DeFazio: Open Letter on the Economic Stimulus Package

By Congressman Peter DeFazio.

When the House passed the stimulus package two weeks ago, I cast a reluctant yes but only after an amendment to add $3 billion for transit was accepted. That was progress. But I said at the time the bill needed changes in the Senate and conference committee before I would support final passage.

I particularly opposed the $300 billion in tax cuts added at the outset to capture Republican support and votes that didn’t materialize. Last year, we did $160 billion in tax cuts for the Bush “recovery plan”. We received a quarter of one percent boost in the economy for one quarter. Now we, our kids and grandkids, will pay that money back with interest to China over the next 30 years. I did not want to repeat that mistake with even bigger tax cuts paid for with borrowed money in a “Democratic Economic Recovery Plan”.

The “compromise” voted on yesterday was rewritten substantially to reflect the priorities of three Republican Senators, including $70 billion for one year of Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) relief. We do need to reform the AMT so it doesn’t hit the middle class but we should pay for it and other needs by eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations. We also need to retarget the AMT on those it was originally intended to capture - rich people who avoid taxes.

One of the first things eliminated by the Republican troika was the $3 billion for transit - but that was just for starters. More than $100 billion in other infrastructure investment, school modernization, and aid to education at all levels had to be cut to make room for their tax cuts. Oregon alone lost $457 million in education funds from the House version. Job estimates on legislation like this must be taken with a grain of salt. But using the original Administration multiplier, the final version of the bill cut job creation by between 400,000 and 700,000.

Some say this compromise is the best we could do because of the need for three Republican votes; that’s simply not true. If three Republicans get to rewrite every major initiative on the calendar - universal health care, a 21st century energy policy that addresses global warming, tax reform and more - we are in big trouble and won’t get the change we need.

The Democratic led Senate had three choices. They could have forced a real filibuster. Imagine what the Johnny One Note Republicans’ level of support would have been after endless blather about tax cuts - “It’s yer’ money” - compared to a Democratic plan to invest, rebuild and educate. If the Democratic leadership was in such a hurry to get out of D.C. they couldn’t make time for a filibuster, they could have changed the rules and required a simple majority vote. The Republicans set the precedent for this with their “nuclear option” when they controlled the Senate. But no, they followed the non-binding rules of the world’s most exclusive club and we get half a loaf.

We could have spent that borrowed $325 billion for tax cuts much more wisely to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, a major initiative for renewable energy, educating the next generation of workers and leaders and maybe even a big down payment on universal health care.

There are many good things in this bill but there could have been much, much more!

Sincerely,

Peter A. DeFazio

Please go to my YouTube page to see video of my floor speeches on the Economic Stimulus Package.

Comments

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Some say this compromise is the best we could do because of the need for three Republican votes; that’s simply not true. If three Republicans get to rewrite every major initiative on the calendar - universal health care, a 21st century energy policy that addresses global warming, tax reform and more - we are in big trouble and won’t get the change we need.

    The Democratic led Senate had three choices. They could have forced a real filibuster.

    This makes a world of good sense to me. I'd love to see a filibuster play out. Of course the Beltway pundits would wring their hands but who cares?

  • LB (unverified)
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    Exactly. Once again, Defazio speaks for his constituency. Thank you so much. Please stay vocal on this topic and on your opposition to the bailouts.

    It does not appear that Defazio's floor speeches on the Economic Stimulus Package are on Youtube yet.

  • Freddy (unverified)
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    Ok, if we leave the usage of the monies aside: how is this going to be financed but by inflation?

  • Dick (unverified)
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    I'm glad you voted against this Peter but not for the reasons you give.

    Whether its increased spending or tax cuts - its ALL borrowed $ that must be paid back with interest.

    You're a dangerous representative. If you had your way you'd spend every last dime wouldn't you?

    The change you want is not the change I need.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    If Obama and Reid had to make a deal with Arlen Specter and Susan Collins it had to be something of a Faustian bargain. I can just imagine Specter and Collins getting together, Mafia style, with Lieberman egging them on, and saying, "Let's make them a deal they can't refuse."

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    If the Democratic leadership was in such a hurry to get out of D.C. they couldn’t make time for a filibuster, they could have changed the rules and required a simple majority vote. The Republicans set the precedent for this with their “nuclear option” when they controlled the Senate.

    Actually, the Republicans never got to invoke the "nuclear option" because their efforts were blocked by moderate Republicans, including the same ones DeFazio now complains are daring to interject themselves into the stimulus debate.

    All the years DeFazio was in the minority and couldn't block anything in the House, Democrats in the Senate were able to use the threat of a fillibuster to keep Republicans from simply rolling over them and passing everything the House wanted. I never once remember Peter complaining about "the non-binding rules of the world’s most exclusive club" then.

  • (Show?)

    So you are against the largest middle-class and low-income tax cuts in American history?

    Or just the changes to the AMT?

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    The bill was be subject to a point of order due to its deficit spending, but the point of order can be waived by a 3/5 vote of the Senate. So that means passage would ultimately have required 60 votes whether Republicans filibustered or not.

    This wasn't a filibuster, but deficit reduction point of order rule issue stemming from the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. It's also become a catch-all that's used to include a couple other related pieces of legislation that have amended the original Budget Act, like the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-177, aka Gramm-Rudman-Hollings), the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Reaffirmation Act of 1987 (P.L. 100-119), the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 (Title XIII of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, P.L. 101-508), Title XIV of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-66), and Title X of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-33).

    But even more directly, this processes and the point of order rule is about the a House Concurrent Resolution that does not make law, but binds the Congress to its terms once adopted. The substantive one being which prohibits consideration in the Senate of any direct spending measure or revenue legislation that would increase or cause an on-budget deficit for the first fiscal year covered by the most recently adopted budget resolution, the period of the first five fiscal years covered by the most recently adopted budget resolution, or the first five fiscal years following the first five fiscal years covered by the most recently adopted budget resolution.

    The 60 vote on this wasn't because of a filibuster threat but because of spending committee processes which the Senate and the House are bound to on the basis of a House Concurrent Resolution which has been in place for quite some time.

    Please Rep. DeFazio, I usually respect and support you (literally, since I have donated to you via ActBlue on multiple occasion) and would/will continue to do so if you were my Rep. or if you run for Governor. You can also be forgiven somewhat since you may not be aware of how Senate rules work since you are from the House side, but you don't know what you are talking about. This is the second time you have embarrassed yourself, though not perhaps to the same level as when you media-hounded to the nearest bank of cameras with your in-informed tirade last year about TARP, shooting your mouth off about banking in which you proved you nothing about the subject.

    Please, as a fellow Democrat and proud progressive, stop this shoot form the hip crap which proves you don't know what you are talking about.

  • William (unverified)
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    But wait... didn't Obama promise a tax increase to the wealthy? Might that not come later? And yes, I agree that it sucks to increase our debt load. I oppose it. But as long as you're going to do it, do it in a way that benefits most people as opposed to the wealthy few (bank bailouts... cough cough!)

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jack, nothing I would like better than calling the bluff of those threatening to fillibuster. Regardless of who has the majority.

    I was doing research on the US Senators when I was in school and needed to memorize their names.

    One was Clair Engle. By the time of a great civil rights fillibuster, he was in worse shape than Ted Kennedy is now--a brain tumor had robbed him of the ability to speak. But when the cloture vote came he pointed to his eye to signify AYE.

    I don't think most people threatening a fillibuster really want to go to all that hard work. Might be fun to see someone try.

    Just as it will be interesting to see if Club for Growth or some other lobbying group succeeds with their threat to take out Specter (didn't work in 2004), Snowe, or Collins. Would they rather have Democrats win those races?

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    Posted by: LT | Feb 14, 2009 5:50:27 PM Jack, nothing I would like better than calling the bluff of those threatening to fillibuster. Regardless of who has the majority.

    I would agree normally, but that wasn't even the situation this time. As I pointed out above, this is because of point of order rule, which was referring to the House Concurring resolution from awhile back that prohibits consideration in the Senate of any direct spending measure or revenue legislation that would increase or cause an on-budget deficit for the first fiscal year covered by the most recently adopted budget resolution, the period of the first five fiscal years covered by the most recently adopted budget resolution, or the first five fiscal years following the first five fiscal years covered by the most recently adopted budget resolution.

    In short, this bill and the needed 60 votes has nothing to do with a filibuster. They needed 60 votes even if the filibuster rule was gone completely, because of the need to waive the on budget deficit spending prohibition rule.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    :

    Exactly. Once again, Defazio speaks for his constituency. Thank you so much. Please stay vocal on this topic and on your opposition to the bailouts.

    Bob T:

    Gee, here I was thinking that maybe he objected to the idea of this huge bill being pushed through w/o time for anyone to read even a fraction of it, or because lobbyists had more input than legislators. Oh well. No change.

    By the way, what's the latest on any "progressive" campaign to stop the sports stadium deal?

    ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz...................

    Bob Tiernan Mult Co.

  • alcatross (unverified)
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    Senator DeFazio- You've obviously become another inside-the-beltway zombie who believes tax cuts (i.e., reduced revenue) are/is a form of government spending. As long as we have people with this mindset in Congress, our country will continue to go down the tube.

    FYI, millons of people (mostly in the private sector, mind you...) have lost their jobs. 4Q09 revenue for the company I work for declined ~20% and profits by nearly 90%(!) - with at least 1H09 looking the same or worse. We decreased our discretionary spending by over 50% the last 9 months (by draconian measures most federal employees would squeal like a stuck pig over) - and employees are accepting reduced benefits and that there will be no pay increases this year. And I suspect we're luckier than many!

    Now while we're all hunkering down out here, you're back there in Washington with a less than 20% public approval rating pissing and moaning about letting us keep a bit less than 6% of the ~$2.7T you extract from us annually (but only for 2 years) - all while federal employees (including you) collect your guaranteed annual ~4% pay raises.

    I know the federal government cannot decrease discretionary spending by over 50%... but I'm certain in this economic environment the federal government can find places to trim discretionary spending by ~$300B over 2 years to adjust to the reality of declining revenues (or cover the 'cost' of these tax cuts, as you like to say...)

    Job estimates on legislation like this must be taken with a grain of salt. But using the original Administration multiplier, the final version of the bill cut job creation by between 400,000 and 700,000.

    Believe me, I'll take your initial advice on these numbers...

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    Posted by: Bob Tiernan | Feb 14, 2009 6:00:05 PM

    What nonsense. Everyone on the hill has known what over 95% of the bill had in it. You can argue about what the haggling in conference between the two versions would end up with, but every House member knew what was in their version of the bill when they voted on it.

    But glad to see you vomit the latest GOP talking point (the same one which Brian Bilbray tried run up the flag pole on Hardball yesterday).

    What next, you going to claim the GOP were totally shut out of the process even though I watched with my own eyes them offer dozens and dozens of amendments in the House ways and Means mark-up, debate them, vote on them, and also watched with my own eyes the GOP offer up amendments, including a substitution one for the entire bill, and watch it get voted on?

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    Posted by: alcatross | Feb 14, 2009 6:08:58 PM

    You are off your nut. The problem isn't that the Federal government isn't cutting enough spending. We need MORE discretionary spending as a stimulus to help plug up the $1.2 trillion a year hole in consumer spending. This is basic Kenysian economics.

    We need MORE discretionary spending to prevent a deflationary spiral and until we see an economic recovery. Then (after we recover) we can go back to focusing on the deficit and get it back under control (like we did under Clinton).

    You are 100% bass-ackwards on this.

  • (Show?)
    This is basic Kenysian economics.

    ugh..

    This is basic Keynesian economics.
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    BTW, just to clarify

    I do agree with Rep. DeFazio that in a better bill the AMT would have been in a separate bill if it made room for more infrastructure projects and state-aid. Or if the AMT was in this bill, but was in addition to, and not pushing out said infrastructure investment and state-aid funding.

    My castigation at DeFazio is over the nonsense about the filibuster, which wasn't the issue about having to get 60 votes on this bill. Even if the "nuclear option" had been previously carried out and a simply majority would be enough to invoke cloture, we would still have needed 2 votes to get past the on-budget deficit spending prohibition which the House concurrent resolution put in place.

  • (Show?)

    ugh...

    we would still have needed 2 GOP cross-over votes in the Senate to get past the on-budget deficit spending prohibition which the House concurrent resolution put in place.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    More grandstanding by DeFazio. There would have been no bill at all if other reps followed his lead. He could have made the same speech and still voted for it. He should be thrown out of the party.

  • Ted (unverified)
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    Rep. DeFazio,

    "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic." - John F. Kennedy

    Thanks for voting no on this bailout bill, but if you really want my respect, you will have the courage to step outside the framework of the myth. That is true courage.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    None of these fine comments map onto a yes or no to a vote, one to one. Based on the choice on the table, I accept the logic and the vote.

    The context stinks. Is that a yes or a no?

  • anon (unverified)
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    Wow. Must have hit close to the mark on the other thread.

    Peter is a very smart guy. He surrounds himself with smart people. (I'm a big Karmen fan myself) He knows he has the potential for a serious race this time out if he stays, He knows the compelling narrative that will be used against him. And he knows that if he votes yes and the economy gets worse he has a problem in November. The rest is distractive sound and furry and lipstick on a pig of an explanation.

    How many times has Peter written to BO to explain a vote? Me thinks he doth protest too much.

  • WunderBlunder (unverified)
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    We need to spend even more federal dollars to survive this downturn. Thanks to the super conservative Republicans, we will have not the amount that this country needs to survive this modern depression.

    God help us and may Obama and his great staff get 100% of the credit for saving the people and the working class once this stimulus goes through.

  • alcatross (unverified)
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    Lestatdelc says: You are off your nut. The problem isn't that the Federal government isn't cutting enough spending. We need MORE discretionary spending as a stimulus to help plug up the $1.2 trillion a year hole in consumer spending. This is basic Kenysian economics.

    I wasn't arguing against overall increased government spending in this environment - but there is the matter of where the $ are spent. I'm railing against this constant whining about the 'cost' of tax cuts as if it's a spending line item - THAT'S bass-ackwards.

    You know, it is actually possible to limit overall increased spending some by reducing outlays in other areas (although I understand this is a foreign concept to most of those in federal government) For example, the company I work for is significantly increasing spending on certain things right now, but has cut back significantly in other areas to limit the negative impact on the bottom line. I'm just asking for our government to do a similar thing, that's all.

    Other than the pay freeze for certain White House staffers, I can't recall hearing any discussion of where the federal government may be able to cut back. The 'stimulus bill' has become one big opportunity to throw all financial restraint to the wind and party like there's no tomorrow.

    And I assure you I'm not 'off my nut', sir...

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    lestadelc:

    What nonsense. Everyone on the hill has known what over 95% of the bill had in it.

    Bob T:

    Then you're calling a number of Democrats liars. How can you do that? Sorry, but summaries are not a substitute for reading the text, "line by line", as President Obama said he would do with every bill.

    Anyway, Ghandi had a good quote that applies to all of this, and we certainly have seen far too many "Yes" votes cast for the wrong reasons.

    "A No uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a Yes merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble". – Mahatma Ghandi.

    Bob Tiernan

  • alcatross (unverified)
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    WunderBlunder says: Thanks to the super conservative Republicans, we will have not the amount that this country needs to survive this modern depression.

    eh... sorry if this is news to you but: courtesy of the 'super conservative' Republicans, 'ultra-liberal' Democrats, and politicians of every stripe in between (egged on by us of the 'entitlement generations', I'm sorry to say...), we haven't had the amount this country needs to survive for years - be they bad or good. We've been borrowing the shortfall from China and our generations to come.

  • Eye's Wide Open (unverified)
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    I understand from another post that Obama and the Democrats have allocated 20 million dollars for Gaza Palestinians for an emergency immigration! Smooth move by Obama and the other socialists!

  • Atlanta homes (unverified)
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    Turns out Obama was right about his tax cuts. He must have a little republican in him afterall.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    alcatross:

    eh... sorry if this is news to you but: courtesy of the 'super conservative' Republicans, 'ultra-liberal' Democrats, and politicians of every stripe in between (egged on by us of the 'entitlement generations', I'm sorry to say...), we haven't had the amount this country needs to survive for years - be they bad or good.

    Bob T:

    Here's a quote that I found just the other day that fits in with yours:

    "Why are so many people concerned so much about which party these dipshits come from? It seems to me to be an entirely moot point. I usually start losing respect for someone the minute they start talking Democrat/Republican. It’s like asking someone whether they prefer herpes or syphilis." – Steve Archer

    B Tiernan

  • Jeff (unverified)
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    I'm not sure if the stimulus will help that much in the current economic environment. Economies go through cycles and recession is part of the cycle. I read a good article on the history of cycles at, I think,

    http://www.recessioninfocenter.com

  • AdmiralNaismith (unverified)
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    Once again, I'm proud that Pete DeFazio is my Congressman.

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    Posted by: Bob Tiernan | Feb 15, 2009 12:31:13 AM Then you're calling a number of Democrats liars.

    Oh really? Then name the Democrats who are claiming they didn't know what was in this bill which they voted on.

    Sorry, but summaries are not a substitute for reading the text, "line by line", as President Obama said he would do with every bill.

    More false assertions.

    Here is the full text: http://appropriations.house.gov/pdf/Recovery_Bill_Div_A.pdf http://appropriations.house.gov/pdf/Recovery_Bill_Div_B.pdf

    They know exactly what's in this bill, well, except for the crap the GOP are making up out of whole cloth like the claim Nancy Peolsi had an earmark in the bill for $30 million to save the Salt Marsh Mouse in her district, which was a total fabrication.

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    Posted by: Eye's Wide Open | Feb 15, 2009 3:39:02 AM I understand from another post that Obama and the Democrats have allocated 20 million dollars for Gaza Palestinians for an emergency immigration! Smooth move by Obama and the other socialists!

    Well you seem to not understand much then. First there is no money for Gaza in the stimulus bill (the subject of this thread). And second, you are grossly misrepresenting what our President announced some three weeks ago as far as aid to Gaza. From CNN on January 29:

    The Obama administration will announce an additional $20 million in humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza on Friday, two U.S. officials told CNN Thursday. George Mitchell, the administration's envoy for Middle East peace, is expected to make the announcement in the region after President Barack Obama issues the authorization, the officials said. The aid is expected to be distributed through the International Committee for the Red Cross and the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The United States Agency for International Development provides food and medical aid to Gaza. The aid to the Palestinians comes as Mitchell confers with Palestinian and Israeli officials in the region in an attempt to maintain the Hamas-Israel cease-fire and restart a stalled peace process.

    So emergency medical and humanitarian aid becomes "emergency immigration!" and somehow a bad thing. Money to the Red Cross and the UN, oh noes!

    And what is "Obama and other socialists" supposed to mean? Is that suppose to scare people (despite not being close to accurate)?

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    Posted by: alcatross | Feb 14, 2009 10:40:18 PM I wasn't arguing against overall increased government spending in this environment - but there is the matter of where the $ are spent.

    Sure you were. You are arguing that the Federal government cut spending when you said:

    "but I'm certain in this economic environment the federal government can find places to trim discretionary spending by ~$300B over 2 years to adjust to the reality of declining revenues".

    Which is exactly the wrong thing to do. The Government is the one entity that can effectively make counter-cyclical spending. Again, this is basic Keynesian economics. What you advocate is what Hoover tried, cutting spending which turned a bad recession into the great depression.

    I'm railing against this constant whining about the 'cost' of tax cuts as if it's a spending line item

    Are you seriously suggesting that tax cuts do not cost the treasury anything? Your entire premise is that the Government should spend less, because of declining revenue, which every economist on the planet (left or right) says is the wrong thing to do at this point. I may have been a bit coarse in how I said it (see what happens when you are the son of a sailor?) but you are indeed off your nut on this one.

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    Posted by: Atlanta homes | Feb 15, 2009 4:19:00 AM Turns out Obama was right about his tax cuts. He must have a little republican in him afterall.

    Not sure what that is supposed to mean, President Obama all throughout the '08 campaign said he wanted to give middle and lower income people a tax cut. Perhaps it is shicking to some that a candiate does what he campigned on, but keeping a promise is hardly being 'Republican' (or 'Democrat' for that matter).

  • does this count? (unverified)
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    Posted by: lestatdelc | Feb 15, 2009 11:20:40 AM

    Oh really? Then name the Democrats who are claiming they didn't know what was in this bill which they voted on.

    "In a perfect world it would have been nice to have had more time to process it," said Ilan Kayatsky, a spokesman for Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

    Does this count?

  • other options (unverified)
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    lestatdelc - there are other options than just spending or just doing nothing. Cutting payroll taxes and corporate taxes (which are among the highest in the world) COMBINED with spending seems a fresher approach.

    Henry Morgenthau, FDR's Treasury Secretary:

    "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. ... I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... And an enormous debt to boot!"

  • (Show?)

    As usual, DeFazio is right on. For one thing, it's important to send a signal that not every Democrat will vote for any compromise that draws a few Republican votes. Next time, Congressional leaders might fear that DeFazio could pull more people with him, and hold out for a better bill. Also, did people see Frank Rich today? "If they want to obstruct and filibuster while the economy is in free fall, the president should call their bluff and let them go at it. In the first four years after F.D.R. took over from Hoover, the already decimated ranks of Republicans in Congress fell from 36 to 16 in the Senate and from 117 to 88 in the House. The G.O.P. is so insistent that the New Deal was a mirage it may well have convinced itself that its own sorry record back then didn't happen either."

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    You all sound like two people standing at one of the windows of the WTC, arguing if they should jump or burn. You went about your lives and did what the government wanted for so long that they own your lives and have already spent them. This couldn't have happened without the cooperation of most Democrats, Republicans, average citizens, dogs, cats and tarantulas. It's an American problem and it is a referendum on American life.

    This happens a lot in history, when empires get it wrong. They never take it as a verdict on their lifestyle, though. They point the finger at everyone else in the world and find reasons to go to war, externalizing the problems. It only changes when they are defeated or bankrupt. It's only going to get worse until it's over. Those over 50 can have hope, hope they don't live to see much more. It's what I'm living for. This is completely pointless.

  • Jiang (unverified)
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    Posted by: anon | Feb 14, 2009 8:49:05 PM

    Wow. Must have hit close to the mark on the other thread.

    When you get on a crowded elevator, do you wonder how everyone knew you called the meeting?

  • Jason (unverified)
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    I think it's interesting that all Defazio can do is blame Republicans when Democrats are in the clear majority.

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    I'm OK with DeFazio's vote. I'm not so OK with my impressions of his earlier efforts. My perspective is that many Democrats, including DeFazio, became cheerleaders for funding infrastructure projects in the stimulus. They did not voice early and loud concerns about the revenue shortfalls in their home states. They were not cheerleaders for stabilizing education at the state level. So as the compromises were made among Democrats and with Republicans, especially the three in the Senate, state and educational funds were vulnerable and were cut. So, now there are big cut in education and other state supported services in Oregon. Those cuts over the next few months will worsen the economic decline in Oregon. Then we will start building roads and bridges. It's a grand national experiment to see if cutting education to build roads is the proper path to economic growth. I think it crazy. But that's where we are.

    I do think the stimulus itself will help, but the priorities within it need adjusting.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    I'm pleased to see the trolls reminding us that The New Deal actually did nothing positive. Meanwhile everyone ought to have a look at this one-size-fits-all GOP problem solver.

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    Another thought: I see the Oregon Education Association is holding an OEA Lobby Day (here) in Salem tomorrow. They will be in the wrong place. State government is running out of funds. They should march outside DeFazio's office (and Wyden's, & Merkley's, & Blumenauer's, and Schrader's). Let him (them) explain what's happening to education.

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    Posted by: other options | Feb 15, 2009 3:57:58 PM lestatdelc - there are other options than just spending or just doing nothing. Cutting payroll taxes and corporate taxes (which are among the highest in the world) COMBINED with spending seems a fresher approach.

    And out trots the tired and thoroughly debunked chamber-of-commerce myths. While we have one of the higher marginal rates, we actually have the lowest effective corporate tax rate in any OECD nation. You need to look at the effective tax rate not the highest marginal rate in the Tax tables. The only true comparison is to compare corporate earnings with taxes actually paid.

    Tax Credits and deductions effectively lower tax rates. when you factor these in, USA has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world. 64% of the top US corporations did not pay any taxes in the last 5 years. Off-shoring was done to save money on labor costs, not because of what the effective tax rate is for corporations. Very often businesses outsource to countries with higher tax burdens like India; because the dirt-cheap labor more than compensates.

    More Bush style tax-cut drivel. The problem is not payroll tax or corporate tax rates, but consumer spending falling off a cliff. Companies are not cutting jobs because their payroll taxes or corporate tax rates are too high. They are cutting jobs because customer spending is in the toilet. If you really want to help companies (large and small) then pass single-payer universal healthcare so they can get the biggest increase on the cost of doing business off their books.

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    Posted by: Dave Porter | Feb 15, 2009 6:01:44 PM Then we will start building roads and bridges. It's a grand national experiment to see if cutting education to build roads is the proper path to economic growth. I think it crazy.

    You do realize there is over a huge investment in education, $105.9 billion in this bill, yes?

    There is $53.6 billion in state fiscal relief to prevent cutbacks to key services, including $39.5 billion to local school districts and public colleges and universities distributed through existing state and federal formulas, $5 billion to states as bonus grants as a reward for meeting key performance measures, and $8.8 billion to states for other high priority needs such as public safety and other critical services, which may include K-12 and higher education modernization.

    • Higher Education: Tuition is up, unemployment is up, and as a result more people are choosing to go to school to upgrade their skills and more of these students need student aid. This investment addresses those short term needs while investing in our nation’s future economic strength.

    • Pell Grants: $15.6 billion to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $500, from $4,850 to $5,350

    • College Work-Study: $200 million to support undergraduate and graduate students who work

    • IDEA Special Education: $12.2 billion for formula grants to increase the federal share of special education costs and prevent these mandatory costs from forcing states to cut other areas of education

    • Title I Help for Disadvantaged Kids: $13 billion for grants to help disadvantaged kids in nearly every school district and more than half of all public schools reach high academic standards

    • Education Technology: $650 million for 21st century classrooms, including computer and science labs and teacher technology training

    • Statewide Data Systems: $250 million for competitive grants to states to design and develop data systems that analyze individual student data to find ways to improve student achievement, providing teachers and administrators with effective tools

    • Education for Homeless Children and Youth: $70 million for formula grants to states to provide services to homeless children including meals and transportation when high unemployment and home foreclosures have created an influx of homeless kids

    • Improving Teacher Quality: $300 million, including $200 million for competitive grants to school districts and states to provide financial incentives for teachers and principals who raise student achievement and close the achievement gaps in high-need schools and $100 million for competitive grants to states to address teacher shortages and modernize the teaching workforce

    • Child Care Development Block Grant: $2 billion to provide child care services for an additional 300,000 children in low-income families while their parents go to work. Today only one out of seven eligible children receives care

    • Head Start and Early Head Start: $2.1 billion to provide comprehensive development services to help children succeed in school. Funds are distributed based on need. Only about half of all

    While I agree that there should have been more aid to states, but please don't make it that we are sacrificing funding for schools to build bridges. To make that claim is pure nonsense.

  • Zachary Vishanoff (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Defazio, If you gave a crap about Oregon you would have said something long ago about the Ducks arena which may now cost the public a third of a billion dollars. Your silence on this makes you a Duck cheerleader for the project. You are a disgrace.

  • (Show?)

    @lestatdelc

    Yes, I agree federal spending for education is up. And I like all the good programs you list. But it is not enough, apparently, to fill the financial holes at the state and local levels due to the decline in revenues. All the news reports I've seen show a net loss for education in Oregon: school districts will be shortening the school year, going to four days per week, and cutting teachers and programs. Oregon Higher Ed has its own revenue shortfall. There will be funds for roads, bridges and other infrastructure that we could not afford to build before. Sure seems like we're cutting education while funding roads and bridge.

  • steven andresen (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Peter,

    Thank you for pushing Obama and other Dems in Congress to do more for the people out here who benefit from the infrastructure and education.

    Here's a piece about your vote in the recent on-line Nation:

    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/408604/one_congressman_who_gets_it_pete_defazio?rel=hpbox

    My only thought would be to push also for any work to expose and prosecute the corruption that got us here and, if not cleaned up, will keep us going in the same wrong direction.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: does this count? | Feb 15, 2009 3:45:12 PM "In a perfect world it would have been nice to have had more time to process it," said Ilan Kayatsky, a spokesman for Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Does this count?

    Not really.

  • (Show?)

    To clarify, snippets clipped from the New York Post are less than persuasive (or legitimate reportage).

  • (Show?)

    WTF?

    Kari, I really do appreciate BlueOregon and what it does, but please get a real commenting system. Comments disappear, reappear, disappear again, no registration, etc.

  • Tom Vail (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This entire discussion is proof positive that more time would have made for better legislation. There are ideas and concerns discussed here that never saw the light of day in the rush to legislate. The rationale that this had to be done immediately (without time for a discussion like this) in order to calm the markets is pure baloney. Look at the markets. Do they look like this has calmed things? In fact, this capricious act has probably done more to strike fear in the hearts of investors than anything our government could have done.

    This was all about politics. If Mr. DeFazio had been honest, he would not have "cast a reluctant yes." He would have voted no, hoped others had the same courage and gone back to the table to make his arguments and improve the bill. Do you think Collins, Snowe, and Spector voted with the Democrats because it was what was best for their constituents or for their own political power? Do you think Republicans, every one of them in the House, voted against the bill because it was in the interest of their constituents or because it increased their political power?

    I sometimes wonder if we deserve better government than the stink that we are now getting. If none of us is willing to stop making this a Dems vs. GOPs or Libs vs. NeoCons fight, (myself included) we may never make the effort to do the right thing.

    Mr. Obama has a rare opportunity to actually lead in this case by throwing this back to Congress to work together and do it right. I wish he would. Two or three more weeks might get us a better plan and might convince that Washington, D.C. is actually interested in stimulating the economy, not just increasing its power over its people.

  • tl (in sw) (unverified)
    (Show?)

    For those in favor of spending cuts, did I miss something, or has no one of you suggested ending the occupation of Iraq? Seems to me that would save a bundle. -tl (in sw)

  • (Show?)

    Kari, I really do appreciate BlueOregon and what it does, but please get a real commenting system. Comments disappear, reappear, disappear again, no registration, etc.

    Yeah, TypePad just rolled out a big "improvement" to their commenting system. It's generally more stable, but there seem to be some oddities that crop up now and again.

    We're not the only ones that are considering finally jumping ship.

    Stay tuned.

  • Jeff (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think with this stimulus the federal deficit is likely to go even higher. I saw an interesting article, I think, on

    http://www.recessioninfocenter.com

  • jane gutowski (unverified)
    (Show?)

    you had to vote no on that bill. anyone who voted for that bill after not even reading it should be thrown out.they were in such a hurry to take their vacations they couldnt take the time to read it or was it that every day that went by americans were likely to learn more about it and oppose it?i am sick to what we are doing to our grandchildren.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Posted by: lestatdelc | Feb 15, 2009 11:04:57 PM

    Posted by: does this count? | Feb 15, 2009 3:45:12 PM
    
    "In a perfect world it would have been nice to have had more time to process it," said Ilan Kayatsky, a spokesman for Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
    
    Does this count?
    

    Not really

    Duh. You did, Jerrold. The Reps called for cloture? Damned straight it doesn't count!

  • Stephen Amy (unverified)
    (Show?)

    As David Cay Johnston says "anything not directed at increasing demand is BS".

    The Obama Admin. needs to go seriously populist if they really want to reinvigorate this capitalist economy.

    All measures which would increase the disposable income of the middle, lower-middle and poor classes in the US are the only things that will get the economy moving.

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