17 Jan

The Mother of All Pork Bills

                                       

2009-paul-j
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

What’s worse than fiscally irresponsible Republicans controlling taxpayer purse strings? Democratic majorities in both Houses controlling taxpayer purse strings. And President-Elect Obama is finding that bipartisan agreement is unlikely when it requires both sides to compromise their visions for what is good for the country:

The president-elect’s efforts to win over Republicans — in keeping with a campaign promise to end Washington gridlock — ignited a backlash within his own party. Obama has dedicated 40% of the package to tax reductions, divided evenly between business and middle-class tax cuts. But Democratic leaders are dissatisfied and want more focus on direct spending, less on tax relief.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) told reporters Wednesday the package needed a single focus: “Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.”

“It must create jobs immediately, and it must contribute to the long-term stability of our economy to continue to create jobs,” she said.

Last Thursday, House Democrats proposed an $825 billion stimulus package that is shamefully laden with pork that does not appear to have much to do with job creation for the purposes of economic stimulation:

GOP lawmakers also balked at the thousands of individual projects designated for funding in the House plan. “Oh, my God,” House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said to reporters. “My notes here say that I’m disappointed. I just can’t tell you how shocked I am at what I’m seeing.”

~~~

Acknowledging concerns about potential government waste, Congress is creating a Web site — http://www.recovery.gov — to allow the public to track stimulus spending and file complaints. Obey said about 60 percent of the spending portion would assist states, local governments and local nonprofit organizations in providing social services, and that most of the money would be spent based on funding formulas.

“No earmarks,” the chairman asserted.

And yet looking at the House Bill, it appears to be more of the same borrow and spend that has gotten us into so much of our economic woes in the first place.

WaPo:

The House measure is far larger than lawmakers envisioned when the stimulus idea surfaced last fall and, as the recession shows signs of worsening, Democrats predict the price tag could grow to nearly $1 trillion before the bill reaches Obama’s desk.

The Senate has yet to add their own “wish list” to the bill.

To fathom what “1 trillion” is like, Thomas Sowell put it into these terms: “one trillion seconds ago, humanity still hadn’t figured out how to read or write yet.”

Hugh Hewitt on his radio program brought attention to a new website, ReadtheStimulus.org, where you can read the entire 334 page bill in pdf format. The site also has a search function, so you can type in keywords and find (or not find) specific passages in the bill; such as a search for whether or not there’s any mention of “nuclear power plants” (there isn’t any). The site will also update with future versions of the bill, including what comes out of the Senate.

Hugh Hewitt:

The president-elect is a hoops player. The House proposal amounts to the greatest head fake ever. He had many of us believing that the stimulus package would actually embody a centrist approach, using proven methods of economic growth based in tax cuts and real infrastructure improvements like nuclear power plant construction.

The impacts on the deficit are chronicled by Heritage’s Conn Carroll, but the obvious reality is that this is a bill from the far left side of a largely left-leaning House leadership.

Either the president-elect demands it be overhauled in the Senate or we will know in the first month just how far to the left the new president really is on matters domestic. At least then we can put away the idea that he is about transforming politics. Pork and payoffs by any other name are still pork and payoffs.

Related reading:
Obama, Stimulus Proposals Enjoy Broad Backing in Poll

This entry was posted in Congress, Economy, Obamanomics, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Saturday, January 17th, 2009 at 6:00 pm
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12 Responses to The Mother of All Pork Bills

  1. JustADude says: 1

    Very sad news for all to hear..word is out that Bill Faith has passed.

    A good man is gone.

    ReplyReply
  2. chipset says: 2

    This is sickening. For every job that the government creates, it is a larger burden for the private working man.

    Why is the government stealing my money to give it to BofA, GM, Chrysler among others. This is exactly why we are where we are today.

    ReplyReply
  3. These people are out of their minds.

    Got your duct tape handy?

    Wrap your head snugly. The tape will not prevent your head from exploding but the doctors in the ER will have all the pieces available for reassembly.

    Here’s a sampling of the details:

    -$6 billion to weatherize “modest income homes.”
    -$6 billion to provide internet in “underserved” areas

    -$6 billion for “higher education modernization.”

    -$20 billion in health information technology to “prevent medial mistakes.”

    -$20 billion to increase food stamp funding

    -$87 billion to provide a “temporary” increase in Medicaid funding

    -$300 million to provide rebates for people who purchase Energy Star products

    -$600 million for the federal government to buy brand new energy efficient cars

    -$400 million for state and local governments to buy brand new energy efficient cars

    -$2.4 billion for carbon capture demonstration programs

    -$350 million to research using energy efficient technology on military bases

    -$300 million for grants and loans to state and local governments for projects that reduce diesel emissions, “benefiting public health and reducing global warming”

    -$500 million for energy efficient manufacturing demonstration projects.

    -$400 million to build major research facilities “that perform cutting edge science”

    -$1.5 billion for expanding “good jobs in biomedical research”

    -$400 million “to put more scientists to work doing climate change research”

    -$600 million for satellite development and acquisitions, including climate sensors and climate modeling.

    -$250 million “to address long-term economic distress in urban industrial cores and rural areas distributed based on need and ability to create jobs and attract private investment.”

    -$650 million to continue the coupon program to enable American households to convert from analog television transmission to digital transmission.

    -$300 million for the National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries

    -$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts

    -$400 million for “ready-to-go habitat restoration projects”

    -$2 billion to provide child care services for an additional 300,000 children in low-income families while their parents go to work.

    -$120 million to provide subsidized community service jobs to an additional 24,000 low-income older Americans

    -$1.5 billion to help local communities build and rehabilitate low-income housing using green technologies.

    -$500 million to rehabilitate and improve energy efficiency at some of the over 42,000 housing units maintained by Native American housing programs

    -$10 million for “rural, high-need areas to undertake projects using sustainable and energy-efficient building and rehabilitation practices”

    Does your head hurt yet?

    Here’s more analysis:

    # The House Democrats’ bill will cost each and every household $6,700 additional debt, paid for by our children and grandchildren.

    # The total cost of this one piece of legislation is almost as much as the annual discretionary budget for the entire federal government.

    # President-elect Obama has said that his proposed stimulus legislation will create or save three million jobs. This means that this legislation will spend about $275,000 per job. The average household income in the U.S. is $50,000 a year.

    # The House Democrats’ bill provides enough spending – $825 billion – to give every man, woman, and child in America $2,700.

    # $825 billion is enough to give every person living in poverty in the U.S. $22,000.

    # $825 billion is enough to give every person in Ohio $72,000.

    # Although the House Democrats’ proposal has been billed as a transportation and infrastructure investment package, in actuality only $30 billion of the bill – or three percent – is for road and highway spending. A recent study from the Congressional Budget Office said that only 25 percent of infrastructure dollars can be spent in the first year, making the one year total less than $7 billion for infrastructure.

    # Much of the funding within the House Democrats’ proposal will go to programs that already have large, unexpended balances. For example, the bill provides $1 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which already have $16 billion on hand. And, this year, Congress has plans to rescind $9 billion in highway funding that the states have not yet used.

    # In 1993, the unemployment rate was virtually the same as the rate today (around seven percent). Yet, then-President Clinton’s proposed stimulus legislation ONLY contained $16 billion in spending.

    # Here are just a few of the programs and projects that have been included in the House Democrats’ proposal:

    * $650 million for digital TV coupons.
    * $6 billion for colleges/universities – many which have billion dollar endowments.
    * $166 billion in direct aid to states – many of which have failed to budget wisely.
    * $50 million in funding for the National Endowment of the Arts.
    $44 million for repairs to U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters.
    * $200 million for the National Mall, including grass planting.
    * $400 million for “National Treasures.”
    # Almost one-third of the so called tax relief in the House Democrats’ bill is spending in disguise, meaning that true tax relief makes up only 24 percent of the total package – not the 40 percent that President-elect Obama had requested.

    # $825 billion is just the beginning – many Capitol Hill Democrats want to spend even more taxpayer dollars on their “stimulus” plan.

    One final batch of analysis:

    1) “$150,000,000 for repair, revitalization, and alteration of facilities owned or
    occupied by the Smithsonian Institution.” Save The Smithsonian: Save Jobs!

    2) $50,000,000 for the National Foundation on the Arts
    and Humanities Act of 1965. Rescue a Poor Artist: Save Jobs!

    3) Wetlands scam purchases: “$175,000,000 is for necessary expenses to purchase and
    restore floodplain easements as authorized by section 403
    of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978″. Save a Poor Developer: Save Jobs!

    4) $650,000,000 for the DIGITAL-TO-ANALOG CONVERTER BOX PROGRAM
    Digital for All: Save Jobs!

    If you made it this far then you understand why you needed to wrap your head.

    ReplyReply
  4. old trooper says: 4

    This is the largest violation of the Public Trust in my lifetime. The initial $350 Billion was pisssed away with Zero Accountability and Zero effect on “main street” that is measurable.

    Is is quite frankly a felonious continuation of rape, pillage & plunder of the Treasury by folks that cannot be trusted to exercise one ounce of sound judgement or honest administration of anything.

    Millions, Billions & Trillions thrown to the breeze by folks that never ran a business, made a payroll or worked an honest day in their lives. I am thoroughly disgusted and clearly offended by the perpetuation of waste, fraud & abuse of Taxpayer funds.

    We are in for 4 very dark years at the hands of fools, crooks & incompetents.
    God help us.

    ReplyReply
  5. Acknowledging concerns about potential government waste, Congress is creating a Web site — http://www.recovery.gov — to allow the public to track stimulus spending and file complaints.

    Oh yeah… that’ll work.

    The federal government is the most wasteful, least efficient spender on the planet. And every dollar this plan takes out of the economy is one less dollar that businesses and individuals will have to spend on things that DO make the economy grow.

    And what’s worse is that as we print more money to spend on these boondoggle projects, the less the value of our current savings and assets will be worth.

    This is the most massive crapshot of all time. And no one knows what will happen when the $825 billion is spent and the problems in the economy persist or become worse. At that point the Goose that lays the golden eggs will be long dead and the left overs consumed.

    Look for a REAL depression to set in sometime in the next six years if not sooner. Unfortunately, that leaves a window for Obama and these economic witch doctors in congress to get re-elected.

    ReplyReply
  6. Spend yourselves to death, americans. You guys are gonna become the financial slaves of the rest of the world for the next 20 years, courtesy of Barack Obama, whose one and only aim is to destroy american power.

    ReplyReply
  7. GaffaUK says: 7

    Out of interest – what’s the solution you guys recommend to get us out of the financial mess Obama has inherited? Tax cuts?

    ReplyReply
  8. JGalt says: 8

    GaffaUK Well here you are again.

    We need productive jobs and encouragement of industry. We need to decrease the burden of carrying the bloated government on our backs.

    Yep tax cuts sounds like a plan. Lets unfund some of the above garbage and let people spend their own money modernizing and expanding rather than feathering political nests and playing out some brainless fantasy of how the world ought to be.

    ReplyReply
  9. GaffaUK says: 9

    @JGalt

    You be surprised to know – that I reckon this is a tricky one. I don’t like bloated governments at all. Problem is that I would of thought that during recession people don’t spend. If you let them keep more of their money – are they going to spend when the forecasts look so gloomy or are they going to save? It’s a problem of fear. Whilst I’m not convinced of Keynesian monetary policy – if it injects money into real projects and infrastucture then it can boosts jobs and confidence. At the moment I see lots of companies downsizing and losing people which in turns makes people tighten their belts, spend less which adds to more lost sales and lost jobs etc.

    Did it work for the New Deal?

    ReplyReply
  10. blast says: 10

    Wordsmith:”Democratic super-majorities in both Houses controlling taxpayer purse strings. “

    The Democrats have majorities, but not even a 3/5’s majority in the senate to force cloture, nor the 2/3 (the real definition of a super-majority) that can override a Presidential veto, or begin an Amendment to the Constitution.

    The democrats only possess a simple majority in the congress.

    ReplyReply
  11. Wordsmith says: 11

    You’re right. I wasn’t thinking technically, but partisanly. Will edit and correct. Thanks.

    ReplyReply
  12. Thomas B. says: 12

    Umm… Does Pelosi know how jobs are made?

    Businesses create jobs. The ability for a business to start-up, grow and prosper is greatest engine for job growth across ALL sectors of the economy. Relying on government aid is not a business model that has ever proved successful. Somebody should tell Pelosi that unions and the government has never started a private business and has never “created” jobs. The best thing Congress can do to spark job creation is to make the cost of doing business cheaper. This includes regulatory reform, tax cuts, and dropping of import/export restrictions. I doubt this will happen and the US will see the rebirth of the Carter era. At least it sets up the Republican party for a “Regan Revolution”. We just need to find the leaders that are capable of this.

    ReplyReply

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