I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Conundrum: Federal Stimulus May Result in Cash for Strapped Florida School Districts Like Escambia County--But I'm Strongly Opposed to These Bailouts!

That’s right, I said I’m strongly opposed to the Federal Stimulus bill that’s being steamrolled through the U.S. Senate right now as we speak. Even though I know that the passage of the Stimulus Bill could benefit the State of Florida (and other states as well)—I don’t think it is the right way to go. I’m American first--and this bill is not good for America long term. It’s reminiscent of the recent local Northrop tanker deal (debacle). That deal would have sent a substantial amount of work and money to a French company. It would have at the same time been great for some local industries and communities—but it was not good for America overall because the contract and award process was flawed. The Federal Government rightly pulled it off the table leaving most locals outraged. But the deal has to be right for America and the Air Force first—then local communities and industry second. This stimulus package is no different—America must come first then States and local governments next.

On the subject of Stimulus, where is the talk of inflation? Massive bailouts will lead to inflation—and what happens then—do we print more money? People need to look around before they jump on this bandwagon. Look at what’s happening in Iceland, Zimbabwe, look at the British Pound’s tremendous recent devaluation over a three year period compared to other more stable currencies, look at the Mexican Peso in free fall. What happens in America when a can of Campbell’s soup is $6.99 and a loaf of Wonder Bread is $9.99? Will we do another bailout/stimulus bill to solve that? We’ve got to make better decisions as a nation and we have to stop curing headaches with ”pills” rather than diagnosing and curing the causes of the “headaches.” Sometimes businesses fail, to include big ones like banks.

Speaking of banks—I did not like the first $700 Billion Dollar TARP package that passed last fall either—so much so that for the first time in my 40 year life I wrote to our U.S. Congressman to express my staunch disapproval. I felt the TARP plan was reckless and would result in abuse. It was and it has. Now comes this trillion dollar follow up. The abrupt return to an affinity for Keynesian Economics with these Federal Government tamperings and bailouts is alarming—and we should look with fresh eyes at why this economic theory was all but abandoned it the U.S. ever since the horrible economic conditions of the 1970s

Instead of finding a fresh solution we’re looking at another $Trillion dollar plus Federal Goat Rope that will be disastrous for our economy in the long-run, for the GAMBLE that it might possibly be marginally effective in the near term. Short–term gratification at the expense of long-term indebtedness is not a recipe for success, but is the impetus for the opposite.

I can empathize with State Governors around the country who are in large part supportive of the Stimulus Bill (let’s face it—they know it will probably pass and will lead to more Federal money for their states—so even if they do not agree ideologically with the bill—they’ll support it and look like heroes to their constituents) but I have tremendous respect for those State Governors (Sanford, S.C, Perry, TX, Palin, AK) who have publicly rejected this irresponsible bill and see it for what it is.

Looking at the history of our last great economic downturn, President Roosevelt’s New Deal answer, and its resultant failure—illustrates the point that we are following the same path today. What leads anyone to believe that the results will be different this time? The New Deal did not work, and the country languished until the start of the Second World War broke us out of the depression. This modern day stimulus plan is eerily similar in many respects and will not work to get us out of the mess we are in. Some believe and have said that the definition of insanity is doing something the same way it has been done before while expecting a different result. That is what we are doing here with this Federal Stimulus plan.

Amity Shlaes’ “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression” should be required reading for everyone involved in, in favor of, and/or associated with this Stimulus Package. We should, as a nation, make a better effort at not repeating the same mistakes we have made in the past.

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