We Wrote The Bill

Ok, now it’s time to sober up some from the euphoria from earlier this week. Let’s think about math.

1 billion is 1000 million.

As I write this, the current price tag of the stimulus is $825 billion and the news quotes Pelosi as saying that they are not done yet. It may go higher. But let’s use the $825 billion figure for our analysis.

Here are some of the provisions of the plan (which is still being drafted):

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

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

3. 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.

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

5. $825 billion is enough to give every person living in poverty in the U.S. $22,000.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.”

The plan is comprehensive in the sense that no Democratic Holy Grail goes unfilled (with money). Funding for that have lost their health insurance. Funding for states that have failed to plan for the crisis. Tax credits for first time home buyers. Infrastructure, energy, and science.

Apparently, Republicans thought that the post-partisan Obama would include them in deliberations over the new stimulus bill. Of course, there is a little thing called the Democratic congress standing in the way. In today’s Washington Post, there is this

Just days after taking office vowing to end the political era of “petty grievances,” President Obama ran into mounting GOP opposition yesterday to an economic stimulus plan that he had hoped would receive broad bipartisan support.

Republicans accused Democrats of abandoning the new president’s pledge, ignoring his call for bipartisan comity and shutting them out of the process by writing the $850 billion legislation. The first drafts of the plan would result in more spending on favored Democratic agenda items, such as federal funding of the arts, they said, but would do little to stimulate the ailing economy.

The GOP’s shrunken numbers, particularly in the Senate, will make it difficult for Republicans to stop the stimulus bill, but the growing GOP doubts mean that Obama’s first major initiative could be passed on a largely party-line vote — little different from the past 16 years of partisan sniping in the Clinton and Bush eras.

“Yes, we wrote the bill. Yes, we won the election,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters yesterday, saying Republicans were not being realistic in their expectations.

Whipping the Republicans

Whipping the Republicans

I remember during the debates, Mr. Obama took Mr. McCain to task for suggesting hearings to determine what went wrong with the economy. I recall Mr. Obama saying something to the effect that “We know what went wrong and we know how to fix it.” Time will tell. It does not seem like the $825 billion stimulus is going to create or protect as many jobs as it might.

I don’t know why people think that, simply because Barack Obama is elected, Democrats like Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Waters, and Waxman are going to suddenly become post-partisan politicians that suddenly put their country first. It looks like they are up to their old tricks, spreading money around to their favorite causes. Hey, if some jobs get saved, great!

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