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Corgi Lover On November - 13 - 2009

road construction2

Everyone wants to know why more hasn’t been done in the last 10 months than actually has occurred.  There are a lot of reasons.

1)      The President is a CEO, and few CEOs can come in and change the direction of their company immediately.  There is just too much resistant bureaucracy there.

2)      The Obstructionist Party has done absolutely nothing to help him and everything to deter him from making progress.  Their actions are not ideological, but pathological in nature.

3)      Contrary to our mythology of the government and it’s powers, much of the economy lies outside of the real influence of the government, and corporations have the right to do things as they want, including hiring, firing, and offshoring.  Many of these companies can chose to take some risks and act responsibly, but aren’t doing so.

4)      A number of Pundits of Negativity have rallied the small legions of the unthinking and have brought them out to intimidate the elected officials who have the duty to try to vote clearly and honestly.


Everyone looks back and says, “Well, FDR got all this done in his first 100 days”.  Yes, but he didn’t get everything he wanted and not everything worked, not to mention that even 8 years later he was still battling the economy.  But a lot of things did get started, and provided jobs and a slow movement towards a positive place.

Much of FDR’s stimulus came in the form of public works.  And much of that in the form of Federal public works.  The CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps, the NRA (National Recovery Act), and many other programs pushed people into earning money and learning skills and discipline.

But these programs didn’t have to deal with as many local politicians trying to grandstand as we see today.  Don’t kid yourself though, many did, looking to make a buck and help their friends with influence back home, ahead of their less fortunate constituents.  And there were more things which had been in the thought works for years.  National Parks that needed new facilities, local dams and lakes, roads for the expanding nation.

What these programs didn’t have to deal with was our modern awareness of the influence of our actions upon the world around us.  Together with the laws and regulations which we have in place to prevent and control manmade foolhardiness.  Many development and environmental laws are there for the good of us all, but impede things getting done rapidly, for good reason.

We look at the stimulus programs and we see today things that needed to be done but were just held back before by need of funds, but they were “shovel ready”.  That meant today that all the background work was already in place, the environmental impact studies, the hearings, the pre-contract letting processes needed in a modern world.  Had we not had those, we wouldn’t have anything to start.  But there lies the rub, so many other good projects would take up to a year to get to the massive hiring stage simply because they were new, and the preparatory work hadn’t been done yet.

These things, and the GOP and Blue Dogs restrictions on the types of programs which would be allowed, tremendously cut into the scope of what a stimulus program could “instantaneously” provide.  To have strictly ruled out facilities for public enjoyment was ridiculous!  When you look around at the public parks, whether National, State, or county, many of them have their roots in the Depression programs.  And what money they cost then has been returned a thousand times over in the enjoyment of them by the American people and our visitors for over 70 years.  That is a good investment!  But oh, no, we can’t’ do that was the cry of the so-called fiscally responsible set.

To have handed over so much of the Stimulus to local governing bodies was  a mistake, pure and simple.  Too much posturing by the right wing in many places, and not all of them red states.  Future potential presidential candidates trying to make points with their “constituencies”.  All of this created an environment where real progress was and is being stifled.

But to have hope, look at what all is being done.  Whether you look on the government Recovery website http://www.recovery.org/, or elsewhere, there is much happening.  Examine the site, learn what your local projects are and how many jobs have been created.  We all need to just be aware that it isn’t as fast as it used to be.  And why.  And then go out and try to help others understand the reasons, too, and overcome the ignorance which others are trying to spread.

And when someone tells you that it cost $250,000 per job, ask them what else was gotten for that money, was there concrete, steel, wood, other manufactured goods procured, hence other jobs, and what long term benefits were purchased.  A faster, more clear running freeway, for example, increases the flow of commerce and results in less fuel consumption and pollution.  We must all think in terms of the overall effects, in order to counter the negativity.

Categories: Featured, History, Society

50 Responses so far.

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  1. FeloniousMonk says:

    Bito and javaz: Taxes: Well, mine went down for next year. Why? The value on my house fell almost in half due to the bubble bursting and being at the outskirts of Phoenix (Anthem is a nice place if you like regamen, but…) Now Bitohistory talked about being childless and the fact that we don’t use the services, yet we accept paying for them. Yes, that is why we are responsible. And yet the wingers will turn around and cry why should they pay for this or that? My reply is, then, why should I pay taxes for your child to go to school? And why should my taxes be higher because we aren’t taxing church property? ect…

    • KevenSeven says:

      You should pay taxes to send my kid to school because her efforts will cause the economy to grow and for you to continue to be wealthy.

      It is an investment.

    • KQuark says:

      I have to admit that argument is a pet peeve for me. My wife and I will never have kids but I don’t mind paying property taxes for schools at all. As long as taxes are not regressive like payroll taxes we need to be paying more instead of less. We get the shitty government we pay for and in the south the right’s obsession with tax cuts has decimated the schools.

      • javaz says:

        Education is hurting almost everywhere.
        Seems that it’s always the first thing they cut when trying to balance state budgets.

        Oh, on a side note, did you hear that Michael Crow, believe that’s his name -- he’s the head honcho at ASU, was named one of the top ten university head honchos.

        Unforgivable, since it was that guy that refused to give President Obama an honorary degree when he spoke at the ASU graduation ceremony.

        That still tees me off.

    • bitohistory says:

      Sir, On the subject of churches paying taxes, you may like to copy this site
      On the left hand side you will see a link to religion. It won’t hyper link for me. Good article on the R.C. Bishops on their lobbying in congress. Esp.The Stupak Ammend.
      the site is called “religious dispatches.org”
      javaz might like to take a look.

    • BigDogMom says:

      That arguement that the wingers use for taxes is a lame one, they want the services but don’t want to pay for them.

      I love it when they start to go on and on over at huff poop about this, then someone posts the list of all the government products and services that are paid by our taxes and that they use!

      • javaz says:

        If they had their way, there would be no public schools, and can you imagine?

      • FeloniousMonk says:

        You remember when Gingrich “shut down” the government back when? It was amazing how many people suddenly discovered that there were a lot of things they were used to that disappeared for a short while. But then I also knew wingers who saw nothing wrong with it, because “they didn’t use any of those things”.

    • javaz says:

      Hopefully ours will go down next year, too.
      They assessed our 1200 sq ft house, and believe me, it’s nothing special but it is on an acre and a quarter desert lot, for almost $390,000 during the boom!
      This year’s assessment, which I do believe is what we’ll pay on next year, is down under $180,000.

      I was thinking all us Arizonans and anyone else, should try to meet somewhere in between Phoenix and Tuscon.

      Been to Anthem several times, well, drove through, and it’s pretty out there!

      • FeloniousMonk says:

        I was thinking the same thing. Maybe somewhere like Casa Grande?

        • javaz says:

          There’s an Indian Ruin there, have you ever been?
          That’s all I know about Casa Grande.

          • bitohistory says:

            I went to the ruins many years ago. Fascinating! I could have spent hours there, but I was just a passenger. Casa Grande is now getting both Tucson and Phoenix sprawl.

          • FeloniousMonk says:

            I’ve been through a few times, but that’s it. But then again, I haven’t been to the Grand Canyon, ever. Someday I’ll take the train to the rim.

            • javaz says:

              You’ve never been to the Grand Canyon?
              We used to go all the time when family visited -- that’s where we would take them among other spots.
              I think it’s rather expensive now, but you can buy an inter-agency pass that’s good for national parks and forests.
              Once you hit 62, you can get a life time pass fairly cheap.

  2. FeloniousMonk says:

    OT (sort of) Javaz mentioned in a post about the grocery store strike being averted here in Arizona. Here’s the report on it from the Arizona Republic (read heavy Republican newspaper) website. http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/2009/11/13/20091113GroceryStrike13-ON.html Of amazement to me is the reaction from the shoppers “well, the strike would have came at a bad time”. What do these people think, you strike when it’s convenient for the company and there’s no business loss? Geez.

    The issue was healthcare oosts. Employees being asked to pay a nominal amount on their insurance. But when you’re making minimum wage or just above it, that is still money needed for other basic living expenses. Now Safeway and Kroger were more than willing to spend money on temps or flying in workers from other locations to fight this thing. In the end, it would have cost both sides a lot.

    But the union had negotiated for over a year to no avail until now. Frankly, it’s one small step. But many people don’t get it.

  3. KQuark says:

    Excellent article FM. Everyone also forgets the GD lasted until WWII in reality. No matter what FDR did he could not get unemployment below the 10-15% range and 15-30% employment lasted for over 4 years. Can you imagine the media if employment was that high for so long? But then again even the opposition party did not want the president to fail back then.

  4. kesmarn says:

    A really timely contribution, Monk. Thanks!

    I remember a few years ago, going through a McDonalds drive-thru with the kids. There was a sign on the inside of the window in the employee’s line of vision that said: “30 SECOND SERVICE IS A PRIORITY.”

    I thought to myself: “When did it become something intolerable to wait more than 30 seconds for a meal?”

    That ‘priority’ has spilled over into so many other things, that anything short of immediate gratification often produces red faces, foot stamping and temper tantrums.

    Of course, no one wants to see unemployment lines that take hours to get through, or phone help lines where the hold wait is two thirds of eternity, but a little adult patience with the President’s stimulus package would be very helpful. There’s a lot of road construction/repair going on in our area. And thank heavens, there are signs that say “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” for all those drive-by Repubs to see!

    • FeloniousMonk says:

      Kes, you must not be in a red state. There is no way our legislators would approve of signage for “Obamas Stimulus” work. Oh, it’s being responsible in not spending the money on them. BS. They just don’t want to give credit where credit is due.

      • escribacat says:

        We have the stimulus signs here in Colorado — we’ve got a dem governor.

      • kesmarn says:

        Seriously? That’s terrible!

        That’s like the Repubs in the southern red states who fought the stimulus tooth and nail, swore they wouldn’t take a dime of evil gummint money, then are photographed presenting gigantic over-sized checks to local politicians for their pet projects, compliments of the stimulus bill.

        There oughta be a requirement: no signs attributing the funds to the ARRA, no funds!

        • FeloniousMonk says:

          I agree. I grew up in the era of building the interstates. Big signs every so many miles telling the cost and funding.

          But my “pet” Stimulus Project blends into the main road expansion project and is easy to disguise as just more work. And yet it appears they’re also going to cut costs using asphalt rather than concrete, which is different than the other roadwork. Couldn’t have scaled it back and done it right. Oh, no, let’s do it all cheaply and then we can keep on repairing it annually.

          • kesmarn says:

            Oh god, potholes per omnia secula seculorum…

            Stimulus for axle manufacturers?

            • BigDogMom says:

              Let’s see, this could mean stimulus jobs for all the mfg’s, installers and mechanics:

              Tires -- new
              Tires -- repaired
              Tie Rods
              Push Rods
              Hubcaps, if lost
              Break pads
              Windshields, if rock kicks up

              And the labor chain goes into motion….

  5. BigDogMom says:

    Good afternoon Monk, great post.

    I think when you run a small business as my husband and I do, we have a greater understanding of how things get done and how one project can create so many trickle down jobs outside of the ones just the proposed project(s) will create.

    Here is a quick summery of how many jobs will be created just from a shipment of Concrete to the job site:

    1.) Create raw material = jobs to make product = admin. jobs to run company = admin/mfg jobs for companies who support running of company….

    2.) Raw material transported to cement contractor

    Driver(s) = admin. jobs for company that employs Driver = jobs for companies that support this company….

    Trucks(s) = jobs for people who manufacture/sell/maintain trucks = admin. jobs to run company(s) that manufacture/sell/maintain trucks = jobs for companies that support running of company….

    3.) Contractor to transport, mix, and lay concrete

    Truck(s) for transportation = see above mfg/sell/maint of trucks etc…

    Mixer(s) = jobs to mfg/sell/maint. mixers = job for guy who runs mixer = admin. jobs to run company = admin./mfg jobs that support running of company…

    Lay concrete = manual labor

    Unfortunately the only jobs that the MSM seem to be counting as created by the project, is the last job in the labor chain, the guy who lays the concrete…

    • bitohistory says:

      Hello BDM, (I still like calling you MOM). I used to have this same argument with non/anti union workers when they came up with “you guys just cause inflation”. I would ask them “what do you think we do with our wages? we buy homes,(jobs) we buy cars (jobs), we buy furniture (jobs), we buy, we buy, we buy. We don’t horde our our monies like some banker. We spread our little bit of ‘wealth.’ We create jobs, we hire you.”
      Oh, I could go on what a middle class used to be. Now we seem to a country of “the working poor.”

      • BigDogMom says:

        Call me Mom, that fine with me…the people who are non/anti union are the ones who I like to call the drones. They usually sit at a desk and push papers, they have no idea how a business is run, how things are manufactured or how the economy works.

        They only know their small little world, and have no interest in learning how things work…this is the dumbing down of america, thanks to the repug propaganda machine.

    • FeloniousMonk says:

      That is the kind of thing Ed Schultz needs to talk about some. He’s good with business economics and affects. Have him go all Beckian with a whiteboard and start drawing it all out. This is the way many people “get it”. And the point that when they do that simple division crap to say it cost this to create this job, ignorring what the worker is actually going to be working with, it amazes me. Do people think that the stimulus is only paying for the labor or that the materials are free, or that, God forbid, the people are all out there doing jobs where no materials are required?

    • KQuark says:

      Very good account of how things really work. The biggest problem is the last thing employers do is hire new people. They would rather work harder themselves or work their employees hard and the big reason for that is benefits, especially health benefits for larger companies.

      • BigDogMom says:

        One third of all overhead costs for a company is employee payroll and benefits..it’s not only healthinsurance. It’s Employer matching FICA, Medicare, FUTA, Workman’s Comp, General Liability Insur., Disability Insur.

        Having employees is very costly for the business, yes it’s a tax w/o at the end of the year, but you better have they money up front each month or quarter to pay these.

        So wages stay stagnant, employees are not hired and the existing employees have to work harder…it’s an endless cycle until things pick up.

    • kesmarn says:

      So true, BDM. Then when you extend it outward a little more, there are hard hats, boots, gloves, and work clothes for the laborers. Gas and transportation to get them to and from the work site. And a host of other support services, such as vehicle maintenance and repair, etc.

      • BigDogMom says:

        The list could go on indefinately…people don’t seem to understand this and I know MSM will never show the labor chain…too abstract.

    • javaz says:

      Afternoon BDM!

      Great post!
      The MSM seems to working in unison with GOP and Murdoch in wanting President Obama to fail, don’t they?

      President Obama makes the corporations nervous.
      Have you read the latest about big Pharma making threats now because of the house bill?

      • BigDogMom says:

        No, I’ve been busy all day, haven’t gotten to my ‘reading’ today…

        Obama is making everyone in the Corporate world very nervous…he doesn’t play by their rules like George and Dick did.

  6. javaz says:

    Good afternoon Monk and everyone!

    Excellent article, Monk, and very well said.

    President Obama is also fighting the corporate media.
    If the media in this country spent as much time on Bush Jr. in his first ten months in office, or even his first term in office, as they have on President Obama, we might have avoided some of Bush Jr. and the Republican failures.

    Liberal media?
    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    • FeloniousMonk says:

      Javaz, Yesterday I was at the recovery.org site looking at the projects in Maricopa and Pinal counties. I actually underestimated the one nearby on I-17. I figured around a hundred workers, it was 135. Things are happening.

      I’m dropping out for an hour. Need to run out and get someting to eat. Are we supposed to get rain from these clouds or are they just for show?

      • bitohistory says:

        Mr. Monk, Sir, I have gone to the Recovey. gov site
        Quite often. I have used this site to ask many local officials whether thy have applied for a grant, or what they have status is of the money they have received. Just trying to let them know that “we are watching.” Many years ago, a major activist said to me ” if every one wants to be a good citizen, they need to spend 1 1/2 hours a week talking to local officials a week.”

      • javaz says:

        Had a few sprinkles here earlier and it looks like it wants to rain, but who knows.
        Our area is rural and dirt roads, and it sure would be nice if it would rain so we could open a few windows!

        I keep trying to find if the Apache Jct. override passed, but they’re still not releasing the actual outcome yet.
        Seems the vote was close and they are counting the mail in ballots.

        Glad to hear that Fry’s and Safeway are not going to strike!

        And yes, parts of 60 are under construction, through the Salt River Canyon and up to Show Low and down through Globe.
        Things are getting done.

        • bitohistory says:

          Very few of the overrides passed in the Pima/Tucson area.Things are bad but so many seem to be content on making things worse. Look at the State Legislature.

          • javaz says:

            With property taxes already so high in Pinal County and the AJ school district is way down in admissions, because so many people moved, I’m hoping the override fails.
            They still have not lowered our property taxes and in fact, they just tacked on an additional $150 due to a “clerical” error.
            And our home is small -- 1200 sq feet -- yet we’re still being taxed on the rate during the peak, which was totally ridiculous for our little abode.
            Did you know that Pinal County pays higher property taxes than any other city of the valley, including Scottsdale and Paradise Valley?
            It’s unreal.
            And they just raised our water rates by 15%, and our garbage pickup was raised 10% during the high gas prices, yet they never lowered it.
            Arghhhh -- don’t get me started on taxes, taxes, taxes!

            • bitohistory says:

              I have at times payed taxes in 3 jurisdictions in 1 year. When reading through the statements, the majority of the payments went to schools and social services. Somehow, being childless it never has bothered me. I always attempted to look at the future. For me the future has arrived (way too early) and YOU, by paying taxes, are allowing to give me a life with some dignity.

            • javaz says:


              We sure do have some jokers, some real bozo reps in this state.

            • bitohistory says:

              javaz, first of all, I neglected to say hello!
              The system of taxation in this state is very regressive and repressive on the average person. Brewer and the goopers in the legislature seem to be living in the 30’s (before FDR). “let the big dogs hunt and everything will be fine.” If I hear our rep.(Cap’n Mel) bring up Ray-guns one more time….

            • javaz says:

              We don’t mind paying taxes, don’t get me wrong.
              It’s just upsetting that Brewer and our esteemed Republican Legislature has decreased taxes on the corporations and locked in the impact fees on developers.
              We’re on a fixed income, and with everything going up, including a 35% increase on our monthly health insurance premiums, well, it’s hard not to complain at times.

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