Dear Senator Collins:

Please stop hacking away at the stimulus package. It’s already too small! Most estimates say we’re losing demand in this country at a rate of over one trillion per year.

Your efforts to cut things like $1.2 billion to help localities with law enforcement expenses, $5.5 billion in surface transportation grants, $5.2 billion in prevention and wellness aid, and $13 billion in state education funding, just because you think these aren’t “stimulative enough” is short sighted in my view. Certainly these programs are stimulative to some degree and besides they add up to a mere $25 billion out of the $800 to $900 billion program.

Please stop fiddling around the edges of this plan. Let’s get on with it! Pass the bill! Time’s a wasting, and the economy is rapidly sinking as we speak.

Marden H Seavey
One of your constituents in the great state of Maine!
Contact Senator Collins:
Washington, D.C. Office (202) 224-2523
Portland Office (207) 780-3575

UPDATE: No, Susan, you still don’t get it! Slashing $40 billion from aid to states is not going to hack it. Your pared-down acceptable-to-you $780 billion package is not going to make it through the Senate-House conference committee. Barack, you just need to yell louder at them! “What do you think a stimulus is?” the president asked, his voice rising. Spending, he said — to laughter from his audience — “is the whole point.” This, after a senile John McCain says, “This is not a stimulus bill; it is a spending bill.” (See Bob Herbert for more.)

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  1. Minds Erased’s avatar

    Still, it’s an awful lot of zeroes, isn’t it? A billion here, a billion there… it’s made to seem like it’s nothing at all. I don’t know about you, but big time spending for any reason makes me big time nervous.

  2. Mardé’s avatar

    Yes, I know. But I think the alternatives could be worse. Still, you’re right, it is awful lot of money, and it’ll have to be paid back eventually. But if it does create jobs, then that’ll help in the long run to pay it back via taxes. The crisis is NOW, and things are getting worse. Most economists and financial people, including Fed Reserve members do favor a stimulus.

  3. Michael Eric Berube’s avatar

    I keep thinking to myself…”When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you need to do (if you want to get out of the hole) is to stop digging.”

    Japan tried to dig their way out of a hole a decade ago. It didn’t help them. Just prolonged their agony and left another generation deeper in debt to the State.

    Bush crammed $750 Billion of spending down our throats “quick quick quick vote and don’t discuss it!” Doesn’t seem to have helped us much beyond allowing his Corporate buddies to continue handing out bonuses and keep up the appearance of business as usual.

    Now, I realise that most of the sheeple in our nation have held to the incorrect assumption that all levels of Government are here to shelter, feed and protect us from cradle to grave since FDR’s Raw Deal, but I had hoped that with all the talk of ‘Change’ recently that someone inside the Beltway would actually mean it.

    Simply relying on the age old Liberal Big Government (as opposed to W’s supposed ‘Conservative’ version of Big Government) to “Borrow from tomorrow’s generation’s paychecks to pay the bills that our parents accrued which coming due today” is NOT change. It is the same sort of whacked thinking from both parties that created the burst bubbles that we are dealing with now on both a macro and micro economic scale.

    Many economists believe that FDR’s spending spree prolonged and deepened the (first) Great Depression. Luckily (?) FDR had WWII to restart an economy that was largely built on manufacturing.

    In case anyone isn’t looking, war hasn’t been the “health of [our] State” for a good number of years and we no longer have an economy built on manufacturing because our union based shops cannot compete with subsidised near slave labour abroad.

    I respect you Marde, but I completely disagree with you here. The sad fact is, if we want things to actually change, (more than just putting a bumper sticker on our car that states “Change”) we need to stop lying to ourselves that substantial and meaningful change will not require us to re-evaluate our reliance on a Corporate based economic system which is mostly predicated on our ever increasing access to cheap credit to feed an ever increasing consumerist appetite to buy cheap plastic stuff that we don’t want or need to replace the cheap plastic stuff that we didn’t want or need last year.

    This way of life is unsustainable and is at the very root of most of our society’s ills…from our interventionist wars abroad to the flagrant poisoning of our environment. Putting a several trillion dollar band aid of ‘stimulus’ on it will only prolong the inevitable total collapse.

    The alternative? Stop spending tax dollars that we haven’t collected (Hel, haven’t even printed) yet in hopes of controlling a Market that is impossible to so manipulate. Bernie Madoff is small potatoes…The Federal Reserve, IMF and World Bank run the real Ponzie Scheme. If a business over leveraged itself, let that business fail and then prosecute the corporate leadership for gross negligence. Anything less, incentivises future greed and wrong doing because the Federal Government is there to protect their Corporate masters to see that no ill consequences are in effect for such wrong actions, but there is much profit to gain in between bubbles bursting.

    Foster small, local and sustainable economies based on reasonable profit, but not reliant on ever increasing growth. This worked pretty well for thousands of years prior to the Industrial Revolution and that was before we had the technology that we have to keep us Globally connected.

  4. Mardé’s avatar

    I couldn’t disagree with you more, Michael. Most economist on the right as well as left agree that we need a stimulus and many feel Obama’s is too small.

    Japan couldn’t dig itself out of a hole because it wasn’t using the right tools. It was caught in a liquidity trap, the same one we’re in now and if we don’t spend our way out we’ll really crash — into a worse depression than the 1930’s. FDR did the right things back in the 30’s. His problem began when he raised taxes and stopped spending around 1937. Paul Krugman has a nice analysis of this. Then the war spending saved the economy. I’m really thankful FDR got us social security incidentally. And don’t tell me social security is in trouble because it isn’t. I’m one who likes the European models and hope this country goes eventually in that direction. Socialism? Is that what they have in England, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, etc.? If so, it’s fine with me. Where are our high speed trains, our widespread internet broad band access? Where is our health care system? Up the creek that’s where. Socialized medicine? I’m all for it, and it works!

    Perhaps I agree with you on the wars, Michael. We’ve had too many of them for no good reason. The pentagon is way way too big. Our troops should be brought home from around the world. The war on terror is largely a crock and the military-industrial complex is way too powerful in this country. It needs to be gradually dismantled. Police actions can control the terrorists and such actions have.

    But look, Michael, don’t oversimplify this situation our country and the world faces now. It’s not amenable to simple solutions. The best minds are having trouble with it. Listen to this CNBC interview of Dr. Doom & the Black Swan. That’s Nouriel Roubini and Nassim Taleb who spoke to standing room only crowds at the Davos conference in Switzerland. They predicted the current situation we’re in as did George Soros and a few others.

    Well, it’s clear we differ quite a bit here. I take the view that there are no easy answers, only probable best guesses, and one is that we need a stimulus, fast and now. I listened to Obama tonight and was impressed. So, I guess we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. But hey, nothing wrong with that! 😀

  5. Michael’s avatar

    Nope. Nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree amicably neighbor.

    Most humans really all want the same things from life. That we can looks for so many solutions to any problem that faces us in this country is our greatest strength and one of the few things that gives me hope.

    The plan will pass regardless. No sense in my griping about it I suppose. I’m just doing what I can to teach my grrrls how to survive any consequences that may (likely) result. Hope I’m just being overly cautious and that I’m just listening to the wrong economists. 😉

  6. Mardé’s avatar

    Hey, Michael, ya gotta watch that video! See my new post: Worse Case Scenarios. I think it’ll give you something you might agree with. I did me.

  7. Hip Hop Music’s avatar

    State Education funding definitely should not be trimmed out of the stimulus. I feel your letter was well written. This stimulus package actually has some substance within it, and while, yes it may borrow future taxpayer’s dollars.. it provides the opportunity to provide for new jobs that are desperately needed. The United States is falling further and further behind China and India… and we still keep investing money in the wrong places.

  8. Kevon Edmonds’s avatar

    The reason they are beating around the bush, focusing on these minor packages in the massive stimulus package is that it delays the issue. This is a major bill to be passed and so, people are afraid that by issuing their support, they can ruin their careers.

    Still, it would be good to make sure that the money is put in the right hands for the right purposes, though the ones you highlighted seem perfectly fine.


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