Spend, Spend, Spend Like There Is No End

By now everyone has heard that the stimulus bill has passed the house without Republican support. The question is will it provide enough stimulation to “jump start” our failing economy.

It’s the hottest topic in the news and rightfully so because it should be the second serious attempt at getting the economy turned in a better direction. The first attempt last year – the Wall Street Bailout – hasn’t had much of an impact on stimulating the general economy although many believe that it provided some nice parachute packages for some top ranking executives.

There are legitimate concerns about the real value the stimulus package will really have. When you look at the allocation of funds it is difficult to see where the three or four million jobs will come from. A number of the infrastructure projects are in the multi-million dollar range but aren’t labor intensive. As you scroll down and look at the proposed spending – this is not the final “final” version of the bill as it has yet to be voted on by the Senate. Remember while you add the dollars up in your head that this is your money being spent.

Spending

Aid to poor and unemployed

•$40 billion to provide extended unemployment benefits through Dec. 31, and increase them by $25 a week; $20 billion to increase food-stamp benefits by 14%; $3 billion in temporary welfare payments.

Direct cash payments

•$14 billion to give one-time $250 payments to Social Security recipients, poor people on Supplemental Security Income, and veterans receiving disability and pensions.

Infrastructure

•$46 billion for transportation projects, including $27 billion for highway and bridge construction and repair; $8.4 billion for mass transit; $8 billion for construction of high-speed railways and $1.3 billion for Amtrak; $4.6 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers; $4 billion for public housing improvements; $6.4 billion for clean- and drinking-water projects; $7 billion to bring broadband Internet service to underserved areas.

Health care

•$21 billion to provide a 60% subsidy of health care insurance premiums for the unemployed under the COBRA program; $87 billion to help states with Medicaid; $19 billion to modernize health information technology systems; $10 billion for health research and construction of National Institutes of Health facilities.

State block grants

•$5 billion in aid to states to use as they please to defray budget cuts.

Education

•$54 billion in state fiscal relief to prevent cuts in state aid to school districts, with up to $10 billion for school repair; $26 billion to school districts to fund special education and the No Child Left Behind law for students in K-12; $17 billion to boost the maximum Pell Grant by $500 to $5,350; $2 billion for Head Start.

Homeland security

•$2.8 billion for homeland security programs, including $1 billion for airport screening equipment.

Law enforcement

•$4 billion in grants to state and local law enforcement to hire officers and purchase equipment.

Taxes

New tax credit

•About $115 billion for $400 per-worker, $800 per-couple tax credits in 2009 and 2010. Credit phases out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 to $90,000 and couples with AGI of $150,000 to $190,000.

Alternative minimum tax

•About $70 billion to spare about 24 million taxpayers from being hit with the alternative minimum tax in 2009. The change would save a family of four an average of $2,300.

Expanded college credit

•About $13 billion to provide a $2,500 expanded tax credit for college tuition and related expenses for 2009 and 2010. The credit is phased out for couples with incomes over $160,000.

Home buyer credit

•$3.7 billion to repeal a requirement that an $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit be paid back over time for homes purchased from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31, unless the home is sold within three years.

Bonus depreciation

•$5 billion to extend a provision allowing businesses buying equipment such as computers to speed up depreciation through 2009.

Auto sales

•$2.5 billion to make sales tax paid on new car purchases tax deductible.

(Source: The Associated Press)

The total equals $396 billion allocated for spending. That’s a lot of money. But does it mean a lot of jobs?

International Paystar 5900 Set-Back Axle with 10-inch Frame Rails

To meet the needs of vocational truck customers looking for a lighter-weight and more nimble truck chassis, the International PayStar 5900 Set-Back Axle will now be available with 10-inch frame rails.

While the more traditional 12.25-inch frame rails will remain a standard option for the PayStar, smaller, lighter-weight 10.25-inch frame rails will provide customers and truck equipment manufacturers (TEMs) with additional flexibility for a variety of unique on-and-off highway severe service applications.

The smaller, lighter frame rail option will provide a distinct advantage for vocational tractor customers looking to take advantage of standardized trailer heights in straight dump, dump trailer and combination truck-trailer applications. In addition, for states with highly sensitive weight restrictions, the 10.25-inch frame rails could reduce total vehicle weight by as much as 90 pounds, providing customers with additional payload capacity, with a direct impact on the bottom line.

Stone Introduces New Backpack

Stone Construction Equipment, Inc., has added a new Backpack model to its Right Built Concrete Vibrator line. The new Vibrator model features a 2.5-horsepower Honda engine and weighs just 24 pounds. Made of a lightweight steel frame and extra thick padding for more operator comfort. The Backpack Vibrator is controlled by a patent pending rotary throttle, which consistently delivers the proper vibrations per minute for optimum concrete consolidation.

The Backpack Vibrator handles all Stone shafts and heads up to 2.5 inches. They quickly and easily attach to the Backpack power unit with Stone’s patented quick-connect coupler. The Backpack model joins the 5.5 horsepower gas model and five electric models in Stone’s Right Built Concrete Vibrator line.

Stone Introduces Vibrating Power Screed

Stone Construction Equipment, Inc., has added a handheld vibrating power screed line to its concrete finishing offering – the Stone Screed Bull. Choose from two models – the heavy-duty professional contractor’s model, the VSB80, which handles boards to 16 feet yet weighs in at only 32 pounds. The lighter weight, rental-ready model, the VSB70 runs 12 feet boards with ease and weighs only 25 pounds. Both deliver optimum performance in 2 inch to 9 inch slumps.

The power unit and the boards are perfectly matched for optimum screeding, allowing these screeds to easily operate in most slumps. No need for complicated eccentric adjustments to handle longer boards or stiffer slumps. The board uniformly carries and transmits the vibrations generated through the entire length of the board to precisely consolidate the concrete whether wet screeding or using forms.

The two models are both powered by 4-cycle Honda GX25 engines. Additional features include:

  • A handle-mounted throttle for fingertip control of the vibration.
  • Operator comfort from an adjustable handle. The operator can work standing up, thereby reducing back and knee strain.
  • Cast aluminum frame for longer life and a lighter operating weight for ease of maneuvering.
  • Simple disconnect to easily remove the power head from the boards to switch board lengths.

The patented screed boards are available in lengths from 4 feet to 16 feet. Two-foot extensions can be added to each end of the boards to extend to make custom lengths. Extension straps are also available to connect two power units and boards together to cover larger pours with the same efficiency.The handheld Screed Bull models join two other heavy-duty power screeds in Stone’s Right Built concrete finishing equipment lines.

Greg Sitek

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