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Stimulus Bill: What is In This Crap Sandwich Factory of a Bill?

February 2, 2009

Words of Wisdom from the Left:

Honest?

Honest?

– “We won the election. We wrote the bill.”   – Nancy Pelosi

– “Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” – R. Emanuel

 

 Let the Democrats and President Obama take full credit for this “Stimulus” Bill.   – Trust, But Verify

Why call it a “stimulus” bill when “spending” also begins with an “S” and both contain eight letters, not to mention “spending” seems more consistent with what is going on here.  Enjoy the money flying out of the taxpayer’s pockets … and going to ………

$30 billion, or less than 5% of the spending in the bill, is for fixing bridges or other highway projects

(As Peter Orszag, the President’s new budget director, told Congress a year ago, “even those [public works] that are ‘on the shelf’ generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus to the economy.”)

$600 million more for the federal government to buy new cars. Uncle Sam already spends $3 billion a year on its fleet of 600,000 vehicles.  Most of this will be to replace the cars with vehicles using “alternative fuels”. 

$200 million to re-sod the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

$276 million to fix/replace computers at the State Department (really?, most computers are made overseas these days, even Dell).

$7 billion for modernizing federal buildings and facilities (why is this in a “stimulus” bill when it is clearly a spending project that could create savings over the long term .. it doesn’t stimulate anything in the short-term)

$1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years

$2 billion for child-care subsidies

$50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts

$650 million to repair dilapidated Forest Service facilities (noble, but not a short-term economic stimulus plus few can even afford a vaca).

$400 million for global-warming research

$2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects

$252 billion is for income-transfer payments — these are not investments that arguably help everyone, but cash or benefits to individuals for doing nothing at all. There’s $81 billion for Medicaid, $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits, $20 billion for food stamps, and $83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don’t pay income tax. While some of that may be justified to help poorer Americans ride out the recession, they aren’t job creators and belong in a separate bill, not one being sold as a “job creating” package.

$650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons

$8 billion for renewable energy funding

$54 billion will go to federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as “ineffective” or unable to pass basic financial audits. (including the Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, the 10 federal job training programs, and many more).

$66 billion to the Department of Education .. that is more than the entire Education Dept. spent just ten years ago. Again, what jobs will this stimulate?  (Some $6 billion of this will subsidize university building projects. If you think the intention here is to help kids learn, the House declares on page 257 that “No recipient . . . shall use such funds to provide financial assistance to students to attend private elementary or secondary schools.” Horrors: Some money might go to nonunion teachers).

Consistent with what the WSJ recently opined, the larger fiscal issue here is whether this spending free-for-all will become part of the annual “budget baseline” that Congress uses as the new floor when calculating how much to increase spending the following year, and in future years. Democrats insist that it will not. But it is hard to believe that Congress will cut spending next year on any of these programs from their new, higher levels. What is likely is that this “emergency” and “job creating” spending will become a permanent addition to federal outlays — increasing pressure for tax increases in the bargain.

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