We are facing huge long-term problems: a real unemployment rate of 18%, dysfunctional banks that are "too big to fail", a regressive tax structure that's stifling economic growth, prisons that are bursting at the seams, urban schools that are struggling, a health care system that still needs major reform, the lack of a coherent national energy policy that will protect our economy and the environment, and a government that has been encroaching on our civil liberties. For decades we have lived with irresponsible public policies from career politicians in Congress who care more about increasing their party’s power and getting re-elected than they care about solving long-term problems. They haven’t been honest with us, and they have been lousy public servants.

I’m different. I do not want to be a career politician. I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I’m a Problem Solver. I want to force members of Congress to be responsible, and implement sustainable solutions to real problems. Please read the positions I present on this website, and spread the word to friends and family.

Please email me at John@Mertens2010.com, and become a supporter on Twitter at @mertens4senate or Facebook: John's FB

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stimulus Package

To be honest, I was very disappointed in the $787 billion stimulus package passed in February 2009 (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009). Here is a good description of it:
It was too large, and most of it was giveaways that had little to do with reducing unemployment.

I supported the State and Local Fiscal Relief ($144B), Core Infrastructure ($51B), and Smart Electricity Grid components ($11B).

State and Local Fiscal Relief: This was necessary to prevent massive layoffs and cuts in education and basic services. States have a requirement to balance their budgets (unlike the federal government). During the worst economic downturn since the great depression, it was appropriate for the federal government to prevent disastrous cuts in basic services provided by the states.

Core Infrastructure: There is an estimated $2 trillion(!) of deferred infrastructure maintenance in the United States. Bridges, overpasses, highways, harbors, etc. This was an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone! Solve a huge long-term infrastructure problem, and create jobs. The Core Infrastructure allocation should have been significantly higher.

Smart Electricity Grid: This is an extremely important part of our future energy security and economy (read my "Energy Policy and the Environment" posting on this website). To be honest, it won't provide significant stimulus in the short term, but in the long term it will provide a huge payback.

In conclusion, the Stimulus Package hasn't had much of an effect on unemployment, and it won't. We didn't get very much bang for the buck.

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John Mertens for U.S. Senate
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West Hartford, CT 06133-0452