THE SUPER-SIZED BOONDOGGLE
February 12, 2010
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that the Stimulus II plan -- reportedly with an $85 billion price tag -- was a "really nice piece of legislation." You'll have to take his word for it since no one outside the Democratic leadership and K Street had seen an actual bill as of Tuesday afternoon. Few will read the whole thing before casting their hasty votes. And once again, we'll only be informed of the last-minute sweeteners, Cash for Cloture handouts and backroom deals after the ink of the president's signature is dry, says columnist Michelle Malkin.
- Public-sector unions are pushing hard to include their precious card-check plan, which would allow Big Labor bosses to sabotage workers' rights to a federally supervised private-ballot election.
- Democrats plan to stuff a reauthorization of the Patriot Act into the bill to make it harder for Republicans to oppose it.
- It will also include a $20 billion bailout for the beleaguered federal Highway Trust Fund, which has been raided for years to pay for bike paths, beautification programs and other pet projects, while its core targets -- basic roads and bridges -- have deteriorated.
- Democrats will throw in some small-business tax breaks and a temporary payroll tax holiday gimmick, supported by some Republicans, for companies that hire unemployed workers.
What we do know for sure:
- The $154 billion Stimulus II passed in the House on a party-line vote in December is crammed to the gills with special-interest spending.
- Half of the money would go to government bureaucracies already overflowing with Stimulus I money.
- Nearly $30 billion would go to protect public-sector union employees in state governments.
While tax relief would be temporary (Democrats always make sure of that), the Reid bill will follow the House version in continuing the endlessly "temporary" extension of jobless benefits that will cost billions of dollars and encourage more and longer unemployment. That's on top of the $58 billion in jobless benefit extension funds paid out by Stimulus I, says Malkin.
Additionally, President Obama wants $23 billion added for a fraud-friendly "Cash for Caulkers" weatherization program. Instead of returning the money to reduce the debt as stipulated in the law, Obama is also pushing to siphon $30 billion from the ever-morphing Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP), says Malkin.
Source: Michelle Malkin, "The Super-Sized Census Boondoggle," Jewish World Review, February 10, 2010.
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