Here It Comes: The Second Stimulus

Here It Comes: The Second Stimulus

October 8th, 2009 Posted By Erik Wong.

stimulus-bull

“This time, the stimulus really will create jobs. No, really.”

WASHINGTON – Confronted with big job losses and no sign the U.S. economy is ready to stand on its own, Democrats are working on a growing list of relief efforts, leaving for later how to pay for them, or whether even to bother.

Proposals include extending and perhaps expanding a popular tax credit for first-time home buyers, and creating a new credit for companies that add jobs. Taken together, the proposals look a lot like another economic stimulus package, though congressional leaders don’t want to call it that.

Democratic leaders in Congress and the White House say they have no appetite for another big spending package that adds to the federal budget deficit, which hit a record $1.4 trillion for the budget year that ended last week.

But with unemployment reaching nearly 10 percent, many lawmakers are feeling pressure to act. Some of the proposals come from the Republicans’ playbook and focus on tax cuts, even though they, too, would swell the deficit.

“We have to do something for the unemployed, politically and economically,” said Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

The House already has voted to extend unemployment benefits an additional 13 weeks for laid off workers in the 27 states where the jobless rate is 8.5 percent or above. Senate Democrats reached a deal Thursday to extend the benefits an additional 14 weeks in every state. Both proposals are paid for by extending a federal unemployment tax.

Also on the table: extending subsidies for laid-off workers to help them keep the health insurance their former employers provided, known as COBRA. The current program, which covers workers laid off through the end of the year, costs nearly $25 billion.

Congressional leaders haven’t settled on the length of an extension, or how to pay for it.

Several bills would issue extra payments to the more than 50 million Social Security recipients, to make up for the lack of a cost-of-living increase next year. One bill would set the one-time payments at $250, matching the amount paid to Social Security recipients and railroad retirees as part of the stimulus package enacted in February.

The payments would cost about $14 billion and would be paid for by applying the Social Security payroll tax to incomes between $250,000 and $359,000 in 2010. Currently, payroll taxes apply only to the first $106,800 of a worker’s income.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she is also considering a Republican proposal to allow money-losing companies to use their losses to get refunds of taxes paid in the previous five years. Under current law, most companies can only use current losses to get refunds from the previous two years.

“The issue of a net operating loss carryback to five years rather than two is an idea that has some currency,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi didn’t offer specifics, but a similar proposal that was dropped from the first stimulus package had a cost of $19.5 billion.

Pelosi said she is also looking into extending and expanding a popular tax credit for first-time homebuyers. The credit, set to expire Dec. 1, allows first-time homebuyers to reduce their federal income taxes by 10 percent of the price of a home, up to a maximum of $8,000.

Pelosi said the credit could be expanded to people who already own homes, though she offered no details. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has announced his support for extending the existing credit an additional six months.

“The question is, would that be just first-time homeowners or would you open it up to other purchasers of homes?” Pelosi said.

The program is scheduled to run for 11 months this year and cost a projected $6.6 billion. Extending or expanding the program would add to the costs.

Lawmakers are also working on proposals to award tax credits to companies that add jobs. Obama’s economic team proposed a similar incentive during negotiations over the stimulus package enacted in February but the idea was abandoned amid questions over its implementation.

A proposal by Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., would provide a $4,000 tax credit, to be paid out over two years, for each new employee. His office could not provide a cost estimate.

Pelosi said lawmakers need to hear from economists before settling on a package to create jobs. “What is it that we can afford? What works the fastest?” Pelosi said.

Rep. Dave Camp, D-Mich., the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, said: “The fact that they’re putting forward all of these things is really an indication that the stimulus was a failure. It didn’t work.”

Congress passed a $787 billion economic stimulus package in February, providing tax cuts for individuals and businesses, relief for the unemployed, spending on infrastructure and aid to the states.

President Barack Obama and other Democrats are adamant the package has lessened the effects of the recession, saving jobs that would have otherwise been cut. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in September, the highest since 1983. A total of 15.1 million people are unemployed, and 7.2 million jobs have been eliminated since the recession began in December 2007.

Obama’s Poverty Bill

The Democrats’ Plan to Demoralize Our Troops

The Democrats’ Plan to Demoralize Our Troops
By Edward I. Koch
FrontPageMagazine.com | May 17, 2007

Iraq appears to be lost. The Democrats, like terriers shaking a rat (Iraq) using a plan of funding war for three months — salami tactics — causing the Army command to recognize that the Congress, not the President, is effectively in charge, have achieved their goal: implementing withdrawal.

The Democrats will be responsible for affecting army morale. No one will want to lead the last charge and be responsible for or themselves suffer the last death or be taken prisoner before the order to stand down is issued. When and if — God forbid — the war and the acts of terrorism now faced daily in Iraq follow our retreat across the ocean to our homeland shores, the Democratic leaders who forced the withdrawal will be held responsible. While they will reject responsibility for the deaths and destruction that occur here in our homeland, the American public will remember the dire predictions of what would follow giving up the fight, and switch their support and recall the valiant efforts of George W. Bush to save us from those consequences and honor him in larger numbers than those who mistakenly now loathe his very name.

The Democratic Party will reap the political whirlwind, notwithstanding that President Bush and his advisors, particularly former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, failed in a host of ways in the conduct of the war through incompetence. Our army easily won the war, but then lost the occupation. While President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld failed in their leadership and strategy and bear the responsibility for those failures, they did recognize the true and long term danger of international Islamic terrorism, unlike the Democrats, and sought, albeit inadequately, to stop it in the center of the hostile Islamist world — Iraq.

The two men most responsible for actions causing the debacle other than President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld were CIA director George Tenet and former administrator of the U.S.-led occupation, Paul Bremer — Tenet for his totally incompetent operation of the CIA, e.g., foolish and inaccurate reporting on what was taking place in Iraq with respect to WMD and the dangers to the U.S., and Bremer, for his disbanding of the Iraqi army of more than 500,000 soldiers which had been toughened in an eight-year war with Iran from 1980 to 1988 and was capable of policing the country and preventing the now ongoing insurrection and terrorism. To see these two men honored by President Bush with the Presidential Medal of Freedom was shocking. They both deserved major reprimands and removal from their posts, rather than medals. Their effrontery has no bounds evidenced when each produced a book seeking to absolve themselves of blame. Both have since been hooted off the stage by the reading public.

My position until now has been different than that of either the Republicans or Democrats. The Republicans take the position that we must remain in Iraq until the Iraqis are able to defend themselves. The Democrats believe the Iraqis will never reach the ability to do that and therefore, we should leave now. My position is that we should provide our allies — the regional Arab countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Turkey, all Sunnis — with an ultimatum, with a similar ultimatum to our NATO allies, that unless they come in with boots on the ground, we will commence getting out in 30 days. I believed that while our NATO allies under the leadership of France and President Jacques Chirac would never come in, our Arab allies out of fear of the consequences to them of our leaving would come in to prevent the enormous calamity of Iraqi refugees and terrorists crossing their borders by the millions. I learned recently from a U.S. general who was in Iraq that in fact former Secretary of State Colin Powell had gotten Turkey to agree to provide one army division to serve in Iraq and help police the occupation. But that the Iraqi government vetoed the offer refusing to accept the services of those troops. Our government, instead of insisting the Iraqi government accept the offer, acceded to the Iraqi refusal.

Our government has similarly acceded to the refusal of the Shiite majority in the Iraqi government to share power and oil revenue with the Sunni population. It is regrettably time to leave. It makes no sense to lose any more American soldiers or spill any more American blood. This is particularly true when, according to The New York Times, not long ago the King of Saudi Arabia referred to our occupation as “an illegal foreign occupation.” The Iraqi government has not passed a resolution denouncing the King’s comment and welcoming the presence of our troops. Even more indicative of a lack of Iraqi support for our troops is the Times report dated May 12, 2007 that “A majority of Iraq’s Parliament members have signed a petition for a timetable governing a withdrawal of American troops, several legislators said Friday.”

The war in Iraq is drawing to an end. Remember the poignancy and impact of the death of the last German soldier — played by Lew Ayres in the film All Quiet On the Western Front — shortly before the armistice that ended World War I,

Because the Democrats are forcing an end to the struggle in Iraq, we must now prepare to fight terrorism in our homeland for the next 30 or more years. This is a war of civilizations. The Islamic terrorists worldwide want to destroy the U.S. and every other Western nation, along with moderate Muslim nations, e.g., Egypt, Jordan, etc. Our very survival as a nation is involved. Will we have the courage and will to do all that will be necessary to prevail?

What did “victory” mean in the Cold War? Did it mean invading the USSR? Did it mean bombing Moscow? No, it meant hanging tough, preventing the Soviets from expanding their base of power, until the internal contradictions and flaws in their system brought them down. The fight against terror and Islamic radicalism has the same goal…to prevent the radicals from expanding their base, which would happen if they get control of Iraq, and to maintain a tough defense until their medieval culture adapts to the modern world.

During the Cold War the pols in Washington were mostly united in support of this goal. But now the Democrats are not. There is no safety for the weak and foolish. When you seek to end a war without substantially achieving your essential goals by simply ceasing to fight, it is often a form of surrender. And that’s the way the Democrat-imposed outcome in Iraq will be understood around the world, especially by our enemies.

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New AP Poll: America Does Not Support Democrat Congress’ War Plan

New AP Poll: America Does Not Support Democrat Congress’ War

Plan

Congress’ Approval Rating Drops To Just 35% – “It’s Mostly Iraq”

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Friday May 11, 2007 11:16 AM

By ALAN FRAM

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – People think the Democratic-led Congress is doing just as dreary a job as President Bush, following four months of bitter political standoffs that have seen little progress on Iraq and a host of domestic issues.

The survey found only 35 percent approve of how Congress is handling its job, down 5 percentage points in a month.
(Read More)

Dems are running on fumes

Dems are running on fumes

Clarice Feldman
The Washington Post notes that the Dems are out of gas and running on fumes:

The “Six for ’06” policy agenda on which Democrats campaigned last year was supposed to consist of low-hanging fruit, plucked and put in the basket to allow Congress to move on to tougher targets. House Democrats took just 10 days to pass a minimum-wage increase, a bill to implement most of the homeland security recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, a measure allowing federal funding for stem cell research, another to cut student-loan rates, a bill allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices under Medicare, and a rollback of tax breaks for oil and gas companies to finance alternative-energy research.
The Senate struck out on its own, with a broad overhaul of the rules on lobbying Congress.
Not one of those bills has been signed into law. President Bush signed 16 measures into law through April, six more than were signed by this time in the previous Congress. But beyond a huge domestic spending bill that wrapped up work left undone by Republicans last year, the list of achievements is modest: a beefed-up board to oversee congressional pages in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal, and the renaming of six post offices, including one for Gerald R. Ford in Vail, Colo., as well as two courthouses, including one for Rush Limbaugh Sr. in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

If we could harness the Levin-Pelosi-Waxman-Reid wind, we might become energy independent, but we can’t  voters are noticing that this new Congress is stalled.

Sen. Inhofe: Harry Reid Should Be Recalled

Sen. Inhofe: Harry Reid Should Be Recalled


 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should be recalled by voters over his “un-American” remarks about the Iraq war, Sen. James Inhofe declared.

Speaking with NewsMax pundit Steve Malzberg on “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America” radio program Wednesday morning, Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, expressed outrage over Reid’s criticism of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy, his call for a timetable for withdrawal and his assertion that the Iraq war is “lost.”

Asked if the Nevada Democrat should resign from his leadership position because of his comments, Inhofe said: “I think it’s more serious than that. I think there should be a recall . . . for saying something as un-American as that.”

He also said: “But it would have to emanate from the people who elected him.

“I can’t imagine that something isn’t going to happen.”

© NewsMax 2007. All rights reserved.

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