Category Archives: Stimulus

Vice-President Joe Biden: Recovery Act Tax Benefits

Posted by: Audiegrl

With the 2010 tax filing season underway, Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman today announced that that average tax refunds are up nearly 10 percent this year, due in large part to the significant new tax benefits available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), and reminded taxpayers that they can collect on those benefits this year as they file their 2009 tax returns. To help taxpayers see for themselves exactly how they can benefit from Recovery Act tax credits and collect every dollar owed when they file this tax season, the White House today launched a new interactive Tax Savings Tool available at www.WhiteHouse.gov/Recovery.

Here is a quick run-down of some key tax benefits available thanks to the Recovery Act:

  • Making Work Pay: 95 percent of working families are receiving the Work Pay tax credit of $400 for an individual or $800 for married couples filing jointly in their paychecks in 2009.
  • College Expenses: Families and students are eligible for up to $2500 in tax savings under the American Opportunity Credit.
  • Purchase of First Home: Homebuyers can get a credit of up to $8000 for first homes purchased by April 30, 2010 under the First Time homebuyer tax credit.
  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Incentives: Taxpayers are eligible for up to $1500 in tax credits for making some energy-efficiency improvements to their homes.
  • New Vehicle Purchases: Taxpayers can deduct state and local sales taxes or fees for vehicle purchases under the vehicle sales tax deduction.
  • Expanded Family Credits: Moderate income families with children may be eligible for an increase under the Earned Income Tax Credit and the additional Child Tax Credit.
  • Unemployment Benefits Tax Free in 2009: the Recovery Act made the first $2400 of unemployment benefits received in 2009 tax free.

The Recovery Act’s tax benefits of nearly $300 billion are not only providing some relief for middle class families, but also helping to jumpstart the economy and create more clean-energy, manufacturing, and construction jobs.

To learn more, visit Recovery.gov.

Read the Transcript

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Filed under Economy, Money, Obama Administration, Stimulus, Timothy F. Geithner (Sec of Treasury), Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden

Would You Move 1000 Miles For Your Job?

Posted by: BuellBoy

CNN~What would you do if your company closed its doors, but offered you the same job 1000 miles away?

In December 2008, in the depths of the recession, GM worker Steve Kerl faced that same question. Just 8 years from retirement, his GM assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin was shut down. 1,933 workers were out of work.

“What are we going to do?” was Kerl’s first reaction. “Are we going to have our health care? How are we going to come out? We didn’t even know if you were going to have a job.”

Most of the Janesville plant workers took buyouts. But 545 of them were fortunate enough to be offered jobs at other GM plants. The catch? The plants are hundreds of miles from Wisconsin.

What would you do?

Kerl took a job putting fenders on GM SUV’s in Arlington, Texas. It’s hard work. At the end of his 10-hour shifts he goes back to bunk with two other GM workers in a three-bedroom apartment near the plant. Home is 1000 miles away.

Kerl’s wife and two teenage kids remain behind in Janesville. The Kerls didn’t want to take the kids out of school. And they couldn’t face the prospect of selling their house anyway with real estate prices plummeting.

The Kerl family, along with many others who worked at GM in Janesville, is yet another side of the recession. Families physically separated by economic circumstances beyond their control. The sacrifice is palpable.

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Filed under Economy, Jobs, Stimulus, Uncategorized, Unemployment, Video/YouTube

Obama outlines new limits on bank risk-taking

posted by GeoT
Obama’s plan is broad, recalls Depression-era curbs


“If these folks want a fight, it’s a fight I’m ready to have.”


Full replay of announcement:
The “Volcker Rule” for Financial Institutions
President Obama calls for new restrictions on the size and scope of financial institutions to rein in excessive risk-taking and protect taxpayers. The proposed legislation is called the “Volcker Rule” in recognition of the efforts of former Federal Reserve Chairman and current President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board Chairman Paul Volcker.
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Filed under Economics, Economy, Jobs, Money, Stimulus, Uncategorized

President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 01/16/10

white house gov logo
WhiteHouse.govGetting Our Money Back from Wall Street~~As the President continues to work on immediate job creation, he discusses his proposal for a new fee on the largest financial institutions to ensure that every cent of taxpayer assistance gets paid back. Saying that, “we’re not going to let Wall Street take the money and run,” he then to discusses the ongoing push to make sure banks can never put our economy at risk again.
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Filed under Bailout, Banking, Barack Obama, Change, Democrats, Economy, Greed, Jobs, Media and Entertainment, Money, Obama Administration, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Stimulus, TARP, Uncategorized, United States, Video/YouTube, Weekly YouTube Address

Fed posts record profit of $46.1B for last year

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve made a record profit of $46.1 billion last year, reflecting money made off its extraordinary efforts to rescue the country from the worst economic and financial crisis since the 1930s, the central bank announced Tuesday.

The windfall gets turned over to the Treasury Department.

It marks the biggest profit on record dating back to 1914 when the Fed was created. The previous record profit – of $34.6 billion – was registered in 2007. In 2008, the Fed reported a profit of $31.7 billion.

The Fed says the bigger profit was primarily due to increased income from the securities it held last year.

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Filed under Bailout, Banking, Economics, Economy, Free Market, Stimulus, TARP, Uncategorized

Reality Check: Obama’s Winning Streak On Hill Unprecedented

posted by GeoT
1st of a two part report– Part 1
In his first year in office, President Obama did better even than legendary arm-twister Lyndon Johnson in winning congressional votes on issues where he took a position

NPR, by Don Gonyea
The new Congressional Quarterly study gives Obama a higher mark than any other president since it began scoring presidential success rates in Congress more than five decades ago. And that was in a year where Obama tackled how to deal with Afghanistan, Iraq, an expanding terrorist threat, the economic crisis and battles over health care.

Unprecedented Success Rate

Obama has been no different from his predecessors in that he’s always ready to send a firm message to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue as he “urges members of Congress” to come together and act. All presidents demand specific action by Congress — or at least they ask for it. But when you look at the votes of 2009 in which Obama made his preference clear, his success rate was unprecedented, according to John Cranford of Congressional Quarterly.

“His success was 96.7 percent on all the votes where we said he had a clear position in both the House and the Senate. That’s an extraordinary number,” Cranford says.

The previous high scores were held by Lyndon Johnson in 1965, with 93 percent, and Dwight Eisenhower, who scored 89 percent in 1953. Cranford notes that George W. Bush’s score hit the high 80s in 2001, the year of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. But Obama surpassed them all, Cranford says.

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Listen here: NPR Morning Edition Jan 11, 2010: Obama’s Winning Streak On Hill Unprecedented

Part 2: CQ: 2009 Was The Most Partisan Year Ever

NPR by Andrea Seabrook
A year ago as a new president took office, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed that the United States must be governed from the middle.

“You have to bring people together to reach consensus on solutions that are sustainable and acceptable to the American people,” she said. It had been a rough eight years of partisanship and polarization under George W. Bush. Even Republican House leader John Boehner said if the Democrats wanted bipartisanship, he’d work with them.

It didn’t work out that way

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Listen here: NPR All Things Considered Jan 11, 2010: The Most Partisan Year

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Filed under Alternative Energy, Congress, Economics, Economy, Education, Environment, Gay (LGBT) Rights, Government, Green, Green Energy, Green Jobs, Inovation, Obama Administration, Stimulus, Uncategorized

Republicans Delivered the Worst Decade in Modern U.S. History

posted by: LibbyShaw

Republicans ruled for 80% of the last decade, 60% of which Republicans were in total control

At least when W. ran his companies into the ground Daddy’s friends would step up and bail junior out. But Daddy’s buddies are nowhere to be found now that W. and his GOP drove the country straight to hell. Tragically for the American taxpayers, we, our children, our grandchildren and great grandchildren will have to clean up the squalor. It will take generations to undo the GOP’s financial carnage.

A recent article published in the Washington Post reveals that the American worker lost big time during the past decade.

This news should come as no surprise to any hard working middle class American. We have been living the pain for 10 long years.

The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation’s growth.

It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. The decade began in a moment of triumphalism — there was a current of thought among economists in 1999 that recessions were a thing of the past. By the end, there were two, bookends to a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable.

The Washington Post also reveals that there has been zero net job creation since December 1999. Conditions have not been this grim for decades. Essentially, the American worker has not had a raise in a very long time.

Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 — and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.

Click to enlarge

As we well know, our home values have declined as have our retirement and savings accounts.

What happened?

Economists attribute the decline to economic stagnation, an out of control housing bubble, too much risk and too much debt. Money was invested in mini mansions instead of business investments that would have created jobs and economic growth.

The housing bubble both caused, and was enabled by, a boom in indebtedness. Total household debt rose 117 percent from 1999 to its peak in early 2008, according to Federal Reserve data, as Americans borrowed to buy ever more expensive homes and to support consumption more generally.

An experiment called an unbridled free market economy ended very badly for we the people.

The first decade of the new century was an experiment in what happens when an economy comes to rely heavily on borrowed money.

A big part of what happened this decade was that people engaged in excessively risky behavior without realizing the risks associated,” said Karen Dynan, co-director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “It’s true not just among consumers but among regulators, financial institutions, lenders, everyone.”

The experiment has ended badly. While the stock market bubble that popped in 2000 caused only a mild recession, the housing and credit bubble has had a much greater punch — driving the unemployment rate to a high, so far, of 10.2 percent, compared with a peak of 6.3 percent following the last such downturn.

In short, the big banks, enabled by Republican free market ideology, gambled with our money and they lost it. And they lost it big time. As we know we the taxpayer had to step up and bail out the banks so there would not be a complete and thoroughly devastating global economic melt down.

The G.W. Bush era was one in which the GOP rewarded every one of its fat cat sugar daddies, including Halliburton with its no bid contracts for a ginned up war called Iraq.

We the people are dearly paying the price for the Bush era’s unforgivable mistakes.

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I am with Dylan Ratigan on this one. The banks should pay the taxpayers back with interest. Why on earth did Hank Paulson give away our money with no strings attached? What was he thinking?

So next time we hear about the virtues of an unbridled free market economy we need to say no way in hell. Any politician who embraces this voodoo notion of economic devastation should be run out of office on a rail for they are unfit to serve the people.

Speaking of unfitness to serve, why is that Republicans have to blame their short comings on others? Why can’t Republicans ever step up and take responsibility for their mistakes?

Republicans are obviously inept at running the economy and they are also incompetent at keeping our nation safe whether from terrorist attacks or national disasters like Hurricane Katrina. It seems that the only thing Republicans are good at is playing the blame game.

A coordinated, successful attack, with sufficient warning, carried out by 19 terrorists, killing 2,973 people, on the 234th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the previous President… who happened to be a Democrat.

HOWEVER, an unsuccessful attack, attempted by 1 terrorist, killing absolutely no one on the 339th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the current President… who happens to be a Democrat.

SIMILARLY, a complete and total meltdown of the financial system, including a stock market collapse and levels of bankruptcy/foreclosure not seen since the Great Depression on, or around, the 2415th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the previous President (and Congress)… who created Acorn, and just happened to be Democrats.

BUT, 10% unemployment and lackluster job growth on the 215th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the current President (and Congress)… who want to institute socialism (in the form of Acorn) and happen to be Democrats.

NOW, making a statement from your “brush farm” 144 hours after a dude with bad facial hair is prevented from blowing up an airplane… that’s fighting some serious war on the baddies.

AND YET, making a statement from the beach 72 hours after a dude with bad genital burns is prevented from blowing up an airplane… that’s “pretending the war on terror doesn’t exist“.

If folks really have a desire to destroy what is left of their financial security, go ahead and continue to vote for Republicans. Hopefully most of us won’t have this death wish in November.

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Filed under Banking, Capitalism, Conservative, Creepy right-wing antics, Dylan Ratagan, Economics, Economy, Elections, George W. Bush, Government, Greed, Health Care Reform, Jobs, Media and Entertainment, Money, Mortgages, News, Opinions, Partisan Politics, Politics, Presidents, Pundits (print), Republicans, RNC, Senate, Small Business, Stimulus, TARP, Tea Party Protestors, United States, Video/YouTube