Deficits, and debt, as far as the eye can see

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on February 13, 2009

The House of Representatives earlier today passed a "stimulus" plan that not a single one of them had read. The bill, totaling 1,071 pages, was finally printed at about midnight last night. The House passed it less than 24-hours later -- far less than the 48 hours they had promised to allow lapse so the public could read the bill.

Soon, those who still have jobs, will see their paychecks increase by about $13 a week due to this legislation. Analysts predict that a single Starbucks in Schenectady, N.Y., will be saved by the rebate.

Contrary to President Barack Obama's assertions, most economists don't support this plan. Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens, contrary to President Obama's claims, said the stimulus plan will not allow him to immediately re-hire laid-off workers. Instead, Owens said that more layoffs were likely to come before anyone is re-hired.

Speaking of jobs, it appears that a whole lot of the "saved or created" jobs actually exist -- or more likely do not exist -- due to "rounding."  Rounding is blamed for more than 25,000 missing jobs in California and nearly one-quarter of the jobs in Wyoming.

Then there's some non-existent pork in the bill, how any of this is stimulative I don't know:

    • $8 billion for high-speed railway (including an earmark for an Los Angeles to Las Vegas MagLev)
    • $1 billion for the “FutureGen” not-ready-for-primetime near zero emission plant in Illinois
    • $53.6 billion for the “state stabilization” slush fund
    • $1.3 billion for Amtrak
    • $24 million for USDA buildings and rent
    • $176 million for renovating Agricultural Research Service buildings
    • $290 million for flood prevention activities
    • $50 million for watershed rehabilitation
    • $1.4 billion for wastewater disposal programs
    • $295 million for administrative expenses associated with food stamp program
    • $1 billion for the 2010 Census
    • $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges and libraries
    • $650 million for the DTV converter box coupon program
    • $360 million for construction of NIST buildings
    • $830 million for NOAA research and facilities
    • $2 billion for Byrne JAG program
    • $10 million to combat Mexican gunrunners
    • $125 million for rural communities to combat drug crimes
    • $1 billion for the COPS program
    • $1 billion for NASA
    • $300 million to purchase scientific instruments for colleges and museums
    • $400 million for equipment and facilities at the NSF
    • $3.7 billion to conduct "green" renovations on military bases
    • $375 million for Mississippi River projects
    • $10 million for urban canals
    • $5 billion for weatherizing buildings
    • $2 billion to develop advanced batteries for hybrid cars
    • $3.4 billion for fossil energy research (possibly including an earmark for FutureGen)
    • $5.1 billion for environmental cleanup around military bases
    • $5.5 billion for "green" federal buildings
    • $300 million for "green" cars for federal employees
    • $20 million for IT upgrades at the Small Business Administration
    • $200 million to design and furnish DHS headquarters
    • $210 million for State and local fire stations
    • $125 million to restore trails and abandoned mines
    • $146 million for trail maintenance at National Park Service sites
    • $140 million for volcano monitoring systems
    • $600 million for the EPA Superfund environmental cleanup program
    • $200 million to clean up leaking underground storage tanks
    • $500 million for forest health and wildfire prevention
    • $25 million for the Smithsonian Institution
    • $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
    • $1.2 billion for "youth activities" (for "youth" up to 24 years old)
    • $500 million earmark for NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD
    • $1 billion for Head Start
    • $32 million for home-delivered nutrition services
    • $160 million for volunteer programs at the Corporation for National and Community Service
    • $500 million earmark for the SSA National Computer Center in MD
    • $220 million for the International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. and Mexico

    And what does the annual deficit start looking like after you've spend all this money?

    I'd hold onto that $13 bucks you're going to be getting each week. The government's going to want it back -- and more.


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    February 2009
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