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Re:Re: [9-11-290] The Obama Deception by Alex Jones; BUNK I say and Ilike Alex usually

From: user 6.
Sent on: Monday, March 16, 2009 2:31 AM
:::Brent steps in::: he utters two words.. ''message'' and ''board''.

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------Original Message------
From: Dan <[address removed]>
To: <[address removed]>
Date: Mon, Mar 16,[masked]:24 AM
Subject: Re: [9-11-290] The Obama Deception by Alex Jones; BUNK I say and Ilike Alex usually

[  Here's another good one on the graft and waste in the stimulus bill.  
You should definitely read to the story of the ant and the grasshopper, 
as it's necessary comic relief for the rest of this intensely stressful 
read.  ]­=

50 De-Stimulating Facts
Chapter and verse on a bad bill.

By Stephen Spruiell & Kevin Williamson

Senate Democrats acknowledged Wednesday that they do not have the votes 
to pass the stimulus bill in its current form. This is unexpected good 
news. The House passed the stimulus package with zero Republican votes 
(and even a few Democratic defections), but few expected Senate 
Republicans (of whom there are only 41) to present a unified front. A 
few moderate Democrats have reportedly joined them.

The idea that the government can spend the economy out of a recession is 
highly questionable, and even with Senate moderates pushing for changes, 
the current package is unlikely to see much improvement. Nevertheless, 
this presents an opportunity to remove some of the most egregious 
spending, to shrink some programs, and to add guidelines where the 
initial bill called for a blank check. Here are 50 of the most 
outrageous items in the stimulus package:

The easiest targets in the stimulus bill are the ones that were clearly 
thrown in as a sop to one liberal cause or another, even though the 
proposed spending would have little to no stimulative effect. The 
National Endowment for the Arts, for example, is in line for $50 
million, increasing its total budget by a third. The unemployed can fill 
their days attending abstract-film festivals and sitar concerts.

Then there are the usual welfare-expansion programs that sound nice but 
repeatedly fail cost-benefit analyses. The bill provides $380 million to 
set up a rainy-day fund for a nutrition program that serves low-income 
women and children, and $300 million for grants to combat violence 
against women. Laudable goals, perhaps, but where���s the economic 
stimulus? And the bill would double the amount spent on federal 
child-care subsidies. Brian Riedl, a budget expert with the Heritage 
Foundation, quips, ���Maybe it���s to help future Obama cabinet secretaries, 
so that they don���t have to pay taxes on their nannies.���

Perhaps spending $6 billion on university building projects will put 
some unemployed construction workers to work, but how does a $15 billion 
expansion of the Pell Grant program meet the standard of ���temporary, 
timely, and targeted���? Another provision would allocate an extra $12 
billion to a ���youth��� summer-jobs program���and increase the 
age-eligibility limit from 21 to 24. Federal job-training 
programs���despite a long track record of failure���come in for $4 billion 
total in additional funding through the stimulus.

Of course, it wouldn���t be a liberal wish list if it didn���t include 
something for ACORN, and sure enough, there is $5.2 billion for 
community-developmen­t block grants and ���neighborhood stabilization 
activities,��� which ACORN is eligible to apply for. Finally, the bill 
allocates $650 million for activities related to the switch from analog 
to digital TV, including $90 million to educate ���vulnerable populations��� 
that they need to go out and get their converter boxes or lose their TV 
signals. Obviously, this is stimulative stuff: Any economist will tell 
you that you can���t get higher productivity and economic growth without 
access to reruns of /Family Feud/.

$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
$380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children program
$300 million for grants to combat violence against women
$2 billion for federal child-care block grants
$6 billion for university building projects
$15 billion for boosting Pell Grant college scholarships
$4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion for 
���youths��� up to the age of 24
$1 billion for community-developmen­t block grants
$4.2 billion for ���neighborhood stabilization activities���
$650 million for digital-TV coupons; $90 million to educate ���vulnerable 

The stimulus package���s tax provisions are poorly designed and should be 
replaced with something closer to what the Republican Study Committee in 
the House has proposed. Obama would extend some of the business tax 
credits included in the stimulus bill Congress passed about a year ago, 
and this is good as far as it goes. The RSC plan, however, also calls 
for a cut in the corporate-tax rate that could be expected to boost 
wages, lower prices, and increase profits, stimulating economic activity 
across the board.

The RSC plan also calls for a 5 percent across-the-board income-tax cut, 
which would increase productivity by providing additional incentives to 
save, work, and invest. An across-the-board payroll-tax cut might make 
even more sense, especially for low- to middle-income workers who don���t 
make enough to pay income taxes. Obama���s ���Making Work Pay��� tax credit is 
aimed at helping these workers, but it uses a rebate check instead of a 
rate cut. Rebate checks are not effective stimulus, as we discovered 
last spring: They might boost consumption, a little, but that���s all they do.

Finally, the RSC proposal provides direct tax relief to strapped 
families by expanding the child tax credit, reducing taxes on parents��� 
investment in the next generation of taxpayers. Obama���s expansion of the 
child tax credit is not nearly as ambitious. Overall, his plan adds up 
to a lot of forgone revenue without much stimulus to show for it. 
Senators should push for the tax relief to be better designed.

/$15 billion for business-loss carry-backs
$145 billion for ���Making Work Pay��� tax credits
$83 billion for the earned income credit

Even as their budgets were growing robustly during the Bush 
administration, many federal agencies couldn���t find the money to keep up 
with repairs���at least that���s the conclusion one is forced to draw from 
looking at the stimulus bill. Apparently the entire capital is a 
shambles. Congress has already removed $200 million to fix up the 
National Mall after word of that provision leaked out and attracted 
scorn. But one fixture of the mall���the Smithsonian���dodged­ the ax: It���s 
slated to receive $150 million for renovations.

The stimulus package is packed with approximately $7 billion worth of 
federal building projects, including $34 million to fix up the Commerce 
Department, $500 million for improvements to National Institutes of 
Health facilities, and $44 million for repairs at the Department of 
Agriculture. The Agriculture Department would also get $350 million for 
new computers���the better to calculate all the new farm subsidies in the 
bill (see ���Pure pork��� below).

One theme in this bill is superfluous spending items coated with green 
sugar to make them more palatable. Both NASA and NOAA come in for 
appropriations that properly belong in the regular budget, but this 
spending apparently qualifies for the stimulus bill because part of the 
money from each allocation is reserved for climate-change research. For 
instance, the bill grants NASA $450 million, but it states that the 
agency must spend at least $200 million on ���climate-research missions,��� 
which raises the question: Is there global warming in space?

The bottom line is that there is a way to fund government agencies, and 
that is the federal budget, not an ���emergency��� stimulus package. As 
Riedl puts it, ���Amount allocated to the Census Bureau? $1 billion. Jobs 
created? None.���

/$150 million for the Smithsonian
$34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters
$500 million for improvement projects for National Institutes of Health 
$44 million for repairs to Department of Agriculture headquarters
$350 million for Agriculture Department computers
$88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building
$448 million for constructing a new Homeland Security Department 
$600 million to convert the federal auto fleet to hybrids
$450 million for NASA (carve-out for ���climate-research missions���)
$600 million for NOAA (carve-out for ���climate modeling���)
$1 billion for the Census Bureau

A big chunk of the stimulus package is designed not to create wealth but 
to spread it around. It contains $89 billion in Medicaid extensions and 
$36 billion in expanded unemployment benefits���and this is in addition to 
the state-budget bailout (see ���Rewarding state irresponsibility��� below).

The Medicaid extension is structured as a temporary increase in the 
federal match, but make no mistake: Like many spending increases in the 
stimulus package, this one has a good chance of becoming permanent. As 
for extending unemployment benefits through the downturn, it might be a 
good idea for other reasons, but it wouldn���t stimulate economic growth: 
It would provide an incentive for job-seekers to delay reentry into the 

$89 billion for Medicaid
$30 billion for COBRA insurance extension
$36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits
$20 billion for food stamps

The problem with trying to spend $1 trillion quickly is that you end up 
wasting a lot of it. Take, for instance, the proposed $4.5 billion 
addition to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget. Not only does this 
effectively double the Corps��� budget overnight, but it adds to the 
Corps��� $3.2 billion unobligated balance���money that has been 
appropriated, but that the Corps has not yet figured out how to spend. 
Keep in mind, this is an agency that is often criticized for wasting 
taxpayers��� money. ���They cannot spend that money wisely,��� says Steve 
Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense. ���I don���t even think they can spend 
that much money /un/wisely.���

Speaking of spending money unwisely, the stimulus bill adds another $850 
million for Amtrak, the railroad that can���t turn a profit. There���s also 
$1.7 billion for ���critical deferred maintenance needs��� in the National 
Park System, and $55 million for the preservation of historic landmarks. 
Also, the U.S. Coast Guard needs $87 million for a polar icebreaking 
ship���maybe global warming isn���t working fast enough.

It should come as no surprise that rural communities���those parts of the 
nation that were hardest hit by rampant real-estate speculation and the 
collapse of the investment-banking industry���are in dire need of an 
additional $7.6 billion for ���advancement programs.��� Congress passed a 
$300 billion farm bill last year, but apparently that wasn���t enough 
This bill provides additional subsidies for farmers, including $150 
million for producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish.

/$4.5 billion for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
$850 million for Amtrak
$87 million for a polar icebreaking ship
$1.7 billion for the National Park System
$55 million for Historic Preservation Fund
$7.6 billion for ���rural community advancement programs���
$150 million for agricultural-commodi­ty purchases
$150 million for ���producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish���

Open up the section of the stimulus devoted to renewable energy and what 
you find is anti-stimulus: billions of dollars allocated to money-losing 
technologies that have not proven cost-efficient despite decades of 
government support. ���Green energy��� is not a new idea, Riedl points out. 
The government has poured billions into loan-guarantees and subsidies 
and has even mandated the use of ethanol in gasoline, to no avail. ���It 
is the triumph of hope over experience,��� he says, ���to think that the 
next $20 billion will magically transform the economy.���

Many of the renewable-energy projects in the stimulus bill are 
duplicative. It sets aside $3.5 billion for energy efficiency and 
conservation block grants, /and /$3.4 billion for the State Energy 
Program. What���s the difference? Well, energy efficiency and conservation 
block grants ���assist eligible entities in implementing energy efficiency 
and conservation strategies,��� while the State Energy Program ���provides 
funding to states to design and carry out their own energy efficiency 
and renewable energy programs.���

While some programs would spend lavishly on technologies that are proven 
failures, others would spend too little to make a difference. The 
stimulus would spend $4.5 billion to modernize the nation���s electricity 
grid. But as Robert Samuelson has pointed out, ���An industry study in 
2004���surely outdated���put the price tag of modernizing the grid at $165 
billion.��� Most important, the stimulus bill is not the place to make 
these changes. There is a regular authorization process for energy 
spending; Obama is just trying to take a shortcut around it.

$2 billion for renewable-energy research ($400 million for 
global-warming research)
$2 billion for a ���clean coal��� power plant in Illinois
$6.2 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
$3.5 billion for energy-efficiency and conservation block grants
$3.4 billion for the State Energy Program
$200 million for state and local electric-transport projects
$300 million for energy-efficient-app­liance rebate programs
$400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments
$1 billion for the manufacturing of advanced batteries
$1.5 billion for green-technology loan guarantees
$8 billion for innovative-technolog­y loan-guarantee program
$2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects
$4.5 billion for electricity grid

One of the ugliest aspects of the stimulus package is a bailout for 
spendthrift state legislatures. Remember the old fable about the ant and 
the grasshopper? In Aesop���s version, the happy-go-lucky grasshopper 
realizes the error of his ways when winter comes and he goes hungry 
while the industrious ant lives on his stores. In Obama���s version, the 
federal government levies a tax on the ant and redistributes his wealth 
to the party-hearty grasshopper, who just happens to belong to a 
government-employees­��� union. This happens through something called the 
���State Fiscal Stabilization Fund,��� by which taxpayers in the states that 
have exercised financial discipline are raided to subsidize 
Democratic-leaning Electoral College powerhouses���e.g., California���that 
have spent their way into big trouble.

The state-bailout fund has a built-in provision to channel the money to 
the Democrats��� most reliable group of campaign donors: the teachers��� 
unions. The current bill requires that a fixed percentage of the bailout 
money go toward ensuring that school budgets are not reduced below 2006 
levels. Given that the fastest-growing segment of public-school expense 
is administrators��� salaries���not teachers��� pay, not direct spending on 
classroom learning���this is a requirement that has almost nothing to do 
with ensuring high-quality education and everything to do with ensuring 
that the school bureaucracy continues to be a cash cow for Democrats.

Setting aside this obvious sop to Democratic constituencies, the State 
Fiscal Stabilization Fund is problematic in that it creates a moral 
hazard by punishing the thrifty to subsidize the extravagant. 
California, which has suffered the fiscal one-two punch of a liberal, 
populist Republican governor and a spendthrift Democratic legislature, 
is in the worst shape, but even this fiduciary felon would have only to 
scale back spending to Gray Davis���era levels to eliminate its looming 
deficit. (The Davis years are not remembered as being especially 
austere.) Pennsylvania is looking to offload much of its bloated 
corrections-system budget onto Uncle Sam in order to shunt funds to Gov. 
Ed Rendell���s allies at the county-government level, who will use that 
largesse to put off making hard budgetary calls and necessary reforms. 
Alaska is looking for a billion bucks, including $630 million for 
transportation projects���not a great sign for the state that brought us 
the ���Bridge to Nowhere��� fiasco.

Other features leap out: Of the $4 billion set aside for the Community 
Oriented Policing Services���COPS���pr­ogram, half is allocated for 
communities of fewer than 150,000 people. That���s $2 billion to fight 
nonexistent crime waves in places like Frog Suck, Wyo., and Hoople, N.D.

The great French economist Fr��d��ric Bastiat called politics ���the great 
fiction through which everybody endeavors to /live at the expense of 
everybody else.��� But who pays for the state bailout? Savers will pay to 
bail out spenders, and future generations will pay to bail out the 
undisciplined present.

In sum, this is an $80 billion boondoggle that is going to reward the 
irresponsible and help state governments evade a needed reordering of 
their financial priorities. And the money has to come from somewhere: At 
best, we���re just shifting money around from jurisdiction to 
jurisdiction, robbing a relatively prudent Cheyenne to pay an 
incontinent Albany. If we want more ants and fewer grasshoppers, let the 
prodigal governors get a little hungry.

$79 billion for State Fiscal Stabilization Fund

��� /Stephen Spruiell is a staff reporter for /National Review Online 
/Kevin Williamson is a deputy managing editor of /National Review.

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