Arizona Autumn wallpaper, TARP and Stimulus On Track to be Repaid

fall wallpaper

Arizona Autumn wallpaper

Another tax break Democrats will not get credit for – A New Tax Break for the Self-Employed

So consider a self-employed taxpayer who earns $100,000 annually and pays $10,000 for her family’s premiums. Last year, she would have owed roughly $15,000 in self-employment taxes. This year, thanks to the new law, she’ll pay about $13,500 — a $1,500 savings.

“It’s almost like you are getting a 15 percent discount on your premiums,” Ms. Erb said, because many self-employed people will save about 15 percent of what they pay for their health insurance.

Democrats also recently passed a round of tax incentives and credits for small business. As partisan as the conservative media is one would think both measures – with huge potential to save money and encourage hiring would have at least been acknowledged. Democrats are faced with their usual problem. They do not have the kind of noise machine the Right has cultivated over the years. A conservative crosses the street without incident and Fox, the Wall St Journal etc are suddenly lauding this great accomplishment. Conservatives are on the Sunday political shows singing the praises and the deeper societal  implications of a Republican taking twenty paces without tripping over his own two feet. Democrats actually accomplish something and it is the echo of a giant yawn.

Report gives stimulus package high marks

By the end of September, the administration had spent 70 percent of the act’s original $787 billion, which met a White House goal of quickly pumping money into the nation’s ravaged economy, the report says. The administration also met nearly a dozen deadlines set by Congress for getting money out the door.

Meanwhile, lower-than-anticipated costs for some projects have permitted the administration to stretch stimulus money further than expected, financing an additional 3,000 projects, according to the report.

Despite the speedy spending, the report says that stimulus contracts and grants have so far been relatively free of the fraud charges that plague more routine government spending programs. Complaints have been filed on less than 2 percent of awards under the program.

“Certainly, the fraud and waste element has been smaller than I think anything anybody anticipated,” said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group. “You can certainly challenge some projects as questionable economically. But there haven’t been the examples of outright fraud where the money is essentially lining somebody’s pocket.”

The report was provided by VP Biden’s office. The wing-nuts at Newsbusters have not disputed the numbers, instead opting for the you can’t believe the report because it came from the administration. lacking any concrete evidence it is the best the Right could do. The President of the Professional Services Council said the way oversight worked to decrease waste and fraud should serve as an example of how such programs are implemented. Iraq – the cost of which was administered by Republicans – was riddled with waste, fraud and abuse. Much of that due to two things: private contractors and no real oversight. Out sourcing to private contractors and no oversight are the decoded message when one hears the words free enterprise and liberty from a Republican. Con artists usually sell their snake oil wrapped in coded language. TARP, which started under the Bush administration ( including the GM and Chrysler bail-out) is not looking that bad in retrospect – TARP Bailout to Cost Less Than Once Anticipated

But the once-unthinkable possibility that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program could end up costing far less, or even nothing, became more likely on Thursday with the news that the government had negotiated a plan with the American International Group to begin repaying taxpayers.

The rescue of the troubled insurer included $70 billion from the bailout program that was enacted two years ago, at the height of the global financial crisis late in the Bush administration, initially to prop up big banks.

At the White House on Thursday, the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, briefed President Obama about A.I.G. and about the broader outlook for the expiring rescue program, putting the projected losses at less than $50 billion, at most. Yet neither the White House nor Congressional Democrats are likely to boast much in the month remaining before midterm elections. For most voters, TARP remains a four-letter word.

Brian A. Bethune, the chief financial economist in the United States for IHS/Global Insight, while critical of parts, called the program over all “a tremendous success. Now obviously, they can’t go out on the campaign trail and say that, because certainly, for a lot of voters, it’s just not going to resonate.”

[  ]…“This is the best federal program of any real size to be despised by the public like this,” said Douglas J. Elliott, a former investment banker now associated with the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

It was probably the only effective method available to us to keep from having a financial meltdown much worse than we actually had. Had that happened, unemployment would be substantially higher than it is now, the deficit would have gone up even more than it has,” Mr. Elliott added. “But it really cuts against the grain for a public that is so angry at banks to think that something that so plainly helped the banks could also be good for the public.”

The worse scenario is TARP ends up costing  $50 billion. The best case it ends up costing zero. If we split the difference and say $25 billion, that would be less than 6 months of the cost of invading Iraq.

Some liberals, conservatives and libertarians line up in believing it would have been best not to do anything. That sounds like an attractive option because some of the beneficiaries of TARP were and remain such sleazeballs, while there are so many struggling homeowners and unemployed. Think back to the Ethics 101 conundrum. Would you let one person die to save ten thousand. In this case we saved save a few sleazeballs in order to save millions of jobs and even more foreclosures. No one gets out all nice and clean on the political side, but there was a net positive effect.

Senator Robert F. Bennett of Utah was “Bailout Bob” to Republicans who refused to re-nominate him for a fourth term.

“For those who were screaming at me — and screaming was the operative word — ‘You’ve just saddled our children and grandchildren with $700 billion,’ I said, ‘No, I haven’t,” Mr. Bennett said in an interview.

“My career is over,” he added. “But I do hope that we can get the word out that TARP, number one, did save the world from a financial meltdown and, number two, did so in a manner that, I believe, won’t cost the taxpayer anything. And even if it did not all get paid back, it was still the thing to do.

Some of the left of center economic blogs have raised questions about the stock deal with AIG and whether it will ultimately be able to pay back all of it’s TARP funds, but that just remains something to keep an eye on. Certainly there is no political advantage for Democrats to let AIG off the hook.

Free trade can be a net good for the country and a much better way to alive poverty in other nations rather than government aid alone. At least I know where I stand and the particulars when it comes to attaching strings to said trade – worker’s right, environmental guidelines and fair wages. The tea baggers not so much – Most Tea Partiers Think Free Trade Agreements That Tea Party Candidates Support Are Bad For The Country

Interestingly, the poll also found that opposition to free trade agreements is particularly strong among Americans who define themselves as supporters of the Tea Party movement.

[  ]…What’s ironic about most tea partiers opposing free trade is that numerous high-profile tea party-endorsed candidates are ardent backers of the policy. From sitting U.S. senators to relatively unknown individuals who have become serious candidates for higher office, politicians who have co-opted the tea party movement do not share its view on free trade:

Rand Paul: Tea party “darling” Paul’s campaign website boasts that the candidate wants to “engage the world in free trade.” He also bragged that he would “stand up” to unions to get free trade agreements with Peru, Panama, and South Korea passed through Congress.

Joe Miller: “Tea Party favorite” Miller, who ran an insurgent campaign that successfully toppled incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), responded to a candidate survey earlier this month that he was in favor of “the United States’ involvement in free trade agreements.”

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC): DeMint, who “has embraced the tea party movement more enthusiastically than most of his GOP congressional colleagues,” is a strong backer of free trade. He has voted to support every new free trade agreement that has come before the Senate over the past five years, and writes on his website that he sees backing new free trade agreements as the key to a “strong economy.”

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA): Price, who has been a featured speaker at national tea party rallies, is a prominent backer of free trade within the Republican congressional coalition. Price wrote an op-ed in the Washington Times last month saying that opposition to further free trade agreements is doing “real damage to our nation’s future prosperity.”

Marco Rubio: Rubio, whose support from the tea party allowed him to coast to the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, writes on his campaign website that “we should adopt the free trade agreements that have already been negotiated with Colombia, Panama, South Korea and other nations around the world.”

Mike Lee: Utah tea party-backed GOP Senate candidate Mike Lee told a radio host earlier this year “that one of the best ways we can improve our economy is with free trade.”

Pat Toomey: Toomey, who has praised the tea party in the past as a “constructive force for political change,” supported free trade agreements with Australia, Chile, and Singapore during his time in office as a congressman. He also slammed Democratic presidential primary candidates Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards as “collectivists” for skepticism over a free trade deal with South Korea and a willingness to alter NAFTA.