The rush to stimulate
By Mark Alexander
A New York second after Barack Obama finished his inaugural speech, Democrats fanned out across the nation calling for eight-to-nine hundred billion dollars of graft for their constituents, and insisting Congress must "hurry up," "take action now," "cannot wait another day," ad infinitum.
Amid all the urgent calls to get the so-called "stimulus package" passed into law -- urgent not because it is the magic pill for economic recovery but because any delay would afford more consideration of its full implications, Obama posited, "[T]he question I think that the American people are asking is: Do you just want government to do nothing, or do you want it to do something?"
This faux dichotomy certainly constitutes Obama's most colossal subterfuge ... to date.
What Obama was really asking is, "Do you want the Democrats' plan to transfer almost a trillion dollars of wealth from present and future generations to liberal constituencies, or do you want a plan that has been tempered by careful deliberation?"
Attempting to squelch any suggestion that there are dissenters among those who actually have the academic training necessary for critical review, Obama's lap dog, Joe Biden claims, "I don't know any serious economist -- left, right or center -- who doesn't think we need a package of some $800 billion or $900 billion. The problem is gargantuan. ... Every economist, as I've said, from conservative to liberal, acknowledges that direct government spending on a direct program now is the best way to infuse economic growth and create jobs."
Apparently Joe doesn't know many economists, given the long list of distinguished economists registering their dissent.
Even Martin Feldstein, the conservative economist whose support of a stimulus last October led to the media's claim that "economists across the political spectrum" supported government intervention, is calling the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "an $800 billion mistake."
Not only has Obama's plan to reinvigorate national commerce failed to gain popular support, much less that of economic specialists, but Obama's nominee for Secretary of Commerce, Sen. Judd Gregg, withdrew his name last week, citing "irresolvable conflicts" over Obama's plan.
"I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me," said Gregg. "Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy."
"Different set of views" is a polite way of saying "free enterprise vs. Socialism."
House and Senate liberals finished hammering out the ugly details of the bill last week, including some tax cuts.
The Associated Press reported: "It preserves Obama's signature tax cut -- a break for millions of lower and middle income taxpayers, including those who don't earn enough to pay income taxes." There is an adjustment in withholding, which will save workers an estimated $13 per week. Also included is another temporary patch for the ill-conceived Alternative Minimum Tax, something that Democrats tout as a tax cut, though it merely prevents a tax increase.
Whose money is it anyway?
The remainder of the bill is spending on numerous Democrat special interests -- such as $40 billion to prevent teacher layoffs -- and other assorted leftist pork projects.
After House Republicans banded together and unanimously opposed the first pass at this monstrosity, three liberal Senate Republicans boarded the Democrat bandwagon -- Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. The three RINOs gave Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) the 61 votes he needed to ensure passage.
Collins lectured, "At a time of growing federal deficits, it is especially important that this plan be right-sized without putting our future at risk."
Except that was in 2003, when she insisted that President Bush's tax cuts be capped at $350 billion. Perhaps someone should remind Collins that the 2009 federal deficit is $1.2 trillion before the current stimulus.
Now that the House and Senate Democrats have worked out whose constituents will get what, Demo House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted on (you guessed it) a vote on Friday, because she was leaving that evening for an eight-day all-expense taxpayer paid junket to Europe. Wouldn't want to let this bill hang out all weekend and risk further dissension...
Of course, the rush to vote violates their commitment to make the plan available for 48 hours before voting ... as if 48 hours is enough time to get through even the first hundred billion. And we note here that the House published the bill as a PDF document containing only images of the bill's text instead of actual, embedded text -- thereby preventing the bill from being searched.
This certainly violates Obama's "Sunshine Before Signing" promise of five days review, but, after all, this is an EMERGENCY!
The Senate vote will likely come sooner than later.
Perhaps now would be a good time to update a long-ago observation from former Senator Everett Dirksen (R-IL): "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon we're talking about real money." Make that "trillion here, trillion there."
Despite a massive PR campaign, public support for the pork-laden "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" being railroaded through Congress is now below 35 percent.
Of course for Obama and his ilk, this is not about public support or economic recovery. It is about fomenting fear and implementing false solutions that serve the Left's long-term agenda to further centralize their control over the economy and, by extension, the American people.
In the inimitable words of Ronald Reagan, "[G]overnment is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem. ... As government expands, liberty contracts."
The current economic recession is, first and foremost, a crisis of confidence fueled by the Left's fear factoring.
Make no mistake, this bill is not about economic recovery, it is about shackling our future to a Socialist agenda which will play out in the next decade, and its passage ensures the success of that agenda, short of another unpleasantry like that one begun in 1776 -- or the advent of another great leader with the stature of Reagan.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.