Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How's That Stimulus Working Out For You?

In case you haven't been paying attention to anything outside of Michael Jackson, USA Today reported yesterday that states aren't using funds as intended. Here's the link to the article.

"The report says that as of mid-June, states had received about $29 billion of the estimated $49 billion in stimulus funding they are scheduled to get before the federal budget year ends Sept. 30. More than 90% of the money given to the states so far is for Medicaid and a fund meant to prop up states' budgets for schools and other basic services such as public safety."

The report they are referring to is from the Government Accountability Office which has been tasked with tracking and monitoring the funds. Their report came out today according to the link I was sent. (I'm a nerd and am signed up on their e-mail list for updates). Here's the link if you're interested in the report.

And for the appendices or appendixes as they put it. Any grammar experts out there? Is the dog or the government correct?

For the purposes of this report 16 states and the District of Columbia are being required to report their spending of the stimulus money they receive. My state Texas is one of them. You can find the rest in one of those links if you care.

From the report link above page 3 of the pdf. "Overall, states reported using Recovery Act funds to stabilize state budgets and to cope with fiscal stresses. The funds helped them maintain staffing for existing programs and minimize or avoid tax increases as well as reductions in services."

p. 14 or 8 if you look on the numbering on the report;"From October 2007 to May 2009, overall Medicaid enrollment in the 16 states and the District increased by 7 percent. In addition, each of the states and the District experienced an enrollment increase during this period, with the highest number of programs experiencing an increase of 5 percent to 10 percent. However, the percentage increase in enrollment varied widely ranging from just under 3 percent in California to nearly 20 percent in Colorado." Figure 3 on the next page shows the increases state by state.

Are the increased Medicaid rolls really all that surprising with the unemployment rate rising and standing nationally at just shy of 10%?

Is it at all possible that those of us that wanted the government to do nothing and let the recession take its course were right? Doing something seems to have increased and perhaps prolonged the recession. This was a bipartisan effort to screw us all over. Do you still think it was a good idea? Do you think the government should do more?

This is not an original idea, Neal Boortz poses these questions all of the time on his radio show, but what would happen if instead of the government spending on programs and "federal aid," they declared some sort of tax holiday for the masses for several months? Meaning everyone of us would take home our full paycheck (minus our contributions to retirement and/or 401ks). That's several hundred dollars a month extra that people would take home and have to spend, pay of debt, and save. What if instead of trying to hunt and search American money in Swiss bank accounts or other foreign countries in an effort to penalize the American owners of this money, they declared amnesty for all Americans to bring their money back penalty and tax free? They could then start investing that money in their local communities in the form of new businesses, spending, donations, or sitting in American banks rather than sitting in foreign banks.

Do any of these things make any kind of sense to anyone? Or are we as a society trying to legislate "fairness" by taking from those who work hard for their money and giving to those who may not work as hard. Is that really fair? What happened to fair meaning everyone having the same opportunity to work hard and succeed in this country?


Edisto Joe said...

I thought doing away with the IRS and imposing a flat tax on pay levels was a good idea as well as letting people handle their own social security investment. The "tax hoilday" is just one more sane idea in a very insane place.

As always, looking for ways to increase my "carbon footprint"

Edisto Joe

Ken Albin said...

What stimulus? All I see are price increases and less money. Tough times.

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