Friday, April 8, 2011

Government Bail Out vs. Shut Down

It looks like we're going to have a Newt Gingrich style government shut-down this weekend.  A friend of mine, who will be affected by this if it happens, mentioned that it seems like this is fall-out for the bail-outs.

I've heard various things about the Government bail-outs of banks, auto makers and mortgages.  So, I did a quick search, and found a really great article over at ProPublica.  This is a list of who still has money, and who paid money back already.

To me, I find it cool that it combines the 700 billion dollar "TARP" Bank Bailout bill, the 400 billion dollar "Housing and Economic Recovery" Mortgage bail-out and the 82 billion dollar "Automotive Industry Financing Program".

Bottom line, for all that promised money, the Government actually spent 619 billion dollars, and after so much talk of it being paid back, the US Government is still waiting for 305 billion dollars (specifically $305,505,533,784).

But what does 305 billion dollars have to do with the current Government Shut-down?  Well, from the best I can tell, nothing.  The current shutdown is about the Tea Party holding Republican senator's feet to the fire, and Democrats not understanding how serious the new majority party is about cutting spending. CBS News is reporting today that last night, Democrats had agreed to cut 35 billion in spending, but that the Republicans are not yet satisfied.

To me, I think that it's likely that a deal will happen today.  Spending cuts can be reported, so the Republicans will be able to tell their constituents that they got something done, and Obama and other Democrats will be able to pat themselves on the back about how they reached across the aisle to include the concerns of their Republican friends.

Maybe one of those spending cuts will include my friend's job.  All the talk about government workers, and government spending, usually forgets that this is directly screwing with people's lives.

Go Read Joe


Joe Klein is usually liberal, and always hopes to find the best in people, and frankly, I think we could all learn from people like him. Last night, I read an article in Time Magazine by him called, Palestinian People Power (annoyingly, Time changes the article titles on-line).

It talks about how a small, and steadily growing group of young activists in the Palestinian (Isreali Occupied) regions of Isreal are working towards political goals by using peaceful protests, sit-in vigils, and demonstrations. Riding on the similar protest successes throughout what is being called the Arab Spring, these youth leaders are hoping to display Isreali injustice through peaceful means.

The article is hopeful, and is refreshingly not anti-Muslim.  I like that.

Anyway, go read the article.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2062308,00.html