*HOUSE PASSES BILL 244-188NO REPUBLICANS VOTE FOR SPEND SPREE IN HOUSE*
"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." White House Chief of Staff Rahm EmanuelHogzilla started with the best of intentions as do most other Democrat big spending programs. Despite the fact that credit markets are improving after the first dose of $350 billion in the Bush bailout plan, Democrats insisted we had to act fast to do more because.... well...it's a crisis you know!!!
Starting weeks after his election Obama's plan began to take shape as Democrats first hinted at a plan costing in the range of $500 to $700 billion. But Democrats rushed to add billions more for their favorite programs quickly taking the estimated cost to $775 billion in the first week of January only to climb over $825 billion then $850 billion last week.
As Congress prepares to expedite passage of the bill the amount now reaches $900 billion with the total cost of the debt incurred taking the package over $1.2 trillion.
When you consider that all federal spending for budget year 2008 was less than $3 trillion you quickly realize that we are embarking on the most massive big government spending spree of all time. [Note to any conservatives disgruntled with Republican big spenders... we warned you that Dems would make things MUCH worse.]
Both House and Senate [searchable text] versions of the bill are staggering in the amounts and the sheer complexity and scope of the legislation. The Wall Street Journal sums it up by calling it "A 40-Year Wish List:"
A 40-Year Wish List
You won't believe what's in that stimulus bill.
The Wall Street Journal
January 28, 2009
...This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.
We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $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; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There's even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.
In selling the plan, President Obama has said this bill will make "dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy." Well, you be the judge. Some $30 billion, or less than 5% of the spending in the bill, is for fixing bridges or other highway projects. There's another $40 billion for broadband and electric grid development, airports and clean water projects that are arguably worthwhile priorities.
Add the roughly $20 billion for business tax cuts, and by our estimate only $90 billion out of $825 billion, or about 12 cents of every $1, is for something that can plausibly be considered a growth stimulus. And even many of these projects aren't likely to help the economy immediately. 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."
Most of the rest of this project spending will go to such things as renewable energy funding ($8 billion) or mass transit ($6 billion) that have a low or negative return on investment. Most urban transit systems are so badly managed that their fares cover less than half of their costs. However, the people who operate these systems belong to public-employee unions that are campaign contributors to . . . guess which party?
Another "stimulus" secret is that some $252 billion is for income-transfer payments -- that is, 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.
As for the promise of accountability, some $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. These include the Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, the 10 federal job training programs, and many more.
Oh, and don't forget education, which would get $66 billion more. That's more than the entire Education Department spent a mere 10 years ago and is on top of the doubling under President Bush. 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.
The larger fiscal issue here is whether this spending bonanza 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 into the future. Democrats insist that it will not. But it's hard -- no, impossible -- to believe that Congress will cut spending next year on any of these programs from their new, higher levels.
The Wall Street Journal scratches just the tip of a the most monstrous iceberg of congressional pork spending of all time. That may be Democrats objective. Load this Hogzilla up with so much crap that it just overwhelms us all.
Whether it's the education and environmental groups or ACORN this bill is starting to look like one massive pay for play reward to loyal Democrat supporters.
Payoff to ACORN?We're reminded that it was only January 7th when then President Elect Obama said this:
House Republican Leader John Boehner issued a statement over the weekend noting that the stimulus bill wending its way through Congress provides $4.19 billion for "neighborhood stabilization activities."
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., told FOX News Tuesday that the money could be seen as "payoff" for groups' political activities in the last election. ACORN generally supports Democratic candidates and actively backed President Obama last year.
"It's just a long list of spending items. Not a real economic stimulus job creation bill," Vitter said. "It's line after line after line of favorite liberal spending programs, and it amounts to a big government bill -- not a job creation bill."
OBAMA: We’re not going to be able to expect the American people to support this critical effort unless we take extraordinary steps to ensure that the investments are made wisely and managed well. And that’s why my recovery and reinvestment plan will have - will set a new higher standard of accountability, transparency, and oversight.In addition to the above, does President Obama now suggest that the following, which are also part of the bill, are essential to his economic recovery plan?
We are going to ban all earmarks, the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review.
- $1.5 billion for a "carbon capturing contest"
- $45 million for offroad trails.
- $400 million for HIV and chlamydia testing.
- $75 million for smoking cessation.
At least Democrats dropped millions for birth control after laughter erupted when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that it was necessary for economic recovery. And Las Vegas can now pay for it's own Mob Museum, Rhode Island won't get the $4.8 million they wanted for a polar bear exhibit and Miami will have to do without the $1.5 million for a water park ride. But who knows whether some of that and more will sneak back into the final version?
Jeff Jacoby, writing at the Boston Globe reminds us of this Reagan parable:
RONALD REAGAN loved to tell the story of the unfailingly cheerful little boy who wakes up on Christmas morning to find, instead of presents, an immense pile of manure. Undaunted, he grabs a shovel and starts digging. "With all this manure," he says excitedly, "there must be a pony in here someplace!"
Is there a pony somewhere in the $825 billion "stimulus" plan that Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to bring to a vote this week? The Congressional Budget Office started digging into this immense pile of, uh, deficit spending, and what it found would discourage even a Reagan-caliber optimist.
There Will Be Cuts.... In Defense!
For those who were concerned that Obama might totally abandon his pledge to cut government spending, not to worry. WH Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel assures us that there will be budget cuts. But it's likely that most of them will be in the Dept. of Defense taking away the tools and training our troops need to keep them safe and succeed in their mission.
Republicans Have a Better Plan
Republican leaders in both the House and Senate have been adamant in their opposition to this bogus economic recovery spending spree. They continue to repeat that the correct course is tax relief that puts money back into the hands of American families who can generate economic activity faster than any government program. The danger of taking a $trillion or more out of the free market economy during a credit crunch and filtering it through the inefficient and wasteful government programs is clear to those on the GOP side of the aisle.
History has proven GOP economic principles work. Will Dems be held accountable after wasting trillions with little to show for it?