Friday, February 06, 2009

Stimulus bill continues to progress through the Senate

The stimulus bill continues to make good progress in the Senate. In fact, after they vote on the latest batch of ammendments and then have their final debate (maybe an hour on each side) we could see the final vote this evening, maybe in about three hours or so. This is actually great progress. Still, the close vote and last-minute arm-twisting could delay the proceedings into the weekend.

Sure, the bill remains a cross between an over-decorated Christmas tree and an over-stuffed sausage, but that is about how it started out in the House anyway. The final trimming and stuffing will not occur until next week when the House and Senate bills are reconciled by the conference committee.

The big question is whether this bill will actually be enough to stop the job losses and get the economy going again. The simple truth is that this is just the first step. Treasury will be outlining their financial plan next week. We will have a better view in three to four months after the stimulus package and new Treasury plan have had time to work through the economy. Then, adjustments can and will be made to both plans, either to accelerate them, or to pull them back a bit if the economy gains more traction than expected.

No matter what, job losses will probably continue for at least the next three to five months. Even if the economy does gain traction soon, it will be at a moderately lower level of economic activity and financial leverage that simply does not justify or support the current levels of business employment. Only later in the year and next year will some of the "green job" and other forms of investment begin to boost the needs for jobs for the future.

-- Jack Krupansky

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