Monday, February 2, 2009

More stimulus bill insanity

Columnist Ben Stein has taken a close look at President Barack Obama's proposed $820 billion stimulus package, and made some eye-opening discoveries.

Writing for and, Stein calculates that:

The House of Representatives debated the bill for eight hours, or roughly $102 billion per hour.

Only 10 percent of the stimulus funds would be spent in 2009.

Almost half of the $820 billion would end up in the pockets of Democratic-controlled unions, such as the Service Employees International Union, and federal, state, and municipal employee unions.

At 680 pages long, neither Obama nor any member of the House had enough time to read the entire bill before the House voted.

The $820 billion would be enough to give every unemployed American $75,000.

Says Stein: "There has been pork-barrel politics since there has been politics, but the scale of this pork is beyond what had ever been imagined before -- and no one can be sure it will actually do much stimulation. ... This has been a punch in the solar plexus to the kind of responsible, far-seeing, mature government processes that are needed to protect America."


Mike West said...

I saw Ben Stein in the airport in Orlando. He looked pretty smart.

vwatt said...

Now there's a reliable news source-The New York Post! Ben Stein is a smart guy, but I will go with the guy who helped write the bill, and the agency in charge of verifying its accuracy:

How Quickly Will the Stimulus Kick In?

You may recall how, the week before last, Republicans were up in arms over a CBO report showing that under 40 percent of the estimated $350 billion in stimulus spending projects would hit the economy in the first two years. At the time, budget director Pete Orszag assured members of Congress that, once the CBO had scored the overall $825 billion package (as opposed to just the $350 billion in "approriated" spending) the two-year pay-out figure would rise to at least 75 percent. But, alas, this didn't exactly stop the GOP for pressing the claim.

Which just goes to show: Don't mess with a White House budget director who's a former head of the CBO. This afternoon, the CBO released its official scoring of the overall stimulus package. And, wouldn't you know, the agency says slightly north of 78 percent of it will pay out over the first two fiscal years. (Scroll down to the final page of the report and look for the heading "Net Increase in the Deficit.")

Don't get me wrong. There are legitimate ways to critique the stimulus bill. But the speed with which it takes effect doesn't appear to be one of themes...

--Noam Scheiber

Brodad Unkabuddy said...

I suppose the NYT is better? Not. You'll notice there are no lies in this article.