Sunday, September 5, 2010


The "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009"—Obama's "stimulus" (NOT to be confused with the Bush/Cheney "bank bailout" TARP)—has already achieved a lot and is on target to continue, though if Republicans retake control of the Congress, or eventually the federal government, much if not all of these achievements could be reversed.

Unfortunately, Obama's "non-drama" style (he should be holding a press conference at the site of a Recovery Act achievement every other day if not every day, which would be possible as there have already been thousands and thousands of projects created, from new factories opening or old ones re-opening to highway projects etc.), the right's manipulation of the media, and the media's tendency to trivialize the news to the level of viewing all politics as a horse race while ignoring substantive and in-depth reporting has left most of our fellow citizens partially if not completely ignorant of the extent of the Obama administration accomplishments so far (beyond healthcare reform and new regulations of Wall Street and ending combat operations in Iraq, and even those have been dismissed or mostly ignored as Obama achievements).

So here's just a few things the stimulus has achieved (from the Sept. 6th TIME) (and I'm not saying all these are what I would want to see done or couldn't be done better but they have been or are being accomplished nonetheless):

"saved or created 3 million jobs, helping avoid a depression and end a recession" (though if the stimulus were twice as big—as many economists suggested it should be (e.g. Paul Krugman)—we wouldn't be possibly heading back into a recession and more jobs would have been created, and yes I know it "feels" to many like the Great Recession never ended, but according to the definition of "recession" it did end as a result of Obama's policies)

"cut taxes for 95% of working Americans"

"bailed out every state"

create "record amounts of unemployment benefits and other aid to struggling families"

"funded more than 100,000 projects to upgrade roads, subways, schools, airports, military bases and much more"

it's "the most ambitious energy legislation in history, converting the Energy Department into the world's largest venture-capital fund"

by "pouring $90 billion into clean energy"

"including unprecedented investments in a smart grid; energy efficiency; electric cars; renewable power from the sun, wind and earth; cleaner coal; advanced biofuels; and factories to manufacture green stuff in the U.S."

"triple the number of smart electric meters in our homes"

"quadruple the number of hybrids in the federal auto fleet"

"finance far-out energy research through a new government incubator modeled after the Pentagon agency that fathered the internet"

"a tenfold increase in funding to expand access to broadband"

"sequence more than 2,300 complete human genomes—when only 34 were sequenced with all previous aid"

"$8 billion for a high-speed passenger rail network"

"$4.35 billion in Race to the Top grants to promote accountability in public schools"

"$20 billion to move health records into the digital age"

and create "solar arrays"

"zero-energy border stations"

"eco-friendly Coast Guard headquarters"

"an 'advanced synchrotron light source'"

"spread successful quit smoking programs"

"$249 million to build two [lithium battery] plants in Michigan" to "supply the first generation mass-market electric cars"

"$529 help Fisker Automotive reopen a shuttered General Motors factory in Delaware" (for electric cars)

and more for "electric trucks in Indiana"

"boost the number of U.S. battery-charging stations by 3,200%"

"expanding U.S. production capacity from 1% of the global market [for advanced batteries for electric vehicles] to 20%"

"$3.4 billion for clean coal projects aiming to sequester or reuse carbon"

"on track to exceed [EXCEED!] Obama's goal of doubling renewable power by 2012"

"the wind industry added a record 10,000 megawatts in 2009"

"The stimulus is also supporting the nation's largest photo-voltaic solar plant, in Florida"

"and what will be the world's two largest solar thermal plants, in Arizona and California"

"plus thousands of solar installations on homes and buildings"

"helping scores of manufacturers of wind turbines and solar products expand"

"funding dozens of smart-grid approaches"

"truckloads of batteries for a grid-storage project in California"

"re-cycled electric-car batteries for a similar effort in Detroit"

"launched the Advanced Research Projects sky fund"

"The stimulus will help...create a kind of reverse aluminum smelter to make [battery] prototypes the size of a hockey puck..."

"The Recovery Act is weatherizing 250,000 homes this year"

"gave homeowners rebates for energy-efficient appliances"

is" retrofitting...server farms, factories and power plants"

and "3 in 4 federal buildings"

"18 smart meters...will be in use by 2013"

etc. etc. etc.


Robert G. Zuckerman said...

I agree that press conferences should be held and other means to get this information out. Your blog is a start. Thank you for doing this!

JIm said...

Press conferences and feel good liberal greenie projects can not make up for an economy that has been unusurally slow to recover. 9.5 to 10% unemployment when Obama warned that if we did not do his stupid and ill concieved non stimulus bill we might go over 8% unemployment. Of course the real unemployment number is closer to 16% counting folks who have given up. Joe the Plumber would have made a better president, since he believes in the free enterprize system and the US Constitution. Obama believes in Obama, big governmemt control of the economy and of our personal lives and almost anything that is not American.

Another important factor is the significant favorablilty lead Republicans have over the Dems. Help may be on the way.

Anonymous said...
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Robert G. Zuckerman said...

Jim, help IS on the way, in spite of your misguided schoolyard posturing. It's annoying to hear you go on as if your liberties are being infringed upon. You cite polls that are based upon other polls ad infinitum that have little to do with reality in the street and on this planet.

JIm said...

You are a true believer. In the investment world you would be a buy and hold or buy and hope. Keep up the good work. The progressive/socialist/communist movement will need all their folks this year. The good news for America is there are not very many of people who think like you in America.

JIm said...

Here are some more stats from the 30s, which Obama and the Democrats are trying to relive. This is from John Lott on the Fox Opinion page. Liberals may quible with the conclusions, but the stats are accurate.

"Does the 1937-38 economic collapse, the so-called "depression within the Depression" offer any lessons on what we should do now? In 1937, it seemed that things were improving, some light was seen in the Great Depression, but unemployment suddenly jumped from 14.3 percent in June 1937 to 19 percent in June 1938. With the unemployment rate stuck at 9.6 percent, the Obama administration is planning to unveil what would be its third stimulus package. Supporters are pointing to the late 1930s to justify yet another increase government g to relive."

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

It's good to look at the past for guidance, but also to incorporate it into present reality. Being a "good American" now has much more today to do with being a planetary citizen, not your arcane, comic book slant on it. Not mindlessly waving a flag and parroting the party line, and then throwing cigarette butts out your car window, as I've seen so many republo-crits do. They don't love this land and are not patriots. I happen to be fiscally conservative in my personal life, but I believe in paying taxes and I believe in government governing and regulating things that need regulating. That's what it's there for, and without it, we wouldn't have this forum and you wouldn't be able to turn on your water and read your smug journals and periodicals.

Lally said...

Great points Robert. And another thing the righwingers edit out is their resistance to FDR's programs during the Great Depression. Under FDR and the Democrats the unemployment growth under the previous Republican administration was reversed and the country was recovering. But when the Republicans gained more power in the Congress they began doing away with a lot of FDR's and the Dems programs and that's when the stat mentioned changed and unemployment began going up again. The supposed double dip or Recession that followed FDR's successful reversal of the Republican caused Great Depression was caused by giving the Republicans more power in Congress once again. 2010 anyone?

JIm said...

WW I was followed by a recession that initially looked every bit as rough as 1929 with 10% unemployment. Presidents Harding and Coolidge believed in free markets thus did not attempt to interfer with markets. Business cut employment conserved cash and the economy recovered within a year and the Roaring Twenties were on. Hoover was a Republican but a liberal who believed in government intervention. Hoover started with the Agricultural Marketing Act establishing a Federal Farm Board to raise prices in 1929. Hoover signed Smoot Hawley in 1930, raising US tariffs which triggered an international trade war. Hoover continued various federal programs attempting to boost the economy in 31 and 32. FDR was elected in November of 32 and inaugurated in March of 33. FDR began his massive government intervention which resulted in a crushing double dip which was only stopped with the "Miracle of the Forties" as Krugman described it.

Conservatives were right to oppose FDR's intervention just as they were wrong in not being vigorous in opposing Hoover's intervention. Harding and Coolidge had it right which set up the 20s. Hoover and FDR had it wrong which gave us the Depression.

PS Robert, you and Obama are on the same page with that planetary citizen stuff. That is why many folks call him the first un-American president.

JIm said...
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Lally said...

In the first two years of the Great Depression, most economists, and most people, recognized that the answer was not more of the same Republican policies that caused the Great Depression, but there was a small minority of rightwing ideologues who resisted FDR's and the Democrats programs and policies that as soon as they were instituted revived the economy, the jobless rate began dropping precipitously, etc.
This minority eventually began to influence the Republican Party to resist and try to reverse FDR's successes and after FDR died began a decades long campaign to reverse the gains that came out of those policies (including Social Security and unemployment etc.)
It's a familiar pattern. Almost every economist, including many "conservatives" and even rightwing economists agreed that Kenysian measures were needed to recover from what looked like another Great Depression at the end of Bush/Cheney's watch, but once Obama and the Dems started reversing that decline, the rightwing ideologues once again began to resist and subvert and to everything they could and can to stop and reverse any gains made. Only this time they have a much greater influence on the media and therefore the general populace and Obama isn't FDR.
And PS: the right always likes to say the only thing that stopped the Depression was WWII, well what's the lesson in that? The federal government took control of factories, drafted many of the unemployed into the armed services (as a veteran I can attest to the reality that military is almost completely socialist, i.e. all the basics are taken care of by the government) , etc. etc. In other words the federal government got us out of the depression, by the right's own theory, by expanding and instituting programs that spent federal money on government funded projects etc. etc. etc. et-endlessly-cetera.

JIm said...

You might want to check your dates. The Depression started in 1929 and FDR was sworn into office in March of 1933. Hoover's progressive policies deepened the Depression. FDR expanded those policies which did more harm than good. As Secratary of the Treasury said in 1939, we spent all this money and achieved no benefit and now have a huge debt to boot (paraphrase). Who has more credability, Michael Lally or FDR's Treasury Secratary?

Lally said...

The Great Depression began at the very end of 1929, the "first two years" were 1930 and '31 when "most economists, and most people, recognized that the answer was not more of the same Republican policies that caused the Great Depression, but there was a small minority of rightwing ideologues who resisted FDR's and the Democrats programs and policies" [after his election obviously] "that as soon as they were instituted revived the economy, the jobless rate began dropping precipitously, etc."

JIm said...

I think you should forward your comment to the ancestors of FDR's Secratary of the Treasury. They will be greatfully enlightened after all these years.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

I think you mean "descendants" Jim? I'm guilty of typos and such, but for one who so strongly claims a grip on history and the so called facts, the abundance of misspellings and typographical errors in your writings indicate carelessness and weakness in your position ("Secratary" / "greatfully" etc.).

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

Jim, tell your people to stop Terry Jones from his hateful, foolhardy mission, which will only make worse the thing he and you are purporting to want to improve. Burning the Quran sinks to the lowest. It in no way represents the overwhelming majority of humanity. It blasphemes the First Amendment. It is fear and hatemongering at its very worst and is completely self-defeating.
See what you can do Jim.