Sunday, February 08, 2009

An Outline Of What Is Wrong With The Stimulus Package

Stephen Spruiell & Kevin Williamson have written a list--as of Thursday--of 50 De-Stimulating Facts:
Senate Democrats acknowledged Wednesday that they do not have the votes to pass the stimulus bill in its current form. This is unexpected good news. The House passed the stimulus package with zero Republican votes (and even a few Democratic defections), but few expected Senate Republicans (of whom there are only 41) to present a unified front. A few moderate Democrats have reportedly joined them.

The idea that the government can spend the economy out of a recession is highly questionable, and even with Senate moderates pushing for changes, the current package is unlikely to see much improvement. Nevertheless, this presents an opportunity to remove some of the most egregious spending, to shrink some programs, and to add guidelines where the initial bill called for a blank check. Here are 50 of the most outrageous items in the stimulus package:
Here is the list. Read their article for their explanations.
VARIOUS LEFT-WINGERY
  • $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
  • $380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children program
  • $300 million for grants to combat violence against women
  • $2 billion for federal child-care block grants
  • $6 billion for university building projects
  • $15 billion for boosting Pell Grant college scholarships
  • $4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion for “youths” up to the age of 24
  • $1 billion for community-development block grants
  • $4.2 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities”
  • $650 million for digital-TV coupons; $90 million to educate “vulnerable populations”

POORLY DESIGNED TAX RELIEF
  • $15 billion for business-loss carry-backs
  • $145 billion for “Making Work Pay” tax credits
  • $83 billion for the earned income credit

STIMULUS FOR THE GOVERNMENT
  • $150 million for the Smithsonian
  • $34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters
  • $500 million for improvement projects for National Institutes of Health facilities
  • $44 million for repairs to Department of Agriculture headquarters
  • $350 million for Agriculture Department computers
  • $88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building
  • $448 million for constructing a new Homeland Security Department headquarters
  • $600 million to convert the federal auto fleet to hybrids
  • $450 million for NASA (carve-out for “climate-research missions”)
  • $600 million for NOAA (carve-out for “climate modeling”)
  • $1 billion for the Census Bureau

INCOME TRANSFERS
  • $89 billion for Medicaid
  • $30 billion for COBRA insurance extension
  • $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits
  • $20 billion for food stamps

PURE PORK
  • $4.5 billion for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • $850 million for Amtrak
  • $87 million for a polar icebreaking ship
  • $1.7 billion for the National Park System
  • $55 million for Historic Preservation Fund
  • $7.6 billion for “rural community advancement programs”
  • $150 million for agricultural-commodity purchases
  • $150 million for “producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish”

RENEWABLE WASTE
  • $2 billion for renewable-energy research ($400 million for global-warming research)
  • $2 billion for a “clean coal” power plant in Illinois
  • $6.2 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
  • $3.5 billion for energy-efficiency and conservation block grants
  • $3.4 billion for the State Energy Program
  • $200 million for state and local electric-transport projects
  • $300 million for energy-efficient-appliance rebate programs
  • $400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments
  • $1 billion for the manufacturing of advanced batteries
  • $1.5 billion for green-technology loan guarantees
  • $8 billion for innovative-technology loan-guarantee program
  • $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects
  • $4.5 billion for electricity grid

REWARDING STATE IRRESPONSIBILITY
  • $79 billion for State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
Read the whole thing.

When the bill is eventually passed, it will be interesting to see what was cut out--and what didn't.
Meanwhile, check out ReadTheStimulus.org.
Here is a summary of the bill, from Friday (PDF).

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