Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Economy, Obama's Stimulus Package - Hopes and Problems

I offer a potpourri of articles with this post.

First, The Washington Post's Obama Cites Grim Economy at Start, as Predecessors Have:
"For Obama, the address was the laying down of a political marker, said Andrew G. Biggs, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

'He wants to make clear that coming into his administration that the problems he faces are problems that he inherited,' Biggs said. 'He does not want to be judged by where the economy ends up in a couple of years, but by from where he started.'
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In tone and manner, Obama's speech was eerily reminiscent of the early declarations from the past four presidents, who took office warning of economic perils that lay just around the corner."
Also from The Post comes Predictable Fault Lines Appear on Stimulus:
"Now, it is true that Barack Obama's aides got an earful yesterday from some Senate Democrats, who want fewer tax cuts and more traditional infrastructure spending. But don't mistake the natural friction of the legislative process for some sort of calamitous intraparty break. There is not and never was any realistic way that a package this big and complicated was going to make everyone happy, just as it was never realistic to expect that the BCS system would really crown an undisputed national champion.

Obama has made clear that he wants to attract at least some Republican votes, and that means Democrats are going to have to swallow some elements they'd rather not. (And if Democrats are already thinking about 2010, they should want at least some Republicans to back the bill to give the majority some political cover in case it doesn't quite work out as planned.) After all, just look at the financial bailout -- if Republicans hadn't voted for that bill too, Election Day could have gone differently."
No, it is not going to be that pretty at all. Nor easy. We let two fools drunk on power and self-righteousness run the train into a helluva wreck. We want action but we need action is not witless. I hope Obama does listen to all views (I think he will), I hope the Congressional Democrats put reelection thoughts on the back burner (doubtful, I know), and those that will obstruct for the sake of their own ambition get smashed like cockroaches.
The Post also published Michael Gerson's The Risks in Obama's Ambitions:
"But predominantly publicly run health care is an ideological red line for Republicans. In other instances where the middle class has become dependent on government for its health care -- witness Britain -- the conservative case for individual responsibility and limited government has been fundamentally undermined. People hold tightly to the security of their benefits even when treated by a health system with surly incompetence. Not even the most compassionate conservative is going to accept government control of 16 percent of the economy."
But conservatives will let the government ride to the rescue of Wall Street while letting GM go down the tubes. Give me a break from conservative ideology. Show me a conservative who has not benefited from the world created by Democrats and liberals and then I will be less cynical. I would be even less cynical if the conservatives can show me how they have helped our middle class and our manufacturing sector to anything but bankruptcy.

Hoosiers are pretty much conservative (which in our case is probably a nicer way of saying we are cheap). If we keep listening to the Conservatives, the rest of our country will look like us.
Indiana slips in health ranking:
"Indiana fell two rungs in an annual ranking of the health of state populations.

The Hoosier state came in 34th in a report released today by UnitedHealth Foundation, the American Public Health Association, and the Partnership for Prevention.

Indiana struggles for well-known reasons. Its smoking rate is sixth-highest, at 24.1 percent. Air pollution and preventable hospitalizations are high. The rate of childhood immunizations is low and funding for public health ranks dead last."
We sidestepped national health care by foisting it on the backs of our largest industrial enterprises. Conservative policies have ruined those industries. When they go, who will have health insurance?

Bringing it all back home, is Indiana's venture capital flow slows from The Indianapolis Business Journal:
"The flow of life sciences venture capital tailed off in Indiana last year compared with 2007, but the state still attracted twice as many dollars as in 2006.

Hoosier life sciences firms pulled in a combined $75.4 million in venture capital last year, according to data compiled by BioEnterprise, a Cleveland-based life sciences development group, and Mid-America Healthcare Investors Network, a consortium of venture capital firms.

Last year's total investment was down 44 percent from the previous year, but it still doubled the $37.2 million Hoosier life sciences companies received in 2006."
Or this from The Indianapolis Star:
PITTSBURGH » Boeing Co., the world's second-largest airplane maker, plans to cut about 4,500 positions, or about 3 percent of its work force, as a weakening global economy lowers demand for jetliners. The Chicago-based company Friday said most of the job cuts from its passenger jet business will be in Washington state and should occur by June. (AP)

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