Or do you think the government should Hoover and do-nothing us through it?
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Brave Ulysses
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2009-02-06, 08:49

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
So, instead of broad sweeping accusations, please tell us where the pork is? What appropriations in the bill do you consider "pork", and what percentage of the total package do those amount to? Moreover, what is your idea of a better alternative to stimulus? Or do you think the government should Hoover and do-nothing us through it?
Man, can we please not get into this common internet message board approach to a discussion where you blindly accept something, someone suggests more thought needs to be put into it, and then you, in an attempt to "strengthen" your position, just say, well, you do all the research, you list everything out for me, and then maybe I'll see what you mean. Because I could easily say to you please provide me with the dollars spent, what programs will be getting it, how those programs will stimulate the economy, how much will they stimulate the economy, what kind of return will they provide, and how long will this stimulus take to begin paying off the national debt. Get on it.

And you are really arguing shockingly like a Republican of the past 8 years.... repeat after me, "I am not against the stimulus", I am against this massive unproven and unfocused package. I don't think everything needs to be included in a single package. I think our elected officials have the responsibility to do exactly what Obama said he would do upon election, go through with a fine tooth comb over every policy, agency and piece of legislation and cut what isn't working and what won't work. I'm not convinced that was done here at all, and if you have watched Obama's recent interviews, even he has acknowledged that the stimulus isn't exactly what he had originally anticipated.
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Banana
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2009-02-06, 08:55

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
Or do you think the government should Hoover and do-nothing us through it?
Erm, just to point out that Hoover wasn't a Do-Nothing. If you want a Do-Nothing, try Calvin Coolidge or Warren Harding. One could argue he didn't do enough (as FDR was even more outrageously interventionist than Hoover was), but he certainly was very interventionist.

And I have to ask the same question I asked for bailout- where is the money coming from? There's no such thing as free lunch so someone's got to pay up, and any borrowing to finance investment is kind of self-defeating and practically always a losing proposition.
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ezkcdude
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2009-02-06, 09:04

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses View Post

And you are really arguing shockingly like a Republican of the past 8 years.... repeat after me, "I am not against the stimulus", I am against this massive unproven and unfocused package. I don't think everything needs to be included in a single package. I think our elected officials have the responsibility to do exactly what Obama said he would do upon election, go through with a fine tooth comb over every policy, agency and piece of legislation and cut what isn't working and what won't work. I'm not convinced that was done here at all, and if you have watched Obama's recent interviews, even he has acknowledged that the stimulus isn't exactly what he had originally anticipated.
While you're waiting for "proof", unemployment now sits at 7.6%. How long do you want to wait? And yes, the burden is on you to argue against this, because those of us who support it know that right now, we just need to get people back to work. Do you know what the word contraction means, in terms of the economy? Because that's what were dealing with. How do you fix that? Spending.

Read the bill. I think most of it makes sense. Tell me what doesn't. Don't just be a dittohead. It sounds like you've let talk radio and Fox News tell you what you need to know about the bill - and that's all. DYODD.
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Banana
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Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2009-02-06, 09:18

To me, it's akin to getting credit card bill saying you owe $13,478 on the card, and going out and spending $2391 on stocks and it does well enough to pay off the credit card debt.

Even if the stock went up, the chances are it that you'd be still in red after interest and extra charges on top of charges and fees paid for investing.

The more they try to fix the economy, the worse it will be.
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billybobsky
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2009-02-06, 09:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses View Post
If Bush has presented this, everyone would be against it and for sure Billybobsky would not be deflecting the blame to Congress but saying how Bush's policies and agendas are dangerous.
actually, no, because I understand how the government works. I know what Obama was proposing, and I know how Congress finds ways to screw that.
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ezkcdude
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2009-02-06, 09:39

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana View Post
To me, it's akin to getting credit card bill saying you owe $13,478 on the card, and going out and spending $2391 on stocks and it does well enough to pay off the credit card debt.

Even if the stock went up, the chances are it that you'd be still in red after interest and extra charges on top of charges and fees paid for investing.

The more they try to fix the economy, the worse it will be.
No, it's not like that at all. It's more like being in debt $13,478, losing your job, and spending $2391 on a job search so you can start making money again to eventually pay off your debt. Your solution would be to sit home on the couch, and hope a job falls in your lap.
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Moogs
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2009-02-06, 09:41

One thing I notice in the bill -though you have to dig through dozens of pages to find anything specific- is the inclusion of agriculture items. What I know for damn sure: there should be zero farm subsidies or farmer hand-outs of ANY kind within this package. Farmers are constantly sucking at the tit of government. They're the last ones who need this IMHO, with all due respect. Enough of our money goes to farmers every year; we don't need this money going there too.

Also I read this morning that an oversight group has already determined the prior stimulus package (for bailing out the financial institutions) over-spent by $78B. I take that to mean misallocation of funds but we'll see.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7874434.stm

This IS a good reason to maybe write to President Obama and suggest a couple extra weeks of debate on specific line items in this now 900B package, be questioned a bit more thoroughly. Any time there is a big government spending package, every lobbyist and dickhead in Washington gets on his or her knees and sticks both hands out. Gimme, gimme, gimme.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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ezkcdude
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2009-02-06, 09:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moogs View Post
This IS a good reason to maybe write to President Obama and suggest a couple extra weeks of debate on specific line items in this now 900B package, be questioned a bit more thoroughly. Any time there is a big government spending package, every lobbyist and dickhead in Washington gets on his or her knees and sticks both hands out. Gimme, gimme, gimme.
Rightly so, I would say. As a scientist, I want the NIH and NSF to get some of the stimulus. I know I have lobbyists working overtime to make sure that happens. How else would government know what to do without people "begging" for it - especially with such a large sum at stake? Congress and The President have to take all the input they can get, and it's up to them to decide what is right.
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Banana
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2009-02-06, 10:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
No, it's not like that at all. It's more like being in debt $13,478, losing your job, and spending $2391 on a job search so you can start making money again to eventually pay off your debt. Your solution would be to sit home on the couch, and hope a job falls in your lap.
I don't agree with that. For one, it's government basically dictating what we are to do with money (e.g. take the money via taxation and say it has to be spent on X) as opposed to allowing business owners and capitalists figure out what is the best investment and let them win or lose. Kind like having someone bullying me from farming my own tomatoes into holding a flag for a road construction project that nobody wanted.

Economy is a gigantic beast and to think we can fix it with one big package is kind of presumptuous. It is best fixed by several independent, unrelated and localized actions by people who are in better position to determine what is better use of their money (I'd have more faith in a construction company spending money to build a new building in a rundown district in a certain city because the owner knows the area and how it is growing than in a bunch of suits trying to fix the nation). Thus, the do-nothing approach would be merely at federal level, exactly the level where they do the most harm.

Furthermore, stimulus has potential to send wrong signals to economy by making it look like there's more investment in so and so sectors due to government's infusion and creating even more malinvestment which at the end of day, will have to be corrected.
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Moogs
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2009-02-06, 10:02

Ezk: Yes but the system of lobbying in this country is broken. A better way would be for leaders in every field or industry who wants money, to present their case in front of a committee and present a professional business case (with the country's well-being in mind) why the limited funds should go to them and not someone else. The most urgent and best ideas / needs win. Simple. No back-patting, no gaming, no garbage. Lobbyists, like union bosses, have lost their way in this country. They no longer serve the primary purpose for which they were intended but rather serve their own purposes first, everything else second. There are many other ways to let the government know about your urgent project. Let's not pretend the mechanisms of lobbying are the only way.

Meantime, everyone should use this form

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Make it professional, short and to the point. When a bill goes from less than $800B to over $900B in a few weeks you know some slime-ball senators or reps stuffed a few "extra provisions" into the bill at various points.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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ezkcdude
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2009-02-06, 11:08

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moogs View Post
Ezk: Yes but the system of lobbying in this country is broken. A better way would be for leaders in every field or industry who wants money, to present their case in front of a committee and present a professional business case (with the country's well-being in mind) why the limited funds should go to them and not someone else.
Like what happened with the auto industry? That went over really well.

The truth is nobody looks good asking for money. We just need to get over ourselves and look at the bigger picture here. The money needs to be spent, and jobs need to be created. If someone disagrees with that fine. Let's argue about that. But arguing about the minutiae is not going to get us over the hump. You know what? If 10% or even 20% of the 900 billion is pork, I'm fine with that. Because even within that pork, some people will still be getting new jobs. And heaven knows, if we needed to reach a perfect consensus about how to spend every nickel and dime, nothing would get done - ever.

Edit: Here's an e-mail I received just today:

Quote:
Tell your Senators to Keep Science in the Stimulus!!


Take Action!

A pending amendment threatens NSF Funding

An amendment to the Senate economic recovery package would remove the $1.4 billion for the National Science Foundation currently in the bill. This money is a critical step towards bringing NSF back to the levels authorized by Congress.

The Senate is expected to vote on this measure TODAY so it is critical that you contact your Senators and tell them to retain NSF funding in the economic recovery bill. Every message counts!!

Last edited by ezkcdude : 2009-02-06 at 14:09.
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Brave Ulysses
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2009-02-06, 19:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
While you're waiting for "proof", unemployment now sits at 7.6%. How long do you want to wait? And yes, the burden is on you to argue against this, because those of us who support it know that right now, we just need to get people back to work. Do you know what the word contraction means, in terms of the economy? Because that's what were dealing with. How do you fix that? Spending.

Read the bill. I think most of it makes sense. Tell me what doesn't. Don't just be a dittohead. It sounds like you've let talk radio and Fox News tell you what you need to know about the bill - and that's all. DYODD.
Fear tactics?
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Moogs
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2009-02-06, 20:01

Looks like Senate is getting ready to offer up a derivative bill worth $780B rather than $900+B. Hopefully part of what was cut out is farming crap.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7876139.stm

And Ezk: not a question of getting over ourselves and looking bad WRT to lobbying. It's a question of making sure that a group of congressional leaders hear the same evidence and the same time of what's needed, and compare that to the other requests being made, in the same context. All this meeting privately crap and promising secret favors and the rest has to go. There's no room in Washington for back scratching any longer.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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ezkcdude
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2009-02-06, 20:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moogs View Post
And Ezk: not a question of getting over ourselves and looking bad WRT to lobbying. It's a question of making sure that a group of congressional leaders hear the same evidence and the same time of what's needed, and compare that to the other requests being made, in the same context. All this meeting privately crap and promising secret favors and the rest has to go. There's no room in Washington for back scratching any longer.
Frankly, I don't give a damn about how the deals get done - as long as the bills produced help the American people. This one certainly will, so by hook or by crook, I'm thankful that two honorable Republicans could step across party lines to back the stimulus. I think the 39 Republicans who aren't voting for it will be reminded of that in the next election cycle.
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JohnnyTheA
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Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2009-02-06, 20:35

I think tax cuts COULD be useful. Imagine if anything bought in the next two years was exempt from capital gains taxes? We are one of the largest corporate taxing countries in the world. How about zeroing the corp taxes for two years? Those are the type of things that will yield lasting growth. It seems a LARGE part of the stim bill is building transportation things. Thats probably important too but the states also play roles in transportation. A part of what they are doing is just paying the states for transportation projects (that are 'shovel ready') that the states no longer can afford because they have to have balanced budgets. Its all good........ in the short term..

Eventually when the economy heats up again (I wish I knew when), we will have another problem. INFLATION. I now name that problem "Obamanomics". That part, they won't be able to blame on the previous Clinton/Bush administrations who are taking blame for todays calamity..

What is MORE important is the "Buy American" provisions. If they don't strip those out, it might spark off global protectionism. If THAT happens the this recession could really become a depression. Obama says he is against the "wording" of the provisions and wants to at least bring the bill into conformance with global trading rules.. But if he can't.... There will be big problems.

JTA
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Moogs
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2009-02-06, 20:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
Frankly, I don't give a damn about how the deals get done
...and that says a lot about you, quite frankly. That is the very attitude that has caused so many problems in Washington.....
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Robo
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2009-02-06, 21:46

Obama doesn't need to worry about meeting his President's Day deadline. My single-for-Valentine's-Day shopping spree will singlehandedly stimulate our economy out of this recession.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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