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by Rachel Alexander | February 13th, 2009
Over the next few years, Republicans must collect a list of all the people and worthy causes that will suffer because of this bill. If the Democrats dishonestly take credit when the economy inevitably rebounds, it will mean four more years of Obama and a Democrat-controlled Congress.
Facing a wave of public protest, Democrats in the Senate reluctantly took out a small part of the pork and payoffs in the so-called economic "stimulus bill," mockingly referred to as the "spendulus bill." It is a spending bill, not a stimulus bill. Every single Republican in the House voted against the original House version. Democrats in the Senate needed at least two liberal Republicans to support the bill in the Senate in order to shut down debate, and they got three by making some small cuts. Even so, working it out further with the House, the $789 billion they agreed upon spending is not much less than the House's original bloated $819 billion bill.
The Democrats control both Houses and currently have a powerful mandate due to the election of Democrat President Obama. They will be able to push through considerable legislation early on in his term regardless of what name it is given. Due to the current recession and accompanying high unemployment, a stimulus bill presented the perfect opportunity. Democrats know it is virtually impossible for Republicans to explain to the average American the complexities of a macroeconomic stimulus and why it won't work. They will claim in a few years when the economy naturally rebounds that it was due to their stimulus bill.
Congressional Democrats are banking on the fact that the American people have a short-term memory and do not understand economic swings. The economy rises and falls in cycles; in modern years controlled by the Federal Reserve's tinkering with interest rates. The Democrats know that it will be difficult to explain to the public that the stimulus bill failed to help the economy, because unless something drastic happens like the nationalization of all our major industries, the economy will rebound on its own.
This recession occurred due to a combination of several things happening. The Federal Reserve let interest rates dip very low for a long period of time. Banks made loans they knew were risky, and buyers bought property and investments they knew they could not afford should anything go wrong. Both lending institutions and buyers were at fault. If the Federal Reserve had not manipulated interest rates, the market would have sorted it out on its own and the economy would not have been susceptible to deep swings like this recession.
As long as the Federal Reserve determines when to print more money, injecting more money into the economy and permitting more risky loans, the government will be blamed when the number of risky loans increase, and a clamor will arise for government to fix the situation. Unless Republicans decide to eliminate the Federal Reserve, they are fighting a losing battle trying to defend the complexities of its economic manipulations to the public. Republicans are unlikely to eliminate the Federal Reserve, because many of them believe without its subtle manipulations, society is susceptible to another Great Depression.
There is solid research showing that economic stimuli do not work. Harvard economist Robert Barro found that the biggest government stimulus plan ever, the World War II stimulus package, siphoned off resources from other economic uses, reducing the overall economic benefit rather than increasing it. A Heritage Foundation study found that the Hoover administration increased federal spending by 47% during the first three years of the Great Depression to no avail; unemployment was still at 14.6% 10 years into the Depression. Heritage Foundation reports that spending on infrastructure generally has little effect, in part due to state and local governments' simply moving federal money over to projects they were already going to fund. Only 3.6% of the bill is even directed at infrastructure spending.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that cutting out parts of the House bill would be "very damaging." But directing money to controversial left wing causes like a transgender beauty pageant in Pelosi's state of California and a sexual education class teaching participants how to flirt is not meant to create jobs. STD prevention organizations will benefit from that money, and perhaps a couple new jobs will be created, but essentially the money is wasteful spending on causes that further the left's agenda and oppose conservative principles. Taking advantage of the public's lack of knowledge regarding economic downturns, Democrats packed the initial House stimulus bill full of pork and special interest payoffs that have nothing to do with improving the economy. The original House bill included $246 million for Hollywood, $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, and $75 million for smoking cessation. Spending on federal education would double, $10 million was directed to bike and walking trails, and $4.7 billion for environmentalist projects.
The current version of the bill still contains $30 million in pork to protect the habitat of field mice in Pelosi's San Francisco Bay area district, and a wide-open $4.19 billion for ACORN. Another $2.7 billion is slotted for NIH grants, including research on embryonic stem cells. $1 billion in funding is for a new "Wellness and Prevention" program." $53.6 billion is going to governors and mayors to spend on discretionary items they have requested such as landscaping, stadiums, corporate hangars, and golf courses.
Awarding money to causes like a transgender beauty contest doesn't serve the average American, it serves the radical extremists on the left. Our children will be saddled with debt that will raise their taxes to unheard of levels, because of government spending in nonessential areas when our country is already buried in $10 trillion dollars of debt. The deficit continues to increase each year, reaching $455 billion last year. When interest is included, the stimulus bill will cost almost one trillion dollars.
The biggest problem caused by the current recession is unemployment. If the bill was really meant to stimulate the economy, it would be directed at job creation – preferably capital gains cuts and other tax cuts to stimulate business so jobs will be created. The bill will create 600,000 new jobs, but they are all government jobs, which will require ongoing government money to fund them. The revisions made to the bill in the Senate do little to fix this. The current version includes many of the wrong kinds of tax cuts. Almost $8 million in tax credits is slated for first-time home buyers. This encourages the very type of activity that got us into this recession in the first place, enabling consumers to buy homes beyond their means.
This bill is a disaster and the Democrats should not be allowed to get away with it. In order to prevent the Democrats from taking credit when the economy inevitably rebounds, Republicans should start now using one of the Democrats' most successful tactics against them – emotionally impacting arguments. Republicans should highlight the Americans who will suffer because of the wasteful spending. Spotlight the laid-off dad who can't find a job, because of the bill's payoffs to the unions which only protect their own. Emphasize the things Americans will no longer be able to afford in place of the Democrats' agenda: contributions to church and charities that serve the elderly and underprivileged, signing the kids up for soccer, and family trips to Disneyland. Over the next few years, Republicans must collect a list of all the people and worthy causes that will suffer because of this bill. If the Democrats dishonestly take credit when the economy inevitably rebounds, it will mean four more years of Obama and a Democrat-controlled Congress.