Debunking antistimulus arguments | Jan. 27, commentary
The economy won't be stimulated
In this column, Dr. Paul Krugman presents arguments against the opponents of the Democratic stimulus package.
Unfortunately his extreme partisanship covers up the fact that these economic stimulus policies are virtually the same as the mostly useless policies of the Bush administration. The only difference is the addition of billions of dollars worth of projects that would, if supported by the opposition, be labeled "pork."
All economic stimulus programs have the disadvantage that they will have to be paid for at some time in the future, and inflict a long-term drag on the national economy. And both Keynesian and monetarist economists neglect the details in what is done with the money they hand out in favor of the big picture. But the devil is in the details.
Last spring's rebate check handouts disappeared with almost no trace into consumer goods and credit card payments, maintaining the zero success rate of all such programs.
Infrastructure building programs as touted by Krugman and the Democrats also have a historical success rate of zero. From the New Deal of the Great Depression through the 1990s they have failed every time they have been tried.
Politicians feel they must be seen as doing something to solve their constituents' economic problems in the near term, so they reject the slow, long-term solutions of permanent tax cuts on investment and savings, and reductions in restrictions on innovative industrial and private projects. Instead they favor either passing out checks, immediate and short-term tax rebates, or building big, impressive brick and concrete structures, preferably with their names on them.
But afterward the public is left with the debt payments and, in the case of infrastructure, the upkeep and operating costs that go on for decades.
James Klapper, Oldsmar
Republicans have nothing to offer
The Republican ideology of trickle down and tax cuts for the wealthy has been discredited in the real world, a place Republicans have chosen not to inhabit the last 30 years. But it appears to be all they've got.
Our current national bankruptcy is the final result of their antigovernment, antitaxes, anti-liberal, anti-safety-net, anti-regulation-of-business-practices ideology, but they don't propose better, or even new, ideas because they are pathologically devoted to only one idea: It's everyone for himself. They can't bring themselves to vote with President Obama because they do not believe we are all in this together. Immigrants shouldn't be here, period. If you're poor or making eight dollars an hour it's your fault. They view Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment compensation, food stamps, civil rights, the Education Department, and a whole lot more that was created by liberals and unions as destructive of personal initiative, resulting in personal laziness and a general acceptance of unearned entitlement.
If these guys had been running the show since 1937 we wouldn't have any of these programs. Why we should now listen to these greedy know-nothings is beyond me, given where their ideology has taken us.
James McGill, St. Pete Beach
Tax cuts work
John F. Kennedy cut taxes and the economy took off about 18 months later. Ronald Reagan cut taxes and the economy took off about 18 months later. George W. Bush cut taxes and the economy took off about 18 months later. FDR enacted big government programs such as the WPA and big government spending. The economy took off seven years later with the onset of World War II.
Don't let the government borrow from the future to spend our money on their priorities. Let us spend our own money as we think best and watch the economy turn around.
Timothy Armstrong, Dunedin
Too much partisanship
Well, I see that the Republican Party has learned nothing from the last election. They still refuse (this might be the reason they are now the minority party) to work with the Democrats to solve this country's recession. When they were in control, they gave President George W. Bush a free hand to spend money any way he wanted, which helped put this country in the trouble it now finds itself.
They don't seem to be able to do anything but vote the party line, which is "anything for big business is okay, but anything for the little guy is out of the question."
It was under their watch that the first stimulus package disappeared into the coffers of Wall Street bankers only to be spent on fancy offices, airplanes and spa treatments. Where was their cry for not giving the money to the bankers that time?
I think it's time both parties start to think about the country and not party politics. Both have become a disgrace to the people of this country. The people have not fought and died, scrimped and struggled to earn the American dream only to be let down by the political hacks now in office. Looks like we still won't get the change everyone was talking about.
Robert Murray, Oldsmar
The so-called 2009 Economic Stimulus Package should be renamed the "We, the government, know better than you, the people, what is good for you and the country, and therefore are going to mortgage your children's future by approving the hogzilla-of-all pork barrel bills because the world needs condoms, the National Mall needs sod, federal employees need new cars, bureaucratic rats in holes need to be fed, and you can't live without us!"
Nanny (not Nancy) Pelosi loves you and is here to help!
Dave Hunter, Lutz
House passes $819 billion stimulus | Jan. 29
Old liberal ideas
Congratulations to the House Republicans for having the backbone to oppose the bloated spending bill endorsed by President Obama. To declare that it is an economic stimulus bill is simply untrue. Rather, only a small part of it will stimulate the economy. The rest is just a retread of traditional liberal ideas that Congress has repeatedly rejected in the past for good cause.
The alternative put forth by the Republican members of Congress would have created twice as many jobs at half the cost, yet it was summarily rejected by the Democratic majority. So much for fiscal discipline and the change promised by the Obama administration. Our children and grandchildren will pay dearly for this rushed liberal spending bill with interest costs alone between $3 billion and $4 billion dollars.
James B. Watt, St. Petersburg
Stimulus needs narrower focus | Jan. 28, editorial
Pushing the panic button
The easiest bet for the new year was that the fear and trembling coming from terrifying economic news would result in the ugliest food fight imaginable over the "stimulus" package.
In truth, nit-picking what is proposed at the moment is pointless because the guy sitting next to you has an entirely different version. There can be no focus on any of this because it is simply a collective of spaghetti thrown at a problem no one can wrap his head around.
This and other bailout strategies are psychological props keeping equity markets from crashing further and more quickly. In the end, there is nothing mentioned in this cacophony that obviously will fix anything. The only reality is that not doing them will likely crash the markets and continuing to do them is unsustainable. Sorry to say, but the rock has already filled 80 percent of the hard place. Prayer will likely work better than throwing trillions more on top of the toppling debt pile.
Dale Friedley, St. Petersburg
This just in | Jan. 23
Prayer is no joke
The photo on Page 5A shows President Obama praying. I was deeply concerned by the comment made by Jimmy Kimmel. Does he regard prayer as a sign of weakness?
I am hoping that I misjudged Kimmel. As a Christian, I was very pleased to see our president praying. Prayer is powerful and we need a nation with God as our foundation.
Joyce Earley, Holiday