Stimulus stupidity alert: $460,000/Coast Guard job, $1.5 bil “carbon capturing contest,” $400 mil chlamydia/HIV tests, $45 mil for ATV trails & more!
Yellow Limes calls your attention to more stimulus stupidity in the Senate version of the bill:
Here are some numbers/items (remember, all in the name of “saving jobs, and saving America’s economy”):
Page 41: The Coast Guard wants more than $572 million for “Acquisition, Construction, & Improvements” They claim these funds will create 1,235 new jobs. Crunch the numbers and this brings the cost of “creating” each job to a staggering $460,000+
Page 23: $200 million for Dep. of Defense to acquire alternative energy vehicles.
Page 32: $1.5 billion (with a “B”) for a “carbon-capturing contest”
Page 64: $3.5 billion for higher education facilities. This is ridiculous as I know in Georgia the Board of Regents has imposed a “temporary” (yea right!) $75 fee per student during this economic crisis. The funds from this per-student fee stays at the school and is used to offset current budget shortfalls.
We at AASU are starting construction on our new student center, all paid for by student fees. No tax money has been used during any process of this planning. How about asking other higher education institutions to do the same, or hold off on any renovations, additions, etc.?
Tom Jones notes another $200 million for DoD plug-in car stations and crunches the numbers: 53,526 plug-in cars = >$3700/car.
And check these out:
P. 45: “$25,000,000 is for recreation maintenance, especially for rehabilitation of off-road vehicle routes, and $20,000,000 is for trail maintenance and restoration.” ATV owners, rejoice.
P. 60: $400 million for HIV and chlamydia testing.
The WSJ pulls out the porkiest pork in the House version of the bill.
Here’s another lu-lu: Congress wants to spend $600 million more for the federal government to buy new cars. Uncle Sam already spends $3 billion a year on its fleet of 600,000 vehicles. Congress also wants to spend $7 billion for modernizing federal buildings and facilities. The Smithsonian is targeted to receive $150 million; we love the Smithsonian, too, but this is a job creator?
Another “stimulus” secret is that some $252 billion is for income-transfer payments — that is, not investments that arguably help everyone, but cash or benefits to individuals for doing nothing at all. There’s $81 billion for Medicaid, $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits, $20 billion for food stamps, and $83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don’t pay income tax. While some of that may be justified to help poorer Americans ride out the recession, they aren’t job creators.
As for the promise of accountability, some $54 billion will go to federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as “ineffective” or unable to pass basic financial audits. These include the Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, the 10 federal job training programs, and many more.
Oh, and don’t forget education, which would get $66 billion more. That’s more than the entire Education Department spent a mere 10 years ago and is on top of the doubling under President Bush. Some $6 billion of this will subsidize university building projects. If you think the intention here is to help kids learn, the House declares on page 257 that “No recipient . . . shall use such funds to provide financial assistance to students to attend private elementary or secondary schools.” Horrors: Some money might go to nonunion teachers.
The larger fiscal issue here is whether this spending bonanza will become part of the annual “budget baseline” that Congress uses as the new floor when calculating how much to increase spending the following year, and into the future. Democrats insist that it will not. But it’s hard — no, impossible — to believe that Congress will cut spending next year on any of these programs from their new, higher levels. The likelihood is that this allegedly emergency spending will become a permanent addition to federal outlays — increasing pressure for tax increases in the bargain. Any Blue Dog Democrat who votes for this ought to turn in his “deficit hawk” credentials.
This is supposed to be a new era of bipartisanship, but this bill was written based on the wish list of every living — or dead — Democratic interest group. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it, “We won the election. We wrote the bill.” So they did. Republicans should let them take all of the credit.
Drudge picks up on the STD funding in the House bill.
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