February 9, 2009

Specter: Why I voted for the stimulus package

Posted: 08:37 AM ET

By Senator Arlen Specter, R-PA

I am supporting the economic stimulus package for one simple reason: The country cannot afford not to take action.

The unemployment figures announced Friday, the latest earnings reports and the continuing crisis in banking make it clear that failure to act will leave the United States facing a far deeper crisis in three or six months. By then the cost of action will be much greater - or it may be too late.

Wave after wave of bad economic news has created its own psychology of fear and lowered expectations. As in the old Movietone News, the eyes and ears of the world are upon the United States. Failure to act would be devastating not just for Wall Street and Main Street but for much of the rest of the world, which is looking to our country for leadership in this crisis.

The legislation known as the "moderates" bill, hammered out over two days by Sens. Susan Collins, Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman and myself, preserves the job-creating and tax relief goals of President Obama's stimulus plan while cutting less-essential provisions - many of them worthy in themselves - that are better left to the regular appropriations process.

(Read the rest of Sen. Specter's commentary HERE)

Filed under: Congress • Economy

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Karen Arnold   February 9th, 2009 10:54 am ET

A true stimulus is GREEN CASH in hand that can be used immediately. Please, think about using some or most of this stimulus money by simply cutting checks to those in need. Perhaps to people in the under $100,000 category send $20,000 each to singles without dependents, $20,000 to ‘doubles’ (married filing jointly) without dependents, $50,000 to singles and doubles with dependents. Actually, more cash would be even better!

Jose Cordero   February 9th, 2009 11:06 am ET

THANK YOU MR. SPECTER UNDERSTANDS THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JOB AND WORK!!! WHERE WAS THE OUTRAGE expressed by Republicans and sorts years ago as Trillions of dollars were spent on no bid contracts in Iraq. I work as a defense contractor in Texas and I thank God daily for the job and the work that is a 5 year contract, that will likely renew because the job/work is not complete.
JOB -a piece of work, esp. a specific task done as part of the routine of one's occupation or for an agreed price: She gave him the job of mowing the lawn.
a post of employment; full-time or part-time position: She was seeking a job as an editor.
anything a person is expected or obliged to do; duty; responsibility: It is your job to be on time.
to buy in large quantities, as from wholesalers or manufacturers, and sell to dealers in smaller quantities
WORK – something on which exertion or labor is expended; a task or undertaking: The students finished their work in class.
productive or operative activity.
employment, as in some form of industry, esp. as a means of earning one's livelihood: to look for work.
materials, things, etc., on which one is working or is to work.
the result of exertion, labor, or activity; a deed or performance.
a product of exertion, labor, or activity: musical works.
an engineering structure, as a building or bridge.
a building, wall, trench, or the like, constructed or made as a means of fortification.

sean brizendine   February 9th, 2009 11:15 am ET

arlen specter should be commended for realizing the gravity of the situation we face today in this country, i hope he can convince other republicans that the time to act is now.

"sean in santa rosa"

hugh ~ california   February 9th, 2009 11:34 am ET

We finally have a republican who is thinking of the American people instead of their own special interests. Thank you, Arlen Specter, I'm sure you got a tongue-lashing from your fellow republicans, but you ignored the party rancor and did what was right for the American people!

greg from ca   February 9th, 2009 1:06 pm ET

a good man, Spector !,,

James Rupert   February 9th, 2009 2:35 pm ET

Larry, please ask the next person who suggests that payroll tax cuts would be better than the stimulus package, how cutting payroll taxes will help the hundreds of thousands of people who have been laid off in the last few months?

Joe G. (From Illinois)   February 9th, 2009 3:27 pm ET

Please explain how Obama’s “Stimulus” Plan will not create a U.S. Dollar Currency Exchange Rate Bubble.. AGAIN.. HOW WILL IT NOT CREATE a exchange rate bubble of a magnitude much greater than the Housing Bubble could ever phantom.. And you don’t need to tell me.. I know you can’t, just as does your your rotten conscious that betrayed all those in your political. Go ahead smile now.. Be a leader alright..!!

Mike P   February 9th, 2009 3:37 pm ET

I got an idea that is about as smart as anything they're doing in washington. Just print money like it's going out of style. Give everybody that makes $0-$250,000 a year about $150,000. "You can't just print money, stupid", they say. Well that's about on par w/ everything else I've heard from washington, in fact, this would problably help the people that were trying to help.

Mike P   February 9th, 2009 3:41 pm ET


Judith   February 9th, 2009 4:09 pm ET

Sen Specter is seeing past his nose while many of the other GOPs see no reality except to try anything to block our new President.

Why were these GOPs acting like they were asleep when Bush was in? Bush didn't have to take nothing on the road with trying to pass bills.These GOPs were with him close to 100% and that is why we are here today with 2 wars and an economy that is in the begining of the Depression.They thought nothing taking it to the public when he was in office along with Cheney who in fact was a CEO of Halliburton Company.

These GOPs should have their Pay Taken Away from them and just collect unemployment for 6 months and see how the Real Workers are dealing with life.Let these Senators collect the unemployment of what their State offers.Lindsey Graham "who is" McCain's shadow would get hardly anything to live on if he would have to collect from his State.That State is like many States closing Schools down and busing the kids to other schools.SC wanted to close a few of the USC extensions and have college kids travel 45-70 mins away.When he's on the news they should have a Democrate debating with him.

Let's face it Bush and McCain while he was campagning said Economy is sound when in fact we the Americans saw a different picture.At that time Barack and Hillary were telling the truth untill Bush and McCain couldn't hold it back no more when all heck broke out with Wall Street.

The World is looking how the people instead of coming together they are dividing just like the GOPs want and we are being laugh at by some and pity by others.

The GOPs will try anything to block our new President.They want more tax cuts but it would be more for the white collar workers as you scratch my back and I yours.They have ones coming out against our new President with one saying about Bush's dress code.Then Cheney came out about that Fear Card acting like he was the ex President.Now they have Michael Steele who lost the election in 2006 for Senate who Cheney and Karl Rove supported before Bush got out
coming out so this way no one can say race because the GOP are letting Steele going after President Obama because both are black.
The GOPs are playing all kinds of cards and will try to block anything that our President will do.They use Fox news along with Rush L who said he has more power than the head GOP Party.And they say nothing about it because the GOPs are the ones afraid of Rush.

No matter what the GOPs are doing President Obama won the election and that's the bottom line.The election wasn't bought nor stolen like in 2000 along with the fear card in 2004

Judith   February 9th, 2009 4:24 pm ET

The GOPs wanted the $15,000 tax credit for homes.I would like to know how that will help any middle class family.It will help investors.

People are getting laid off every single day.Ones that are working their jobs aren't secure.If those people buy homes and lose their jobs this is for any of you GOPs, who will pay for them to help bail the new people out?

Bottom Line Banks aren't lending.

atsegga   February 9th, 2009 5:24 pm ET

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

Brian   February 9th, 2009 5:31 pm ET

I watch CNN so much my wife gets mad at me but I watch it to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Ive seen bail outs the stimulas debates, the polls and I dont still see how money will get in the hands of the real working people in our country. I've been self employed for 18 years. I owned 2 properties,paid my taxes, was nevre late on a payment, had excellent credit. and late last year I had to finally give in and except that Im loosing everything I own. Im writing from my wifes parents house and if it werent for them we'd be living in the streets out of my truck. I'll be filing bankruptcy as Im sure alot of Americans will be, just as soon as I can find a job and afford an lawyer. I hear of all these bail outs and wounder if there will ever be help for all of us that have lost our homes already and our credit in now shot, I hate the thought of bankruptcy but I cant see any other choice. I have a friend, single father of 3 children, lost his home too, family members loosing there jobs. and when I hear their raising taxes, and see gas going up again I have to wounder when us "quiet" Americans are gonna get fed up with these politions and put "REAL" Americans in office. I agree Oboma is the most promising president I have ever seen in my 40 years, I just dont see anything changing as he is outnumberd by morons.. the same morons that got us in this mess, I'd also like to say Thanks alot Bush!! I hope your happy, on your watch as you say, you ran our country in the ground, Im angry and one of the quiet Americans that I feel are for the most part not heard. It seems the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, another thing, I cant believe the guy that stole that,, what 80 some billion from investors in that ponzy scheem is even out of jail on bail! To me that is nuts, if I went out and stole that much money Id get life in prison. I couldnt do it cause I care about my fellow Americans. odviously he didnt, so why do we care about him? Lock him up and throw away the key already! Im not the smartest guy in the country, Ive worked for all I had and lost. When are we gonna be fed up and say enough is enough? and get real and takee our country back from this morons? And drug companies? man I could go on and on. Whos gonna bail us out? I dont need billions, not even millions! but I do need 200k to pay off all my creditors. so who do I call for my bail out? and who do I call to find a job to start over? thats what Id like to hear.. Ill be listening for and answer and my wife will still be woundering why I do, she wants to watch the home improvment shows, so she's mad. I cant watch them anymore after loosing mine, I have no hope in the near future, I watch CNN to see if today is the day when I hear about our bail out, the quiet Americans that have lost all the own and really no fault of our own, we did what "they" said, "They" are the ones that sold us out somehow, and "They" are who get the bail outs? "they" get my taxes? money I worked for? If my neighbor stole from me like they did to this country, we'd have a problem. Thank you for your time and I look forward to yous at CNN to "keep them honest" and stand up for us when we arent heard.

Ambrose Enriquez   February 9th, 2009 6:49 pm ET

The Republican were in power for eight years, not only did they ruins our economy but now they don’t want to do anything about it.
i support the stimulus packages something has to be done

Zo   February 9th, 2009 6:59 pm ET

Thank you. Its good to see some mobilization for the good of the country
that goes beyond just falling in lock step.

Jeff   February 9th, 2009 7:00 pm ET

"The country can't afford not to?" The senile Specter got it all wrong. The country can't afford this pork filled bill. But, when the USA goes bankrupt in a few years, what will saint Obama say then?

Kalani   February 9th, 2009 9:09 pm ET

The Fed should use the 9 billion dollars to cut every homeowner's mortgage in half! Yes, everyone who owns a home and who is currently paying a mortgage should have their lender cut their loans by 50%, and for those who have already paid off their loans, they should be given a 2 or more year pass on their property taxes.This would give instant relief to the struggling homeowner. They could use the extra money to pay down their debts, or consume more goods and services, thus jolting the economy. This all makes sense because home values are declinig anyway, and it could somewhat level the playing field for those who have seen their home values drop, and are still stuck with a home that isn't worth as much as they paid. This could also be an opportunity to give those who don't own a home a chance to take advantage of the lower home values and interest rates.

John Hanley   February 9th, 2009 9:35 pm ET

I see we have both pros and cons here. It is my opinion that Sen Spector and the other two Republican Senators are some of the few politicians who understand that they were elected to public office to do the work of the people who elected them. All this anger by the republican base is so much hot air. Some how they get the impression that they were elected to do the will of their Partty Leadership. This is true of both Republicans and Democrats. The idea of party loyalty over loyalty to the people you represent is what got us into this situation and if it doesn't stop, we will never find our way out of it. I find the concept that the senator or congressman who I help elect to represent me can be punished by a senator or congressman of another state simply because those dishing out the punishment happen to have seniority and are in leadership positions. It is my opinion that Senators Spector, Collins, and Snowe have done a comendable thing in voting in what they believe to be the best interest of the people who elected them. If the Republican Party attempts to defeat them when next they come up for election, the people of their states should rise up and go out of their way to defeat any such effort. We need to encourage this type of action on the part of both parties and not discourage it.

Lucy in Montana (not with diamonds)   February 9th, 2009 11:12 pm ET

Hurray for Mr. Spector–for whatever reason, he is voting "for" something and not "against" anything. I'm hoping this spending bill will help get us out of this falling economy. We had to close our business last month as we couldn't wait this out–it was a very small business and we had downsized to the point where we only put 6 people, including ourselves, out of work. We are lucky enough that we're old enough to retire, but the other employees are out there beating the bushes for jobs. This was a lot earlier than we had planned to retire and our retirement accounts have taken large hits over the last 6 months, so, as my husband remarked, we may be eating cat food, but at least not the cheapest cat food!

Anyway, the Republican Party leaders, to my way of thinking, are still beating the same old drum–tax cuts for corporations, lower capital gains taxes–which does nothing for everyday Americans, just makes the rich richer. I would love to have my taxes cut, however, with all the money the government is spending to get us out of this mess, I can't see how we can cut taxes. The Republican Party seems to be falling apart–they have turned over the reins to the likes of Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk (who I feel are "dumbing down" the party). They seem to want to do nothing but fight and make their base angry and scared. I had a lot of respect for John McCain and thought he could really do a good job of reuniting this country until the campaign got ugly and he leaned more and more to the right wing of his party. At that point, my support went to Obama. My hope is that more and more of the less conservative members of the Republican Party will join with the President and get this economy going again.

I fully support this stimulus bill, even with the pork in it–even the pork produces jobs! I would like to see the money back in the bill to help out the states–I see where California is putting employees on furlough and may have to release prisoners from their overcrowded prisons. These are probably not high paying jobs, but they are good jobs for people. Other states are in bad shape, too!

The first stimulus bill was supposed to shore up our banks and the stock market–so far it has not done so. I am hoping this second bill will get the money where it will do some good–to the people of this country. Our country needs to sink a lot of money into infrastructure (remember the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis over a year ago). Our roads could use repair. Our government buildings need to be repaired or replaced (at least updated). All of this stuff creates jobs! We need to do something now, and right or wrong, we can't just keep talking about it.

The one thing that scares me to death is that our national debt is increasing at an alarming rate–pretty soon China will own us all! Anyway, to end this rambling commentary, kudos to Mr. Spector for trying to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem!

Dodie from Irvine, CA   February 9th, 2009 11:13 pm ET

RESOULTON To Our Economic Meltdown:

1. STOP giving money to the banks!!!!

2. Create a FEDERAL Bank or federalize all banks that require $ Billions in bailout to decrease interest rates for mortgages, small business loans, etc.

3. Create federal jobs for repairing our infrastructure.

4. Look at what other countries are doing. (China for example just lowered all interest rates for everyone)

5. We do NOT need $800 billion to accomplish this!!!

Dodie from Irvine, CA   February 9th, 2009 11:40 pm ET

RESOULTON To Our Economic Meltdown:
1. STOP giving money to the banks!!!!
STOP giving money to the banks!!!!
STOP giving money to the banks!!!!

2. Create a FEDERAL Bank or federalize all banks that require $ Billions in bailout to decrease interest rates for all mortgages, small business loans, etc.
3. Create federal jobs for repairing our infrastructure.
4. Look at what other countries are doing. (China for example just lowered all interest rates for everyone)
5. We do NOT need $800 billion to accomplish this!!!

Dodie from Irvine, CA   February 9th, 2009 11:44 pm ET

Lucy in Montana (not with diamonds):

Trust me... China does NOT want to loan us any more money. We already owe them over one trillion dollars. Actually, they do not want our money or anything else. I have lived there. No one wants the American Dollar...and especially now!

Dodie from Irvine, CA   February 9th, 2009 11:49 pm ET


What is wrong with us? We continue to give money to banks who either spend it stupidly or hoard it!

WHAT IS WRONG WITH US??? CONTINUING TO GIVE MONEY TO BANKS. We do that and I guarantee...we will go down in Flames!!!

Dodie from Irvine, CA   February 9th, 2009 11:54 pm ET

RESOULTON To Our Economic Meltdown:

1. STOP giving money to the banks!!!! FEDERALIZE THEM Instead!!
STOP giving money to the banks!!!! FEDERALIZE THEM Instead!!
STOP giving money to the banks!!!! FEDERALIZE THEM Instead!!

2. Create a FEDERAL Bank or federalize all banks that require $ Billions in bailout to decrease interest rates for all mortgages, small business loans, etc.

3. Create federal jobs for repairing our infrastructure.

4. Look at what other countries are doing. (China for example just lowered all interest rates for everyone)

5. If we continue to give banks more money, I guarantee you, we will go down in flames!

Oh yes, I voted for Obama

Dodie from Irvine, CA   February 10th, 2009 12:10 am ET

If we spend one trillion dollars without any backing, I recommend everyone change all your money to either the Euro or the RMB as our money will be worthless within the next 5 years!

ed ,vancouver canada   February 10th, 2009 12:56 am ET

There needs to be 2 trillion dollars spent.
50000 each to 20 million americans in trouble to pay debt. and or save their home.They file a report of who is owed money,and a joint cheque is issued and the banks get their billions back.
the banks will have the money to lend out to business to sell goods

the second trillion is for minimum wage to be 15 dollars an hour,and the business pays 8 an hour.This is for 75million workers.
85 billion dollars will be spent back into the economy each month.
This will create 75million consumers who at minimum wage,can not qualify to buy a condo or a car.NOW THEY CAN.
at 30k a year people can afford a condo or a car.thats 850 more a month net to spend.
if 1/10 bought a car,that equals all the domestic cars sold in 2008
1/10 would generate 7.5 million condo or small home sales.
The money spent will circulate and get millions of people laid off back to work.
Giving billions to the banks to lend out is wrong. It will be a repeat of eugene meyer's plan of 1930.
The banks are going to lend it to those other than the onesin need aggravate the problem as banks will lend wealthy the money to scoop up homes for 30 cents on the dollar.
The sick part of all this is the real cause is being covered up....WAR AT A COST OF 10 BILLION A MONTH. by blaming it on the mortgage problem.

Mike P   February 10th, 2009 4:39 am ET

Were all going to hell because our government made a deal with the devil. Been nice knowing ya, it's been fun.

Terry   February 10th, 2009 7:56 am ET

Spector, Collins and bugs bunny would say..."what maroons" We have just been Blagovich-ed but with an “F”.
Dorothy…Close your eyes, click your heels together twice and say “there’s no place like Illinois…there’s no place like Illinois”

The spending part of this pork is… money going to the states…they are not going to have to pay this back like the banks…can you see corruption and waste.

CNN said Weatherization gets 2.9 billion….this is a home responsibility…can’t these 2 million poor people go to Wal-Mart and buy a tube of caulk & stripping….remember the people who are paying for this ….are the ones who pay taxes…..those 40% who don’t pay taxes and who are on welfare don't help here …..well…it’s not their problem. No more freebies.

This package does not get paid back .....the banks aren't a problem with me....because they have to pay it back.

Terry, TX   February 10th, 2009 8:02 am ET

$76.8 Billion in Education ….No…2008 Budget was 59.4 Billion and Now We More than Double Their Budget—Needs To Be Cut Back—The Teacher’s Union and Minority Neighborhoods and Illegal Aliens Attending Our Schools Should Be Jumping for Joy.

Do We Have 100% Unemployment in Education? A 20% increase would not be enough?

Remember only property taxpayers will pay for this in their state….now you want my school tax money and my income tax money…for money I will never see.

Think like a taxpayer...quit thinking with your emotions...Spector you need to read the bill. Independents put the President in....and Independents can vote him out.

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