Friday, January 1, 2010

MSNBCs Rachel Maddow lecturing us on economics, jobs and how stimulus works in Early 2009

How Economic Stimulus works (for Dummies like us)

From January 2009 till passage, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow dedicated her program to the passage of the Economic Recovery Act, which she called over and over ‘the stimulus'. She gave us statistics on how bad the economy was, how urgent action was required and how that action must be government 'pork' project spending. She also explained how handing out money to the poor created the most jobs the fastest and it would give us the biggest bang for our buck, claimed that we would get $1.73 of stimulus for every tax dollar ($1.00) given away because the poor would spend each whole dollar. (Wow! Are we rich yet??). She also lectured us on how Republican economic ideas were repudiated in the 2008 election results, and how everyone knows tax cuts do not stimulate the economy. I posted some examples of her lectures below, as she says herself 'for dummies like us'.

Those Wasteful Tax Cuts that uncaring Republicans Wanted

Night after night Rachel Maddow and her 'expert' guests criticized the democratic congress and Obama for including 'all those wasteful tax cuts' in the recovery bill just to appease Republicans, repeating that tax cuts don't work. After all, she said over and over, 'tax cuts are just wasteful spending' (????, LOL reference below.) What they were calling 'republican tax cuts' on her MSNBC show was really the tax credits in the bill. They were not talking about tax cuts to small businesses, or capital gains tax cuts, or even broad based income tax cuts. They were talking about either literally sending out 'tax credit' checks to those that pay no income taxes (like thousands of dead people), or temporarily changing withholding of federal income taxes by a few dollars a month for those that don't make too much, while claiming the credits were huge tax cuts added only to appease republican demands. Reference : ( White House On Tea Parties: "We Passed The Biggest Tax Cut In History", Huffpost-April 15, 2009)
To make matters worse, many will have to pay that money back when they file their tax returns in 2009. I know many liberals in Maryland that repeated to me that Obama gave in to Republicans on tax cuts and then got no Republican votes in return for this great act in bi-partisionship(they don't watch Fox News Channel or read FreeRepublic). Yet, you can see in the last clip posted, Maddow says Obama got about what he asked for in the Recovery bill. Happy ending right?

'Mission Accomplished' with the Economy Saved. Our New Crisis: Health Care Reform

Once the Democrats were successful at this bill's passage, Maddow stopped talking about the economy, about job losses, even as unemployment climbed over 10%. The urgent unemployment crisis was over on her show. We now had a urgent health care crisis to deal with. Just like she had previously beat the drum night after night for urgent action on the stimulus before, she started demanding urgent action on the Democrat's Health Care Reform bill including a public option. Americans, previously unemployed in masses requiring immediate, bold and expensive action (when unemployment rate was 7%), were now dying in masses with no health insurance, again requiring immediate, bold and expensive action. Except NOW they must be happily employed by Obama's stimulus even with a unemployment rate increased to over 10% according to Maddow's show themes. Just with no health insurance. We are literally dying from no health care while working at our new high paying stimulus jobs .

Here are a few gems/clips I found posted on youtube (some text highlights and links to the clips)

Maddow Guest Dean Baker : ”There is a lot of evidence that people save tax cuts particularly given the current environment. People just lost all their savings in the stock market and their house. They have to rebuild their savings if we send people a check they are likely to save it. That’s good for them but bad for the economy. We need spending right now and we know if the government spends it …. That gives a direct boost to the economy.“ Rachel Maddow Show: Stalled Stimulus(MSNBC January 06, 2009)

Maddow Guest David Sirota highlights :“Why are Obama and democrats adamant on finding republican support and in the process willing to water down the economic stimulus package with tax cuts that won’t create the types of jobs that more infrastructure spending would?”….”What is the cost of political aesthetics? What are the democrats willing to force the taxpayers to pony up in order to get the majority of republicans to vote for this thing? How much do we have to SPEND on tax cuts that don’t work in order to get that political aesthetics?”… “Every dollar wasted on a tax cut to appease a republican in a way that won’t create jobs is a dollar that should have gone to a real program like infrastructure that would have created jobs.”
Rachel Maddow Show - author David Sirota, stimulus package (MSNBC January 26, 2009)

Maddow:"We already made a big American group decision about whose ideas we wanted to fix the economy. …and Barrack Obama won the election and Democrats won really big majorities in both Houses of congress, “Yes we can” that whole bit. Americans had a chance to vote democrat or vote republican and they voted democrat in large part because they thought the republicans didn’t know what they were talking about when it came to the economy. …the election was a referendum on economic policy and democrats won that referendum. ..Throughout much of last week republicans cited a CBO report as evidence that Obama’s stimulus plan will not work. They said that the report showed that most of the money in the stimulus bill wouldn’t be spent quickly enough. It wouldn’t get into the economy until after next year. One detail about this CBO report is that it doesn’t exist."Rachel Maddow Show: Stimulus Showdown and Debunked Nonexistent CBO Report(MSNBC, January 26, 2009)

Maddow:“We are in this economic crisis because people aren’t buying enough. There is supply but no demand. People aren’t buying. Every day a job is lost someone has less money to buy stuff, which means that less stuff gets bought, which is worse for business, which gets more unemployment. This is something that snowballs, the timing does matter there is urgency…there is a big need to hurry.”…
Republicans may not like it but the way to create jobs fast is through spending. The point of the spending is to save jobs by spending money, by buying stuff which is the thing that isn’t happening in the economy right now….In some cases the way to create jobs and to save jobs is to directly provide them. Literally that means giving money to people who will spend it in the economy that needs people to be spending money in it. That is stimulus: government spending programs. That is actually what economic stimulus is technically. Can I get a little help here? (She then plays THE classic clip of Obama saying 'stimulus IS spending, that is the point'. The stimulus bill IS a spending bill'.) Anytime someone says tax cuts when they are talking about stimulus. They ought to be laughed at..because it’s dumb. Despite the economically inconvenient truth that tax cuts are way less stimulative than spending; republicans have been running with it anyway.
"Every dollar we spend in infrastructure spending creates a $1.59 in economic activity. Why would we waste 59 cents on the dollar? Why would we waste our money on tax cuts when spending works better? “ …”What is the single most productive stimulus we know of? FOOD stamps! Every dollar spent on food stamps puts $1.73 back in the economy. We don’t know anything that is more stimulative than that. Giving people that have very little income extra money is like stimulus on steroids. That is money that will be spent, every dime of it. That’s the point”.”
Rachel Maddow Show - "...get out of the way of people who are actually trying to save the country."(MSNBC February 06, 2009 )

Let me get really simple here for a second. The economy is in crisis because people aren’t buying enough stuff. There is supply, people make stuff to be sold and there is demand. Demand is buying. Right now there’s not enough buying. So what they teach you in the very easiest semester of the very easiest economics class is, because it’s really easy to understand even if you’re a complete dunderhead on more complicated macro-economic stuff is that the government can turn around an economic crisis caused by not enough demand, by making demand. Stimulating demand they call it, economic stimulus. Between rocket science and Duh, understanding rocket science is closer to Duh. It is not the most complicated policy idea. If no one has anything to spend, and the economy is collapsing because of it the government should spend. And it should try to spend in a way that gets everyone spending too……that’s a big neat tax cut you (to Republicans) got there guys but how about we get back to the idea of stimulus. You know to save ourselves from having to eat cat food while we live in our cars for the rest of our lives. It is reality check time here. Economic stimulus most efficiently is government spending. The most purely simulative type of spending would be to give envelopes full of cash to the poorest people in the country. Statistically they would be the most likely to spend it. ”..
Rachel Maddow - Reality Check - Econ 101(February 07, 2009)

This one was fun. You have to see it yourself as I did the night it was shown. Maddow goes over that day's (Feb 5, 2009) debate highlights on the Senate floor over the Economic Recovery package (she calls the stimulus.) She talks about needing to avoid the second great depression and how the debate between republicans and democrats is the fight between ‘soup-lines’ and ‘paychecks’. Each time a republican makes a point she says we are closer to ‘soup-lines’, each time a democrat makes a point she says we are moving toward 'paychecks'. Rachael Maddow: Stimulometer(MSNBC, February 05, 2009)

Maddow:"The stimulus package is just about a done deal. And what we got it’s hoped will result in about 3-4 million new jobs being created…..the bill is 789B dollars with 36% of it tax cuts(ie tax credits) . In other words the president got just about exactly what he asked for, the only thing he didn’t get he said he wanted was republican votes." {Rachel Maddow} Ms. Information: Stimulus Bill / NAACP(MSNBC, 12 February 2009)