In a move that was unpopular but still bizarrely inevitable, the Senate today passed the economic recovery plan with a final vote of 61-37. All but three Republicans voted against the bill, Senators Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins. They broke ranks with their party in the supposed name of bipartisanship, but their support for this behemoth boondoggle of a bill will end up bankrupting the nation. The Senate version rang in at $838 billion, and must now be reconciled with the House’s $819 billion version. The price tag may go even higher when all the amendments are considered.
In a contemptuous speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Chuck Schumer dismissed those “little tiny, yes porky amendments” because the the American people don’t care about them. That’s funny, Rasmussen reported yesterday that 62% of Americans wanted less spending and more tax cutsin the plan, and Zogby showed the public rejecting Obama’s stimulus plan, with 90% of Republicans and 60% of independents opposed to the bill. The American people don’t care, Sen. Schumer? The more likely explanation is that Congress has its own agenda, the will of the people be damned.
And just a few hours after this massive spending bill passed, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced before laughing lawmakers a second TARP program that could cost up to $2 trillion. The markets fell sharply in response to more fiscal irresponsibility from an administration that promised hope and change and has, in only its first few weeks, delivered debt and burden for future generations.
The math is sobering. The first TARP program cost $700 billion. This Obama stimulus plan will cost probably around $825 billion at a conservative estimate. A second TARP program, if one projects conservatively the Treasury Department plans, may cost $1 trillion if they cut out half of what they want to do, which may be doubtful. The sum is nearly $2.5 trillion in taxpayer money blown away in the span of a few months. This figure is three times the combined cumulative cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Congressional Budget Office has itself predicted a net negative impact in ten years from the economic recovery plan.
The plan today will not create or save 4 million jobs, as Obama has been touting. What it will do is fund a majority of liberal special interest programs and reward to the tune of $4 billion community stabilization programs that, no surprise, ACORN fits the criteria to cash in on. What it will also do is cripple our economy in the long haul, increasing federal debt, spurring more Treasury borrowing and rises in inflation that will lead to mandatory tax increases to pay for the whole plan, all while the administration plans on removing even more low-tier taxpayers from the rolls.
At a press conference/photo op today, Obama played to a friendly crowd, celebrating the passage of the bill as attendees begged him for more handouts. I have no doubt that in the coming months, when these irresponsible fiscal decisions fail to result in any meaningful economic progress, the mood will not be quite so festive, and the argument will be made, “Just think how worse it could have been had we not done anything at all.” We must never forget that the reckless legislation today will be at the root of our coming financial woes.