So day before yesterday my youngest went to NYC to stay with his aunt Luloo. Big adventure for him. First time to the city on his own. I wanted to tail him, but he didn't want me to. Then he called to say the New Jersey transit trains weren't running into Penn Station NYC and he was being told he had to go via Hoboken and the PATH trains.
That routine he didn't know as well, so I ran out of my apartment and jumped on the train with him as it arrived. The trip took longer than usual because the train had to stop and wait for a track as all the Amtrak and NJ Trains heading into Manhattan were now being funneled through Hoboken.
You may recall my criticism of our state's governor Christie for canceling a project to build another train tunnel into Manhattan from Jersey to alleviate the ton of people commuting and traveling into and out of the city every day. The project was already funded by the federal government mostly and work on it had begun. But it would only benefit commuters who took trains, which use electricity, and workers who would build the tunnel, who belong to unions. So he canceled it and Jersey lost the jobs and the extra tracks for trains going into and out of Manhattan from the Jersey side.
Instead he decided to spend taxpayers money on widening highways (even though all studies to date show that if you widen a highway it doesn't cut down on traffic because more people will then use it) and subsidizing a huge new mall not far from Manhattan, that those interested in using the mall from the city will find it more convenient to drive to than take a train since the trains will be even more crowded and since the ancient tracks and transit system have no money to upgrade to better infrastructure and newer technology.
(re the latter: the biggest complaint from commuters about the track delays Tuesday and Wednesday from the derailment that caused them, they're saying on the news today, is that information about the situation was so difficult to get. The online information just gave the usual train schedules (formatted in a way that makes them challenging and time consuming to decipher) with little or no details about the delays, and the phone lines were busy or closed at a certain time, etc. etc.
With all the instant messaging and twitter stuff out there, they couldn't inform their customers of what was going on in any timely or technologically efficient way—they also said they partly don't tell riders what's happening because they don't want to cause any 'alarm" or "panic" etc.!)
So here's the deal. Obama's and the mostly Democratic stimulus package kept another Great Depression from happening, helped the economy rebound on some levels, helped working and poor people and states by contributing funds to them and programs that help them (extended unemployment benefits for one), saved the "American" car industry, etc. And as a result the unemployment rate has been going down—only a little, but at least not going up as a general trend since Obama inherited the Bush/Cheney mess—etc.
All the talk of a "double dip" recession being brought on by the downgrading of our country's financial rating by one of the top ratings agencies (which gave the giant financial institutions that rule our country—hand-in-hand with oil, drug and weapons corporations—triple A ratings for their "mortgage-backed derivatives" etc. which of course was one of the biggest contributing factors in creating the Great Recession) never mentions that the stimulus efforts of Obama and the Dems worked, until they ran out and would have worked better and longer if the package had been bigger (Obama can be faulted for not aiming higher, but his political calculation obviously had to include the resistance of the Republicans to any and all Obama policies and programs, except continuing the tax cuts for the wealthy).
What doesn't work is the latter, tax cuts for the wealthy. They were supposed to work when Bush/Cheney introduced them, but the only people they worked for were...duh...the wealthy! The gap between them and the rest of us has only grown, and exponentially, as tax decreases for them have continued. And "job creation" has only occurred where the government has stepped in and helped (including jobs for federal and state and municipal workers, many of which were lost after that part of the stimulus expired) or in green industries unfairly burdened with unfair competition from oil and gas companies subsidized by the government through tax breaks and actual money etc. and low paying service jobs at Walmart etc.
But because of the spin the right has mastered and the media has accepted, what worked and is still working is mostly ignored, and what doesn't is mostly blamed on Obama or on both sides of the aisle in Congress rather than on the ones who caused the initial financial collapse and have tried to stifle any solutions to it other than more of what caused it (i.e. rightwing Republicanism).