Cross-posted by Gary Fouse
"Now that's what I call stimulation."
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. That's what this obscene boondoggle of a spending bill that is winding its way through Congress has been named. For one thing, any time you see the government using the term "investment"-or in this case-"reinvestment", it's time to hold on to your wallet. Translation= tax and spend.
Of course, President Obama and the Democrats are telling us that the purpose of this bill is "to stimulate the economy". They tell us that the situation is so urgent that the bill must be passed immediately. Translation= We want it passed before it is held to public scrutiny because it is so flawed that if the people could really understand what the bill is about, they would never accept it. This is the same reasoning that we heard about the urgency to confirm Tim "Turbo-Tax" Geithner as Treasury Secretary and get him working to save the American economy-this the man who used Turbo-Tax do do his taxes and wound up owing the Government over $34,000.
Today, the bill, now totaling some $825 billion, passed the House with all Republicans voting against it along with a dozen Democrats.
As I write this piece, I am gazing down the list of proposed expenditures. What this is is simply a massive spending/welfare bonanza-and for what?
* Note that there may have already been changes in the below expenditures as the bill goes through Congress.
The first thing I see is some 140 billion going to Infrastructure; roads, school construction and repair, upgrade parks. That doesn't sound too bad, but then I think about how the folks in Congress are going to be fighting to get bridges and federal buildings built in their districts so they can get their names on them. Robert Byrd (D-WV) of course, is the master of this. There must be a few hundred bridges, schools, roads, highways, and public restrooms named after him in West Virginia. John Murtha (D-PA) isn't far behind.
The Infrastructure heading also lists 2.25 billion dollars for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program Block grant "to enable state and local governments, in partnership with community-based organizations, to acquire, construct, and rehabilitate affordable housing and provide rental assistance to poor families."
Then there is 5 billion dollars to the public housing capital fund "to enable local public housing agencies to address a 32 billion backlog in capital needs-especially those improving energy efficiency in aging developments."
2.1 billion for full-year payments to owners receiving Section 8 project-based rental assistance.
Neighborhood Stabilization Fund- 2.25 billion for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes.
How about the Homeless Prevention Fund 1.5 billion for homeless prevention "activities"?
How about 1.4 billion to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for scientific research, infrastructure and competitive grants?
So much for the "Infrastructure". Now we move to Education and Training.
There is 13.9 billion to increase the Pell Grant maximum award and pay for increased program costs..........
There is 13 billion to "help close the achievement gap and enable disadvantaged students to reach their potential."
Under Training, we see the following:
A total of $3.4 billion for "job training including formula grants for adult, dislocated worker and youth programs".
Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants- $500 million for state formula grants "to help individuals with disabilities prepare for and sustain gainful employment.
Employment Services Grants-$400 million to "match unemployed individuals to job openings through state employment service agencies and allow states to provide customized reemployment services."
Under Energy, we see a total estimated expenditure of 51 billion "to provide INVESTMENTS in the development of "clean, efficient, American energy......."
More specifically, $40 billion to the Department of Energy to do whatever they do to develop "clean, efficient, American energy."
2.6 billion to "replace older motor fleet vehicles owned by the Federal Government, with alternative fuel automobiles that will save on fuel costs and reduce carbon emissions." (New G-cars for federal employees).
$6 billion for "Green Buildings" to repair federal buildings using green technology...."
$1.3 billion for grants or loans to "owners" for energy and green retrofit investments. (What owners?)
$613 million to DOD for energy efficiency upgrades and construction of "alternative energy projects" including wind and solar power..."
400 million for rural businesses initiatives including development of renewable energy.
* At this point, the reader might want to take a breath and ask, "What is being stimulated here?".
But there is more.
Under the Heading, Protecting the Vulnerable, we have;
$16.5 billion for additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly the Food Stamp program).
500 million for Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). 150 million for food banks.
$4.6 billion to increase investments in early childhood programs.
Community Development Financial Institutions- 250 million "to immediately provide capital to qualified community development financial insttuions (CDFIs) to invest in the development of under served communities."
Social Services Block Grant- 400 million for "states and local non-profits to deliver critical services to unemployed and low-income individuals struggling with the effects of the recession."
Under Health (total expenditure-16 billion dollars)
- $5 billion to "jump start efforts to computerize health records..."
This is not a complete list of the expenditures, and the final bill will probably look different in some ways. I think you get the idea however that this is not only a gigantic pork barrel scam, but it also reflects more government involvement in our lives, a return to government welfare-and has little to do with stimulating the economy. It is nothing more than a huge government spending program that would make Lyndon B Johnson blush.
"I heard that!!"
And who is going to pay for this 800 plus billion dollar program? We are, that's who. There is only one way to pay for all this irresponsible government spending, and that is by raising taxes.
I would urge you to follow this bill and pull up the latest version on-line as it proceeds to final passage. It's our money, folks.