Now that President Obama has signed the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, members of congress will go home to explain to taxpayers exactly why they coughed up all that money and how it will ease their pain. Right? Not entirely.
As I write this, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a group of her colleagues are in Italy on a taxpayer-funded trip. It sounds like they have a full itinerary; on Wednesday Pelosi will meet with Pope Benedict XVI. With the U.S. economy in critical condition and Pelosi's home state of California poised to cut 22,000 state workers, we're curious about the timing – and the purpose – of this congressional delegation. Keeping Them Honest, Drew Griffin will have exclusive details on why they're there and what it's costing you.
Buona notte! See you Wednesday at 10 p.m. eastern...
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/17/budget.states/art.statebudgets.gi.jpg caption="Unemployed construction workers demonstrate in Los Angeles, California."]
The cash from the $787 billion economic stimulus plan signed into law today can't come soon enough to many states facing their worst fiscal crisis in years.
In New Jersey, Governor Jon S. Corzine today announced a total of $3.6 billion in budget cuts and other actions to keep the state budget balanced in the wake of the recession. The plan includes a requirement that all state employees take two unpaid furlough days, one in May and one in June, saving $35 million.
It's much worse in California where a $42 billion budget deficit has 20,000 state workers facing layoffs. While in Kansas, state tax refunds, school money and other payouts are facing possible delay.
Wouldn't you be upset if you were told your state tax refund is on hold? Sound off below.
We'll have this story and more tonight on AC360°.
See you at 10pm ET.
A few weeks ago, we cast a skeptical eye on the job creation estimates the Obama administration had attached to the stimulus bill. Well, the White House has just released another set of estimates - and they're just as fishy.
The White House made the original estimates by converting money spent to jobs created by using something called "multipliers." A tax multiplier, for example, tells you what a dollar in tax cuts amounts to in terms of economic growth. A government spending multiplier does the same - with dollars that flow out of government programs.
But the problem with multipliers is they are based on economic estimates, estimates that few economists agree on. The multiplier you choose, and reasonable people can disagree, has a huge impact on how many jobs you think will be created. The GAO estimate, which uses a range of reasonable multipliers, is the very non-specific range of 1.2 million to 3.6 million jobs.
Chicago Tribune editorial board
The benefit of the doubt had already been stretched thin and taut by the time Roland Burris offered his third version of the events leading to his appointment to the U.S. Senate. It finally snapped like a rubber band, popping him on that long Pinocchio nose of his, when he came out with version four.
Let’s see if we have it right: Burris had zero contact with any of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s cronies about his interest in the Senate seat being vacated by President Barack Obama— unless you count that conversation with former chief of staff Lon Monk, and, on further reflection, the ones with insiders John Harris, Doug Scofield and John Wyma and, oh yeah, the governor’s brother and fund-raising chief, Robert Blagojevich. But Burris didn’t raise a single dollar for the now ex-governor as a result of those contacts because that could be construed as a quid pro quo and besides, everyone he asked refused to donate.
The story gets worse with every telling.
Enough. Roland Burris must resign.
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CNNMoney.com senior writer
General Motors and Chrysler LLC presented their updated turnaround plans to the federal government Tuesday and said they could need an additional $21.6 billion in federal loans between them because of worsening demands for their cars and trucks.
The two firms also detailed plans to cut 50,000 jobs by the end of the year.
GM said it now may need as much as $30 billion by 2011, up from the $13.4 billion in federal loans it has already received. The company had originally asked for $18 billion in federal help last December.
Reporter's Note: Tune in to hear more on this story from Peter Bergen tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Barbara Starr | BIO
A few points from a US military official with specific direct knowledge of the Afghanistan deployment and what the US military is planning there.
1. the increased troop levels expected to last at minimum three to four years.
2. Obama authorized 17K, 12K will get orders soon, another 5K of support troops will get their orders at a later date.
3. The additional troops will ALL go to Afghanistan’s southern border region with Pakistan. The aim is primarily (but not solely) to begin to stop the flow of foreign fighters across that border.
4. The US troops will be dual purpose: combat and also training afghan army units. But at least another 2,000 US troops needed specifically for the training mission.
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Amy Holmes l Bio
Viewers can be forgiven for mistaking today's bill signing with a campaign rally. Introduced by the Colorado governor in front of a screaming and adoring crowd (who goes to a bill signing anyway?), President Obama did his best to spin and sell the $787 billion spending stimulus package that was passed along almost entirely partisan lines.
Which brings me to a political observation that has gone overlooked. Typically, a bill signing takes place in the East Room, or in the Rose Garden if the weather is nice. The president is flanked by the bill's co-sponsors who get to share in the glory and bask in the reporters' flash bulbs and television cameras.