Stimulus II the “swindle of the year”; Biogas powers Kristianstad, SwedenPosted: 12/11/2010
Check out this excellent column by Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, on how the President swindled the Republicans:
“If Obama had asked for a second stimulus directly, he would have been laughed out of town. Stimulus I was so reviled that the Democrats banished the word from their lexicon throughout the 2010 campaign. And yet, despite a very weak post-election hand, Obama got the Republicans to offer to increase spending and cut taxes by $990 billion over two years. Two-thirds of that is above and beyond extension of the Bush tax cuts but includes such urgent national necessities as windmill subsidies. No mean achievement. After all, these are the same Republicans who spent 2010 running on limited government and reducing debt. And this budget busting occurs less than a week after the president’s deficit commission had supposedly signaled a new national consensus of austerity and frugality. Some Republicans are crowing that Stimulus II is the Republican way – mostly tax cuts – rather than the Democrats’ spending orgy of Stimulus I. That’s consolation? This just means that Republicans are two years too late. Stimulus II will still blow another near-$1 trillion hole in the budget. At great cost that will have to be paid after this newest free lunch, the package will add as much as 1 percent to GDP and lower the unemployment rate by about 1.5 percentage points. That could easily be the difference between victory and defeat in 2012. Obama is no fool. While getting Republicans to boost his own reelection chances, he gets them to make a mockery of their newfound, second-chance, post-Bush, Tea-Party, this-time-we’re-serious persona of debt-averse fiscal responsibility. And he gets all this in return for what? For a mere two-year postponement of a mere 4.6-point increase in marginal tax rates for upper incomes. And an estate tax rate of 35 percent – it jumps insanely from zero to 55 percent on Jan. 1 – that is somewhat lower than what the Democrats wanted.”
I can’t believe that Rhode Island Democrats are still complaining about the extension of tax cuts for the top 2%. This is an outstanding political achievement on the President’s part, and much needed stimulus. Krauthammer is right, this stimulus represents the President pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
On another note, check out this biogas plant in Sweden. The town of Kristianstad no longer uses oil, natural gas, or coal to heat its homes or power its cars. It generates biogas from waste agricultural products and other waste, including potato peels, manure, used cooking oil, stale cookies and pig intestines. Fantastic! In the United States, we have only 151 biomass digesters. Most of our waste just ends up in landfills, where often the methane is not even tapped.