Economic Stimulus

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McAuliffe Makes Dual Contribution Pledges

This week, in response to the AIG bonuses scandal Terry McAuliffe pledged not to take tainted campaign contributions:

"I won't accept any corporate or corporate PAC campaign contributions from any companies receiving federal bailout money."

Meanwhile, Terry also pledged not to take money from Dominion Power. Lowell writes.

House bill on AIG bonuses is understandable, but wrong

The House of Representatives' rush to tax the AIG bonuses at 90% expresses a true cry from the heart across the country against the bonuses. Fortunately for common sense and the rule of law, the Senate will probably dramatically cut back on the House's populist outrage. I may never say this again, but the Senate Republicans ultimately have it right. House Democrats may have gotten a catharsis, but they are ultimately wrong on changing confiscatory tax laws to tax income received before the tax law was changed.

Some Talking Points with Stim-Bill Doubters

Thanks to the Republicans’ economist, Rush Limbaugh, many folks for the first time in their lives are talking about economics. Many of them pose as pundits, based on the sound bites they’ve absorbed from the likes of Rush and Ann Coulter---- from whom they have also derived their style of discussion, delivering bogus statistics and over-wrought conclusions at the top of their lungs. This technique does make it hard to talk with them, but I have done so, as I’m sure you have, too: in the grocery store, at the water cooler, at the table at home with some misguided family member. Basically, Republicans have re-discovered “fiscal responsibility” and are suddenly reluctant to pass on massive deficits and federal debt to their children (something which clearly did not bother them under Bush II), so they despise the stimulus bill; they also do not like to “reward failure” by ameliorating the binge of home foreclosures and individual bankruptcies (which did not bother them when it came to saving banks), so they despise the housing bill.

Most of these attitudes are based on continuing devotion to the Republicans’ secular religion, that is, the free market theology of utterly unregulated markets. This is the very dogma that got us into our current economic mess. The ultimate purpose of their objections are to: 1) water-down stimulus spending to cause Obama to fail; and 2) destroy all remaining New Deal-style “entitlements” including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Below are a few of my own sound bites, some of which occasionally stop ‘em in their tracks, enabling me to wedge a few additional therapeutic comments into the discourse:

The Aerodynamics of a Recession

The aviation metaphors are running rampant. Our economy is crashing and burning. The stock market is in free fall. Banks are flaming out. But the best aviation metaphor for the economy is that the economy is like a plane that has stalled. A stall, as pilots know, occurs when the airflow over the wings is not enough to generate lift. The stall speed is a function of the plane characteristics (wing shape, weight), speed and angle of attack -- the angle at which the wing hits the air flowing by the plane.

Every wing, every plane has a stall speed -- the speed at which the plane ceases to be a plane and becomes a rock. When Continental Flight 3407 went down in a snow storm two weeks ago, it was apparently because ice buildup on the wings interfered with the airflow across the wings and destroyed the lift that the wings were providing. When the plane stalled at a low altitude, it simply dropped out of the sky. If a plane stalls at, say, 10,000 feet, the way that a pilot gets control of his plane again is to point the nose down and gun the engines to get the speed of the air flowing across the wings up to the speed at which the wings begin to create lift again. Ordinarily, of course, pointing the nose toward the ground and gunning the engines is not good flying, but when you are in a stall, you have to do things that are counter to everything that you think ought to be reasonable about flight. I mean, who, in his right mind would point the nose down toward the ground and increase the speed? Going back to Wilbur and Orville Wright, those who have taught pilots have had to convince pilots that when you're in a stall, you have to recognize the stall, and you have to do exactly what you would NOT do in other circumstances, and you must do it quickly and decisively.

The essential of any stall recovery is to be decisive, deliberate and timely in the recovery.... Panic reactions in crises situations are more likely to kill you than trained reflex.

Our economy at the moment is like that stalled plane. For the stalled plane, the wings are no longer generating lift, and the plane is now a rock. In the economy, nothing is generating lift. Consumption is greatly reduced, investment isn't happening, and the credit markets are dead still. Stock prices are dropping like a rock -- down another 250 points today.

Is Barack Obama leading us to consequentialism?

Are morality and pragmatism mutually exclusive? In current political discourse, the answer seems to be "yes." The New York Times today has an op-ed piece by William Saletan, columnist for, raising this question in the context of abortion and same-sex marriage -- . After dissecting the moral arguments, Saletan concludes that Barack Obama is right:

Our moral debates have become stale and fruitless. The reason is that we’ve pitted morality against practicality. These two principles need each other. Let’s marry them.

Saletan proposes that the tension is between morality and practicality; what he may mean, but doesn't say, is that he wants us to look at these issues as consequentialists. The problem, a philosophy professor would say, is to shift the terms of the philosophical or moral debate from the current deontological ethics or virtue ethics to a consequentialist ethical framework.

Huh? We're political people here, not philosophers.

OK. Let's define some terms.

Perriello's Informational Town Hall

Facing the crowd that gathered at Martinsville High School's library, Congressman Tom Perriello spoke about the highlights for Virginia in the recently passed Stimulus package. Money to help Virginia's bottom line, to save state legislators from making more cuts, money for infrastructure renewal, funding for education and tax credits.

Funny Video Mocking Cantor

Hey, I made this video the other day after getting fed up with our friend the Minority Whip, and all their whining over the stimulus package. It's not the greatest but I think it gets the point across. Enjoy. Here is the link.

Stay Classy Eric Cantor

The Republican delegation continues to prove themselves completely out of touch with the realities of the economic crisis and our increasingly progressive electorate.

Case in point, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor. The House Minority leadership's politically-motivated, unprincipled obstructionism has been exposed, and American's are calling them on it. We're in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, President Obama did everything he could to accommodate Republican ideas and concerns, and still they won't act in the interest of the American people.

Here's the ad labor is running targeting Limbaugh's party of "NO".

In response, Cantor sent out this expletive-laden anti-AFSCME video.

Very nice.

Now the struggles of hard-working, American's and their families rate dismissive cussin' from arguably Virginia's most powerful Republican. That Eric Cantor, he's one class act.

Cantor's effin' response

Cantor's effin' response:

Eric Cantor's office is responding to the AFSCME/UAC ad blitz with a 1970's-vintage AFCSME public service announcement that's been redubbed with an Andrew Dice Clay-type voice over touting the union's accomplishments in "picking up your f------ garbage."

"You could post this as my response," writes Cantor press secretary Brad Dayspring.

-Reposted from Glenn Thrush's blog on Politico:

Tonight's Inside Scoop TV Show Mon. Feb 9th, UPDATED

Inside Scoop Monday
February 9th, 2009 from 7:00 to 8:00 PM EST
"Devoid of Ideas, Repubs Obstruct Obama"

URL for the 58 minute show:

Nationally syndicated talk radio host, Mark Levine, hosted this Inside Scoop national topic "Debate with a Republican" show. Mark explored the obstructions and tactics that the Republicans in both the House and the Senate are throwing up in the path of passing the "Stimulus" legislation. One of the major differences between the two bills now going through the Congress is the help for the state government budgets that is contained in one and not the other. Mark's Guest for this show was Mike Lane, Republican Strategist from Northern Virginia.

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where to watch this show

Tell Webb and Warner to Stand Up for Working Families

When they went to the polls in November, voters illustrated that they are tired of elected officials who promoted bitter partisanship rather than productive ideas. Many Republicans, however, don't seem to have received that message because they are trying to use extreme partisanship in order to back President Obama into a hole. After trying to reach out to their Republican colleagues, it looks like the Democrats have now realized that the GOP members of Congress aren't willing to work in a biapartisan manner to pass the stimulus despite the urgent need for action.

This is an important realization for Virginia's Senators to remember because both Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Jim Webb are involved with the negotiations surrounding the economic recovery package. In other words, they are in a position to strongly impact the final status of the economic recovery package. With higher than expected unemployment numbers announced today, our country desperately needs leaders who will vote for legislation that will create and save jobs throughout the country. Furthermore, we need officials who will stand up for working families by voting against the failed trickle down policies of the past. Of course it wouldn't hurt for people to call into their offices and let Webb and Warner know that we need this type of leadership.

Obama Warns of "Catastrophe": "This is the time to act."

The battle for the Obama Recovery package rages on.

In a Washington Post op-ed, the President describes "The Actions Americans Need":

This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending -- it's a strategy for America's long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education. And it's a strategy that will be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability, so Americans know where their tax dollars are going and how they are being spent.

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis -- the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

When the Obvious is Unspeakable

The war in Iraq will cost over $1 trillion and will have a total $3 trillion impact on the American economy. These inconvenient truths are so horrifying to Republican conservatives that they must distract from them at all costs.

It is a testament to the complete dominance of right wing messaging inside of the mainstream media, that the current debate on the Obama Recovery package is now completely centered around the cost and spending. Why is it perfectly fine to squander trillions of dollars on an astronomically damaging occupation, and somehow wasteful to build roads, schools, hospitals, and keep people healthy, employed and housed?

The obvious truth of the current Hill debate is also, apparently, unspeakable, as evidenced by the communal gasps of horror among the ABC panel when Barney Frank has the gall to state it. The American economy is circling the tub drain, and the party of Reagan is now the party of Herbert Hoover. Ike has left the building.

House Democrats pass stimulus while Republicans play games

John BoehnerIn another example of the remarkable leadership of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Republicans in the US House of Representatives pushed for concessions from the Democratic majority and President Barack Obama. In response to this push, compromises were made in an effort to build bipartisan support for the economic recovery bill.

These compromises included cutting infrastructure investment by 10%, increasing tax cuts to $300 billion, as well as the now infamous contraceptive funding supported by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

What's so remarkable about Boehner's leadership isn't that these compromises were reached. House Republicans knew that President Obama was striving to bring both parties together to put together a bill that would be of best benefit the nation. Boehner had that card to play. The remarkable thing is how Republicans voted. In an incredible show of solidarity and "principle", Boehner and every member of his party effectively told President Obama, and the American people, that they can take their bipartisanship and shove it. Not one Republican voted in favor of the bill. The final vote tally was 244 in support, and 188 in opposition. One representative was unable to attend the vote, and eleven Democrats voted against the bill.

The Key to Virginia's Economic Recovery

Russ Morris, the President of the consulting firm CFO Partner, LLC in Northern Virginia and potential candidate for delegate in the 13th district, is reaching out to start a discussion amongst the citizens of the Commonwealth to find out how business economy is affecting them. Having served as a CFO and Senior Financial Consultant to numerous small and mid-sized companies in Virginia, Russ is keenly aware of what must be done to help privately owned businesses thrive and prosper.

Obama's plan will push nation forward

Yesterday, President-Elect Barack Obama delivered a major address from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. The subject of the address was the state of our nation's economy and his proposal for a similar package that would create a surge in funding to support clean energy sources, projects to modernize federal buildings in order to make them energy efficient, the expansion of broadband Internet availability, the transition medical records from paper to digital, and the modernization of current and creation of 21st century facilities for education.

While there has been much said about clean energy, health care modernization, and better education, funding for these projects has been difficult to secure. The stimulus package proposed by the President-Elect would push these projects forward, breaking through the barriers that have kept the nation from progress. This would be a solution to the frustrations of many who have been wondering what the hold-up has been.

I'd like to hear from you

I wanted to take a moment to welcome the Blue Commonwealth community and give you an update on what we’ve been up to since Election Day.

First, thank you to everyone who helped out during our campaign for the U.S. Senate. Your support led to an historic victory, and we couldn't have done it without you. I look forward to hearing from this community in the years to come as we work together to get our country back on the right track.

In the weeks since the election, I've had an opportunity to talk to folks around the state to get a sense of what they would like to see from our leaders in Washington.

If this election has proven anything, it's that Virginians and Americans want leaders who focus less on partisan ideology and more on finding solutions that produce results that will get this economy back on the right track.

In my conversations across the state, I've heard from community, academic and business leaders who are all focused on the economic downturn and who have all shared new ideas and insight that I am eager to bring to the U.S. Senate.

State and local officials have discussed the proposed economic stimulus package, which could improve our infrastructure and create jobs here in Virginia. Our university leaders are working on exciting research into alternative energy, which could create thousands of new "green" economy jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And several of Virginia's largest employers are thinking of innovative ways we can work together so they remain competitive in the global economy.

Kaine Says Va Projects Ready-to-Go , Fits Obama Plans

Gov. Tim Kaine says Virginia is ready to break fast, right out the gate, as soon as the proposed Federal economic stimulus funding is available, as outlined by President Elect Obama in his weekly media address today.

"Today in his radio address, he discussed his plan to provide for significant investment in critical infrastructure projects, such as road and transit construction, bridge repairs, energy efficiency upgrades, and school repairs. His plan will put people to work and give the economy a critically important boost.

“Moreover, the President-elect’s 'use-it-or-lose-it' approach for infrastructure investment, requiring that infrastructure funds be used immediately on projects that are ready to go, makes sense. This ensures that the work will begin on these long-term investments and thousands of new jobs will be created quickly. Here in Virginia, we have more than a billion dollars in ready-to-go bridge, highway, rail, transit, port and airport projects that have been through appropriate local, regional and state planning processes and that can be under contract within 180 days.

"I have been fighting to restore Virginia's infrastructure since I became Governor in 2006, and I am so gratified that President-elect Obama understands the important value of these investments, especially given the current economic climate across the country and here in Virginia.

Gov. Tim Kaine's full statement below the fold