NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

HISTORIC STIMULUS OR EGREGIOUS WASTE?

February 13, 2009

Congress is confident it will send President Obama a stimulus bill to sign by Monday's holiday. Unless something unforeseen happens, what lawmakers will put on his desk is a $789 billion waste, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

It overflows with pork:

  • It gives $2 billion to ACORN, an anti-capitalist "community" group that's been accused of voter registration fraud; $30 million to restore wetlands and save the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse in the San Francisco Bay Area (a Nancy Pelosi project); another $1 billion for a Prevention and Wellness Fund for education programs on sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Tens of billions will be spent on high-speed rail lines, which will be of little practical use but of great political service, and projects to expand high-speed Internet access in rural areas.

It rewards bad behavior:

  • By releasing $800 billion in new welfare spending over the next decade and undermining current work requirements, it will largely undo the successful 1996 welfare reform.
  • States that have spent recklessly for years will get bailouts when they should instead suffer the consequences of their actions.
  • The compromise bill includes $54 billion to hand out to state and local governments, a perverse reward for elected officials who can't control their spending.

What's missing from the legislation is just as significant as what's included, says IBD:

  • There are no tax cuts to boost investment, just a trifling $13 in tax relief per week that will appear on paychecks in the spring.
  • There's no real effort to boost energy production.
  • There's no meaningful defense spending.

Tax cuts initiated at the White House gave life to struggling economies in the 1960s, 1980s and earlier in this decade.  Rather than take money out of the private sector and sift it through Washington, from where it is doled out through the political process, it's more effective to let Americans keep more of what they earn.  Tax relief spurs the investment that fuels business expansion, drives productivity upward and feeds job creation, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Historic Stimulus Is Egregious Waste," Investor's Business Daily, February 13, 2009.

 

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