February 5th, 2009
04:43 PM ET

Senators going through stimulus bill 'line by line'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/05/stimulus/art.collins.interview.cnn.jpg]

A bipartisan group of senators said Thursday they were going "line by line" through the economic stimulus bill as they try to reach a compromise on an amendment to cut some spending from the package.

Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, said there is a "backbone" to a deal, but the details were being worked out between the 12 Democrats and five Republicans at the meeting.

"It's been a painstaking, very thorough, very comprehensive process," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Republicans have objected to some provisions in the bill that they say have nothing to do with stimulating the economy.

Collins said she was originally in favor of a bill that would have cost about $650 billion, but after meeting with President Obama, she was convinced of the need for a proposal that would be in the neighborhood of $800 billion.

Obama held a series of one-on-one meetings in the Oval Office on Wednesday with key senators still on the fence.

Collins said she went through some specific programs with the president to see which ones he would be willing to cut.

"But I will tell you, particularly on my side of the aisle, there is a vigorous debate over what the size of the package should be," she said Thursday.

"We don't want a package that is too small because that will end up just wasting money. On the other hand, we're very leery of having an enormous package that would not be necessary and would just boost the federal deficit," Collins said as Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, nodded in agreement.


Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Raw Politics
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Gita

    Changing the mortgage rate will not help people who have already lost their homes or currently have homes - This is aimed at first time buyers. What help is given to the millions who have lost their homes?

    February 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  2. js

    Obama needs to bully congress alittle,there stuck in a eight year hole and need a little CHANGE.
    The gop make me sick!!!!!! we never heard from any of them when there guy was running things,for public servants so worried about spending taxpayers dollars it didnt bother them abit the last eight years.
    Sounds like Rush Limbaugh really is the leader of the GOP, I HOPE HE FAILS, Thats a real american for you,no wonder were in such a mess.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:10 pm |
  3. SL Scott

    Anna, I agree with you, those who are saying take your time to read the stimulus bill–yes they have not been laid off yet and I clearly say not yet. In addition, Rublicans got problems–they are constantly talking about tax cuts, some of the same mess that got us into trouble under the previous Administration. What good is a tax break if you don't have an income to buy something in order to get a tax break. How can you refinance your mortgage after your credit is in a negativity because you cannot pay your debt. How can you offer people tax breaks on mortages when they are losing them. How can you feel good about holding back on the stimulus package when thousands and thousands of people are walking about with no health cover, how can you say not to be in a hurry when people can't pay their bills and living off small amount of unemployment. Is this America? What kind of people are you? Do you not have any feeling for others? How can you sleep at night knowing you are against helping other? Unfortunately, this is a sad time in this country because people do not want to help one another.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  4. Monica

    I agree why are they not referring to him as President Obama? I find it very offensive..but that's America we take one step forward and two steps back. Has anyone noticed the increased racism in the media and from the GOP trying to rally the troops. It's disgusting.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  5. Babs

    Larry: Congress gave Bush the rubber stamp and he never gave it back.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  6. Barbara from Lorain Ohio

    Too bad the Republicians didn't go through line by line with Bush and and all the waste he spent and no one knew where it went and President Obama has to clean up the mess. Where was the "OH my God " heard during the Bush years?

    February 5, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  7. Pat

    How can you be against this:

    The plan would put 460,000 Americans to work on energy projects and double the amount of alternative energy produced over the next three years. In the short term, the plan would provide funds to "weatherize" 2 million homes by improving things such as insulation and leaky windows. The government also would improve the efficiency of 75 percent of federal buildings.

    Another provision would pay for 3,000 miles of transmission lines to move electricity from wind farms and solar installations, many in the West and Southwest, to consumers in the rest of the country.

    Malcolm Woolf, the chief energy administrator for the state of Maryland, says the stimulus package could boost his budget at least tenfold and put thousands of people to work on weatherizing homes. "The initial investment, by having folks get trained to put in insulation — that pays dividends today because it employs people," Woolf says. "And it pays dividends down the road because those homes therefore use less energy and are saving those families money."

    And these are just some of the green pieces of the legislation.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  8. Louise

    The Republicans didn't have any trouble saying yes to Bush, and we don't even know where it went along with billions to Iraq. I think it is crutial more now than ever to get aboard. The governors and mayors are all in favor . The republicans are a one issue group TAX Cuts,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  9. Gerald A F

    Dear fellow American citizens and our so called government representatives,

    I have been doing a little contemplating about the so called *bail out package for all of the idiots that screwed up the economy in the first place.

    Our so called government representatives voted to give those before mentioned idiots 900 billion dollars of our hard earned money away. Wait… I take that back. They are giving our kids and grandkids hard earned money away, because they had to borrow it from other countries. That by the way does not like us very much.

    Now these idiots are suppose to use it to jump start the economy again. Now how is that suppose to work? The everyday people that buy most of the stuff are not getting any of the money. The so called *trickle down effect has not been working.

    My thought is to have a *trickle up effect. It would also be at a much cheaper expense. Now my thinking is take that money and give it to the people. Give every American citizen over the age of 18 1 million dollars. That way they could pay off all their debts. If they have no debts they can use it to buy more stuff. They could buy a new house, cars, furniture or TV etc. That would create jobs and get the economy up and running again.

    Now you say what about the kids. Give every American citizen under the age of 18 a voucher for 250,000 to be used for higher education. Whether it be tuition or living expenses, as long as it was for a higher education. That way we are investing in our kids and grandkid's future instead of mortgaging it.

    Now I know that there are unscrupulous people out there that would try to take the money and spend it without paying off their debt. I have a solution for that as well. Every creditor will be able to submit a claim on the money and would be paid up front. That would solve the great crisis, because creditors would be paid off. So they would not have to be eating all the bad mortgages and or bankruptcies. There would be no reason for them.

    Now I’m just an everyday person trying to make ends meet. I do not have a degree in economics or mathematics. But there is a very big difference between 900 billion and say 260 million. I got the 260 million amounts from the estimated population of America.

    It is time that our so called government representatives started to think about the everyday person (voters) instead of the ones that put money in their pockets for favors and their own self-interest.

    As far as the savings go… instead of giving it to the already rich idiots that screwed things up in the first place, use it to fix America’s infrastructure, ie, build new roads, bridges, dams etc. It could also be used for alternative fuel research. These things would also stimulate the economy by creating jobs.

    I hope that all of my fellow citizens would call their representative to inform them of these ideals. So the representatives will put the everyday person (voters) and the country before themselves and their own self interest plus the people that enhance their lives. It is time to put the everyday person (voters) back in front of the line.

    Sincerely your fellow citizen,

    Gerald A. Friesenhahn

    February 5, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  10. Pat

    Why are some of you still referring to this as a "bailout"....that's what the backward legislators led by McConnell and Bonoir want everyone to think this is....but it creates jobs and begins to deal with health care and the environment....sure there may be things that need to be taken out and I'm sure that there will be agreement on that.

    Actually I heard that the backward guys were against money for the honey bee farmers. If any of them had been paying attention for the last couple of years and really cared about the environment, they would know that we desperately need to help the honey bee farmers.

    Anyway, I certainly haven't read the plan and I don't think too many of the folks that have commented on it have read or done research to even see exactly what is in it. It sounds like you are just repeating things you've heard on the various media outlets.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  11. Rob from Wilmington, NC

    Our Congressmen make no less than $155,100 each. There are 435 congressmen. That equals $67,468,500. 100 Senators at $169,000 equals 16,900,000. Total: $84,368,500. That is a nice chunk of money.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  12. Rob from Wilmington, NC

    How about suspending the pay of Congress and the Senate? Based on the fact that Daschle was able to whip up $146,000 to pay the IRS, our elected officials are not hurting.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  13. Tammie Ogle

    I think we should get a stimulus check if they can bail out all these big banks. The car companies should go under because they take advantage of people especially the Ford company. We should get enough to where we can buy something instead of paying an electric bill or any other bill.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  14. Rob from Wilmington, NC

    It only makes sense that the "Stimulus" is looked at under a microscope to weed out the "Pork". And we need Our President to stop using scare tactics and indirectly putting the Republicans as the bad guys who will essentially hurt Americans by not passing the "Stimulus".

    February 5, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  15. Ken

    At 900 Billion there are no do overs.None of us would rush through our own finances this quickly.Don't give in to fear if we do this we have to think it through.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  16. George Taylor

    Regarding the stimulus package, I truly feel that government is off base with what it should cover and who it should help. It appears that everyone is trying to sneak their own little pet project in under the stimulus bill. It needs to be scrapped and start over. The primary issues that need to go into this bill should be for the infrastructure projects in all fifty states, people who have lost their jobs with unemployement benefits, some sort of tax break for people who lost their homes or are in danger of losing their homes, and job creation and small buisness start up. There should be no additional funding for any banks or wall street firms that have failed. They have not done what they were supposed too with the monies they have already recieved. I believe Roland Martin said it best, "If they are going to come to the troft for taxpayer relief, they need to come with a detailed plan as to what they are going to do with that money and need to abide by the rules set for that money and its repayment. If you don't have a detailed plan and are not willing to follow the rules, don't pull up to the troft". Something to that effect. The rest of the money needs to go into EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION and health care. The school systems country wide need dire attention. Not every kid is going to college for one reason or another, however if they bring back some of the trade classes, I.E. woodshop, automotive shop, print shop and metal class, that would give some kids an opportunity to learn a trade or at least have an interest in something. College isn't for everyone. The President's historic ground roots run for the White House should be an example. This economic stimulus plan needs to start the same way, from the ground up. Right now it would be considered TRICKLE DOWN STIMULUS. We all know trickle down does not and will not work. The banks and wall street have proven that over the last few weeks with the money that has already been allocated. The people who truly need it and will eventually end up paying for it, never get it. TIme to start over!!

    February 5, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  17. Vinny

    Look! The President has spoken. Get behind him; he is driving the bus. Congress, you are riding on the bus!!!!! Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. We don’t want anymore bickering; get to work and make it happen. We are behind the President!
    Congress, you should be too.

    February 5, 2009 at 9:54 pm |
  18. Flip Canada

    What a shame while United States saying "United we stand divided we fall", I think this is it and hope not. I don't understand why Republicans don't check their constituents how many people are jobless. Mind you this Republican party are the one who screwed up the country and the whole world for 8 years with corrupted leaders, and what a shame Republicans could not even find a good leader after the George and Dick which is the dumb and dumber team that lost track of the economy and concentrated in war (well they are the war freaks), and their you are they use Joe the plummer as the Republican mascot.
    Republicans you never use your heads, this will affect your marks on the next election remember. Unless Republican party wants to see american people starving and going into riots because their is no jobs. We Canadians already going forward on our economic situation and the other countries, why can't you go on and forget about FDR that was done and learned the mistakes from the past. This is going to your future and try something. Good luck to you all AMERICANS hope this will be over soon before your country it becomes the third world country.

    February 5, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  19. inda

    Listen up CNN this John and many more of the news media was for John MCCain and he did lose. We did not accept his views and ideals than and don't now. We know he is more for corporate America and the wealth people living here in the USA.
    Look how he is still acting as if he is campaigning and we have selected our leader and President of the USA for all America who is President Barack Obama.
    It is time for all the Republican to stop all this campaigning and accept the change. Stop trying to hurt the people here in America, there are people who have always worker that has lost their jobs and been forced to apply for unemployment. This is the Republican doing and this is retailation against the America people for us selecting President Obama. These corrupt politician wants to make America a third world country. We got to show them this will not be and support our President by standing with him. Call and fax these Rep and stand up to them. When voting time come take them out of office. Like I said before these Republican lawmakers was always here and why did them not stop out of spending with Ex-President Bush.
    We all need to start demanding them to prosecute Bush and Cheney for their war crimes and all who was involved and see if all this confusin do not stop. These Republican if investigated well be found to be part of this plot for that war. This is just like the Enron in Texas.

    February 5, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  20. Amy Toro

    Why bother going through the stimulus package when you have the bill "Rangel Rule'. The 'Rangel Rule' stimulates nonpayment of taxes with the incentive of an interest free government loan. If every American had the choice to pay their mortagage first before taxes as Rep.Rangel had we would not have had a mortgage crisis or en economic disaster! If every American could have skirted financial ruin by writing 'Rangel Rule' and pay their mortage first before taxes American would have avoided the foreclosure disaster!
    Help Middle Class Americans. Before Congress votes on taxes have the IRS audit each Congressman so that all Americans can follow their ethical and moral example of paying taxes.

    February 5, 2009 at 9:42 pm |
  21. Pat Canada

    Line by Line – Sure I agree with that and what Government would do less given a Stimulus Pkg. for a Nation in such Crisis. BUT Three Times? thats the number of changes made specifically to bring comfort to the Repub side, to no avail, they just keep finding another displeasure (on purpose). Obama is the only one realizing the grave consequences of inaction for Americans. A few Dems and many more Repubs have made it clear they don't care about Americans. They care only about stiffing their opponent and foolishly thinking that will be their Victory. Wrong. It will be their defeat, not only in America but World Wide! Pelosi, Reid and a few more have served their purpose and should be gone so a Nation can begin Recovery.

    February 5, 2009 at 9:39 pm |
  22. Renee Y

    @ Katrina, I totally agree with you. I have written to CNN expressing this most refer to him as Mr. Obama especially Ed Henry. I read alot of blogs and there are many who feel the same way. It is totally irreprehensible that our media outlets are showing such disrespect.

    February 5, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  23. Larry

    Without Congress there is no protection against a dictatorship. If there is only one party in Congress then just hand Obama a rubber stamp.

    February 5, 2009 at 9:20 pm |
  24. Katrina R.Reed

    I have just listened to the President's speech to Democrats in Virginia. As Well, I have listened to the commentary. When are you folks at CNN going to realize the Barack Obama is now President Obama and refer accordingly? This is especially directed to John King. You are notorious for not acknowledging that he is now our PRESIDENT and consistently referring to him as Barack Obama. While I understand that as reporters you are to be objective in your reporting but Mr. King you have shown no objectivity and I am dissapointed to say the least. Show some respect even if you don't have any.

    February 5, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  25. Albert Kral

    Politics has never defined itself more as the election campaign is continuing while the country is suffering. It is quite clear that the Republicans play politics over the backs of the American people. What do they have to gain as a political party if Obama turns the economy around?? So why support him and help to re-elect Obama? It is the sad truth unless we just have all the bright people in the Republican party and the dummies in the Democratic party.

    February 5, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  26. Tracey

    We are behind the President, we voted for him because we knew he would demand action. We voted for him, please shut up and allow him to do what we have voted for him to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Look if Graham doesn’t want to be a part of this then let him not be a part of it. Graham you can bow out now and we won’t hold it against you. There is too much work to be done, we don’t need complaints we need action. The President doesn’t have time to stroke Congress we are slipping deeper and deeper everyday. Congress you have jobs, homes, health insurance and obviously time to waste because each and every minute you spend pointing fingers and finding fault please remember why you are there.

    February 5, 2009 at 9:07 pm |
  27. Joy in Seattle

    I am very happy that there is a group of congress that are actually reading this thing!

    I am against the bailout in it's current form because it costs too much and does too little. If we do the wrong thing we can do way worse than doing nothing. This, in my opinion, is the wrong thing. We need more spending on housing.... on infrastructure.... and on things that will have a very immediate effect.

    Yes, bipartisanship is important – but that doesn't mean being a yes man. The bill needs to be read, edited, and even then I may not support it.

    February 5, 2009 at 8:40 pm |
  28. Jean Chaffee

    The Repubs are mad as he@@ because Obama has just made a sham of their 8 years kowtowing to Bush's every desire saying Yes Sir, Ok Sir, Anything you want, Sir.
    Within 2 weeks, Obama undid and made transparent the worst of the worst with more to come. They are mad and will not cooperate with anything he does so let's take it at that, and move on without them. We will all be better offf anyway.

    February 5, 2009 at 8:36 pm |
  29. patricia scanlan

    Re:Stimulus.....putting money into circulation....explaining the cyclotron.......When you put $ into circulation, say $10, and that person spends it, and the next person spends it, it has already turned into $30.............what we need is for people's spirit to rise (like with the hope we get from Obama) and move the money....it's only energy.

    Thanks for the space to express myself!

    February 5, 2009 at 8:21 pm |
  30. Carol

    This is addressed to all US Senators:

    VOTE FOR PASSAGE OF THE STIMULUS PLAN. I am becoming increasingly concerned and upset about the insistence of tax breaks and incentives being a major part of the stimulus bill. I do not think that tax incentives work well and SHOULD NOT be a major part of the plan. Tax breaks do not work for the majority of taxpayers and only work and stimulate the economy for taxpayers with six figure incomes. I earn a decent living and the past tax breaks only added about $5.00 per paycheck. Most important, there are increasingly more and more people losing their jobs, thus, no advantage whatsoever and no stimulation to the economy. The idea has been tested and failed and in today's economy tax breaks and tax incentives will not work.

    February 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  31. Larry

    President Obama, stop bullying Congress!! Let them do their job of representing the constituents who elected them; they work for us, not for you.

    February 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm |
  32. Anthony

    This stimulus package shouldn't be this hard to pass. Those obsessive compulsive for power Republicans cannot deal with the fact that they are out of power so they're trying to hold up the process as much as they can with the little significance they do have. They cannot deal with the reality that Mack Daddy Bush, who virtually granted their every wish, is no longer man of the House. They are running around like headless chickens because they are so worked up about not getting those free vacations and lavish gifts promised to them by the capitalist corporations they're supporting if the bill doesn't contain any allocations for them. The Democrats have went along with their ideals for nearly a decade; it's now time we give it a shot.

    February 5, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  33. Stan from California

    Hey Washington! If you want to fix the economy give every tax payer $15 grand (I'm sure we can invest it better than you can), 0% interest on all bank and credit card loans for 5 years and refinance everyone's mortgage to their current fair market value (ex. If someone bought a home in 2005 for $250,000 and its worth $180,000 now, that buyer owes only $180,000). Stop the bleeding, unemployment is near 12% here in Central California. Remember our country has survived by people working and buying services. Last but not least we tax payers are footing this bill.

    February 5, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  34. david allen

    Are you the most dysfunctional element of AMERICA?

    Have you all forgotten the expression “UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL”… I think so cuz America is in total freefall.

    WE ARE ALL AMERICANS… We need a Congress that sees their responsibility is to ALL Americans in times of National Crisis instead of any selfish myopic district views.

    STOP YOUR BICKERING AND REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE AMERICANS STARVING OUT HERE! Get it together and get something done! Make it happen! Americans need JOBS! We need an American manufacturing base. We need a Buy America First attitude.


    February 5, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  35. Paul Brown

    We should just forget the stimulus bill, it will hurt for awhile I am sure.
    It's like giving money to a drug addict, they will just buy more drugs, and it will not solve anything. All these companies need to hit rock bottom and then maybe they will clean house and correct the problems that caused all this. As you can see so far, they are spending it on things that will not help anyone but their top executives.

    February 5, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  36. Michael

    Am I missing something here?? I'm a bleeding heart liberal Democrat. However, it seems to me that the Dems are the obstructionists here. Americans stand ready to do the right thing, and the Democrats want to re-sod the mall

    February 5, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  37. Anna in California

    To the people who say let's take our time, review line by line, what's the rush: ARE YOU KIDDING?? I guess you have not been laid off like I was a few hours ago, you have not been trying to sell your house for several months, you don't have a partner out of work, you don't have two kids in daycare, one starting college this fall and another starting college in 2 years, and for sure, you must not have all your money tied up in investments worth nothing at the moment. WE DON'T HAVE ANY MORE TIME TO WAIT FOR THE ECONOMY TO TURN AROUND. Millions are suffering. Where have you been?? To all our Congress men and women: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE HURRY! Don't rest, don't go home, don't take a break until the rest of us have our jobs and lives back. Thank you.

    February 5, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  38. Eric

    This is rediculous. So you're telling me that our elected officials don't read bills line by line. Isn't that their job? Rediculous. If this is such a BIG DEAL, then wouldn't you think all of them would want to get it right instead of just throwing a bunch of crap together? By the way, bipartisanship doesn't just mean that the majority can be hypocritical and call the minority party partisan when they don't agree. True bipartisanship means both parties working as individuals without being attached to their party to come up with the best plan for america, not just that the party with power can bully the other into doing something they don't believe in. And then when they don't go along with it, call them partisan. Washington D.C. is still a joke. Nothing has changed and won't the whole time.

    February 5, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  39. Pamela, GA

    This debate is making me so furious. Americans are hurting and our leaders aren't able to work together and find a solution to save our country. Our economy is failing people! I think that because our congress is still receiving large pay checks, they aren't living in the real world with us. Who is really listening to us? These people should be able to compromise on this bill. Instead, everyone thinks their solution is best and is unwilling to see another persons point of view. I think the whole congress needs to be voted out of office and maybe then we can get some people in there who are really looking out for the American people.

    February 5, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  40. Pat Canada

    I have a message for the Republican and Democrat trouble makers on the Stimulus pkg. Move it! And what is this Senator smiling about? Rome was built in less time than it's taking these presume themselves to be Economic Doctorates to make one decision! Jobs are being LOST around the world not only in the US although it's the US that's affecting every other Nation economically! Unless this minority of both parties has a fool proof ingenious plan for solving what is now a World Crisis – Zip It Up I've had it with you all! Don't care what you think it's my bank account that's talking to me! Anyone heard of Fort McMurray Alberta the Job Capital of Canada? Not anymore! Droves who made $100,000 yr. working in heavy equipment and construction no longer have jobs! And Canada isn't the only Nation with the same story! The Repubs and Dems that have this pkg on hold due only to their own petty gimmes, egos and partisan vendettas need to be shown the door now! This isn't a game it's people lives your playing political games with! Riled? You bet I am.

    February 5, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  41. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Going through this line by line is the first real act of accountability to the working American tax payers who will be footing this bill. I for one am grateful they are at least doing that much. Shoving it down our throats last week in the House seemed like a railroad job to me thanks to Pelosi and friends. Obama's lame threat editorial seemed like a Bush move. Railroading legislation, presidential threats, PR junket interviews at the White House-and change was coming how to DC in this illustrious messianic Obama presidency? I only hope the Senate has brains enough to not pass this if if will just end up screwing America over in the long-term. We deserve better than another four years of presidential ineptitude influencing Congress to act on his behalf instead of our own. Sadly, right now, that is all this bill is. Here's hoping intelligent life exists in the ranks of those scouring this piece of "legislation".

    February 5, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  42. rebekah Shoop

    I think that the Rep. are right on this one. America needs more tax cuts to put the money directly into the America workers checks each week. If that is done at a good rate people will more willing to go and spend the money not only what they need but may be what they want and not be so afraid. We have lost almost everything and workers need more money to survive.

    February 5, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  43. Scott

    Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, Mr. President...

    I've been pulling for Barak Obama and his vision of transformation since I met him in 2002.

    Yet since he secured the nomination, the expectations dynamic has been like a rollercoaster. Will he bring forth his best and that of the country? Or will he succumb to the old habits of the Democratic party, the entrenched bureaucracy and the laws of political inertia? One day the compass seems to point one direction, the next day the other.

    If his election, and now the recovery process, is really, as he says, about us – the people – then what is wrong with cutting payroll taxes for a year or so? This would direct a portion of the stimulus toward the real grass roots, where millions of independent small business persons are engaged in a daily struggle for survival. Such a tax cut could catalyze growth throughout the corpus by enervating the capillaries. It would not only bring prompt relief, it would also leverage the resilience of the free market rather than depending on 535 congress men and women who are, after all, not clairvoyant and under tremendous time pressure.

    Let us pause for a moment and reflect on William F. Buckley's statement that he'd "... rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University." (No offense, David Gergen – present company excepted.) It's time for President Obama to step up and show more faith in the people themselves. A payroll tax cut carries the radical suggestion that each worker or household might actually know best how to begin to bail themselves out.

    For all his promise, I don't think the President has yet proven to be as innovative, audacious or revolutionary as the current situation demands. It's not too late. I'm still hopeful. But, as the President keeps reminding everyone, time is of the essence.

    February 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  44. Kris

    Maybe we should STOP thinking about a quick fix and start thinking about the long term?

    The Great Depression lasted something like 12 years from 1929-1941. We are still benefitting from many of FDR's infrastructure programs such as TVA for rural electricity and CCA for construction of state parks.

    Now we need to think how to improve our economy in the long term:
    – better eduction is science and engineering,
    – better eduction of poor children
    – energy programs
    – rebuilding infrastucture
    – keeping up with Europe and Asia in internet and wireless technology?

    What good does getting a $500 tax rebate check and immediately spend it on consumer goods do for the average person or the long term economy?

    February 5, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  45. Eric From BC

    Finally.... Getting the picture... Working together without the posturing and 30 second sound bites toward some ideas that may work for the Americain people. Its a lot more work than sounding off and appearing pompous. Perhaps the package may not work but if people work together that may work for a change....

    February 5, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  46. Annie Kate

    Congress as usual seems to be the stumbling block to getting anything done. I would think Congress would want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. I guess as long as they get paid it doesn't matter that a substantial portion of the citizens are losing their jobs, their houses, and have to go to food pantries to eat. If it does matter then they need to work together and forget party platforms. Those platforms don't mean much when you can't provide for your family.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  47. Grumpyoldfan

    first off, i fully support president obama. that said – just a thought. the president has offered five days of debate by the people before a bill is passed. he also offers transparency as to how the stimulus package will be spent so, in the spirit of both offers why not open source the stimulus package for 120 hours. we have alot of brillant minds out there (think Red Hat) and open source has proved a viable format for the sharing and garnering of information that works to benefit everyone. what's the worst that could happen – some kid from mit might figure out a way to spend less and do more? i say give it shot and let the senators take credit – who cares, but give the american people a voice in their future – good or bad.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  48. c,ca

    Why didn't they go through the previous 350 billion (trillion?) line- by- line – and then figure out where it went – line-by-line?

    They just handed the first half over to Paulson, who apparently handed it over to his friends, who apparently handed it over to party planners and overpaid, underachieving, execs. .

    NOW, they're scrutinizing every penny? ......... please.

    I'm beginning to agree with the people who say give the money in the stimulus package directly to the citizens. We will pay off our debts, start businesses, make purchases, and get the economy moving ourselves. We don't need any of these fools in Congress.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  49. Cindy

    Hey..they need to go through this bill line by line no matter how long it takes! There is no need to rush this thing through and throw away money that is not going to help us get our economy back on track. They need to take out all of the pork. They can go back to that stuff later on down the line when we aren't in such bad shape and can afford it.


    February 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  50. George

    I'm a Democrat who agrees with the Republicans that the fix should strongly help the housing market. The $15,000 tax credit PLUS the propsed 4% mortgage rate would really do the trick!!!

    February 5, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
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