Stimulus Bill Full of Pork and Payoffs
By Tom McClusky | From the FRC Blog
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently found that the cost of the Pelosi-Reid stimulus package now exceeds $1.1 trillion. CBO also estimated that only 7 percent of infrastructure money would make its way into the economy by the end of the year and only 38 percent would be spent by the end of the 2010 fiscal year. Senator Jeff Session's (R-Ala.) office estimates the actual number going to tangible road and bridge construction is just a little more than 3 percent.
Where is this money going to? A not exhaustive look at the 1,588 page legislation, H.R. 1, "The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009" shows the bill is more payoffs and pork then stimulus. Many thanks to the website readthestimulus.org and its participating organizations.
To the "Green" Lobby
* $600 Million To Buy New Cars For Government Workers (Page 89). These cars would be "green" friendly cars - however very few gas pumps have the right gas to run these cars. The Federal government already spends $3.5 billion a year.
* $10M for bike and walking trails (Page 65)
* $200M for plug-in car stations (Page 31)
* $400 million for NASA scientists to conduct climate change research (Page 22)
* $800 million to clean up Superfund sites (Page 122)
* $600 million for grants for diesel emission reduction (Page 119)
* $650 million for "alternative energy technologies, energy efficiency enhancements and deferred maintenance at Federal facilities" (Page 119)
* $1.5 billion for construction of "Green Schools" (Page 176)
To the Unions
* $1 billion to the controversial COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES COPS Hiring Program
* $150 billion in new federal spending, a vast two-year investment that would more than double the Department of Education's current budget. The proposed emergency expenditures on nearly every realm of education, including school renovation, special education, Head Start and grants to needy college students" Sam Dillon, "Stimulus Plan Would Provide Flood of Aid to Education," New York Times. January 27, 2009. NOTE: Private and religious schools are excluded.
To the Abortion Industry
Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) inserted in the original bill billions of dollars for family planning groups, including the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood. Pressure and public exposure from Congressional Republicans forced the Democrats to remove such funding from this bill. However the bill still provides billions in reforming the health care system and working towards nationalized health care - with little to no debate.
* $2.7B in NIH grants which would be targeted to among other things embryonic stem cell experimentation. (Page 56)
Other Special Interests
* $3 Billion for Prevention & Wellness Programs, Including $335 million for STD Education and Prevention - Recent government expenditures in this area include a transgender beauty pageant in San Francisco that advertised available HIV testing and an event called "Got Love? - Flirt/Date/Score" that taught participants how "to flirt with greater finesse."
* $83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don't pay income tax.
* $246 million for Hollywood
* $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (Page 122)
* $75 million for smoking cessation (Page 148). This contradicts the latest version of SCHIP that is funded largely by new taxes on cigarettes.
* $4.19 billion open to ACORN. The Pelosi-Reid bill makes groups like ACORN eligible for a $4.19 billion pot of money for "neighborhood stabilization activities."
Some of the biggest winners in the package are federal agencies:
* $54 billion will go to federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as "ineffective" or unable to pass basic financial audits.
* $462 Million for Equipment, Construction, and Renovation of Facilities at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (Page 137)
* $150 Million for Repairs to Smithsonian Institution Facilities (Page 128)
* $44 million to the Agricultural Research Service (Page 135)
* $227 million for oversight of the pork barrel spending in the stimulus (Page 11)
* $1 Billion for The Follow-Up To The 2010 Census (Page 49)
Discretion is given to governors and Mayors for how to spend a large chunk of the money. The U.S. Conference of Mayors recently sent Congress a $96.6 billion wish list of "shovel-ready" projects which now could be funded by the stimulus. These projects include: "$1 million for annual sewer rehabilitation in Casper, WY; $6.1 million for corporate hangars, parking lots, and a business apron at the Fayetteville, AR airport; 28 projects with the term "stadium" in them; and 117 projects mentioning landscaping and/or beautification efforts. The taxpayers should be most teed off at the 20 golf courses included in the list."
(Editor's note: All sources are from the National Taxpayers Union unless otherwise noted.)
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