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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 28, 2009 at 4:00 PM

National stimulus package

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Obama walks to a podium to make a statement to the news media after meeting with Republicans in the House of Representatives Tuesday. Obama was on Capitol Hill working to gain support from Republicans for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, the $825 billion economic-recovery package proposed by House Democrats.

A waste of borrowed money

Editor, The Times:

The huge stimulus bill is packed with items that appear to have no stimulus properties at all, except to help politicians get re-elected.

Here are just a few of many, many pork-barrel projects:

— $44 million for construction, repair and improvements at U.S. Department of Agriculture facilities;

— $209 million for work on deferred maintenance at Agricultural Research Service facilities;

— $245 million for maintaining and modernizing the IT system of the Farm Service Agency;

— $50 million for “watershed rehabilitation”;

— $2.7 billion for rural-water and waste-disposal direct loans;

— $1 billion for “periodic censuses and programs”;

— $650 million for digital-to-analog converter box program;

— $624 million for Navy operation and maintenance; and

— $79 billion in education funds for states.

I could have made three to four pages of items similar to these. I am personally against the bill because I don’t believe in large government. But how can anyone see this as a stimulus? It is a waste of money — borrowed money.

I have asked our senators to explain each line item. Let’s see if they do that.

— Todd Welch, Everett

Let the grown-ups fix the mess

I listened with bemusement as Republican members of Congress, after meeting with President Obama, continued to try and derail the economic recovery of this country. Urging us to continue down the path of “trickle-down” economics, rewarding the “haves” while ignoring all the rest of us, and not quickly repairing the breaches in the network of needed economic regulation and protection was very thoroughly repudiated at the polls last November. Why do they now think they should have veto power over our future?

If House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and crew have no new ideas and cannot bring any fresh thinking to the table, they should have the grace to get out of the way and let the grown-ups fix the mess they’ve made.

The bill of goods they have been selling since 1996 is stale and, even worse, completely wrong. Just take a look at the mess Newt Gingrich, the Republican former speaker of the House, former White House adviser Karl Rove, former President Bush and others have left us.

What part of defeat didn’t they understand?

— Judy Porterfield, Seattle

A case of overkill

I know that most of Congress feels they cannot spend enough on the 2009 stimulus package and they are in a rush to get it out. The big push is to create jobs and personal spending.

President Obama said it will create 3 million jobs. Well, I am little confused by what he and Congress are doing and how they are trying to slice up the pie.

If they are trying to help out Americans, my simple calculations show that the $800 billion or more they want to spend can provide $40,000 in income to 12 million Americans for two years. This would really help out those who have lost their jobs in this recession.

However, it seems Congress is determined to distribute this money to everyone except those who need it. Did you know between the 2008 and 2009 stimulus packages, Congress will have spent enough money to give 48 million Americans $40,000 for one year? Does this strike anybody as a case of overkill?

How many people have been laid off? Not 12 million — not even half. Is anybody crunching the numbers?

Oh, and the price tag to you, the average taxpayer, is roughly $12,000. I think it is time we start paying attention to what these amateurs are doing. I know I can’t afford to blow $12,000 without some serious consideration.

Obama and Congress need to slow down and give due consideration to what they are doing. Right now, Washington hasn’t the slightest idea as to what this money will do and where it is really going. Need evidence? Look at the 2008 stimulus package. Anybody know where all the money went? Anybody know what good it did? Enough said.

— Ron Papcun, Bonney Lake

Landing in the landfill

As our current government looks to stimulate the economy with billions of borrowed dollars, there is significant possibility of failure. This possible failure should be seen as a challenge to the American people. We must ask not what our government can do to fix the situation, but what we the people can do to help our economy.

A change that we need to make is in our consumerism mentality.

It is not that we consume, but what and how we consume that is bad. We must move away from buying the cheap and short-lived items that crowd store shelves and then landfills, to fewer, long-lasting items.

We are depleting our natural resources to manufacture these goods and then using them to turn the Earth into one large and expensive landfill. By consuming so many cheap and disposable items, we are not only spending too much money, but we are spending this money on things that we just turn around and throw out soon after purchase.

Buying smart will not only help save money, it will help conserve our planet.

— Bryn Fluharty, Seattle

Microcredit lending lends a hand

The current economic crisis is caused by a lack of credit. Credit allows business to move through buying, selling, paying wages and investing.

Look at the poor. They always lack credit, not able to get loans. For the poor, it is always hard to move ahead.

But, now they can.

The new possibility is microcredit lending [“Focus U.S. aid on the poorest,” Jan 27, guest commentary]. Microlending is providing small loans to people of low income. Small loans, together with the right support, enables these people to have better repayment rates than standard bank borrowers.

Ten years ago, there were 8 million microcredit loans. Now, more than 100 million poor people have received these small loans. This has created an explosion of economic activity — 100 million families have the ability to work themselves out of poverty.

Microcredit lending works. Muhammad Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize for creating, supporting and proving the effectiveness of microcredit lending.

It is time for the United States to support an effective program. As the new Obama administration reviews the U.S. foreign aid program, it should beef up support for microcredit lending. Money is tight. Times are tough. Let’s do what works.

— Ronald Borovec, Bothell

Comments | More in Barack Obama administration, Economy

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