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  • Morning Bell: Some Early Victories in Stimulus Debate

    2009 is going to be a tough year for conservatives. We face a new liberal president in the White House, an adoring and compliant media establishment at his disposal, and safe majorities in both the House and Senate. But all hope is not lost. President-elect Barack Obama knows he campaigned on many conservative themes and that the American people simply will not tolerate a sudden lurch to the left. The New Year is just five days old and yet conservatives have already scored some minor victories that we can build on.

    It was just one month ago that Obama was demanding an economic stimulus package be on his desk by his January 20th Inauguration Day. But now, thanks to conservative leader calls for an open and honest debate about whether we really need $1 trillion in new government spending, the Obama transition team is acknowledging that the stimulus bill will have to be delayed at least until mid-February.

    More importantly, conservatives are also making progress on significantly changing the actual content of the stimulus bill. Tacitly accepting a core conservative belief, Obama’s team has dropped any plans to raise taxes because the plan is “focused on measures that create jobs.” And not only is Obama promising not to raise taxes: the size of the tax cuts in the plan also keep rising and are now at 40%. In addition to the payroll tax cut Obama floated earlier, his latest plan also includes $100 billion in tax incentives for businesses. Now of course, many of these business “tax incentives” are terribly ill conceived and will do nothing to stimulate economic growth (Obama’s one-year tax credit for businesses that make new hires or forgo layoffs is one example. How exactly will the IRS determine which companies would have laid off people and which companies would have hired people anyway?)

    As much progress as conservatives have made in slowing down the bum’s rush to blow $1 trillion in taxpayer money without any debate, there are still some truly terrible ideas that must be defeated. In his weekly radio address this Saturday, Obama promised that his economic stimulus plan would include enough spending for 600,000 new government employees. This is part of the left’s larger plan to use this economic crisis to permanently and significantly expand the size of the federal government. These ideas most be resisted at all costs. Part and parcel to this permanent expansion of economic-growth-killing-government is Obama’s plan to create a chief performance officer and a chief technology officer. These are just government jobs for the sake of government jobs. The existing agency heads should be competent enough to upgrade their agencies technology and evaluate government program effectiveness. Adding another layer of government bureaucracy is no way to increase performance or improve the adoption of technology.

    These are just some of the stimulus debate battles that lie ahead. The left will also be pushing for hundreds of billions of bailout dollars for states like California, New York, and New Jersey who have far left state legislatures that have been over spending for years. Spending for “green jobs” that even Obama’s new budget chief, Peter Orzag has called “totally impractical” must also be killed. You can follow all of these fights on Heritage’s new Rapid Response page, which is a one-stop place on our website with all of our work on the economic stimulus - where you can read our best research papers, related commentaries, new blog posts and view videos that make the case for a proposal that helps the economy reach a sustained, higher level of growth.

    Quick Hits

    • Citing his involvement in a “pay-to-play” investigation New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew from consideration as Obama’s Commerce Secretary.
    • According to the Wall Street Journal, an organized campaign by low-income housing groups and Hispanic lawmakers is behind the mortgage borrowing spree that is now resulting in a wave of foreclosures.
    • Legislatures in New York, Georgia, Oklahoma and Wyoming and state ballot propositions in Montana, Nevada and Arizona are all taking up proposals to curb sky rocketing property taxes.
    • The relatives of Mexicans in the United States have become a new profit center for Mexico’s crime industry.
    • Two years after San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom called for a crackdown on brothels that front as massage parlors, city health officials know of, but refuse to shut down, more than 50 city-licensed establishments where sex is traded for money.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to Morning Bell: Some Early Victories in Stimulus Debate

    1. Linda Ale, Pennsylva says:

      Actually, the new year is only 5 days old. Is someone still using the December calendar?

    2. daniel says:

      for the country to prosper we need a thougtful and wise people, that is our job.

    3. Dan, New Mexico says:

      How about cutting taxes by $1 trillion dollars that would be a real stimulus!

      Instead we are looking to take an additional $1 trillion out of taxpayers pockets for what can only be called pork barrel spending!

    4. Abouna in Bonita Spr says:

      If, as reported, 600,000 permanent government jobs will be created, what is wrong with that? I live in S/W Florida where 'government' is the largest employer and where, overall, the performances of local, county and state government agencies/schools/etc. have been honest and competent.

      Given the past 15 + year history of bad, often dishonest or unethical, business management in the manufacturing (e.g., The Detroit Three) and financial sectors, should Mr. Obama instead focus on creating 600,000 subsidized jobs within such sectors? What other realistic options does Mr. Obama have? USA employers have heretofore transferred an incredible percentage of former domestic labor requirements to overseas venues; and global competitive realities indicate that this might be a continuing necessity. Creating 600,000 jobs in manufacturing is not a practical option at this time. I hope and pray that somehow, someday soon, economic realities can be such that those jobs will return to the USA.

      In any event, the Morning Bell reports that our remaining manufacturing sector and its labor force will be a potential beneficary of 100 billion dollars of President-elect Obama's proposed job creation policy for "new hires" and/or to "forgo layoffs". This is great! The potential challenges facing the IRS in oversight as mentioned in today's Morning Bell report can, in due time, be appropriately addressed by the IRS which has an overall record of better-than-good performance abilities as to compliance issues within its oversight.

      Q? Why call Strike 3 during a team warm up before the first pitch is thrown?

    5. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      So goes the way of the liberals. More government is the ony way they see to get out of this mess. I have heard so many people say the "guvement" needs to do something. That is the peoblem now, the governemnt has done so much with so little tah we can not see that people must do something to help themselves. This country was built on people helping themseves not depending on the governemnt to do all thing for all people. Qs long as the dems can keep people dependent on the government they will remain in power, the republicans also deserve some of this blame as well. We have to many programs that the governemnt is a large part of, and we have ended up with only a few working and supporting all of it.

      People need to get off their butts and go to work, lets make this country what it should be and the governemnt as well. A government of the people and and the people.

    6. David Lovett, Saint says:

      Your "quick hit" on the Wall Street Journal article on Hispanic foreclosures contains an unfortunate typo: the item should say "now leading to foreclosures," instead of "not leading to foreclosures."

    7. Eileen, Alabama says:

      daniel writes:

      for the country to prosper we need a thoughtful and wise people, that is our job. >>.

      So I guess that means Congress is out because most politicians are neither thoughtful nor wise and they only know how to prosper personally and financially, not for our Country. If it’s our job to find these thoughtful and wise people then I guess we are collectively a bunch of failures.

      More government equals more jobs means there are only more idiots at the helm. When are we ever going to learn? Congress, politics and politicians generally look for trouble and find it even if it's not there, misdiagnosed it and provide an inadequate or ineffectual remedy.

    8. LVKen7@Gmail.com - Las Vegas says:

      It is OK,
      but WHY does the HF and Cs
      take credit for IMPROVEMENTS IN OBAMA’S PLANS.

      The REAL place to SEE,
      with you own eyes,
      Obama’s plans is

    9. E Paul Lian, Scottsdale, AZ says:

      I need some professional help…I know I need to accept things as they are….but….Mitt Romney should be sworn in on the 20th as our 44th President. We picked the wrong person. Mitt knows the car business, how government works, health care, taxes, national defense, and most importantly, has the common sense approach our country desparetly needs in this hour of consternation. I’m already tired of this new guy….I’m going to have a long, tough four years ahead of me.

    10. Darrel Baird, Kent OH says:

      The bottom line is that no or very little money from ANY govnt. program can be allowed to reach tne consumer.If the money is spent inflation will make the added currency worthless.If the money is used to reduce credit the loan institutuions will
      need more money to make up for the lost fees and intrest.
      There is no good side of federalism. This idea’s first task was for banks to buy defaulted state obligations at 10 cents on the dollar, get the federal government to assume the states obligations,and then taxpayers honour the obligations ( bonds and pensions) at face value.
      You have just been introduced to Federalism .It doesn’t matter if the year is 1789 or 2009, the end result is the same. The Banks become the government, the government becomes the bank and NO ONE responsible .

    11. mike hutchings texas says:

      if i think therfore i am.

      if i think i am wise i am.

      if i think so much i must be thoughtful.

      if i am wise and thoughtful i cant be a democrat;


    12. Danielle McDonald, T says:

      I don't see any problem with a chief performance officer or a chief technology officer. A chief performance officer could hold agencies accountable for performance. A chief technology officer could help unify systems and help promote a seamless government. Agencies could exchange information like IRS with Department of Immigration when illegal usage of social security numbers occurs. It's all in the details, of course, but the concept might work.

    13. Doris Morgan, Oklahoma City says:

      Amazing what a country will do when a big majority is this upset; but there’s NO WAY that this can continue the way it has the last two Presidential terms. All we can do now is pay close attention….and hope we learn something new and better.

      I’ve never liked the term “change” before; but maybe an “old dog can learn some new tricks”.
      I would’ve preferred “honest and earnest”…..

    14. ella quinn kinston, n.c. says:

      I agree Mutt Romney should be our president.He would be wonderful.He is very smart. Ella Quinn

    15. david richfield says:

      Dear Bell,

      a trillion with no debate is your issue?

      That will be spent on American infrastructure?






      Green energy?

      Saving the world economy?

      …there will be oversight.

      I insist.

      (and, some money will be wasted. oh well…

      How many billlions were "lost" in Iraq?…)

      .. and your complaints about that?


      What, sir, about

      12 billion a week charged to THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

      for six years to occupy a foreign nation that did not attack us because WE THE PEOPLE were lied to about the "intelligence" to invade them to try to steal their oil for the multinational oil conglomerates?

      For which WE THE PEOPLE are not compensated?

      With NO OVERSIGHT.

      Socialize the risks and the costs, and privatize the profits.


      (That's not a good investment in national security.

      You have lost that argument, over and over. )

      = $312 billion.

      BUT, According to the Iraq Study group Report, paid for by your tax dollars, and written by the same grungy old oil mongers that were trying to make the oil GRAB happen during the eighties, if we stopped fighting and occupying for oil in 2006, the total cost would have been 3 trillion to the US taxpayer.

      are you bitching about this?

      The no oversight 350 Billion dollar bailout of wall street, with all of the bells and whistles, is, without stopping it, going to become eight trillion.

      Are you hollering about this?

      I guess not.

      None of any of the Bush spending

      1) addresses the debt (5 trillion in 2000 to

      10+trillion in 2008)=

      republican politics as usual

      2)helps us regain our international ethical stature

      3)creates any meaningful jobs (want fries with that?)

      4) addresses the idiot international fiscal policies of w.

      5)creates any incentive for America companies to locate or relocate in US


      I blame Republicans.

      I blame their lobbyists.

      I blame Greenspan.

      I blame Reagan.

      And I blame Clinton.

      (there are 150 trillion dollars in crap derivatives out there.

      Unfortunately, there are only 57 trillion "dollars" on the planet in actual currency.)

      … do the math.

      I blame a philosophy that there is no role for government.

      You guys have been drinking this koolaid since reagan.

      …It's a failure.

      (And I voted for reagan in 1980)

      You have bigger fish to fry, than arguing with obama about saving capitalism from ITSELF.

      This is what FDR did.

      Now we are going to live that again, if sanity prevails.

    16. Hozro1, Oregon says:

      You want a great stimulus? Stop taxing everything for a year! Print your money and give it to yourselves!


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