The pressure building up in Congressional liberals who've been asked to swallow Bushian policies by the barrelful in the name of "party unity" is beginning to reach critical mass, it seems. When economist Christina Romer, chair of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, appeared at a House Appropriations Committee hearing on the economy bearing some pretty scare news concerning job creation, a couple of them let her have it.
Net monthly job growth for this year would be about 100,000, a pace not quick enough to substantially cut the 9.7 percent jobless rate, said White House economist Christina Romer.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) said she found the testimony "dismaying and out of touch."
"Where is the urgency in your testimony?" Kaptur said.
A number of Democrats called on the administration to create a new national infrastructure bank to finance projects, instead of devoting $4 billion to an infrastructure fund.
"If you're a Keynesian, you'd say spend some more money on this infrastructure to further drive down unemployment and help restore the stability of the Treasury," said Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.).
Which is an argument you've heard before if you're a regular reader.
At that rate of job creation - 100K/yr - it would take a couple of decades to make a dent in the unemployment picture. Apparently that's good enough for the Obama people. After all, what do we want from him? He inherited this shitty mess from a shitty president and he saved Wall Street from any suffering it might have had to endure due to its own rapacity. Isn't that enough for one year? Really. The rest of us can wait a few more years, like until the (increasingly mythical) second Obama term, to have our turn. What's the matter with us? Don't we understand that the bank bail-out came because it was an emergency? A 20% jobless rate is clearly NOT an emergency, so back off, bozo.
To put this in some perspective, we might note that over a $Billion$ - a quarter of what has been proposed for the whole damn jobs program - has been spent on the Republicans' Fence to Nowhere which HomeSec Janet Napolitano has just, finally, drastically cut.
Ms. Napolitano's announcement came two days before a scheduled Congressional hearing on the program. The House Homeland Security Committee is expected to receive the latest in a string of Government Accountability Office reports calling the program into question. That new report says tests designed to evaluate the system are flawed and mismanaged.
Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and chairman of the committee, questioned whether it was time to pull the plug entirely.
"We still need to see whether or not this virtual fence that was promised by the department and its contractor Boeing is something that is feasible," he said Tuesday. "Or is it just a several-hundred-million-dollar waste of taxpayer money?"
The virtual fence is part of a multiyear, multibillion-dollar effort known as the Secure Border Initiative that was announced with fanfare by the Bush administration in November 2005. Besides increasing the number of guards and expanding a border wall, it promised a sophisticated system of cameras, sensors and radar that would zero in on people crossing the border with new speed and clarity and quickly guide agents to them.
By now, according to the original timeline, the system was supposed to be working along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico. But shortly after Boeing was awarded the contract, red flags went up over its lack of oversight and potential for cost overruns.
Now, I'm not blaming the Obama WH for the GOP's anti-immigrant and useless Fence to Nowhere. It's just that whenever the govt wants to piss away money on some god-awfully stoopid conservative bugaboo, financing is never a problem. When somebody wants to spend money on people in trouble who are NOT bankers or CEOs, then we suddenly have to get all concerned over the budget.
Deficits are expected to average nearly $1 trillion over the next decade and won't approach levels equivalent to 3 percent of the country's gross domestic product, the maximum level considered sustainable by economists, according to the CBO.
[Rep. Hal Rogers, R-KY] said those deficit projections are the problem.
"Your budget proposes a record $1.6 trillion in deficit spending [in 2010]," Rogers said. "I don't think Moody's is going to like it."
Right. We've got way increased levels of hungry and homeless, and the middle class is falling apart as it devolves into a poverty class.
Members of the middle class are losing their health insurance faster than any other income group, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The number of middle-income earners covered by employer health insurance fell by three million from 2000 to 2008, and government programs and the individual market aren't picking up the slack. The total number of uninsured middle-income earners rose from 10.5 million to 12.9 million, representing 16.2 percent of the income bracket -- a bigger increase than for any other income group.
"It really underscores how the problem of uninsurance is not something simply affecting lower-income Americans but is increasingly affecting the middle class," said Brian Quinn, the foundation's research and evaluation office. The most recent Census Bureau estimate puts the total uninsured population at 46.3 million.
Just 66 percent of people in families earning between $45,000 and $85,000 are insured through an employer plan -- 52.7 million people, down from 55.5 million eight years prior -- a drop of nearly seven percentage points.
But we can't worry about that because Moody's, a stock-rating corpo that got caught boosting ratings for companies that paid them to boost their ratings, an action both unethical and illegal (tho, again, not one perp went to jail for it tho it cost investors $hundreds of millions$), might not like it.
That argument isn't just skewed, it's twisted beyond all reason. That it can be reported as if it made sense is a deep and depressing sign that we've come so far from sanity that there may not be any way back.