The Pork Behind the Stimulus Package

So despite Obama’s claims that the economic stimulus bill wouldn’t have any pet projects or earmarks, the house is set to vote on a near $900 billion dollar package that includes pet projects, like $335 million for STD prevention. STD prevention? How does that stimulate the economy? Isn’t stimulus a big reason for STD’s in the first place? Adding to that, there is money set aside for Amtrak, global warming research, medicaid, buying new government cars, welfare, nutrition programs, on and on and on.

Basically, the left is using this supposed resucue registration as an opportunity to pass
all of their pet projects, a chance to pass everything they couldn't pass in the last 40 years, under the disguise of an economic crisis. They figure if they can make people panic enough about the economy, they can pass whatever piece of legislation they want. It's like White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said in November: "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."

Take a look at the graphic below, and you'll notice how much is going to programs that won't provide much if any economic growth or create many jobs, unless you hold a doctorate degree in some environmental study:
From the Wall Street Journal:

We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There's even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.

In selling the plan, President Obama has said this bill will make "dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy." Well, you be the judge. Some $30 billion, or less than 5% of the spending in the bill, is for fixing bridges or other highway projects. There's another $40 billion for broadband and electric grid development, airports and clean water projects that are arguably worthwhile priorities.

Add the roughly $20 billion for business tax cuts, and by our estimate only $90 billion out of $825 billion, or about 12 cents of every $1, is for something that can plausibly be considered a growth stimulus. And even many of these projects aren't likely to help the economy immediately. As Peter Orszag, the President's new budget director, told Congress a year ago, "even those [public works] that are 'on the shelf' generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus to the economy."

.pdf file of bill

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