Signed with 10 Pens: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

February 18, 2009

What Obama has called the most sweeping economic package in US history (see video), was signed into law just a few hours ago.  The Act will support a reduction in taxes, investment in green technology, and ostensibly save some 3 million jobs in what have been billed as critical areas – broadband, roads, levies, mass transit, high-speed rail, education, health care modernization, smart meters in homes, increased research funding…  All of these are areas of investment designed to create productivity, and save working families and government institutions money.

What seems to be missing though is a plan for financial recovery.  Ah yes, finance is being handled by Geithner in a separate Bank Bailout (see video here). It may be true, as Obama said in the inaugural address, that economic strength is derived from ‘the makers and doers of things’. What is perhaps puzzling is that financial agents are not seen as productive – as active doers and makers of things and value – and not just as supportive of economic activity through the flow of credit.

Geithner has suggested that “the financial system is working against economic recovery”.  What if the productivity of the financial system is at the heart of economic recover?  Unfortunately, the systems of production and finance continue to remain separate objects of governance in the eyes of the state…

For the plan’s transparency, visit You can read the full 1073 page bill here. And light of Daniel’s last post on tombstones (toys that mark deals on Wall Street) check out the ‘save the date’ magnet add on the bottom of this ABC news blog.

8 Responses to “Signed with 10 Pens: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act”

  1. Peter Says:

    What if the productivity of the financial system is at the heart of economic recover? Unfortunately, the systems of production and finance continue to remain separate objects of governance in the eyes of the state…

    And do you think the productivity of the fin system is indeed at the heart of economic recovery? I don’t see that as being the case in the slightest. Say more, please.

  2. danielbeunza Says:

    I looked for the magnet ad, but could not find it.

    As for the comment of where do banks stand –aid to recovery or hindrance to it– I think I second Peter’s comment: I’d be curious to know your own view on this.

  3. typewritten Says:

    Yes, unpacking needed.

  4. marthapoon Says:


    Save The Date Magnets

    50-$59.95 100-$89.95 – Why pay more? We Can Ship The Next Day – $9.95

  5. marthapoon Says:

    Guys, you seem puzzled!

    The word ‘recovery’ in the title of the act indicates a return to a state of being that once was. The question is, can reinvestment in a traditional production economy actually recover the kind of economic growth that the US has seen since, oh, say the bubble? – A growth that appears to have been largely fueled by consumer spending sustained by new techniques of consumer finance.

    From a consumer perspective, I’m not sure it is through salaries that Americans have been making their money, so much as it has been by leveraging the availability of credit. Therefore, it is unclear to me how preserving jobs will replace the economic machine that has just broken down.

    The question is, what is the engine and what is the fuel? It seems to me that finance has become the engine of economic production where as it is being treated as the fuel…

  6. typewritten Says:

    Ok. Very convincing.

  7. danielbeunza Says:

    Thanks. By the way, save-the-date magnets are a great example of why tombstones are such remarkable artifacts. Tombstones do so much more than magnets.

    Magnets involve projects with simple membership — a wedding, involving a couple, whereas tombstones stabilize projects with uncertain participants.

    Magnets are a supplement for people with limited scheduling skills (save-a-date), whereas tombstones are helpful once the project has taken place, potentially for years into the future.

    And magnets are flat — in an office, they can only be seen by the user, or the visitor, whereas tombstones are three dimensional, to be shared by visitor and user… they are both memento and trophy.

    No disrespect to magnets… but I’ll take a tombstone before a magnet anytime.

  8. […] notion of economic calculation can is very relevant to the realm of public policy and Obama’s stimulus plan. According to the newspaper, the policy of stimulating expenditure through monthly installments of […]

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