February 9, 2009
Bill Clinton's Budget Director, Alice Rivlin testified before Congress (see LINK below) that much of Obama's trillion dollar "economic stimulus bill" is nothing but (in her words) "social spending." (Social spending is spending on pet Democrat social programs that will not help the economy in any way.) Wow. His "Spendulus Bill" is so bad that Obama can't even keep his fellow Democrats on board.
But the latest bill is just the tip of the iceberg. According to Lawrence Kudlow (see LINK below), there are reports that "Team Obama is contemplating as much as $2 trillion in TARP additions to rescue the banking system in one form or another. That would be $2 trillion on top of the nearly $1 trillion stimulus package." Add that to the original TARP package, and the total is almost FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS.
TARP stands for Troubled Assets Relief Program. Passed late last year, it was supposed to fix the mortgage crisis. The "Troubled Assets" referred to are the mortgage-backed securities made worthless by government meddling. Over the last 30 years Congress has forced mortgage companies to loan money to people who could not repay their loans.
But instead of spending the money as they promised the US Treasury and the American people they would, the Democrat-controlled Congress spent the money to bail out cronies on Wall Street. As we all know from watching the news, the CEO's of the financial institutions which received the money spent it on buying other companies, on extravagant getaways for executives and on perks and bonuses for themselves. More recently the Democrats spent billions bailing out US automobile makers, because labor unions are a huge part of the Democrat voter block. Not one dollar of TARP money was spent to fix the mortgage crisis. It was all pork.
It made sense to fix the mortgage problem, because it is the source of all our current economic woes. Obama has done a great PR job convincing the public that our economic crisis is George Bush's fault. He constantly refers to "This eight-year economic meltdown." But the undisputable fact is that the crisis began more than 30 years ago with Democrat Jimmy Carter's inept attempts to make every American a homeowner. Democrat Bill Clinton built on Carter's mistakes and forced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lower mortgage standards even further. And Democrat Senators and Representatives (including Obama) refused to listen when regulators warned of an imminent collapse of the mortgage markets if the reckless Carter-Clinton programs were not curtailed.
This bill is destined to be known as Obama's Abomination. The House and Senate versions together are almost 1500 pages long, and contain about the same number of words as all the writings of William Shakespeare. Together they contain more pork than all the sausage factories in North Carolina.
Obama claims that his huge spending bill will be free of "earmarks" (the politicians' pretty word for "pork"). But as an MSNBC article (see LINK below) makes clear, it is replete with lard. The Democrats just call it other names. Keep in mind that MSNBC is very liberal news organization, so for it to criticize the actions of fellow liberals, those actions must be extremely egregious.
We shouldn't be surprised. Politicians live for power. They lose power if they don't get re-elected. And the bill is a virtual treasure-trove of re-election money. Just this bill alone (with no TARP money included) will cost more than all the government spending from the Civil War to the big-spending era of Jimmy Carter. What corrupt politician could restrain himself from diverting huge sums of economic stimulus money to his state or district, knowing it could ensure his reelection?
Democrats have used slick wording to disguise their pork, so that they can say they met the president's stated goal of no earmarks, according to Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense. "I think it's been watered down enough that it gives the administration deniability that they can meet that pledge. They can say there are no earmarks in this legislation, but when you look at the details of each provision, the reality becomes murkier." Ashdown's group is a watchdog organization that advocates for honest disclosure of congressional earmarks.
Here is an example of this deceptive wording used in a provision that will give an extra $2 Billion to the Army Corps of Engineers. The money will be used for earmarked projects that benefit Democrat politicians. "The committee has granted extraordinary discretion to the administration in determining how the funds provided in this act should be expended...The committee is not recommending funding for specific projects in this act. However, the committee has had extensive consultation with the Corps concerning how the funds provided under this heading could be used in broad program categories."
So just what is an earmark? Congress itself defined earmarks in a 2007 reform bill: Language in a bill that aims spending at specific programs, states or localities, often at a member's request.
An amendment to the House version of the stimulus bill is just one of dozens of examples of money diverted to a specific program. Iowa Democrat Bruce Braley, who authored the amendment, promised that the half Billion dollars it gives to biofuel makers would bring jobs to his state.
An example of pork that provides money for a specific location is the $50 million earmarked for the San Francisco Bay area for water projects. Almost $200 million will be given to Filipino veterans. Most of these men don't even live in the United States, so the money will do nothing to stimulate our economy. But they have relatives, most of who live in California and lobbied their Democrat representatives for this handout.
But Obama, speaking of his monstrous bill in a press conference, said, "It has no earmarks." How stupid does he think we are?
According to the Family Research Council the bill gives billions to the "green" lobby, abortion industry, unions, and other special interests. In one of its most egregious provisions, it earmarks $3 billion for "prevention and wellness programs", including $335 million for STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) education and prevention. "In the past money that was supposed to go towards preventing and educating about sexually transmitted diseases instead funded a transgender beauty pageant in San Francisco; an event called "Got Love?" which taught people how "to flirt with greater finesse;" and erotic "art shows,"
Here is a small sampling of some of the other "pork" included in the Spendulus bill:
An earmark pushed by Democrat Jerrold Nadler of New York that added $3 Billion to the transit funding section of the House version of the package, pushing it to a total of $12 Billion. Nadler told his constituents that it will be great for New York City commuters, and I have no doubt this is true. But what will this do for our nations' economy?
If Obama's bill passes in its present form, anyone who receives unemployment payments will automatically receive Medicare. This will go a long way toward advancing his Socialist universal healthcare plan. It is supposedly a "temporary measure," but when has government ever given up power? Don't forget that the income tax was a "temporary measure."
The National Endowment for the Arts will receive millions. These are the fine folks that support pornographic "art", and who once gave hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to an "artist" who created his masterpiece by placing a crucifix in a beaker of urine.
Democrats defend their pork by saying that in many cases their earmarks will add "very little" to the overall cost of the stimulus. This shows how little understanding politicians have of the real world. "Very little" to a politician is millions of dollars. The $500 million Democrat Braley wants to steal from taxpayers could buy homes for 2,500 citizens. It could provide 50,000 late model used cars. It could pay community college tuition for over a million students.
The package has an insurance exemption that only benefits companies that work on recreational boats longer than 50 feet. Coincidentally, that benefits companies in the Florida district of Democrat Debbie Wasserman, who authored the provision.
There is a provision that would benefit just three of the thousands of hospitals in the United States. The amendment was introduced in the powerful House Ways and Means Not surprisingly, the three hospitals are located in the districts of two members of the Committee, Democrats Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota and John Larson of Connecticut.
The bill doubles the money Congress wastes on ACORN, giving it $4 Billion for "neighborhood stabilization activities." I don't know what that entails, but I'm pretty sure it won't stimulate the economy. And I'm shocked to discover that many people think there is a connection between this multi-billion dollar giveaway and the fact that ACORN provided invaluable illegal help to Obama's presidential campaign.
Obama is even using the "stimulus bill" to further his attacks on religion (see LINKS below). He has directed that his so-called "green" initiatives include language that would prevent any government money being spent to improve buildings at educational institutions that allow any kind of religious activity on their campuses. For instance, a college that allows any building to be used for church or synagogue meetings, or a campus that allows religious clubs to use classrooms after hours, would be discriminated against. But there is no language that would prevent witches covens, atheist groups, or clubs promoting New Age religions from using educational facilities.Â
The list of special interests that will be promoted by this bill goes on (and on and on and on and on). Let me end with just one more example. North Carolina Democrat Larry Kissell twisted arms to gain an obvious personal advantage for himself. He managed to insert a provision that would require the US TSA to buy 100,000 uniforms from US apparel makers. Since the fabric that is specified for these uniforms is made in his state, there is little doubt that the assembly of the uniforms will now also take place in North Carolina. This will ensure the reelection of this freshman Congressman, and a profitable career as a public "servant."
Some of the pork has been surgically removed because of feedback from disgusted citizens. Democrats were forced to back down on an earmark in the House version of the bill that would have provided $75 million to help smokers quit smoking. And the Senate version is now missing a Democrat provision that would have given Hollywood studios a tax break for production costs!
The Democrats can't use the old argument that Republicans get their share of the pork, because for more than two years they have had complete control of both Houses of Congress, and of all the committees and sub-committees that assembled this wasteful outrage that Obama calls a "stimulus package." So instead they defend their abuse of the public trust by claiming that their self-serving amendments will create jobs.
Instead of trying to create jobs by way of government interference (a plan that failed dismally to benefit the economy when it was tried in the New Deal), why not stop losing jobs to other countries? Republicans have tried to explain to Democrats that we don't need to spend trillions of dollars in a fruitless attempt to create jobs. If we simply lowered the corporate tax we would keep millions of jobs here that will be lost under Obama. But Obama and the Democrats just don't get it.
American companies are burdened by the highest corporate taxes in the world (see LINK below). They are punished for the crime of creating jobs for US citizens by taxes that make it next to impossible to keep those jobs here. For decades they have been forced by unjust and unrealistic taxation to move manufacturing operations out of the country. That is why there are no clothing manufacturers in North Carolina that can compete with foreign made goods. Practically nothing you use or wear today is made in the US, which was once the manufacturing capitol of the world.
Now this Socialist tax policy is forcing US technical and information jobs offshore. Chances are very high that the next time you call Customer Support you will speak to an agent in India. Most US websites are designed by foreigners. A huge portion of all computer programming is now sub-contracted to offshore companies, and the percentage is growing.
But Obama and Company remain convinced that the way to encourage US companies to keep their operations in the US is to punish them with higher and higher taxes. They don't seem to realize that you can starve the cow only so long. Once it is dead, it can give no more milk...
Republicans also pushed for tax breaks for overburdened American families. Reagan proved that this worked beautifully when he cut personal tax rates from 72% to 28%. The economy blossomed. But power-mad Nancy Pelosi, backed by the despicable Harry Reid, arrogantly told the Republicans, "We won the election, so we're writing the bill." Great thinking. When they push us into a depression, the Democrats will have no one to blame but themselves.
The Obama Administration can't get its story straight. Today when Chris Wallace interviewed chief economic spokesperson Lawrence Summers, chairman of Obama's Economic Council, he contradicted himself repeatedly (see LINK below). He probably realizes Obama's policies will fail, so in an attempt to provide future cover for his boss, he told Wallace, "We are inheriting the worst financial system since the Great Depression."
But later, speaking of Paul Volker (Federal Reserve Chairman under Jimmy Carter and now Chairman of Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board), Summers said that Volker had "...worked through the worst - the worst previous economic crisis that the country's had." I don't pretend to be an economist, but I know American economic history far better than this guy. And he is the chief economic advisor to a president who doesn't know anything about the economy, either! Talk about the blind leading the blind.
The scariest aspect of this horror story was revealed today when Chris Wallace asked Summers who was in charge of the US economic Recovery: Volker, tax criminal Timothy Geitner, or Summers himself. Summers replied, "The president's top man on the economy is the president."
The "top man" on the economy has experience as a "community organizer," a lawyer, and a politician. He has zero training or experience in economics. But he is now the "top man" in the effort to fix a problem created by the Socialist economic policies of his own party. The "top man" believes in those tax and spend policies and is advancing them through the pork included in his stimulus package. We are in serious trouble.
The Fierce Urgency of Pork
MSNBC: Despite Obama's Vow, Package Has Perks for Special Interests
CNSNews: Economic Stimulus Bill Overloaded with Pork
President's Economic Adviser Pushes for Speed & "Social Spending" in Recovery Bill
Transcript: Obama Chief Economic Advisor Lawrence Summers on 'FOX News Sunday'
U.S. Has the Highest Corporate Tax Rate in the World
Obama Bill Would Force Colleges to Throw Religious Clubs off Campuses
Obama Spending Bill Discriminates Against Christians
Democrats: "We won the election. We're writing the bill."
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