| | | |
By Gary Starr for The Neville Awards
Posted Feb. 16, 2009
Hey campers! How does a steaming pile of 1073 page $800 billion crap sandwich sound?
Well, the Senate and House just passed their reconciled version of the pork-a-palooza bill and all we at Neville can say is MMM-MMM-Good!. Get out the Pepcid Complete.
As expected Sens. Olympia Snowe (ME), Susan Collins (ME) and Arlen Spector (PA) hosed the Republican Party and voted for this socialist nightmare. (Can't they be primaried when they come up for re-election?) They are useless and a complete disgrace.
What is wrong with you folks in Maine and Pennsylvania?
Of course, no one has actually read the bill...we aren't sure what's in it, and all this after we were told that the bill would be online
for at least two days before any vote was taken. It turns out the lobbyists got it first before anyone on Capitol Hill. So much for the transparency
Nancy Pelosi was in a hurry to get this legislative abomination passed because she was off to see the Pope as of February 14.
Obama was eager to have this thing on his desk because we are, according to him, "on the brink of catastrophe." Then he skipped town with Michelle
for a little Valentine's Day celebration in Chicago. This emergency can just wait until February 17th when he signs the bill in Denver.
Our friends at The Heritage Foundation have actually found that, after calculating all the interest (debt servicing as Democrats like to call it) and the cost of all the pet programs that will receive funding increases, most
of which will undoubtedly remain permanent, the true cost of the bill clocks in at around $3.2 trillion over 10 years. Most notably the stimulus bill abolishes welfare reform (one of Clinton's few accomplishments) and adds new welfare spending.
This is not temporary stimulus but a permanent, massive increase in the federal budget.
Our 'crack investigative staff at Neville' managed to ferret out a few details regarding the bill (actually it was in the Feb. 13, 2009 Wall St. Journal):
- $30 billion
Modernization of the electric grid, advanced battery manufacturing, energy efficiency grants
- $19 billion
Payments to hospitals and physicians who computerize medical-records systems
- $8.5 billion
National Institutes of Health biomedical research into diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cancer and heart disease
- $5 billion
Home weatherization grants to low and middle-income families
- $6.3 billion
Energy efficiency upgrades to federally-supported and public housing, including new insulation, windows and frames
- $29 billion
Road and bridge infrastructure construction and modernization
- $8.4 billion
Public transit improvements and infrastructure investments
- $8 billion
High-speed rail investments
- $18 billion
Grants and loans for water infrastructure, flood prevention and environmental cleanup
- Tax Cuts
- Tax credit for first-time homeowners buying between April 2008 and June 2009 is raised from $7.500 to $8,000, and will not have to be repaid
- $116.2 billion
Workers earning less than $75,000 will get a payroll tax credit of up to $400; married couples filing jointly for less than $150,000 get up to $800
- $69.8 billion
Middle-income taxpayers get an exemption from the alternative minimum tax of $46,700 for an individual and $70,950 for a married male
- $5.1 billion
Businesses can more quickly deduct the cost of investments in plant and equipment from taxable income
- $40.6 billion
Aid to local school districts to balance education budgets, prevent cutbacks and modernize schools
- $87 billion
Temporary increase in federal funding for Medicaid to states
- $2 billion
Funds for communities to buy and rehabilitate foreclosed and vacant properties
- $8 billion
Aid to states for public safety and critical services
- $14 billion
Education tax credit: Partially refundable $2,500 credit for tuition and books expenses
- $17.2 billion
Increase in student aid, including raising maximum Pell Grant to $5,350 in 2009 and to $5,550 in 2010
- $200 million
Extra grants for colleges' work-study programs
- $27 billion
Jobless benefits extended to a total of 20 weeks on top of regular unemployment compensation, and 33 weeks in 29 states with high unemployment
The article continues below:
This from the Wall St. Journal Editorial Page, 2/15/09:
1,073 Pages -- A stimulus bill that's anything but transparent
In his closing remarks on the stimulus bill yesterday, House Appropriations Chairman David Obey called it "the largest change in domestic policy since the 1930s." We'd say more like the 1960s, which is bad enough, but his point about the bill's magnitude is right. The 1,073-page monstrosity includes the biggest spending increase since World War II, but more important is the fine print expanding the role of the federal government across the breadth of American business, health care, energy and welfare policy.
Given those stakes, you might think Congress would get more than a few hours to debate it. But, no, yesterday's roll call votes came less than 24 hours after House-Senate conferees had agreed to their deal. Democrats rushed the bill to the floor before Members could even read it, much less have time to broadcast the details so the public could offer its verdict.
So much for Democratic promises of a new era of transparency. Only this Tuesday the House unanimously approved a resolution promising 48-hour public notice before holding a roll call. Even better, the bill could have been posted on the Internet, as candidate Barack Obama suggested during the campaign. Let voters see what they're getting for all this money. Not a chance.
This high-handed endgame follows the pattern of this bill from the start, with Republicans all but ignored until Democrats let three GOP Senators nibble around the edges to prevent a filibuster. With their huge majorities, Mr. Obey and Democrats got their epic victory. But far from a new, transparent way of governing, this bill represents the kind of old-fashioned partisan politics that Tom DeLay would have admired.