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Posts Tagged ‘Stimulus’

Coburn unveils Stimulus Silliness

December 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Via the Cato Institute we learn that the Senate’s often provocative fiscal watchdogs, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Senator John McCain of Arizona, have released a new 100 page report detailing some of the sadly goofy uses of stimulus funds. Some of the lowlights of your (and your children’s, and their children’s) tax dollars at play work include:

  • “Almost Empty” Mall Awarded Energy Grant ($5 million)
  • Water Pipeline to a Money-Losing Golf Course ($2.2 million)
  • Grant to Fund Search for Fossils . . . In Argentina ($1.57 million)
  • Bobber the Water Safety Dog Costumes ($21,116)
  • Developing the Next Generation of Football Gloves ($150,000)

And so much more.

The always hilarious Norm points out that some of the projects lead to this being a “stimulus” in more ways than one:

The National Institute of Health (NIH) is using stimulus funds to pay for a year-long $219,000 study to follow female college students for a year to determine whether young women are more likely to ― “hookup” — the college equivalent of casual sex — after drinking alcohol. Researchers will recruit 500 female students prior to their first year of college and contact them monthly over the course of a year to document sexual hookups, noting when there is alcohol involved. It is part of the $7.4 billion the NIH received in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support ―scientific research.

Maybe with all that TARP money rolling back in U.S. Senator Mark Warner and his Dem cronies can set up yet another package to help me get a date….

Goodlatte on the Stimulus and Renewing the Republican Brand

Sorry for just now getting this up, but politics and blogging has not been at the very front of my mind these last few days. At any rate, here are Congressman Goodlatte’s complete remarks from Saturday’s Lincoln Day Dinner, in two parts. Ill have the complete remarks of all three Republican contenders up tomorrow. I apologize for the choppy focus of the video–this is what you get when your videographer is trying to tweet the speeches and film them at the same time. 

The Budget Battle is On

February 19, 2009 Leave a comment

The House has rejected the Senate’s amendments to the budget, meaning that the budget HB1600 is now in conference. The Senate based a large chunk of its bill on the incoming stimulus money. The amendments passed fairly easily. However, there were four votes against it (arguably the last four true conservatives in the Senate). One of them, our own Senator Mark Obenshain, wasn’t going to take this laying down. From the Virginian Pilot:

“I cannot stand here and join the Hallelujah chorus,” said Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, one of the four dissenting votes on the budget.

“We have one-time stimulus money that has been dropped in our laps by the federal government,” Obenshain said, predicting that the economic recession will outlast the effects of the stimulus money. “We’ll feel better for a couple of months, but we’re not going to feel better in June, July and August.”

Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling has similar feelings:

Given the significant infusion of funds provided by the federal stimulus package, I think the Senate did a good job crafting amendments to restore many of the budget cuts that had been made in the Executive Budget.  However, I fear that this is a short term solution to a long term problem.  By relying on one time federal funds to balance the budget we are not addressing the fundamental structural problem in the budget.  Simply put, we are spending more money than we are taking in and we cannot continue to do that.  Unless we see significant economic growth over the next 18 months, we will once again face massive budget shortfalls when the federal stimulus dollars expire.

I’m glad that someone else can keep their head out of the clouds for just a moment to realize what is fundamentally wrong with balancing the state books with the stimulus. Number one, we didn’t win the galactic lottery–this is money that will come from the pocketbooks of hardworking taxpayers is these Senator’s districts, as well as their children, and likely their grandchildren.

Two, although Obama and other Democrats may have talked about fiscal responsibility and streamlining during the campaign, it was never actually about decreasing government. No–rather it was about making government intrusion into your life more efficient and finding dollars to spend on other social and economic band-aids. By throwing this money to the states, Obama is encouraging already voracious state legislators to continue their spending unabated rather than to fundamentally examine what is wrong with “business as usual” in Richmond. 

Three, and in my view most importantly, this fundamentally breaks down the federalist system in America. By making states far more beholden to the federal government and planting in citizens mind’s the idea that Uncle Sam can save, well, just about anything, Obama has paved the way for a centralized government in which states become little more than administrative areas. How are they doing this? Well, by stripping governors of the ability to say yes or no to federal intervention and rather putting in the hands of the budget writers. From Michelle Malkin:

SEC. 1607. (a) CERTIFICATION BY GOVERNOR — Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, for funds provided to any State or agency thereof, the Governor of the State shall certify that: 1) the State request and use funds provided by this Act , and; 2) funds be used to create jobs and promote economic growth.

(b) ACCEPTANCE BY STATE LEGISLATURE — If funds provided to any State in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by the Governor, then acceptance by the State legislature, by means of the adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide funding to such State.

Uncle Sam Will Save Us!

February 18, 2009 1 comment

Word came yesterday that the state’s budget shortfall is even deeper than originally thought. However, according to Governor Kaine, we shouldn’t fear. From the WaPo:

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said Monday that Virginia’s budget shortfall has grown more than 25 percent since December, bringing the gap between revenue and spending to more than $3.7 billion over two years as the economy worsens.

But Kaine (D) told legislative leaders in a closed meeting that the federal stimulus bill, expected to be signed into law Tuesday, will offset the additional $800 million shortfall for the two-year, $77 billion spending plan that runs through June 2010.

However, although this may seem like manna from heaven, this “fix” isn’t exactly without costs. From Tertium Quids:

According to this chart, our impoverished Uncle up North will be cutting the state a nice, guaranteed-not-to-bounce check for various and sundry items, including $1.2 billion for “budget balancing.”

That’s sweet. I’m sure our grandchildren will thank us one day for mortgaging their future to the world’s debt merchants so we can square our books today. 

If we’re lucky, that is. They may decide to show their gratitude by send us all to the crooked old folks home. Or they might develop a taste for Soylent Green.

You didn’t think this money was coming out of thin air, did you? Norm doesn’t even touch upon the rather serious implication of states relying upon federal dollars in order to correct their own fiscal mistakes. How are we to expect that our federalist system will maintain its careful balance when the the federal government is bailing out the states every time mismanagement occurs? Why even have states? 

But these questions are for another time. From the time being, the Senate has adopted a wait and see approach to see just how big of winners we are in the Generational Debt Lotto. t to pass their budget today. Worry not. The fireworks are just beginning.

This Is Your Congress In Action

February 13, 2009 Leave a comment

The House has passed a slightly reduced “stimulus” bill, with again Republicans standing in united opposition to the monstrosity. Representative Tom Price of Georgia shows us how things get down in Nancy Pelosi’s congress, with bills being given to Representatives just hours before the vote and handwritten changes throughout the bill. 

Obama the Fear Monger

February 12, 2009 Leave a comment

George F. Will writes today about the amazing certitude that has possessed both Obama and Congressional Democrats. After running a campaign of hope and change, they seem determined to elicit enough fear and panic to garner the support of average Americans. From Townhall.com:

The president, convinced that the only thing America has to fear is an insufficiency of fear, has warned that “disaster” and “catastrophe” are the certain alternatives to swift passage of the stimulus legislation. One marvels at his certitude more than one envies his custody of this adventure.

 

 

Certitude of one flavor or another is never entirely out of fashion in Washington. Thirty years ago, some conservatives were certain that their tax cuts would be so stimulative that they would be completely self-financing. Today, some liberals are certain that the spending they favor — on green jobs, infrastructure and everything else — will completely pay for itself. For liberals, “stimulus spending” is a classification that no longer classifies: All spending is, they are certain,necessarily stimulative.

Will recounts the last time that Democrats were this certain about the healing power of massive government spending:

resident Lyndon Johnson was embarked on building the Great Society, assisted by policymakers who, wrote Time, “have used Keynesian principles” to smooth the moderate business cycles and achieve price stability: “Washington’s economic managers scaled these heights by their adherence to Keynes’ central theme” that a modern economy can operate at “top efficiency” only with government “intervention and influence.” So, “economists have descended in force from their ivory towers and now sit confidently at the elbow of almost every important leader in government and business, where they are increasingly called upon to forecast, plan and decide.” Ten years later, the “misery index” — the unemployment rate plus the inflation rate — was 19.9, heading for 22 percent in 1980.

I’m not one to wish misery upon this country or to predict economic trends. However, past history shows that Keynesian economics may be good for a short term fix but in the long run can hamper the engines of innovation in our economy. 

Will wraps it up with an apt comparison to the first “100 Days”–but not the one you’re thinking about:

John McCain probably was eager to return to the Senate as an avatar of bipartisanship, a role he has enjoyed. It is, therefore, a measure of the recklessness of House Democrats that they caused the stimulus debate to revolve around a bill that McCain dismisses as “generational theft.”

The federal government, with its separation of powers and myriad blocking mechanisms, was not made for speed but for safety. This is particularly pertinent today because if $789 billion is spent ineffectively or destructively, government does not get to say “oops” and take a mulligan. Senate Republicans have slowed and altered the course of the “disaster! catastrophe!” stampede. Still, as Anthony Trollope wrote in one of his parliamentary novels, “The best carriage horses are those which can most steadily hold back against the coach as it trundles down the hill.”

Not yet a third of the way through the president’s “first 100 days,” he and we should remember that it was not FDR’s initial burst of activity in 1933 that put the phrase “100 days” into the Western lexicon. It was Napoleon’s frenetic trajectory in 1815 that began with his escape from Elba and ended near the Belgian village of Waterloo.

Pelosi: Only those who vote “yes” may read the bill

February 12, 2009 1 comment

Nancy Pelosi is refusing to allow House Republicans to read the Stimulus bill, which although said to be smaller in size than the original has actually expanded in page size. From The Foundry:

The text of the Nelson-Collins “compromise” had been roughly 778 pages, but the now “agreed-to” conference report has DOUBLED to a whopping 1434 pages. With an additional 700 pages in the bill, it is no wonder that Members would like to review the single largest spending bill in this nation’s history before casting a vote.

But, in possibly the most bizarre parliamentarian argument ever made, according to National Journal’s Congress Daily; “Democratic lawmakers fired back that Republicans didn’t need to see the bill anyway, since none of them voted for the stimulus when it moved through the House the first time and would probably stand in opposition.”

So let me get this straight–simply because they didn’t vote for the bill the first time House Republicans have no right to examine the whole package? While I certainly hope that House Republicans will stand strong again against big government, as the people’s representatives that have the right AND duty to examine the final package on behalf of their constituents. 

To say otherwise is to say that government really does know best. And that’s a scary thought.