Saturday, February 7, 2009

A “bipartisan” bill?."

"A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe." -- President Obama, Feb. 4.

In response to President Obama’s sky is falling prediction, The House and Senate drove in high gear to “save the country”. But fearful that their effort would fail, they called for “bipartisan legislation” to share the blame.

Obama said he wants to bring Republicans into the mix, pledging to listen to them, praising the late-Friday negotiations. Obama said that "by the evening, Democrats and Republicans came together in the Senate and responded appropriately to the urgency this moment demands."

What is the ultimate “bipartisan bill” that Obama heralded; it is legislation that has three discredited Senators who list themselves as Republicans supporting it. Days and days of news reports exclaimed the “negotiations” with Republicans to produce a bipartisan senate spending/stimulus bill after all Republicans refused to support the House version. Finally with the assent of the least conservative Republican-denominated senators the Democrats proudly proclaimed the incredible, worse piece of ---- (legislation) ever passed in the country’s history was deemed a successful bipartisan act.

Unlike Democrats who hang together to avoid hanging separately, there are too many in the Republican column that are willing to “compromise” with Democrats even if it means setting aside any semblance of political distinction between sensible basic conservative principles and leftist expansionist government. The Republican Party should withdraw party credentials of Senators Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter.

Tax cuts worth $18 billion were dropped from the measure. The agreement also reduced the income cap for workers who would benefit from Obama’s $1,000 payroll tax credit, to $140,000 for married couples and $70,000 for singles from $150,000 and $75,000, respectively; yet these “bipartisans” said it would be an improvement.

Speaking for the renegades, Maine Senator Collins said “This compromise greatly improves the bill,” and said that she, Maine Senator Snowe and Pennsylvania Specter would support the bill. So what was the price of their perfidy; a reduction of merely $100 billion in non stimulating pork from a trillion dollar government expansion.

Democrats, who control the Senate with 58 votes, need support from at least two Republicans to gain the 60 votes needed in Monday’s procedural vote and bring the bill up for approval; Collins, Snowe and Specter will provide the needed votes to allow Obama and his socialist-inclining cohorts to inflict a substantial change on America’s historical system of checks and balances where authority not expressly granted under the Constitution to the federal government is retained by the people and the states.

President Obama said it would be “inexcusable” for Congress to get “bogged down in distraction, delay or politics as usual” over the stimulus legislation “while millions of Americans are being put out of work.” So how many jobs will the bill provide?

One of Obama’s supporters of the bill, Senator Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat who led the push to reduce that total, said after agreement was reached with the three renegades that he and other lawmakers worked “line by line, dollar by dollar” to cut more than $100 billion.

‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs’

The plan they produced is “about jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said.


U.S. Senator James Inhofe said of the “compromise” bill "that despite the reduction of $100 billion from the total, “the fact is we still face a trillion dollar spending bill. Making it worse, the bill is 93% spending and only 7% stimulation”.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, whose analysis are traditionally relied upon by congress, said the “The Obama stimulus is harmful over long haul. President Obama's economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he (Obama) were to do nothing”. The CBO said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing. In a letter to Senator Judd Gregg, the incoming Secretary of Commerce, the Congressional budget Office said it estimates that by 2019 the Senate legislation would reduce GDP by 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent on net. [The House bill] would have similar long-run effects. CBOs basic assumption is that, in the long run, each dollar of additional debt crowds out about a third of a dollars worth of private domestic capital, CBO said in its letter.

Another undesirable aspect is that in their rush to do something Congress has given up control over how the money is spent, leaving the decision to bureaucrats around the country. Fred Wertheimer of the congressional watchdog group Democracy 21 said "Someone has to decide how money gets spent. It's either going to be Congress or the executive branch or states or municipalities.”

Sarah Binder of the Brookings Institution also spoke to this: “If members of Congress aren't writing into the bill how the money will be spent, then someone else must make those decisions — or, in this case, a lot of people. Because there is so much money here, and in so many different forms, there is no single pathway for the money to go out to states and localities”. “When this bill passes, a Niagara Falls of money will flow out of Washington and into the accounts of state highway commissioners, governors and legislatures, local school boards, county executives — even mayors. It raises a whole host of questions about how efficiently money can be spent, how effectively it will be spent, how quickly money can be spent, just because there's no set process here for determining how money will get out the door to create jobs or, as the president said, to save jobs."

All good points wouldn’t you say?

But the Democrats don’t like when questions are raised, especially if asked about what amounts to special earmarks in the bill. U.S. Representative David Obey, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, helped write the bill and says he doesn't like being asked about earmarks. "We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds … and with all due respect, that's the least important question facing us on putting together this package." However that doesn't mean Congress will be responsible if the money is spent badly, he says.

If Congress isn’t responsible for spending trillions of dollars, how could they responsibly give away so much taxpayer money?

"The person who spends the money badly will be responsible. If money is spent badly, we want to know about it so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice. And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made." Those stupid decisions are in addition to the stupid decisions made by Congress.

David Walker, a former U.S. comptroller general, said “the bill appears to have no mechanism for directing spending. It's left up to those state and local officials, who may or may not have the ideas or the means to spend it appropriately. And that will lead to "a series of disappointments that it's too late to do anything about."

It's not just the 628 pages of the bill which means nobody in congress reads it, it is the huge number of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections it contains. In just two examples of non-stimulus special provisions are the $88.6 million for new construction for Milwaukee Public Schools, which the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports have shrinking enrollment, 15 vacant schools and, quite logically, no plans for new construction and $150 million for livestock (and honeybee and farm-raised fish) insurance.

It is a fraud on the public to rush through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus -- and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus.

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell had it right “Now, if most Republicans were convinced that this would work, there might be a greater willingness to support it. But all the historical evidence suggests that it's highly unlikely to work. And so, you have to balance the likelihood of success versus the crushing debt that we're levying on the backs of our children, our grandchildren, and, yes, their children."

Yes the Obama/Democrat purported stimulus bill is a sham and yes America will suffer irrevocably, but the shame of all this is that three Republicans in name only joined with the leftists in Congress and the White House to give cover for the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the country. This should be a lesson to the Republican Party that we should not have such a “broad tent” that it encompasses those who don’t adhere to the conservative principles that have enabled the Party to win elections and govern in the past, Ronald Reagan being just one example.


BeyondGreen said...

No one single factor affects our economy more than the cost of fuel.This past year the high cost of fuel did serious damage to our economy and society.The trickle down effects are far reaching from higher production and shipping costs to higher energy bills.After a brief reprieve at the pump gas is heading back up as OPEC continues to cut production.We need to invest in America becoming energy independent .Create cheap clean energy,BADLY needed new green jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign fuel. Most families went broke at the pump alone this past year. Added to the burden were the skyrocketing cost of groceries and other consumer goods .Consumers cut back because they had less to spend. Sadly that was a real economical catch-22 resulting in even more layoffs. I just read a profound book by Jeff Wilson called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. We have so much available to us, wind, solar, biofuels, hybrid technologies. We need to invest in America. It would cost the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive an electric car at the current average electric rates. The electricity to charge the car could come from solar or wind generated electricity. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and SUV's instead had plug-in electric drive trains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota. What powerful resources we have largely ignored. OPEC will continue to cut production until they reach their desired 70-100. per barrel again. We are at their mercy. WE need to get on with getting ourselves out from under this heavy burden to our society.

Vincent G. Gioia said...

Good comment.


Ted said...

No to “stimulus” bill. Here’s why:
Since Obama’s earnest drive to convince the nation to weaken its economic strength through redistribution as well as weaken its national defense, has confirmed the very threats to our Republic’s survival that the Constitution was designed to avert, it no longer is sustainable for the United States Supreme Court and Military Joint Chiefs to refrain from exercising WHAT IS THEIR ABSOLUTE CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY TO DEFEND THE NATION FROM UNLAWFUL USURPATION. The questions of Obama’s Kenyan birth and his father’s Kenyan/British citizenship (admitted on his own website) have been conflated by his sustained unwillingnes to supply his long form birth certificate now under seal, and compounded by his internet posting of a discredited ‘after-the-fact’ short form ‘certificate’. In the absence of these issues being acknowledged and addressed, IT IS MANIFEST THAT OBAMA REMAINS INELIGIBLE TO BE PRESIDENT UNDER ARTICLE 2 OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. Being a 14th Amendment ‘citizen’ is not sufficient. A ‘President’ MUST BE an Article 2 ‘natural born citizen’ AS DEFINED BY THE FRAMERS’ INTENT.