Posted tagged ‘Stimulus’

TIME Magazine Article (I’m In It)

February 19, 2009

We’re in the print issue dated March 2 and should be in stores soon!!! Kate Winslet is on the cover, just FYI!

UPDATE: I’m on the COVER too in a small picture in the top right corner next to the March 2, 2009 date 🙂

But if you want a peek, the article is available online now.

Its a brief 2-3 paragraph mention near the end of the article but it’s still great to be a part of an article in TIME Magazine.

I’ve got a link to it below and the full text of the article and an “OK” picture of us (no kids though) 🙂

I love the “worried” look on my face! The only thing I wish could have been included in this article is how much my in-laws were a help to us. I feel as though the section is too slanted to how we helped them when in reality, we helped each other. They were very instrumental in making things work and I don’t want to come across as looking as though we supported them. This is not the case. We supported each other 🙂

Now we can be as famous as Casey Anthony! Without the drama that comes with it of course!!

Credit: Mark Richards

Credit: Mark Richards

From TIME:

Jennifer Bliss was no fledgling lawyer when she moved back in with her parents. At 39, she had burned through her retirement funds after losing her law-firm job in July 2007. She gave the bank the keys to the home she was unable to sell in Grand Rapids, Mich., and last November, she packed up her two Great Danes and moved about 60 miles, to Lansing, to live with her mother and stepfather. “This has been awful,” says Bliss, who has sent out some 600 résumés nationwide looking for legal work or a managerial position in another field. “I went to law school to have a solid profession so that I wouldn’t wind up in a situation like this.”

The term boomerang children used to refer to young adults moving back in with their parents, but the recession is forcing people in their 30s and 40s and older–often with a spouse and kids in tow–to bunk in with the ‘rents until they regain their financial footing. Since the recession began in December 2007, the U.S. has lost 3.6 million jobs. An AARP survey released in May found that more than a third of retirees have had to help a child pay bills in the past year. And the number of multigenerational households has increased from 5 million in 2000 to 6.2 million in 2008, according to AARP. Cramped quarters, wounded pride and general anxiety about the global economic crisis do not the most pleasant living situation make. But there are ways to ease the transition.

Talk about expectations. And be sure to discuss one another’s needs up front, says Brian Carpenter, a psychology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Failure to do so can lead to a lot of friction. That’s what happened when Michael Gallagher, 40, moved in with his mother in Los Angeles in October 2007 after he was downsized from his job as an audio engineer. “When he came home to live, I was thinking ‘family,’ and he was thinking ‘roommate,'” says BJ Gallagher, 59, an author and a video producer. “I would feel bad when he wouldn’t say hello when he walked in the door.” At the same time, her son felt she was checking up on him and “lurking” around, she says. “We both ended up disappointed and annoyed until we discussed it and dealt with it.”

Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, an intergenerational advocacy group based in Washington, says it’s a good idea to create an approximate timetable for achieving specific goals (à la “get a job,” “move out”).

Build in privacy. If possible, everyone should have at least some space of his or her own. For instance, when Michael Gallagher took over the part of his mother’s house that she had been using as an office, she moved her computer and video equipment into a much smaller room adjoining her bedroom. “We each needed our own space. There was no way around that,” BJ says of the rearranging she did to accommodate her son.

Share household expenses. Pay parents rent, or help with bills, and take over chores like mowing the lawn. “This way, everyone is helping in some way, and no one feels taken advantage of,” says Elizabeth Carll, a psychologist in Huntington, N.Y., who is an expert on dealing with stress. Bliss does all the cooking and cleaning. Michael Gallagher buys his own food, and beyond that, his mother says, he has “paid in trade” by persuading her to have the hip replacement she had needed for a while and by taking care of her postsurgery.

Grandparents rule. In late 2006, John Kreuzer, 30, and his wife moved from Portland, Ore., into his in-laws’ house in San Jose, Calif., because he got a p.r. job in Silicon Valley. They decided to keep staying there–with their two little kids–because Kreuzer’s father-in-law was laid off. As the job market got tighter, it just made sense for everyone to share living expenses in such a high-cost area, Kreuzer says.

Along the way, there have been differences of opinion when it comes to child-rearing. Kreuzer has explained to his children that they must abide by their grandparents’ rules, e.g., no roughhousing indoors. “My in-laws really help out with the kids while my wife and I are working,” he says. “I know that once we move out, my children will miss their time together with Grandma and Pop-Pop.”

Once we move out? That brings up one last point.

Be realistic. The economy has to turn around someday, and in the meantime, rents are falling.

In March, Kreuzer and his family are moving into a nearby town house with rent so cheap, he can continue to help his in-laws pay their monthly bills.

Michael Gallagher also found a killer deal on a rental. He moved out of his mom’s place in November, but she has yet to rearrange her stuff. “I’m not moving anything back just yet,” she says. “With this awful economy, he could boomerang right back in here.”

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New York Post Cartoon Links Obama to Chimp

February 18, 2009

The New York Post is standing behind a cartoon that some have interpreted as comparing President Barack Obama to a violent chimpanzee gunned down by police.

Credit: New York Post

Credit: New York Post

From the Associated Press:

The cartoon in Wednesday’s Post by Sean Delonas shows two police officers standing over the body of a bullet-riddled chimp. One of the officers says the other, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”

Civil rights activist Al Sharpton called the cartoon “troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys.”

But Sharpton said the Post should clarify the point it was trying to make with the cartoon, which was playing off Monday’s rampage by a pet chimpanzee in Stamford, Conn., that left a woman severely mauled. Police ended up killing the chimp.

In a statement, Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan said: “The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington’s efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist.”

A story about the cartoon on the liberal-leaning Huffington Post Web site drew hundreds of reader responses, many calling the cartoon racist and insensitive.

Sam Stein, a columnist for the site, wrote that “at its most benign, the cartoon suggests that the stimulus bill was so bad, monkeys may as well have written it. Most provocatively, it compares the president to a rabid chimp. Either way, the incorporation of violence and (on a darker level) race into politics is bound to be controversial.”

Barack Obama Signs Stimulus Bill

February 17, 2009

President Barack Obama finally signed a much hyped $787 billion economic stimulus bill into law today.

Time to see if this will help stimulate an economy that needs all the help it can get!

From USA Today:

President Obama called his $787 billion stimulus package the “most sweeping economic recovery act in our history” as he signed legislation in Denver Tuesday to create works projects and tax cuts designed to stimulate the sagging economy.

“I don’t want to pretend that today marks the end of our economic problems,” Obama said. “But today does mark the beginning of the end … the beginning of what we need to do to provide relief” for families that can’t pay their billls.

Before the signing Obama toured a solar panel installation project at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in order to highlight the “green jobs” projects that are part of the stimulus package.

The bill will create or save 3.5 million jobs.

“We’re putting Americans to work, doing the work that America needs done,” the president said before signing the legislation.

From Reuters:

Obama, who has described the package as one part of a plan to solve his country’s economic ills, was expected to lay out a strategy on Wednesday to stem home foreclosures and address the housing crisis that sparked the financial sector meltdown.

Meanwhile financially strapped General Motors Corp (GM.N) and Chrysler LLC raced to finish restructuring plans that must be submitted to the Obama administration by the end of the day as part of efforts to keep America’s biggest carmakers afloat. [ID:nLH623622]

Obama, speaking in Denver where he visited a solar power installation, has staked his political reputation on the package, a mixture of tax cuts and spending projects, saying its success will determine his success as president.

“We’re putting Americans to work doing the work that America needs done in critical areas that have been neglected for too long … work that will begin real and lasting change for generations to come,” Obama said.

The White House has said it will take about a month for the money to start flowing from the package. Some economists, however, believe the measures will come too late to have an effect in 2009, when many forecasters predict full-year output will contract.

The package includes working class tax cuts, infrastructure spending, help for the poor and unemployed and investment in alternative energy.

Obama has predicted that the stimulus plan will save or create more than 3.5 million jobs over the next two years.

Though a major success for his young presidency, the stimulus debate in Congress laid bare bitter divisions over how to boost an economy suffering a rising jobless rate of 7.6 percent and a banking crisis that has nearly frozen lending.

Only three Republicans voted for the measure in the 100-seat Senate, and no Republicans broke ranks to support it the House, arguing it had too much spending and not enough tax breaks. The final plan was split into 36 percent for tax cuts and 64 percent in spending and other provisions.

Furlough Friday Begins in California

February 6, 2009

California’s first-ever furloughs began today with more than 200,000 state workers staying home without pay amid the state’s fiscal crisis.

From the Associated Press:

Among the offices forced to close Friday were the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Consumer Affairs. The governor’s Office of Emergency Services also was dark as part of the cash-saving move ordered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Critical and revenue-generating agencies remained open, including fire stations, parks and employment centers that process unemployment insurance claims. California’s unemployment rate is 9.3 percent, a 15-year high.

At the state Department of Transportation, a handful of engineers showed up to work without pay because they didn’t want to get behind on projects they said were important to public safety.

Stan Slavin, an electrical engineer working on a traffic project in the San Francisco Bay area, said his partners at local agencies will be on the job so he was, too.

State agencies scrambled in the days before the furloughs took effect to avoid confusion for the public, such as people trying to register vehicles or obtain professional licenses.

Tentative Stimulus Deal Reached

February 6, 2009

Amid major new job losses and the latest bank failure, key senators and the White House reached tentative agreement today on an economic stimulus measure at the heart of President Barack Obama’s recovery plan.

From MSNBC:

Senate Democrats were now mulling the compromise, which would cap the package at $780 billion. The package had grown to $937 billion after senators added to it, and Obama has said he’d accept a deal around $800 billion.

“There’s a proposal that is sufficiently flushed out that we can have a caucus and discuss it,” said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. “This is a proposal that involves many of the interested parties.”

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said the $780 billion proposal breaks down this way: 42 percent is for tax cuts and 58 percent is new spending.

A spokesman for Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that “Senator Reid needs to talk with his caucus before we can announce a deal.”

The breakthrough came after a bipartisan team of senators worked to lower the cost, reducing the overall package to $780 billion, NBC News reported.

Obama To Broaden Financial Bailout

January 9, 2009

Barack Obama’s economic team is broadening the mission of the $700 billion bailout for the financial sector, aiming to unfreeze credit for homeowners, consumers, small businesses and local governments.

From the Associated Press:

The overhaul is aimed at the $350 billion remaining in the Troubled Asset Relief Program and comes amid mounting criticism from lawmakers and watchdogs that the Bush administration has administered the money in an inconsistent way and has not made banks accountable for the money.

The head of a congressional panel overseeing the $700 billion bailout program said Friday that lawmakers need to “take a very hard look” at how banks have used the money and she welcomed Obama’s attempts to better define the program’s mission.

Obama’s selection for Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, is developing a “comprehensive set of investment principles,” an Obama transition official said Friday. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the plan has not yet been fleshed out, said the economic team will include measures to mitigate rising foreclosures and will place tougher conditions on financial institutions that receive the money, including limits on executive compensation.

With 11 days left before Obama is sworn in as the nation’s 44th president, the task of requesting Congress for access to the remaining funds will now likely fall on the new Obama administration.

Geithner is expected to face a confirmation hearing before the Senate next Thursday and he can count on being quizzed vigorously on his TARP proposals.

Though the Obama team is not offering any specifics, the mere fact that it is setting goals for the money won support from the head of a congressional panel that is charged with overseeing how the money is being spent.

“These are powerfully important initiatives,” said Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren. “I’m very pleased that the incoming administration is focused on these issues.”

She offered no specific advice on how to free up more credit. “It’s going to take a variety of tools,” she said. “They may have to move through multiple approaches.”

President Bush Announces Auto Industry Bailout

December 19, 2008

President Bush announced a rescue plan for General Motors and Chrysler this morning that will make $13.4 billion in federal loans available to the industry almost immediately.

From CNNMoney:

A senior administration official briefing reporters said he expects that GM and Chrysler LLC will be signing the loan papers to access the cash later Friday morning.

The money will come from the $700 billion fund set aside to bailout Wall Street firms and banks in October.

With these loans, Treasury will have committed virtually all of the $350 billion of that fund that it can hand out without additional authorization from Congress. Once Congress releases the other $350 billion, the two automakers will be able to borrow an additional $4 billion.

GM will get $9.4 billion from the first allocation of federal loan money, while Chrysler would get the other $4 billion.

The loans are for three years but the money will have to be repaid in full within 30 days if the firms do not show themselves to be viable by March 31. It is expected that the companies will have to negotiate new agreements with unions and creditors in order to do so.

Here is the text of President Bush’s remarks delivered this morning at the White House, courtesy of the Associated Press, on financial assistance to troubled auto makers:

BUSH: Good morning.

For years, America’s automakers have faced serious challenges; burdensome costs, shrinking share of the market and declining profits. In recent months, the global financial crisis has made these challenges even more severe.

Now, some U.S. auto executives say that their companies are nearing collapse and that the only way they can buy time to restructure is with help from the federal government. It’s a difficult situation that involves fundamental questions about the proper role of government.

On the one hand, government has the responsibility not to undermine the private enterprise system. On the other hand, government has a responsibility to safeguard the broader health and stability of our economy.

Addressing the challenges in the auto industry requires us to balance these two responsibilities. If we were to allow the free market to take its course now, it would almost certainly lead to disorderly bankruptcy and liquidation for the automakers.

Under ordinary economic circumstances, I would say this is the price that failed companies must pay. And I would not favor intervening to prevent the automakers from going out of business. But these are not ordinary circumstances.

In the midst of a financial crisis and a recession, allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action. The question is how we can best give it a chance to succeed.

Some argue the wisest path is to allow the auto companies to reorganize through Chapter 11 provisions of our bankruptcy laws and provide federal loans to keep them operating while they try to restructure under the supervision of a bankruptcy court.

But given the current state of the auto industry and the economy, Chapter 11 is unlikely to work for American automakers at this time. American consumers understand why. If you hear that a car company is suddenly going into bankruptcy, you worry that parts and servicing will not be available and you question the value of your warranty.

With consumers hesitant to buy new cars from struggling automakers, it would be more difficult for auto companies to recover. Additionally, the financial crisis brought the auto companies to the brink of bankruptcy much faster than they could have anticipated. And they have not made the legal and financial preparations necessary to carry out an orderly bankruptcy proceeding that could lead to a successful restructuring.

The convergence of these factors means there is too great a risk that bankruptcy now would lead to a disorderly liquidation of American auto companies. My economic advisers believe that such a collapse would deal an unacceptably painful blow to hardworking Americans far beyond the auto industry. It would worsen a weak job market and exacerbate the financial crisis. It could send our suffering economy into a deeper and longer recession.

And it would leave the next president to confront the demise of a major American industry in his first days of office.

The more responsible option is to give the auto companies an incentive to restructure outside of bankruptcy and a brief window in which to do it. And that is why my administration worked with Congress on a bill to provide automakers with loans to stave off bankruptcy while they develop plans for viability.

This legislation earned bipartisan support from majorities in both houses of Congress. Unfortunately, despite extensive debate and agreement that we should prevent disorderly bankruptcies in the American auto industry, Congress was unable to get a bill to my desk before adjourning this year.

This means the only way to avoid a collapse of the U.S. auto industry is for the executive branch to step in. The American people want the auto companies to succeed and so do I.

So today I’m announcing that the federal government will grant loans to all the companies under conditions similar to those Congress considered last week. These loans will provide help in two ways. First, they will give automakers three months to put in place plans to restructure into viable companies which we believe they are capable of doing.

Second, if restructuring cannot be accomplished outside of bankruptcy, the loans will provide time for companies to make the legal and financial preparations necessary for an orderly Chapter 11 process that offers a better prospect of long-term success and gives consumer confidence that they can continue to buy American cars.

Because Congress failed to make funds available for these loans, the plan I’m announcing today will be drawn from the financial rescue package Congress approved earlier this fall. The terms of the loans will require auto companies to demonstrate how they would become viable.

They must pay back all their loans to the government and show that their firms can earn a profit and achieve a positive net worth. This restructuring will require meaningful concessions from all involved in the auto industry — management, labor unions, creditors, bond holders, dealers, and suppliers.

In particular, automakers must meet conditions that experts agree are necessary for long-term viability, including putting their retirement plans on a sustainable footing, persuading bond holders to convert their debt into capital that companies need to address immediate financial shortfalls, and making their compensation competitive with foreign automakers who have major operations in the United States.

If a company fails to come up with a viable plan by March 31st, it would be required to repay its federal loans. The automakers and unions must understand what is at stake and make hard decisions necessary to reform.

These conditions send a clear message to everyone involved in the future of American automakers. The time to make hard decisions to become viable is now. Or the only option will be bankruptcy.

The actions I’m announcing today represent a step that we wish were not necessary. But given the situation, it is the most effective and responsible way to address this challenge facing our nation. By giving the auto companies a chance to restructure, we will shield the American people from a harsh economic blow at a vulnerable time and we will give American workers an opportunity to show the world, once again, they can meet challenges with ingenuity and determination and bounce back from tough times and emerge stronger than before.

Thank you.