That pretty much sums up just how rotten the Porkulus bill is. That some tinkering around the edges could greatly improve it shows just how much we need to get into this thing and fix it and change it's entire character from focusing on everyone's unfunded projects to what can really help the economy.
What has happened with this bill, and, I guess, why a bureaucrat like Obama can actually think it's a good thing and immediately necessary, is that every project that has never made the cut when we thought (semi-) rationally about appropriations has been dredged up in an effort to get money moving quickly, and to prevent the time it would take to actually consider worthwhile projects that would similarly get people working.
You know how this goes, because unless you are self-employed, you have seen this in big corporations or in the government. The end of the fiscal year approaches, and there is a big pot of money (I know in my old Corporate Behemoth it used to be capital dollars) left to spend, and you're told, "Spend it or lose it." Usually in the real world, there are worthwhile projects that you wanted to do, but probably either cut before or pared back, so this represents an opportunity to get those going again. In the government, it's an opportunity to do the same, but the projects usually should never have started in the first place (except in DoD, of course).
At any rate, this Porkulus is the same thing, and we have President Obama believing that when he requested "shovel ready" projects, that was what he was going to get. Instead, he may have gotten a few (hundred) billion dollars worth of those, but he also got a ton of crap, too.
I do not want to see this thing passed. If we were going to get some highway and construction projects moving quickly, and couple that with some serious tax reductions (reduce cap gains and the corporate tax rates, and even just making the Bush tax cuts permanent - check out the Senator Jim Demint, R-SC, American Options Plan), this might be more palatable. But, as it is, it is a bunch of pork that will not get mostly spent until 2010 and 2011 and the tax rebates are too weak to have any stimulative effect. So, by Nancy Pelosi's accounting, by this time next year, 5,000,000,000 (that's right 5B) Americans will be out of work.
Here are a couple of other things I want you folks to read:
- Mark Steyn on Obama - in which Steyn opines on the audacity of pork and hope
- On NPR's Morning Edition yesterday, there was much discussion about how the Porkulus money should be spent and who should spend it. One thing is for sure, Democrats don't want YOU to make those decisions, you ignoramouses. Remember this Bill Clinton gem (on the surplus, oh...happy days!), "We could give it all back to you and hope you spend it right... But ... if you don't spend it right, here's what's going to happen. In 2013 -- that's just 14 years away -- taxes people pay on their payroll for Social Security will no longer cover the monthly checks... I want every parent here to look at the young people here, and ask yourself, 'Do you really want to run the risk of squandering this surplus?' "
- Charles Krauthammer on how "Hope and Change" became "Disaster and Catastrophe"and the age of New Politics is really just the same old politics.
- Heritage Foundation on why this didn't work for Japan in the 1990's and left them in a decade-long recession