I wanted to mention Sen. Tom Coburn’s Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, but I didn’t get chance.
Coburn gets right to the heart of the matter this pork stuffed crap sandwich “will not only fail to stimulate the economy, but could seriously delay economic recovery.”
As the Senate considers a massive $1.1 trillion stimulus bill, it is vital that the American people ask hard questions of their elected officials. When they do, it will become very clear that the bill will not only fail to stimulate the economy, but could seriously delay economic recovery.
As a nation, we got into this mess by spending and investing money that didn’t exist. We won’t get out of it by doing more of the same.
Yet this is precisely what this bill proposes we do. Less than 10% of the bill could be considered true stimulus, if one assumes tax credits and infrastructure spending will jolt the economy. The other 90% of the bill represents one of the most egregious acts of generational theft in our nation’s history, with taxpayer money going to special-interest earmarks, an ill-conceived bailout to states, and permanent spending increases that expand government’s reach in areas like health care and education.
Coburn also highlights a wide array of wasteful and non-stimulus spending and questionable policy provisions on his web site:
Wasteful and Non-Stimulus Spending Provisions
- $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Dept. of Energy defunded last year because the project was inefficient
- A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film
- $650 million for the digital television (DTV) converter box coupon program
- $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship)
- $448 million for constructing the Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters
- $248 million for furniture at the new Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters
- $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees
- $400 million for the CDC to screen and prevent STD’s
- $1.4 billion for a rural waste disposal programs
- $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities
- $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion
- $75 million for “smoking cessation activities”
- $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges
- $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI
- $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction
- $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas
- $6 billion to turn federal buildings into “green” buildings
- $500 million for state and local fire stations
- $650 million for wildland fire management on Forest Service lands
- $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities
- $1.2 billion for “youth activities,” including youth summer job programs
- $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service
- $412 million for CDC buildings and property
- $500 million for building and repairing NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD
- $160 million for “paid volunteers” at the Corporation for National and Community Service
- $5.5 million for “energy efficiency initiatives” at the VA “National Cemetery Administration”
- $850 million for Amtrak
- $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint
- $75M to construct a new “security training” facility for State Dept 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.
- State Medicaid Bailout: $87.7 billion Through 3 different mechanisms, the bill would provide additional federal funds to state Medicaid programs over the next 3 years. This is nearly $70 billion more than the governors asked President Obama for in December, and should be a loan to be repaid by the states.
- Eliminates fees on loans from the Small Business Administration, thus pushing private capital toward unproductive businesses and away from productive businesses.
- Increases the definition of “youth” for certain summer job programs from age 21 to age 24.
- $160 million to the Job Corps program at the Dept. of Labor, but not for job programs – rather, to construct, alter or repair buildings.
- Requires a government study on the impact of minimum wage laws on the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa.
- $79 billion State Fiscal Stabilization (slush) Fund to bailout the States by providing billions of dollars for “education” costs of any kind.
- $47.843 billion is appropriated for a variety of energy programs that are primarily focused on renewable energy development and energy conservation/efficiency. Not one dollar is appropriated to make fossil fuels more affordable in the near future. More than $6 billion of these funds go to environmental clean ups.
- Increases eligibility for “weatherization” assistance to households 200 percent above the poverty level.
- The “Making Work Pay” credit of $500 to every individual making less than $75,000 (or $1000 to couples making $150,000 or less) would pay people whether they are productive or not – akin to welfare.
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – food stamps) would temporarily suspend the 3-month limit for non-working adults to receive SNAP benefits, thus giving incentives not to find a job.
- Installs government as the creator of broadband deployment regardless of whether the specific local/regional market can sustain it.
- Funds new “green jobs” job-training program without eliminating inefficient job-training programs or consolidating duplicative job-training programs.
- $890 million to the Social Security Administration without any provisions to reduce improper payments, or any plan to increase solvency of the trust fund.
- Nothing requires the products that are purchased with these funds be here in America. Lithium ion batteries, for instance, are primarily made in Asia.
I’m not opposed to the government taking steps to jump start the economy, but the bill Democrats are proposing is a pork laden 40 year wish list of democratic spending and policy priorities masquerading as a “stimulus bill”.
We have to face reality… We have never spent our out of a recession and we’re not going to do it this time. The only thing this bill will do is add a trillion dollars to the deficit and saddle our children and grand children with a debts they can’t repay.