Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stimulus Legislation Passed

All that's missing is President Obama's cack-handed signature.

The stimulus legislation that's had the whole country arguing over the precise definitions of the words 'work' vs. 'job' and disagreeing about what type of spending is stimulative has passed, all 1,091 pages of it.

As I so often do, I'll link over to our broker, Jay Thompson of the famous blog. He did a little post yesterday afternoon about the package. God love him, he's actually going to read the bill, and then post about it's contents as they relate to the housing industry.

Don't have time to digest nearly 1100 pages of legalese? Me neither. Try the executive summary of the stimulus legislation which comes in at only 421 pages. Part 1. Part 2. Want an even shorter, easier way to see what's in this extremely expensive bill? ProPublica says they've got a breakdown of where the money goes.

For the doubters, I'll repeat the New York Times' quote of the Congressional Budget Office, whose analysis of the legislation says that "more than 74 percent of the money will be spent within the next 18 months." More ammunition for the doubters: Nobel prize winning economist and political talk show regular Paul Krugman says the $800 billion stimulus legislation is less expensive than the Bush administration's $2 trillion in tax cuts or the $1 trillion and counting spent in Iraq.

While Paul Krugman and others on the left argue that the bill isn't big enough, some folks on the right complain that the bill wasn't posted online quickly enough. (That rings a little hollow with me, since some of my favorite bloggers posted links to the entire Senate version of the bill back on Feb 4).  Conservative bloggers spent the week producing line-item lists of 'wasteful government spending' projects funded by the bill. Michelle Malkin is upset about $8 billion for a Las Vegas to Los Angeles light rail line (there seem to be a lack of eager consumers clamoring for this service) but she's also disgusted by $2 billion for "neighborhood stabilization programs".

I dunno about you, but showing a bunch of bank-owned REO properties in the past month made me think "neighborhood stabilization" funds are sorely needed, at least in metro Phoenix. I'd bet Vegas, San Diego and Miami would take 'em too.

Whether you think the bill is pointless government spending that creates work but not jobs, or you think the federal government is the spender of last resort that will kick-start our economy back into high gear, it's bound to be federal law in a few short days. Watch the news media for President Obama's signing ceremony. Then we can all go back to worrying about whether our jobs are secure and how to pay the mortgage while we wait for the stimulus to stimulate.