Sunday, February 1, 2009

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
spend·thrift n. One who spends money recklessly or wastefully.
by Steve Fair
If you were mired in credit card debt and had hot checks all over town, would you confidently state, “I’m going to spend my way out of this mess?” Not likely! Your creditors would laugh at you for your completely illogical strategy to handle your economic crisis, but that’s exactly what President Obama said in early January. “At this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe,” Mr Obama said. “Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy.”

The reason we are in the economic mess we are in is because government’s mandated lending to unqualified, irresponsibile people, but Obama still believes government is going to save our bacon after getting us into this mess?

There is a precedent of “priming the pump” or stimulating the economy . Presidents Kennedy and Reagan pushed for economic stimulus monies that placed monies into the hands of taxpayers, but it wasn’t spent on government programs. The $850 billion dollar stimulus bill that passed the house last week is nothing more than a huge spending bill according to U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, R-OK. Inhofe says the bill provides tax refunds for people who don’t pay taxes and gives checks of up to a $1,000 to illegal immigrants.

Inhofe points out the bill is loaded with pork that has nothing to do with helping the economy. It has $30 billion for federal building improvements, $1.5 billion for homeless prevention, $650 million for digital TV coupons, $650 million for wildlife management, $600 million for the federal government to buy new enviromentally friendly cars. It also includes $570 million for climate change and $75 million for stop smoking activities.

The bill is being scrutinized increasingly by Republicans and economists because it doles out billions of taxpayer dollars for everything from the 2010 census to university research to contraceptives at family-planning clinics - areas far removed from the meltdown in finance, housing and automotive industries.

On Sunday, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said on CNN that they would have a hard time voting for the House bill. “It would be hard for me to vote for it,” Collins said of the House bill, one of four Republicans senators who supported a version of the bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week. Collins is a moderate at best and often breaks rank with Republicans in the Senate.
“Same thing for me,” said Nelson, who appeared alongside Collins, and who is among the most conservative Democrats in the Senate. “It would be very difficult for me to vote for (for the House bill). I hope that doesn’t happen.”“I like parts of it, that are based on infrastructure,” Nelson continued, “but there’s an awful lot of spending in it that I think is questionable.”

“I think all of us support the fact that we need to do something,” Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said Sunday on ABC's This Week. “And all of us believe that the way to move our economy forward and protect jobs is to infuse more money so that consumers have more to spend, businesses have more to invest, buy capital equipment.”“But there are two ways to do that,” DeMint continued. “One is for the government to take it out of the private sector through taxes and then decide where it's going to go through political manipulation, as they've done in the House. The other is just to leave more money in the private sector for consumers to spend and businesses to invest.”

The Hertiage Foundation has identified three basic problems with the supposed pump priming tool. First, it places too much money back into the hands of government and not into the private sector. Second, it increases the already out of control national debt. Third, the most expensive items in the program are proven losers.

Webster defines stimulus as, “something that incites to action or exertion or quickens action.” The House bill does none of that—it only panders to special interest and is business as usual for the Democrats.

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