Change may have happened at the top, but both the lower and upper houses of our Congress still suck. If you peruse The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 you will see many pork projects brought to you by House Democrats and a huge amount of the bill dedicated to tax cuts, brought to you primarily by Republicans, who year after year fail to provide any ideas for our economy beyond tax cutting. According to Talking Points Memo, the Senate draft looks even more disappointing.
Here is brief summary of my problems with the House Stimulus Bill:
- Too much pork!! Way too much going towards pork projects and programs that have nothing to do with economic stimulus (billions for student financial aid, energy assistance for seniors, and a number of pork projects like the $200 million revitalization of the National Mall)
- Too much (approx. $300 billion) going towards tax cuts or credits, most of which will not creates jobs or stimulate the economy
- Far too little going towards rail and public transportation projects (only $10 billion) and a disproportionate amount going towards highways ($30 billion)
- Only $18.5 billion going towards the DOE's energy efficiency and renewable energy projects
- $8 billion for the DOE's Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program
- $4.5 billion for modernization of our electricity grid (smart grid!)
- $2.4 billion for Carbon Capture and Sequestration demonstration
- $2 billion for the DOE's Advanced Research Projects
- $1 billion for the Advanced Battery Loan Guarantee Program
- $600 million for Plug-ins and Hybrid vehicles for the Federal Government's Vehicle Fleet
- $600 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's climate sensors and climate modeling technology
- $350 million for the R&D and evaluation for improvements in energy generation, transmission, regulation, use, and storage, for military installations, military vehicles, and other military equipment (An energy independent Military?)
Sunlight Labs extracted the appropriations from the bill into a spreadsheet, where you can view the stimulus funds appropriated to each department. They were baffled that they were only able to find $356.4 billion in appropriations within the text of the bill. Where is the other $475 billion? Well, $300 billion of it is going towards tax cuts for individuals and businesses. I think some tax cuts for small businesses makes a lot of sense, but additional tax cuts or tax rebates for individuals? Last year's tax rebate showed that the any positive impacts due to the fiscal stimulus checks were both minimal and temporary, and now we are going to try to tax cut our way to prosperity again? We need to start building things again!
***Please note that Obama has stated to House Republicans that he "had no pride in authorship of the current bill. " THANK GOD Obama isn't as clueless as some of the idiot House Democrats. Good god - don't these people realize that it is time for change instead of the same old bullshit in our politics and legislation?!
Obama could bring us this stimulus package, the first major piece of legislation during his presidency, in two ways. He could pull a George W. Bush and simply rubber stamp a bill produced by his own party. The other option is to do the right thing. He could make both parties put country first by working together to draft a bi-partisan bill that will create jobs, improve our infrastructure, and put us on the road to energy independence. That is the kind of change we need! If Obama wants to turn this stinker around, and improve his already high approval rating, he will do something audacious. He will veto this dog shit of a bill when it gets passed in both the House and Senate. He will piss off the members of his own party by demanding that they remove the funding for the pork projects, and he will ask them to replace some of the tax rebates /cuts with tax cuts for small businesses, which will show some love to the Republicans.
NOTE: Pennsylvania is slated to receive $22.07 billion of the stimulus money, with a little over $2.3 billion going towards the state budget shortfall. I would bet that Governor Rendell makes sure that the North Shore Connector gets that $120 million it needs in order to be completed.
The Washington Post has a good story on the Democrats who oppose the stimulus plan as is.