Monday, February 2, 2009

Tax and Spend Neolibs

Democratic congressional leaders and the Obama Administration have hyped the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as an urgent and essential “economic stimulus” package. This bill would be more aptly titled, the Pelosi-Reid Borrow-and-Spend Act! This is a bloated, ill-conceived plan!

The $819 billion “stimulus” package approved by the House last week and the nearly $900 billion version now under consideration in the Senate would add to a federal deficit already projected to reach a record $1.2 trillion this year. This bill is not only one of the largest spending measures ever to pass through Congress, it will cost more over two years than we’ve spent to date on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!
The bill’s ability to fulfill its stated mission of stimulating the economy is also questionable at best. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has concluded that more than half of the hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure spending contained in the bill, such as $26 billion of the $30 billion allocated for highways and $15.5 billion of the $18.5 billion for renewable energy projects, will not take place for more than two years -- long after economists predict the current recession will have ended.
What’s more, the tax cuts in the package are narrowly targeted, with the largest portion going to more rebate checks, a strategy that failed to reverse our economy's slide last year.
Even worse, the bill contains all sorts of special-interest and congressional pet spending projects that have virtually nothing to do with economic growth. As just one example, it allocates $335 million to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Not only will this “healthcare” spending do nothing for the health of our economy, CDC has a track record of using such funds for events like a transgender beauty pageant in San Francisco and a conference, entitled “Got Love? Flirt/Date/Score,” that taught participants how “to flirt with greater finesse.”

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