Only the blurry edges of an Obama stimulus package have taken shape, but one thing is clear enough — this thing is going to be huge. Will it be $500 billion, $600 billion, $1 trillion?
And officials everywhere, of course, are scrambling to decide what projects they can push out front.
"Whatever's in this plan, I want to be sure we're best-positioned" with a slate of spending ideas, U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews (D., N.J.) told a brainstorming business group yesterday at the Camden waterfront offices of Susquehanna Bank.
What kind of wish list comes out of such a meeting? First Colonial National Bank chief executive officer Gerard Banmiller suggested government-backed car loans to spur consumer spending. Delaware River Port Authority CEO John Matheussen noted more than $1 billion worth of projects-in-waiting. Andrews himself noted road improvements, and the long-held plan for a modern Paulsboro port.
The president-elect said Sunday that his recovery plan would make the biggest infrastructure investment since Eisenhower created the interstate-highway system.
"People would like him to take his hand off the Bible and sign the bill," Andrews said of Obama. Afterward, he acknowledged the need for caution "so that there aren't bridges to nowhere in the bill … But there's a greater risk to doing nothing."
Unisys Corp., the ailing Blue Bell computer-services company, was notified last week that its listing on the New York Stock Exchange is in danger because its share price is below $1. It closed yesterday at 52 cents.
No worry. Unisys directors on Friday authorized a reverse stock split to lift the price.
The exchange requires, among other things, that a member company's share price not languish below $1 for more than 30 consecutive trading days. Unisys' price was last above a buck on Nov. 6, when it closed at $1.30. On Nov. 7 — the day Standard & Poor's said it was dropping Unisys from the S&P 500 index because of its low market capitalization — the shares sank to 91 cents.
The company said it will schedule a shareholder vote on the reverse-split plan during the first half of 2009.