Beyond the problems highlighted in the CBO report, much of this stimulus is nothing but pork with no stimulating value whatsoever. Here is how David Brooks described it.
The committee staff took the kernel of President Obama’s vision — infrastructure programs to create jobs — and surrounded it with an undisciplined sprawl of health, education, entitlement and other spending. There’s money for nurse training, Medicare, Head Start, boatyard support, home weatherization and so on. Eleven of the programs in the bill account for the vast majority of the actual job creation. The rest may be worthy or not, but they have little to do with stimulus. The total package is so diffuse, it costs $223,000 to create a single job.
So, out of more than fifty programs appropriated, only eleven appear to be ones in which jobs maybe created. As such, to call this a stimulus bill is to be rather misleading. Instead, this is much more a bill to fund the pet projects of liberals. We have Pell Grants, after school education, food stamps, alternative energy, stem cell research, etc. Most of these programs won't create many jobs. They will, however, fund many of the liberal's favorite causes.
Brooks' criticism is mild compared to the shocking discoveries laid out by Donald Lambro.
-- Government-run programs at the federal, state and local level. This stimulus bill will pour billions into 150 different federal programs, from the money-losing Amtrak rail service to the Transportation Security Administration.
-- $15.6 billion goes into Pell Grants to increase each student grant by $500, though the added money ends in two years. This may be a worthy thing to do, but it's not going to create any new jobs.
-- $54 billion will go to 19 programs that the Office of Management and Budget has rated as "ineffective" or "results not demonstrated."
-- Much of the money will go to federal programs that still have unspent funding in their accounts. For instance, the bill will pump another $2 billion into the Army Corps of Engineers' water-construction program that still has $1.5 billion in unobligated funds.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development's homeless-assistance program would get $1.5 billion despite an unobligated balance of $1.5 billion.
The General Services Administration has $3.3 billion of unspent funds, but GSA would get another $7.7 billion from the stimulus package.
-- Billions will be dished out under this so-called stimulus bill mostly to protect or create government jobs -- including money to renovate federal buildings, and $600 million for the government to buy brand-new cars and vans.
Not only do we have billions in pork, but many of these billions are going to go to branches that haven't even spent money that has been allocated yet. That's indefensible, and of course, it goes without saying, that it won't create one single job. In fact, if Obama were serious about short term stimulus, he could start by mandating that each of these departments spend the money they have been allocated first. This is frankly a boondoggle unlike any other. It is a liberal orgy of spending on pet projects and government bureaucracies that they have supported for decades.
Of course, if the spending isn't troubling enough, it's the so called tax cuts that are downright scary. Here is how Dick Morris described these so called tax cuts.
The most pernicious of his proposals will be the massive Make Work Pay refundable tax credit. Dressed up as a tax cut, it will be a national welfare program, guaranteeing a majority of American households an annual check to “refund” taxes they never paid. And it will eliminate the need for about 20% of American households to pay income taxes, lifting the proportion that need not do so to a majority of the voting population. Unlike the Bush stimulus checks, this new program will be a permanent entitlement, a part of our budget that can only go up and never down. Politically, it will transform a majority of Americans from taxpayers, anxious to hold down government spending, into tax eaters, eager to reap new benefits.
So, what these PERMANENT tax credits will do is create a permanent welfare class. That's because as a result of these tax credits more than half the population won't pay any federal income tax at all. Right now, it is about a third of all Americans that are in this category and this number will rise by about twenty percent. As such, more than half of all Americans will be the beneficiaries of the very big government that Obama is expanding. That provides Obama and the Democrats a permanent majority for the very policies that they are pushing in this stimulus. Only more people knowing about the findings of the CBO will stop this train wreck from becoming law and permanent fixture on our political landscape.