Friday, January 30, 2009

Stimulus, schitimulus

OK... I'm all for economic stimulus right now. My husband's job isn't entirely dependent on this, given that he is in the healthcare industry. But some folks do decide to forgo physical therapy, especially if they are out of work. In addition, the government has already proven itself to be ineffective in running a healthcare system, aka, medicare. My husband is so far behind on receiving payments from them it is disgusting.
My job is more tied to the economy, in that many businesses may decide that they don't need premium Web hosting at this time and some of our big contracts may decide to put big projects on hold. Right now my job is OK, but who knows what could come in the next year or so.

I'm currently reading an entertaining piece titled "HR-1 Stimulus Package". It is quite a long read and I haven't finished it yet, but what I have read doesn't excite me. What this piece tells me, is that the government in power, much to my chagrin, has no interest in helping out Joe the Plumber any time soon. They are cozy in their warm houses, with their private schools and Whole Foods entrees. They don't seem to see the need to move quickly. Well, maybe they do, but quickly for them means 3 or 4 years. Too late for many Americans, but fine for them, since many of them were just voted into office.
I'm still smarting from the news yesterday about the bonuses some wall street bankers received well after TARP passed. Yes, the bonuses that President Obama was going on about yesterday were handed out after TARP passed -- a bill he supported. He may not have been president, but he certainly was a Senator and helped the passage. Couldn't they have put a clause in there that stipulated what exactly the funds could be used for? Yes, if they had taken the time. But they impressed upon us how urgent the matter was and they were working day and night for us to find a solution to the banking woes. But the solution doesn't seem to have reached the average American. The solution seems to simply have lined the pockets of more of these money-hungry theives.
Now, on to the bill....
Off the bat -- before I even get to numbers -- something strikes me as wrong. The time-frame for this thing. They call it "Use it or Lose It requirements"
Recipients of grants must enter into contracts or commitments not later than a year after the date of enactment of the Act or not later than 9 months after the grant is awarded to make use of half of the funds awarded and shall enter into contracts or commitments no later than 2 years after the date of the Act or not more than 21 months after the grant is awarded to make use of the remaining funds.

This doesn't strike me as urgent. 1 year... 2 years...? So, we won't even begin to stimulate the economy for at least 12 months from when the Act is enacted? And then, those contracts may be entered into, but they may not start for many months after. What are we looking at here? 3 years, 4 years before things even start moving? Sounds about right for government, but doesn't work for my neighbor who was laid off and is facing foreclosure now.

Okay, now we are getting to some meat. up to .5% of each amount appropriated in the act may be used for the expenses of management and oversight of the programs, grants and activities. Wouldn't these agencies already have management in place? Why the waste? Oh, now I see, because they "may be transferred by the head of the Federal department or agency involved to any other appropriate account within the department or agency for that purpose.

Next this Act will create an "accountability and transparency board". How do I get a job on this board? Sounds sweet! They are going to oversee the fund and make sure there is no abuse or fraud or waste. Wait... isn't the board itself a waste? This board will have 7 members. I wonder if the bill will list their salaries... haven't gotten to that yet, I'm only on page 20. Shite!
Cool, the board will be appropriated $14million to carry out its duties, including travel expenses.

OK... taking a break. More in my next post... probably later tonight.

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