American Elephants

$825 Billion and climbing, and climbing and climbing. by The Elephant's Child

The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009: $850 billion and counting, 1,588 pages and counting, and your congresspeople aren’t going to read it.  There is now a new website called Read the Stimulus which presents this bill in a searchable database of bill text, committee reports and links to analysis of the stimulus package. There are a lot of people who are doing the hard work of wading through the pages to let you know what is going on.

We want you to help find the pork and the waste.  This bill is the granddaddy of all earmark packages, filled with gifts to supporters, presents for partisans and daydreams from the far left playbook wrapped up in the guise of economic stimulus.  The guiding impulse seems to be “get lots of money out into the economy right now”.

That is not what is happening though. All those “shovel ready” infrastructure projects aren’t quite that ready, and it will be a year or two before that starts, and then there are the permits and the lawsuits, and the overruns and leakage.  George Melloan offers some cautions:

The central defect of government bailouts and stimulus packages is that the money is allocated through a political process.  It goes to recipients who have the most political influence.  Private entrepreneurs and even big business, by contrast, employ investment to earn a profit.  The record shows that the latter yields greater economic efficiency, and hence creates real jobs.

The new stimulus package pays lip service to aiding the private sector with various tax incentives for hiring and investing capital.  It acknowledges, just barely, that the private sector will be the engine for recovery if recovery is to be had.  But the record for such measures is about as dismal as the one for short-term supplements to consumer income.  They do very little to change the decisions or behavior of the recipient.  If the recipient is wary and uncertain about the future, he or she will probably remain so.

Hot Air wants you to show what an Army of Davids can do.  He will need both link and description, e-mail them to stimulus-at-notonedimemore-dot-org.  There is going to be an enormous effort to sell this enormous package to the American people.  Let them hear from you.

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