Friday, January 9, 2009

Obama-Biden stimulus plan, a target from both left and right

After spending a little time with the Obama-Biden economic stimulus package, RaisingIslands finds a number of things to appreciate.

One of the key things we appreciate is that it has attracted nitpickers from both sides of the political aisle: those who think it does too much, and those who think it doesn't do enough.

We at RaisingIslands don't want to appear to be taking sides, but Mr. Obama might take comfort in something my late editor, Sandy Zalburg, used to say more than a third of a century ago: “If both sides are yelling at you, you're probably doing something right.”

A copy of the plan, from, is here:

Here's a three-page fact sheet on the plan, from

The plan includes tax relief for individuals and business; incentives for small business; $25 billion to rebuild roads, bridges and schools; help for financially troubled homeowners; assistance for those who need to invade their IRAs and 401Ks to survive; and a whole lot more.

On the science, environment and energy front, it would help auto makers to promote more efficient vehicles and improve battery technology. It proposes to invest $150 billion over 10 years to move biofuels forward, and to promote commercialization of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

It would push to move renewable energy to a more commercial scale, to move the nation to a “digital electricity grid,” or “smart grid,” to which Hawaiian Electric recently announced it hopes soon to move.

It would establish a federal renewable energy portfolio, seeking to get the country to 25 percent renewable energy by 2025, and would extend the Production Tax Credit to increase renewable energy projection.

And, yes, Obama-Biden would invest in clean coal. Actually, the term the plan uses is “low emissions coal plants.”

The Bush-Biden stimulus plan wants to ensure the workforce is trained to work in an economy with green technologies.

And it proposes to double federal spending on basic scientific research “changing the posture of our federal government from being one of the most anti-science administrations in American history.”

The plan, of course, doesn't satisfy everyone. Over at the irreverent environmental news site Grist, correspondent Kate Sheppard complains, “Notably absent from the draft of the plan is any specific mention of funding for public transportation.” She said environmental leaders are generally supportive, but caution against more coal plants or highway projects that don't make energy sense. Start her reports at

Shucks, he didn't say much about photovoltaics either, or conservation and efficiency.

And at the conservative Heritage Foundation, you might think the Obama-Biden plan is just impossibly complicated. Heritage writers J.D. Foster and William Beach argue that to stimulate the economy, just two things are needed—extend the Bush tax cuts, and then cut taxes some more. (

“By far the most effective means of helping the economy recover is to improve the incentives that drive economic activity, and that means reducing tax rates on work, saving, investment, risk taking, and entrepreneurial activity,” they write.

That darned Obama, getting hollered at from the left, and getting hollered at from the right.

You'd think he was a centrist.

©2009 Jan TenBruggencate

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