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Posted by cann0nba11 on January 13, 2009

According to this US News article,  Liberal writer Robert Kutner thinks that President Obama me be thinking too small. Kuttner wants Congress to authorize $2 TRILLION in spending.

Kuttner is the co-founder and current co-editor of liberal magazine The American Prospect (self-described as “an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas”). For 20 years he wrote for Business Week and now columns in The Boston Globe. He has appeared as a liberal voice on NPR, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Firing Line, Crossfire, and NOW on PBS. Here’s what he proposes, along with my feedback:

  1. Aid to state/local governments avoid layoffs or cuts in services]. Cost: $200B
    This seems innocent enough, except for the fact that government does not know how to control spending in the first place. Why give it more to play with?
  2. Emergency revenue sharing to states/cities by picking up half of the state share of Medicaid. Cost: $100B
    This is a drop in the bucket. Medicaid/Medicare/Social Security are a potential $13-52 Trillion disaster waiting to happen. The actual number varies depending on who you ask. Either way, it’s HUGE.
  3. Temporarily pay COBRA coverage for laid off people who lose their health insurance, and allow people over age 55 to buy into Medicare. Cost: $100 billion.
    What? Where in our Constitution does the right to health care appear? I lost my job in 2003 and had to go without insurance for 9 months because I couldn’t afford the $1100 a month cost. I had a 3yr-old and a 5-month old at the time and we toughed it out. America can do the same today.
  4. Expand Unemployment Insurance to cover part time workers, extend eligibility period, and increase benefit levels. Cost: $50 billion.
    Unemployment insurance is supposed to be temporary coverage. Too many Americans rely on it already; raising the benefit would not motivate the proper behavior, which is to get OFF of unemployment.
  5. Roll back tuition at state universities and community colleges, and increase Pell Grants–contingent on universities not increasing costs to students. Cost: $100 billion.
    Hell no. College is not a right either. In fact, not every students goes to college. There are plenty of other jobs out there that do not require a college degree. They are called trades. Tuition goes up every year, I’ve got two degrees to prove it. If you can’t afford college you go part time. If you still can’t afford it you get a job and save money. And the Pell Grant thing is a crock. Despite my parent’s very modest income in the 1980s I never qualified for these grant. Yet, richer kids that had parents that knew how to hide money got them. Screw that.
  6. Declare a temporary holiday on the worker share of the Social Security tax, and have government make up the loss to the trust fund, Cost: $450 billion.
    I’ve got a better idea. Declare an Income Tax Holiday. Let us keep our money.
  7. Continue many of these relief programs into a second year, as economic conditions warrant. Cost: $500 billion.
    No. Doing stupid things multiple times is stupid. If it was wrong the first year, it will be wrong the second year.
  8. Use direct federal lending to refinance distressed mortgages, and as necessary reduce the outstanding principal amount. This can begin by mid-2009. Cost: $200 billion of subsidy; most additional debt is eventually repaid.
    HELL NO! I still have yet to see a single instance of predatory lending. The vast majority of these failing mortgages are homes owned by people that made bad decisions, got greedy, or both. I could have bought a $500k house, but I went for half that price because I understand basic math.
  9. Begin planning immediately for a broad range of infrastructure programs, from traditional outlay on roads, bridges and mass transit to spending on 21st century infrastructure such as retrofitting homes, green energy, universal broadband, and smart-grid electricity systems. Spend money on worker training as necessary. Cost: $300 billion.
    Can you say “bridge to nowhere?” Green energy is a good concept, but plan with reason and logic. That bright, yellow ball in the sky is what makes the Earth hot. No matter what we do humans will have virtually zero effect on our planet’s temperature. Universal Broadband? Are you kidding me? Why not free ice cream for every home, or a motorcycle for every man or woman that wants one? What about a pony? Or a fire truck? Smart-grid systems? Sure, that sounds reasonable. Employee training? Definitely, but let the companies train their employees, and help them by lowering corporate taxes so that they can actually pay for education initiatives.

Mr. Kuttner, I recognize your desire to make America better. But outrageous spending is not the way to go about this. I prefer  reducing the size of the government and letting citizens and businesses keep more of the money that they have earned. Motivate those that aren’t working by making it more painful to remain unemployed. Yes, more painful. We all have our limits, but when it makes better sense to stay home and receive a check instead of working at McDonalds, Wal-Mart or washing dishes somewhere, we’ve got a problem. Too many of those that recieve entitlement do nothing to improve their lives. This needs to change.


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