Monday, January 26, 2009

Meat & Bones

More on the Obama stimulus package: Tax cuts. This will be .... "unlike the $600 per worker lump-sum rebates issued last year, taxpayers would have less withheld from their paychecks." --- Truth is, it is just like the lump-sum Bush rebate, you will just get it in a dribble rather than a lump, approximately $10 per week for Joe Blow's paycheck. The idea is that people would spend more on goods and services immediately, rather than saving the tax cut or using it to reduce credit card debt. It is a "temporary" band-aid. And a headache for accounting offices across the country.

Some folks who are promised a benefit:

Low-income workers, the measure would make the child tax credit more generous by making more people eligible for refunds if they earn too little to pay income tax. The earned income tax credit for the working poor would be made more generous for larger families. --- Rewarding the poor for paying no taxes and having a lot of kids (maintaining the future of the plantation with voters). Many of those who become eligible for refunds will not see refunds as it stays with the State for they are deadbeat dads who owe child support, student loan defaulters, folks who owe the IRS $2000 in back taxes with $20,000 interest and penalties. Predatory payday loan lenders, title leasing, or cash leasing lenders will thank Obama because EIC is all that stands between them and the repo man or the D.A. with a bad check in his hand.

The package would extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless through the end of 2009, increase the weekly benefit by $25 and provide unemployment benefits to more part-time workers. --- Part-time is the new full-time, and you have $25 more to hang on by the skin of your teeth, at least until the end of 2009.

Food stamp benefits will go up ... states would get $77 billion in aid for education and $25 billion as a block grant with no strings attached. --- State agencies and their pockets thank you Mr. President. Lenders of student loans thank you. Private school vouchers thank you. And our local high school will thank you b/c now, maybe, they will get funds to remove the asbestos.

Senior citizens receiving Social Security would get a bonus payment of $300 under the Senate version of President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan. Many nursing homes administrators thank you, and my elderly neighbor thanks you because with $300 she can finish paying off her rent-to-own electric stove, and rent-to-own thanks you.

Other programs, such as $1 billion to combat bird flu, are said to likely attract ridicule from Republicans and budget hawks for doing little if anything to create jobs. --- I doubt this program will irk republicans. When Bush did the same thing the democrats called it "a thinly disguised gift for pharmaceutical giants." Democrats will now call it an investment that will lead to medical breakthroughs.

Republicans are pleased with provisions extending tax cuts for the purchase of new plants and equipment and allowing money-losing businesses to claim refunds on taxes paid up to five years ago. --- Ah ha, the meat on the bones. Plants/equipment tax cuts to bring manufacturing to America. But you'll have to explain to me how this will cure unfair trade practices, currency manipulation, and large-scale import dumping in the US market. But, a lot of recent "money-losing businesses" thank you!

These measures are not going to "stimulate" the economy or cure our economic ills or create sustainable living-wage jobs or end a recession. It will increase US debt and guarantee continued poverty for many. And we have yet to factor in the continued cost of 2 wars and Obama's planned "surge" into Afghanistan. (God why does this feel like business as usual.)

In the words of an old Bolshevik, and the apparent meme for the Obama administration, "These are Extraordinary Times" (or the collapse and takedown of the USA).


Anonymous said...

Interesting about the California Unemployment extension. There is a "criteria" you have to meet before you get the unemployment extension. It is not an automatic thing for everyone. Also, I thought the funds were federal and who set the criteria? Was it the federal government or the state? Is this a way to deny the extension benefits? Sure seems like it.

Here is the "criteria" you must meet:

4001(d)(2)Did the claiment earn sufficient wages in the base period of unemployment claim to qualify for extened benefits?

4552(e)Did the claimant earn sufficient wages in the base period of the unemployment claim to qualify for extended benefits?

Both the questions seem the same but they have different numbers.

Kate-A said...

Unemployment insurance is a joint deal between states/federal. I believe states can more or less set their own rules, following those loose federal guidelines. The more benefits denied the more surplus the state will have in its coffers for other qualifying "programs".

I read that when presidents sign these extended benefits, and say it goes into effect July 1, then the unemployment claims drop for a week or two before as folks delay filing, waiting to get in under the extended benefits deadline - sort of like paying folks to stay out of work longer as that is what it creates.

Bush signed 2 extended benefits last year and Obama will soon so it's become another one of those social programs that just keep on growing and growing and growing - but of course not as longlasting as other programs and you do have to work at least some time to qualify for it.

Like all social programs, unemployment was never meant to support a person, or even keep them afloat - sufficient is always the key word - sufficient insurance/buffer between the revolt of the peasants and the ruling class. Although folks like to huffily claim they've "earned it" in a roundabout way they're just agreeing to suffer, gratefully, the status quo - low wages, deadend jobs, outsourcing, importing cheaper labor, billions on pointless job "creation" programs, etc. Draw benefits until they run out, find another crap job and start the shit all over again - it's insurance, yep.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate,

A month or so ago you posted an interested video on someone named I believe it was Uri. Now that I think about it the country seems to be following what he said in the video.

I guess we are in the restore or normalize phase he mentioned.

Kate-A said...

Yes, Uri (or Yuri) Bezmenov.

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