BEHIND THE NEWS: Debate over the fix

January 29, 2009 1:56:06 PM PST
Republicans say it smells like pork, the new $819 billion economic stimulus package passed by the House last night -- passed without one Republican vote.

Maybe some of it might, but that's not what really irks the GOP. After all, they're addicted to pork as much as anyone.

What really bugs them is that their ideas didn't work the past eight years -- massive tax cuts for the wealthy -- and now they have no say over what happens.

Will massive government expenditures create the jobs that tax cuts didn't? That's President Obama's thinking. And so now he'll have the chance to prove it. If the Senate passes the bill, which seems likely. (Cast your vote: Is it the right fix?)

And then let's get this puppy going. We have enough potholes that need fixing in the greater New York area to create a flood of new jobs. And how about our rotting and ancient infrastructure? And how about the 15,000 jobs -- mostly teachers -- that the New York City Schools Chancellor says will have to be cut if the school system doesn't get a bailout?

The stimulus package news comes on the heels of more bad economic news -- more job cuts and more huge corporate losses, including Ford, which reported a nearly $6 billion quarterly loss - the biggest in its history.

We'll have the latest on the economy, tonight at 11.

Speaking of Obama, he took off on Wall Street bonuses, calling "outrageous" the $18 billion paid out last year. So fascinating. Yesterday, the New York State Comptroller said the state would lose $1 billion in tax revenues because the bonuses were down more than 40%. And today the President calls the bonuses outrageous.

A disturbing report coming out from the Pentagon: The suicide rate in the Army is at a three-decade high. So, to fight that, the Army plans a "stand down" for 30 days, beginning Feb. 15. That means it will train soldiers to identify suicidal behavior among colleagues, and help them learn how to intervene.

The numbers are not pretty: Army suicides have increased for the fourth year in a row, to 128 soldiers last year; the number could go higher because there are apparently 15 other deaths under investigation that could be suicide.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night. I hope you can join us, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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