January 29, 2009, - 12:12 pm

Tiny Silver Linings in Mammoth Stimulus Spending Bill

By Debbie Schlussel
As you know, there are gazillions of dollars in special interest items in the so-called stimulus bill, which could spend us out of existence. But, with most evil things (and every cloud), there are two tiny silver linings. With this bill, these are probaby the closest we come to a silver lining, though it’s probably more of a grey tarnish:
1) Made in America

North Carolina Rep. Larry Kissell won a House amendment that requires the Transportation Security Administration to buy some 100,000 employee uniforms from U.S. textile plants.
Rep. Kissell’s staffers said that while they aren’t sure exactly where TSA uniforms worn by airport-security checkers come from, they aren’t completely U.S.-made.

silverlining.jpg

Currently, the Department of Defense is required to buy American-made uniforms. In arguing for the measure, Rep. Kissell, himself a former textile worker, points to 44 textile plants that have closed in the South, including 14 in his home state. “Last year, over 60,000 textile jobs were lost in the entire nation, 8,000 of those in North Carolina,” he said. “This is the right thing to do.”

I believe in the free market, but there is no reason to spend our tax dollars on foreign-made goods, when we can make them here and employ Americans.
2) Some Government Whistleblower Protections Restored
The Bush Administration severely weakened whistleblower protections for government employees who report wrongdoing. This includes, for example, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and FBI agents, who’ve reported on mammoth waste, outrageously unethical behavior, and pandering to Islamic extremists. I’m glad some of the protections–though, not enough of them–are being restored, since in many cases, these whistleblowers are the only check taxpayers have on dishonest executive branch bureaucrats:

Maryland Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, whose district includes a large number of government workers, added legislation to give federal workers new whistle-blower protections.

A couple of tiny silver linings in an otherwise beastly waste of money and increase in American debt from which we will have an even more difficult time of climbing out.
Not exactly worth it. But, still, it’s something, since we know this ridiculous bill will go through anyway.

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8 Responses

The only saving grace NOT one Republican voted for it and 11 Democrats voted against the porkulus bill. The GOP can’t stop the Democrats from doing what they want but it doesn’t have to give them political cover for their agenda. Now the majority party owns it all.

NormanF on January 29, 2009 at 12:40 pm

I’m not sure how the blatant protectionism that Debbie praises in section 1 is acceptable. Surely that isn’t free market, surely it’s just socialism. I’m disappointed that Debbie’s advocating this kind of typical Democrat thinking.
[KK: YOU SUPPORT SENDING OUR TAX MONEY OVERSEAS, TO FUND FOREIGN WORKERS? THAT'S NOT BEING ANTI-PROTECTIONIST. THAT'S BEING STUPID. DS]

Ken Kills on January 29, 2009 at 1:02 pm

I wish I still had it, but I had an email exchange with Austan Goolsbee (He was the Obama campaign’s chief economic adviser and I thought he would get a prominent position with the new administration – I think he only has a minor position) a couple of years ago. Unfortunately I deleted the emails. I took a class with Austan while attending the MBA program at the University of Chicago graduate School of Business (now called Booth).
I asked him about the effect on the economy when Americans buy goods from abroad that used to be produced here. He claimed most economists think that it is a good thing. According to Austan, as more cloths get manufactured overseas, that allows for more Americans to own and work in clothing stores.
I personally saw this as being nonsense, but I did not have the facts (nor the time to collect them) to refute him. Even if more clothing stores were to open (and I don’t accept that as being correct), there would still be a net loss of a lot of jobs.

i_am_me on January 29, 2009 at 2:29 pm

The bill will go through and the repubs better hope this bill fails, because if the economy gets better, with or without the bills help, it’s going to be a long way back before they become the majority party.

Independentone on January 29, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Unfortunately myself and others in the NY 20th congressional did not have a voice to ask to defeat this bill. The seat is vacant since Gillibrand is now a senator. I have contacted Schumer and voiced my opposition and have to call Gillibrand and urge her to vote against it, but fear my voice will fall upon deaf ears as it did when I contacted same + Clintoon to vote for an increase in domestic drilling for oil.
Bob A.

Bob A. on January 29, 2009 at 3:25 pm

I haven’t read the Buy American provisions in the bill. If the details support the face-value interpretation, they are good provisions that should be supported.
However, a lot of the Buy America provisions in similar bills are very sneaky. They might, for example, term a company as ‘American’ if final assembly is done here, even if all prior work, e.g. manufacture of sub-assemblies, components, etc. is done overseas. Also, something might be called American if a certain percentage, say 70% for example, is done by American companies. The compounding of all these provisions might cause a product to be called American, even if only a small minority of the work is done here.
I am not saying this is the case, since I haven’t read the technical provisions. But it has happened in many other cases, and the existence of a broad provision such as this does not necessarily mean that the goods are actually American-produced.
The government whistle-blower provisions likewise are welcome. I am not so optomistic about them, though, since whistle-blower provisions have been passed time and time again,with little effect. While a few whistle-blowers have secured lots of profits, a greater number have suffered, lost their jobs and livelihoods, with the righteous members of Congress doing little to protect them.-

c f on January 29, 2009 at 5:55 pm

1. The strategic path to victory in the war against Islamo-Fascist terror is the elimination of petroleum as the prime mover of America’s transportation system.
2. New technologies creat new jobs.
Never before have we had an opportunity like this to win a war and creat new jobs at the same time. This stimulus bill does NEITHER.
A search through the PDF file for the word “Petroleum” yields nothing. A search for the word “energy yields provisions offer billions for “carbon capture” and we all know what that means. That’s just the beginning of a disasterous LIB policy that will handcuff our energy industry.
Like you, I see some positive segments of the bill, but the vast majority of it is dedicated to the promotion of a hard-left agenda with little of value being produced.
I wouldn’t mind a genuine stimulus bill that built and repaired key infrastructure like bridges, coal-fired generating stations and wastewater treatment plants (complete with methane capture). I wouldn’t kind a stimulus bill that accelerated the manufacture of flex-fueled vehicles that could run on American-made ethanol, methanol, dimethyl ether and biodiesel. I wouldn’t even mind a stimulus bill that helped rebuild the twin towers. I wouldn’t mind a stimulus bill that funded the formation of two new divisions in the US Army (badly downsized under the Clinton and Bush Administrations).
But no! We’re going to fund birth control (if not now then later), “the arts”, carbon capture, ACORN, and Gd knows what else. We’re going to fund automotive battery research without funding the power plants necessary to charge them.
While half of the bill is good and useful, the other half is nothing more than promotion of the hard-left agenda. It might make LIBS feel good, but it won’t stimulate the economy. Therein lies the problem.

There is NO Santa Claus on January 29, 2009 at 9:41 pm

While they are at it, maybe they can roll back the last 20 years of trade deals. Talk about stimulus and putting Americans back to work. No corporations and the banks cant have that. Treasonous corporations and banks have consistently lobbied for free trade deals, open borders, got what they wanted, and it all fell apart. Now we have to bail them out. Oh by the way what ever happened to the legacy of the “Wizard” Alan Greenspan? I wish Andy Mitchell would elaborate every time this gasbag talks about how bad the economy is doing on her show. Does she ever connect the dots with the person she is sleeping with.
http://images.forbes.com/images/2002/05/09/greenspan_415x331.jpg

californiascreaming on January 29, 2009 at 9:43 pm

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