Category Archives: infrastructure

Deficit panel plan defeated…and this is a surprise?

I just want to know who the 7 assholes were that voted for it. The title of the damn plan was enough to make me gag: Moment of Truth. From The Hill:

In an 11-7 vote, President Obama’s fiscal commission on Friday failed to adopt a sweeping plan for reining in the federal budget deficit.

The panel had been working since February on a plan that would cut nearly $4 trillion in deficit spending over the next nine years and reduce the federal debt to 40 percent of gross domestic product by 2035.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had agreed to bring the deficit recommendations up for a floor vote in Congress, but only if the proposal had the support of 14 members. The commission came up three votes short.

Voting in favor of the plan were the commission’s co-chairmen Sen. Alan Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming, and Erskine Bowles, who served as chief of staff to President Clinton.

Among the Senate members of the panel, Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) voted “yes,” while Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) voted “no.”

From the House, Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), David Camp (R-Mich.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) all voted against the plan. Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee who lost his reelection bid in November, was the only House vote in favor.

Of the non-congressional members, David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell International, Ann Fudge, the former CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands and Alice Rivlin, the former director of the Office of Management & Budget, voted “yes.” Former Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern voted “no.”

Ah yes, the thugs that voted for the heavily flawed plan were either Blue Dogs like Conrad, Corporation heads and of course the hardcore/neocon R’s on the panel. Hopefully this ends that worthless panel of backwards thinkers who were willing to fuck American’s at every turn without even looking hard and long at the bloated Defense Budget…or gawd forbid…raising taxes! I like this explanation of what went wrong:

Why? Because three decades of neoliberal market ideology have persuaded Republicans and Democrats alike that government is our enemy and that the public purposes it pursues are illegitimate; and that, Q.E.D, collecting taxes to pay for such purposes is a form of theft. Americans don’t just oppose high taxes (high taxes were when the rich paid 85 percent or more back in the Eisenhower era), they oppose taxation per se. In principle. Which principle? The principle that government is illegitimate, politicians are outlaws so taxes are (literally) highway robbery.

We thus frame the “hard choices” as choices between which expenditures to cut rather than between which taxes to raise. But the really hard choice is surely about whether or not we want to pay for the society we want to live in.

If you want a lifestyle that includes taking care of Veterans, the elderly, educate the masses and care for the disabled, it’s going to cost money. If you want a country where the infrastructure isn’t falling down around us, it costs money. And if you want to fund two friggin endless wars…yes, it costs money.


Instead of rebates, lets fix our infrastructure and put people to work

With the news that every working American will get a rebate check from Uncle Sam, it made me wonder just how far $600 is supposed to go to ‘fix’ our economy? To some of us, the economy has been in the crapper for quite awhile now. Choosing between paying bills, filling the gas tank, buying medication and putting food on the table has been the problem of many American’s for some time now.

The Senate seems to realize that only putting money in the pockets of those that work will not be enough. As they fight it out in Congress over the next couple of weeks we can all watch to see the final outcome. Will they extend unemployment for those hit by the dive of the housing market? The ripple effect of that debacle is far-reaching. My local newspaper has laid off almost half their staff and they point squarely to the housing downturn as the reason for the layoffs. Unemployment numbers fed to us by the federal government are notoriously skewed since they do not count people who have used up their unemployment benefits. New job growth is in the same boat since it only counts numbers, not the quality of those jobs created.

Meanwhile, many of us think the economy needs more than a stimulus package that most likely will come in the form of another loan from, who else, China. Meanwhile, there is a bill out there that would create jobs and fix our nations infrastructure, its called the Dodd-Hagel National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2007, or S 1926. It was introduced into committee back in August of last year. The American Society of Civil Engineers explains it this way:

The bill, S. 1926, would create the National Infrastructure Bank as an independent entity of the federal government. The bank would be required to evaluate and fund “capacity-building infrastructure projects of substantial regional and national significance.”

Infrastructure projects with a potential federal investment of at least $75 million would be submitted to the bank by a project sponsor, state, locality, tribe, or local infrastructure agency, e.g., a transit agency. To determine a level of federal investment, the bank would employ a sliding-scale method that incorporates conditions such as the type of infrastructure system or systems, project location, project cost, current and projected usage, non-federal revenue, regional or national significance, promotion of economic growth and community development, reduction in traffic congestion, environmental benefits, land use policies that promote smart growth, and mobility improvements.

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