Throw the bums out!
by Bruce Krasting
The bumbling fools in D.C. have done it again. They’ve screwed us all one more time. The low rent morons who are running the show have kicked the can down the road for (get this) two months.
On Saturday the Senate agreed to a bill that would A) extend unemployment benefits B) extend the 2% payroll tax deduction and C) delay a cut in Medicare reimbursement rates. The deciders agreed to do all the extending, delaying and pretending for two lousy months. In other words, Congress will be back at it over these critical issues in less than six weeks.
There have been dozens of articles from smart people connecting the dots between the uncertain tax policies business’s face and their reluctance to hire more workers. I’ve heard Pols from both sides say the same. It’s true. But the best that Washington can do is move the ball forward by 59 days; disgraceful.
The two-month extension amounts to $33b that will be retained in the economy. I would not be surprised if the benefit of the stimulus will be lost by the continued uncertainty that is being caused by D.C. What has been “accomplished” is just a loss.
The bright guys who came up with the plan have a mechanism to pay for it. They’re going to charge homeowners a new fee for the next ten years. If you get a mortgage from one of the federal agencies (90% of mtg. market) you’ll pay an extra price. It only comes to $15 a month if your mortgage is less than $220k. But if you live on either coast or in any big city, the cost of housing will force you to pay a bigger price. $45-50 a month is a more realistic way to consider the implications. What’s an extra $600 a year? It’s just another nail in the coffin for housing.
By far and away the weakest link in the economy is housing. There is not much that can be done about it. It takes time and there will be pain. But there is no excuse for congress to force homeowners to absorb the full cost of the stimulus. The legislation results in mortgagors directly subsidizing doctor’s Medicare reimbursement rates! How stupid is that? What are these people thinking of? This is terrible economic policy, and every legislator who signs the Bill, knows that fact.
The problem with the legislative process in this case was the side deals that got included in the horse-trading. This time the issue was the Keystone XL pipeline. The Republicans wanted it; the Democrats opposed it. Why does the fate of the pipeline have to be tied to the fate of important economic legislation? Why can’t we have an up and down vote on issues? The Deciders lumped these two divergent considerations together and in the process shot us in the foot. We end up with another stopgap measure and few weeks before we have to do it all over. My Senator, Chucky Boy Schumer (D-N.Y.) had this to say about the conflict that is sure to come in February: