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Tracking The Trillions
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By bhallowell on February 11th, 2009
A recent piece in Time Magazine acknowledges the sad truth: when it comes to numbers in the trillions, the human mind slips into brain freeze at a speed faster than a field of dry ice. But that doesn't mean we can't understand what's going on.
Here at FacingUp.org, we're on blog patrol for you: serving up the best of the Web when it comes to facts, opinions and proposed solutions to the escalating federal budget deficit, $10 trillion national debt and concerns about how to keep financial promises to Americans who are counting on Social Security and
This week, the Economist Mom blog zeroes in on Sen. Arlen Specter's (R-PA) support of the economic stimulus. In Specter's own words: "I am supporting the economic stimulus package for one simple reason: The country cannot afford not to take action."
Over on the Government Bytes blog, Ross Kaminsky takes a different perspective, weighing in on Wall Street's market plunge in response to the Senate's version of the stimulus, reminding reader of his theory that "the market doesn't lie, at least not for long." Tuesday's Dow Jones dive of 382 points, about 4.6%, to 7889, was its biggest drop since December 1st, 2008, its lowest close since November 20th, 2008, and its second-lowest close since March 14, 2003.
Wondering what it's like to be behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, at the conference committee hammering out the differences between the House and Senate version of the stimulus bill lawmakers hope will get the economy back on its feet? Menzie Chin at Econbrowser offers some perspective on the two approaches to the stimulus.
Then there's the question of the short and long-term effects of the package. Check out Economist's View for some thoughts on that, as Mark Thoma discusses the idea that short-term and long-term gains are in conflict with another.
With Democrats and Republicans quarreling about the proposed stimulus, where do the libertarians stand? The Mises Economics blog reports libertarians face a conundrum when it comes to the economic stimulus: a conflict between optimism and pessimism regarding the nation's fiscal and political future.
Also, on the Café Hayek blog, Russell Roberts looks at job creation and makes the point that stimulus and spending are not one and the same.
Meanwhile, the report on Uncle Sam's revenue intake is fairly depressing. Douglas Elmendorf, on his Congressional Budget Office Director's Blog, reports "receipts for the first four months of fiscal year 2009 were about $88 billion (or 10 percent) lower than receipts during the comparable period last year." He goes on to present some staggering numbers, including those for the hundreds of billions spent as part of the Treasury Department's economic bailout plan.
Over at the Becker-Posner blog, Richard Posner provides a glimpse into his upcoming book, "A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent into Depression," disagreeing with the assessment that the current downturn is a recession. He also rings in on executive pay caps imposed on recipients of bailout funds, calling those limits a mistake.
Meanwhile, how about those Canadians? If that phrase hasn't passed your lips this week, you might want to take a stroll over to the Curious Cat blog, where Fareed Zakaria has posted some thoughts on a sobering statistic: according to the World Economic Forum, Canada has the healthiest banking system in the world, while the U.S. ranks 40th.
With all of the chatter surrounding the stimulus, Americans are hearing more than ever about "pork barrel" spending, a theme this week at The Club for Growth.
For more on public opinion and the stimulus, see Jenny Choi's posting at PublicAgenda.org.
1 comment on this entry
»A new report finds the main problem in getting the public to deal with our fiscal problems isn't opposition to tax increases or spending cuts -- it's their lack of trust in the government to spend their money wisely.