"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle

Government by Susan Collins

Susan Collins has become the most powerful person in Washington, D.C.

Why should the junior Senator from Maine possess such power? President Obama’s strategy of peace, love, and bipartisanship has made it so. The Republican minority in the U.S. Senate, for better or worse depending on your political perspective, is sticking to its ideological roots: low taxes, suspiscion of giant government outlays, and respect for unborn life.

President Obama can’t pass a stimulus package without picking off two Republicans in a Senate chamber that is 58-41 (with Minnesota still undecided). Hence the recourse to Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Sens. Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, the last North-eastern liberally minded Republicans remaining in Congress.

As an observer, I applaud this trend. The left is in apoplexy, but Obama’s conscious decision to restrain the reckless power of the Bush-Cheney executive branch and allow Republican values into the policy dialogue will only strengthen his hand in the end.

Susan Collins, unlike her head-in-the-sand Senate colleagues, is not reflexively opposed to any stimulus; she understands the basic macroeconomic truth that when neither people nor firms are willing to invest, the government must. When all’s said and done, isn’t this not so bad?

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CNBC.com Commits Freudian Slip With Obama’s Name

I was reading an article on CNBC.com, and noticed that towards the bottom of the page, President Obama’s name was spelled wrong. The text was rendered: “Osama administration”. Freudian slip?

You can read the original article on the government’s plans to create a “Bad Bank” here. I posted a screen shot below, since they’ll surely fix this mistake shortly.



Stimulus Package or Spending Package?

The proposed stimulus package currently being supported by President Obama and the Democrats in the House, otherwise known as the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, is a healthy 300 pages in length and contains many provisions you may not have heard about on television. Although this bill has been labeled a “stimulus package”, in truth, it is a spending package that contains some stimulus provisions. There are a vast amount of provisions set forth within this bill that have little, if any, correlation to positive economic growth. Certainly there are several notable positive attributes to the bill, such as increased small business grants and loan programs. However, the bill occasionally allocates money for the purposes of obtaining more thorough climate data and enhancing census techniques, which – I grant – in a very convuluded and indirect way could help the economy. The bill also contains several government construction projects, such as new research buildings for the Dept. of Agriculture. Now, I understand that private firms would be contract to build these projects, which would aid very specific sectors of the economy (primariy speacilty commerical construction firms in areas where the Dept. of Agriculture has research buildings), however I would think that our money would be better spent investing into programs that could broadly reduce unemployment and increase captial flow throughout. Some other provisions include:

  • 2 billion dollars for broadband internet deployment
  • 335 million for contraceptive disbursement
  • 100 million for restoration of the National Mall in Washington D.C.
  • 250 million for the preservation of the Mississippi River and its tributaries
  • 200 million for construction of new buildings for the Dept. of Agriculture
  • Several other similar provisions for the construction of government buildings
  • 400 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to obtain climate data
  • 400 million to NASA for the purposes of (and I quote) “science”
  • 400 million for habitat restoration and migration activities (of animals)
  • and many more

Now, the bill also impliments several positive things that directly aid and stimulate the economy, like buying illiquid assets, increasing government loan and grant programs for businesses, investing in broad-based infastructure programs in which multiple industries across the nation can benefit, investing in work-force retraining programs, etc. The economy would be better served, however, if all of the funds from the aforementioned pursuits in bullet points were to be re-allocated to the latter causes that directly affect the nation’s economy at large. Thus, the American people must ask themselves – do they really want their tax dollars being put to work on the National Mall? Do they really want their tax dollars to help fund STD prevention programs (contraceptive disbursment)? Do they really think that their bottom lines are going to be helped by climate and census research, or animal migration research? While some might consider these worthwhile pursuits, I pose these questions to underline that this bill is better classified as a spending package with stimulus provisions. There are better ways to help the economy than by restoring the National Mall and finding climate research.


Outspoken Genesis

This is the first post of what I hope will be many. The mission of this blog is to provide an online presence for The Warrior’s opinion staff, and to raise awareness of important issues that our readers will be interested in.

Since The Warrior only comes out bi-weekly, the move to online content is important in keeping The Warrior relevant throughout the year, and especially in off-weeks.

In conjunction with this blog, we hope to give every section their own blog so that fans and readers of The Warrior can have online, up-to-date content to enjoy.

© 2008 Outspoken! is sponsored by The Warrior