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Economic “Stimulus” ? February 3, 2009

Posted by thestellaranomaly in Economic Stimulus.
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If you have any doubts that the economic stimulus bill isn’t just one big “pork” sandwich, well let me, or rather the GOP leaders, erase them for you.  Here’s a  list of provisions in the bill that Congressional Republican Leaders call wasteful.  A few of my favorites are:

$2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient.

• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.

• $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.

• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship).

My absolute favorites are the $246 million dollars for the hollywood picture companies to buy film and the $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.  These provisions will create jobs how?

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1. djcnor - February 3, 2009

I’d like to hear the story behind that film. I’m betting it’s going to preserve our film heritage, because aren’t all modern movies digital? I’m a trained scientist, and time after time I’ve heard one funded project or another criticized only to find it perfectly reasonable and useful when you got down to the details and really ask why.

When it comes to jobs, you’ve got to look beyond the immediate pair of hands the money passes through to all the other pairs of hands it will pass through as income (and taxes will be paid on). The more pairs of hands it passes through, the greater the benefit.

thestellaranomaly - February 4, 2009

hey djcnor,
thanks for reading and commenting; i appreciate it. you are right when you say, “you’ve got to look beyond the immediate pair of hands the money passes through,” i may have been a little rash in my original assesment of the bill. However, I just don’t see how huge government spending will stimulate the economy. We’ve tried it before with the New Deal, and it’s widely aknowledged that WWII is what got us out of the econmic slump not the government spending. I’d love hear more of your views on the stimulus package though.

When it comes to the money devoted to the film industry, while the money may help preserve our heritage-which is great- do you believe that the preservation of our film heritage is a legitimate responsibility of our government?

2. djcnor - February 4, 2009

Actually, the debate on FDR’s policies and the Depression is nowhere near settled. Here’s a very interesting discussion that puts his decisions in the context of the times and the economic wisdom of the times.

http://www.taxhistory.org/thp/readings.nsf/ArtWeb/13F0B2FC36593DC28525751A004A3EDC?OpenDocumentimes.

The WPA is responsible for a very large part of the US’s most lasting heritage of the arts. It’s best playwrights and authors and a number of its best artists. The government is actually trying to buy back many of the pieces of work created under the WPA, but it won’t be cheap because of how much their value has increased. Bidding for a wastebasket designed by a wordwork artist involved in furnishing lodges at the national parks (a definite good created by government as a part of the WPA) starts at $750.

Yes, our film heritage is worth preserving. In the end, a culture is known entirely through the creations of its artists (including its writers). Think about any ancient civilization, or even one not so ancient such as, say, the 1600’s and how you know what you know of them.

thestellaranomaly - February 6, 2009

hey djcnor,
i wanted to read your link, but it doesn’t seem to work. Is there another place I can read the article?

3. djcnor - February 6, 2009

Here’s the home page which has links to the FDR program info. That seems like the surest way to get you there.

http://www.taxhistory.org/


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