One of these things is not like the others

In the spirit of charts and graphs, here’s one that I’ve seen in various forms recently… the plummeting cliff you see represents the accelerating job losses (relative to the recent peak) in our current “recession”…

Job Losses in Post-WWII Recessions

Perhaps this is a serious problem?  

Meanwhile, the Senate jagoffs watered down the stimulus bill with lame tax cuts, to the tune of 42% of the overall stimulus package.  Honestly, fuck tax cuts.  Tax cuts don’t help me if I ain’t got a job. It’s been widely demonstrated that everyone and their mother is now hoarding cash and paying off debt.  Which is great in the long term, but doesn’t do a damn thing for the people that have already gone over that cliff above. Here’s another chart:

Setting aside food stamps (which over 30 million Americans now rely upon), the two other big items I see up there are “Infrastructure Spending” and “Aid to States”.  Both of those items have been cruelly mistreated at the hands of the Senate.  Regarding infrastructure, consider this chart from the Economic Policy Institute

Now here’s today’s failing infrastructure anecdote: the Maryland State Highway Administration’s main Headquarters complex was closed today due to a water main break outside the building.  The exact same thing happened in roughly the same location all of one year ago.  Ignoring the irony of the roads literally crumbling outside the DOT’s door, the main point I’d like to make is that all personnel had to stay home with Administrative Leave.  This for an agency that recently forced workers to take at least two unpaid “furlough” days (more depending on salary) to help make up budget shortfalls.  So there’s your “cost of doing nothing” right there.

As for “Aid to the States”, here’s Matt Yglasias discussing the hypocrisy of your “centrist” senator from Maine:

“This deal represents a victory for the American people,” said Senator Collins. “We came together to tackle the most immediate problem facing the nation. This package cuts $110 billion in unnecessary expenditures. These are not minor adjustments, but major changes. It contains robust spending on infrastructure to create jobs, $87 billion in assistance for states, and assistance to schools, especially for special education and Pell grants. This bill is not perfect, but it represents a bipartisan, effective and targeted approach to the crisis facing our country.”

Would you ever in a million years have guessed from this rhetoric that the primary change Collins and Nelson made was to implement big reductions in aid to states and, especially, in funding for education? I think not. In their rhetoric, Collins and Nelson preserved vital education funding and state assistance while eliminating various metaphorical animal products. Meanwhile, actual changes Collins and Nelson made include:

  • Elimination of $25 billion in flexible funding for state governments.
  • Cut $7.5 billion in funding for “state incentive grants” to help states make progress toward NCLB goals.
  • Eliminated $19.5 billion in construction aid for schools and colleges.
  • Reduced new aid for the Head Start early childhood program by $1 billion.

These clowns want to be commended for creating a bill that all parties can vote for.  Bullshit.  This is just cuts for the sake of cuts, economics be damned.  I keep reading about 60 votes to prevent filibuster… why the dems wouldn’t simply call their bluff is beyond me.  Republicans don’t have the stones to filibuster when the country is in such obvious need.  Even their core constituency (big business) has had enough.  Let them overplay their hand and be hounded into the caves like the Taliban they aspire to be.

Ok, one last fucking chart, this time from a Think Progress piece whose title says it all: Supporters Of $1.3 Trillion Bush Tax Cuts In 2001 Now Call $900 Billion Recovery Plan Billion ‘Too Much’

  2001 2009
Cost of package: $1.35 trillion $900 billion
Unemployment: 4% 7.6%
Percent of Population Living In Poverty: 12.7% 17%
Foreclosure Rates: .48% 1.19%
Americans Relying On Food Stamps: 17 million Over 30 million


I’m officially out of charts.  Draw your own conclusions…

  • Dick Vinegar

    Great post – but it would have been so much more compelling with PHR Power.

  • Jimmy Reefercake

    lets face the fact that banks will not lend more in this climate. we are going to need to WORK our way out of this one!

  • Madman

    Water mains break so often in Maine you’d think we wouldn’t have such a hard time selling investment in the asset, but still a simple bond issue that brought in 5 Federal dollars for every dollar we put away only passed by a couple thousand votes, even though every single Legislator voted for it. its gotten so bad these guys have started to keep a running tab on their website: ***Water***Water***Water. So far, so good, only three in the last five days!

  • lookie lookie

    i think someone needs to look a little closer at this “shovel ready” and “spend it all fast” nonsense. We are going to need to plan on sustained spending over a long period of time if we want to see return on investment.