The one financial / economic stimulus we have all been feeling lately is the relief of lower gas prices. Although I don’t expect this to endure too much longer it was a welcome extra bonus to our paycheck — a bill we didn’t have to pay the last two months. Of course, we just drove less the last weeks because of the weather but our entire gas bill for December was less than $50. (Mind you neither of us has to drive to work.) This was the price of regular fuel about 10 days ago; it has now risen another 10 cents since I took this picture at a pump on the west side of Missoula.
Today I was reading the details of President Obama’s recovery package which aims to: – double within three years the amount of energy that could be produced from renewable resources. Advisers say that could power 6 million households.
_upgrade 10,000 schools and improve learning for about 5 million students.
_save $2 billion a year by making federal buildings energy efficient.
_triple the number of undergraduate and graduate fellowships in science.
_tighten security at 90 major ports.
“The plan would spend at least 75 percent of the total cost _ or more than $600 billion _ within the first 18 months, either through bricks-and-shovels projects favored by Democrats or tax cuts that Republicans have pushed.
There is heavy emphasis on public works projects, which have lagged as state budgets contracted. Governors have lobbied Obama to help them patch holes in their budgets, drained by sinking tax revenues and increased need for public assistance such as Medicaid and children’s health insurance. Obama’s plan would increase the federal portion of those programs so no state would have to cut any of the 20 million children whose eligibility is now at risk.
Obama’s plan would also provide (temporary) health care coverage for 8.5 million people who lose their insurance when they either lose or shift jobs.
“It’s a plan that will save or create 3 to 4 million jobs over the next few years” and recognizes “there are millions of Americans trying to find work even as, all around the country, there’s so much work to be done,” he said.
The difference now, being for me, is that I know hope.