I am a lawyer and a Phd candidate in Political Theory at the University of Florida. First off, I will use this place to host info about classes I am teaching (syllabi, assignments, etc). This is so that most people will be able to have up-to-date info. I might also keep academic works-in-progress here, as well as a current CV.
That being said, I write--academically and informally--about culture and politics. Stick around if you like left-ward slanted politics, discussions about academia, indie-rock, genre and subculture films, pomo literature, comic books, continental political philosophy, and/or TV shows like Lost, Buffy (RIP), The Office, Battlestar Galactica, The Wire (RIP), or Twin Peaks (RIP). I might also write about my family, my house, restaurants and shops I have enjoyed, the little hamlet of Gainesville, and/or how someone SERIOUSLY annoyed me today. But mostly politics, art, and culture. Enjoy and give me feedback.
So what the hell is Obama's stimulus? Well, here is just MY take:
For immediate stimulus NOW, it is more important that Treasury Sec. Geithner use the rest of the TARP money in a smart way--by FORCING banks to led
70% (or so) of the money. This will bring more quick stimulus than the so-called "stimulus" plan. Sadly, under Bush, former Sec. Paulson just gave money to
banks, and they used it to recapitalize, NOT lend. Geithner needs to
attach strings to fed money. And some huge investment in SBA loans would be good
too. Also, a "Bad Asset Bank"--which is what Paulson told Congress TARP
would be--is a pretty decent idea. This "bad bank" would buy up the toxic assets and let
them sit for ten years (like in New Deal). When FDR did this, the Government eventually made money on the bad loans. (Of course the assets now are a more confusing.)
Contrary to its moniker, Obama's plan is more a long-term / New-Deal style investment plan than a true immediate "stimulus" plan.
What it does:
Roads/Bridges (Army Core of Engineers rank us as a C- or D+ for interior investment. Lower than Cuba for fucksake.)
New public schools
Nationwide Electric Grid
Alternative fuel R and D
Country-wide public broad-band wireless
Tax incentives for small businesses to make new jobs
Tax cuts for businesses to basically write off all of last five
years losses on this year (even if they wrote them off previously)
Digitizing medical records
All of these not only create jobs in next three years, but lay a
foundation for a "managed capitalism" just like New Deal laid
foundation for our ability to eventually militarize in WW2 and for the great
expansion of the middle class.
Think of a nationwide electric grid, broadband national wireless internet, alt
fuels, and etc, as analogous to the TVA and REA bringing electricity to the southern US or the
Fed interstate system. These are investments that payoff for 50 years (or more).
It is true that, "monetary policy" is usually better than spending and
tax cuts to quickly stimulate economy. But we dont have any monetary
policy any more because we cannot cut interest rates anymore. (They are
at, what, .5%?)
Economists think that for every dollar you spend in public spending
you get 1.50$ to 1.70$ return in the economy. Tax cuts have only a
return of about 75% because people save. BUT, if you can target tax
cuts to create jobs and stimulate the economy, that will help.
This crisis is a perfect storm: housing crisis, unemployment, and (the worst) a credit crisis.
As I wrote, Obama's plan is more of a long-term investment than a
stimulus. . We will not see full effect until 2011. That is OK because
the GAO--under Bush--said the recession will certainly last until 2010
and possibly to 2016. (This report is a nice cover politically for
Obama, especially because Bush's people did it.)
Even though the House vote was along part lines, Obama meeting with
(only) GOPers was a nice piece of good-will. It is also a nice contrast
with Bush who wouldn't even meet with Sens and Reps from his OWN party,
no less the Dems.
But, yeah, 2009 and probably 2010 is shot economically. But people
will suffer less under Democratic control. (New plans give longer unemployment benefits, lower taxes, more food
stamps, roads, bridges, etc etc). Dems will likely lose seats in
Congress in 2010 (like Reagan's GOP did in 1982, and Clinton's Dems in
1994). Luckily, the GOP are on the defense in Congress again when it
comes to retirements and such. (It is very unlikely that Dem would lose CONTROL of either chamber.)
Some other stuff Obama/Gienther/Congress need to do:
- re-regulate the banking industry so that commercial and investment banks are separate again - re-instate the "uptick" rule so traders cannot short sell and then drive down the price of the stock, short selling is ok, as long as you cannot manipulate the stock - refigure the capital-to-debt ratio of banks - reguglate commidies so that things like "credit default swaps" can be a thing of the past - return to older lending rules regarding loans, possibly by changing CRA. Get rid of ARM loans and etc - Extend the Dow dropping "time-out" to a full 24 hours - Back-up stocks in 401ks if people invest in certain types of funds
FDR saved capitalism once; Obama could do it again.
If Obama does it right, he can not only take us out of this bad economy, but he could put an end to the "yo-yo" or "casino" capitalism of the last 30 years. It will finally be the end of Reaganism. The greatest expansion of the middle class was from 1935 - 1968, which also coincides with the New-Deal / Great Society managed capitalism. A new, information-based version of "managed capitalism" can recreate a "middle-class focused" America and create a long-term Democratic majority.
... I started teaching today and the students seemed really cool. Some of my UF students seem to really be interested in theory. My SFCC students are cool, though I surprised how few high school students I have.
... I do not know what to think about the changes in Obama's economic plan. It seems like he is taking a little Reagan and mixing it with New Deal-ism. I guess the times are urgent enough to try everything. Hopefully it makes the economy grow enough in the next three years that he can then slightly raise taxes and we can work on the defecit. At that point some of his investments might pay off too. It would also be nice if the economy was growing enough to raise the cap on payroll taxes to tax up to 250,000 or 300,000 of income. (I think payroll taxes should be applied to all of your income, but lets take step-by-step.) One good thing about embracing tax cuts is that it makes it likely that a BUNCH of Repulicans will come on board and it is "sink or swim" for both parties. Plus, the compromise might help us get national health care and some kind of banking super-regulator as part of the deal.
... I cannot wait until Lost and Battlestar come back.
... Just seat the damn Senators already.
... Mad Men on Blu-Ray is amazing. I cannot wait until season 2 comes out on Blu-Ray too.
Contrary to previous plans, I need you all to attend on Wed (tmrw). This needs to happen for the following reason:
1. I need to do my course evaluations 2. I have an announcement about my Spring class
3. I have info about how to actually turn in the term paper. 4. I will take roll and give everyone in attendance one bonus point on their final grade. 5. You can all bring me my birthday gifts