timely quote

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president.

Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The AP drools all over Obama about the porkulus bill

From Yahoo News:
In a struggle lasting several weeks, lawmakers in the two political parties both emphasized they wanted to pass legislation to revitalize the economy and ease frozen credit markets. But the plan that the administration and its allies eventually came up drew the support of only three Republicans in Congress — moderate Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.
Time to vote them out of office. The AP doesn't mention the 11 Democrats in the house that voted against the bill, jut the Republicrats that voted for it.

The AP mentions about $100 billion of the spending:

The legislation, among the costliest ever considered in Congress, provides billions of dollars to aid victims of the recession through unemployment benefits, food stamps, medical care, job retraining and more. Tens of billions are ticketed for the states to offset cuts they might otherwise have to make in aid to schools and local governments, and there is more than $48 billion for transportation projects such as road and bridge construction, mass transit and high-speed rail.

Democrats said the bill's tax cuts would help 95 percent of all Americans, much of the relief in the form of a break of $400 for individuals and $800 for couples. At the insistence of the White House, people who do not earn enough money to owe income taxes are eligible, an attempt to offset the payroll taxes they pay.

After breaking down all of the "good" stuff this bill is supposed to do, the AP somehow fails to account for the other $650 Billion which goes to things like:
  • $3 billion for a National Healthcare database
  • A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.
  • $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.
  • $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.
  • $6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings.
  • $160 million for "paid volunteers" at the Corporation for National and Community Service.
  • $5.5 million for "energy efficiency initiatives" at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.
  • $850 million for Amtrak.
  • $75 million to construct a "security training" facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.
  • $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems.
  • $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.
{list from Gunslinger, who has a much longer list)

There's an excellent graphic at Washingtonpost.com that breaks down the bill's spending. Even the Wall Street Journal thinks it is out of control. Some of these things might be useful, but put them in their own bills and let their merits be debated. Don't drop a 1071 page bill on people's desks in the afternoon and vote the next day. Where's the "new higher standard of accountability, transparency and oversight. We are going to ban all earmarks, the process by which individual members insert projects without review."

The problem is that it won't really do much and may actually harm the economy's growth. The AP says that the CBO criticizes the one provision that shelters the top money earners:
In a bow to political reality, lawmakers included $70 billion to shelter upper middle-class and wealthier taxpayers from an income tax increase that would otherwise hit them, a provision that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said would do relatively little to create jobs.
But that's a little white lie. The CBO did criticize something. The ENTIRE bill:

President Obama's economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.

CBO estimates that by 2019 the Senate legislation would reduce GDP by 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent on net. [The House bill] would have similar long-run effects, CBO said in a letter to Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, who was tapped by Mr. Obama on Tuesday to be Commerce Secretary.

{emphasis mine}

You know why, right? Even through the CBO is staffed with Demococrats, they're still economists, and they understand how money works. They also said that although it may create jobs initially, it would have no effect on the longer term.
CBO did project the bill would create jobs, though by 2011 the effects would be minuscule.
So basically, what we have is a huge spending bill that will put our grandchildren in debt, and it will only help (a tiny little bit) for a couple of years, then will start dragging us down even further.

Good job Democrats. If Obama had any honor, and if this was more about stimulating the economy and less about winning, then Obama would send it back and remind Congress that he promised to ban pork from this bill. How soon the press (and the President) forgets.


Joan of Argghh! said...

I think we've sailed past "jury" and are headed for "ammo."

Glad you're still writing.

folly said...

Yeah, I'm still here. Just took a little break. Can't get rid of me that easily. :)

I think the jury will take a shot at it in 2010 after the "stimulus" fails, his weakness brings about new attacks and the Republicans win back congress.

While it's scary to think of how far he can run the country in the ground before the next set of elections, I believe this will be a self-fixing problem. The ballot box will fix this one in a couple of years. The people will see the failures and fix congress, then the presidency.