With the defections of Republican Senators Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Specter, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apparently has enough votes to end debate on the stimulus bill and bring up a final roll call on the stimulus package, which estimates place between $780 and $827 billion. Last night, Sen. Reid said the legislation was “approaching a trillion dollars.” Any of these estimates, especially when taken together with the $700 billion bank bailout, place the total cost of these supposed stimulative measures near or above the cumulative cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
This is an unbelievably bad bill loaded with spending measures that are designed not to spur business and create jobs, but fund government programs that liberals like. The Congressional Budget Office says that the package will be more harmful in the long run than if nothing were to be done. It estimates that by 2019 the legislation, though potentially helpful in the near term, will create such back-breaking government debt that it will reduce the Gross Domestic Product by a few tenths of a percent. Remember, this isn’t a partisan commentator conjecturing, this is the Congressional Budget Office warning about this! The small percentage may seem like nothing, but a bill that is supposedly designed to help the economy should not be producing any net negative effect on it years down the road.
The fact that this bill is being rammed down our throats, that we apparently cannot afford to wait to fix it or scrap it for an alternative, is disturbing to me. Charles Krauthammer rightly notes that the President is using scare tactics he once denigratedto shove through a bill he did not author or apparently have any hand in negotiating through. Even Vice President Biden is predicting a voter backlash over support for this unpopular legislation. Public opinion seems not to matter to a Congress whose approval rating has already been in the tank for the last two years, and the goal of agenda fulfillment apparently trumps any desire to help the country.
It ought to be eye-opening that the author of the House version, Rep. David Obey, says Congress is not responsible if the money is misspent. The simple fact is that the size of this bill is unsustainable, and the majority of the measures it calls for either don’t immediately create jobs or don’t address the creation of jobs at all. Republicans don’t need to support this monster of a bill which will only serve to further bankrupt this nation. The passage of this behemoth seems nearly inevitable at this point, but I firmly believe we will see little benefit and in time, we’ll regret we mortgaged away our future to feel better about the present.
Update: The bill passes a cloture vote, 61-36, with a final vote scheduled for Tuesday. Michelle Malkin has a rundown on some of the big pork items and another summary here. Also, she has a warning over the $50 billion amendment for “mandatory mortgage modifications.” Obama lobbies hard.