Here comes the money (Part I):
With the stroke of a pen — at a decidedly "green" event in Denver this afternoon — President Obama will open the spigots on the largest federal spending bill in U.S. history. The questions around the table here this morning: Where does the money go? How soon? Before anyone gets a new job, how many layoffs are to be halted? (You’ll recall that Mr. Obama consistently refers to the millions of jobs that are to be "created or saved"; a big number will come from state workers who’d been told their jobs were gone — and who may now find a saviour in the stimulus package). Also — where exactly are the "shovel-ready" projects? When will the stimulus shovels be put to use? And so on.
Here comes the money (Part II):
Well, carmakers GM and Chrysler certainly hope the money is coming. Both companies face a deadline today to present their restructuring plans to the government: The GM plan is reportedly a 900-page commitment to a new way of running the business, the key word being "viability," without which the federal help may not be forthcoming.
There goes the money (Part I): Stocks are heading south — about 215 points as we write.
There goes the money (Part II): California is out of cash. And Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has told state legislators to "bring your toothbrushes" to a marathon session aimed at striking a deal on budget cuts.
Other news today: Hillary Clinton sits down with our Martha Raddatz in Tokyo — offering a slightly softer tone on North Korea, an argument that the financial mess threatens global security, and a grave concern about the news from Pakistan (where the one-time tourist haven of Swat Valley has been ceded to militants); still in that part of the world, Japan’s Finance Minister slurs his way through a news conference — and resigns afterwards; the first high-level trials open against the architects of the Khmer Rouge genocide; Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez faces the press at spring training, for the first time since his steroid use bombshell; and Diane Sawyer revisits the issue of widespread use of Mountain Dew by children and even infants in Appalachia. Diane’s documentary on Appalachia — which first aired last Friday — covered a great many traumas facing the "children of the mountains" in Appalachia, and this one had generated a big response.
A busy day. Stay tuned…