Porkulus, the Other White Meat

1 Feb

porkLast week was a good week for Congressional Republicans as they finally found a spine and voted against the “Stimulus” Bill before them. Eleven brave Democrats joined them.

Increasingly, as the public finds out what is in the bill, public opinion declines. Let’s hope those voices can be heard before it’s too late.

Read more:

Over at Bearing Drift, Brian Kirwin asks today: What economy is this supposed to stimulate?

This is a good sign:

Stimulus is Too Heavy on Spending, Says Growing Number of Senators
FOX News

President Obama is stressing bipartisanship when it comes to the $900 billion economic stimulus plan being considered in the Senate, and he may get it — in unity of opposition.

What Are They Buying?
Thomas Sowell, TownHall

Everyone is talking about how much money the government is spending, but very little attention is being paid to where they are spending it or what they are buying with it.

Money for nothing won’t grow the economy
Jeff Jacoby, Boston.com

Here is a question for Washington’s Keynesians: If uninhibited deficit spending is the key to economic growth, how could the Bush administration’s galloping budget increases and unbroken string of deficits have left the economy in recession? If Keynes was right, why didn’t the enormous growth of government outlays stop the Great Depression in its tracks? Federal spending exploded under Herbert Hoover and exploded even more under Franklin Roosevelt, during whose first two terms the federal budget more than doubled. Where was the “stimulus” such furious expenditure should have produced?

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4 Responses to “Porkulus, the Other White Meat”

  1. Kyle February 2, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

    I may be a little naive here, but isn’t the final result of tax cuts and more federal spending basically the same thing: a larger federal deficit?

    At least with the extra spending there is the appearance of getting something for all that money.

    And I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I won’t freely spend any tax cut or refund that I receive. That’s not to say I wouldn’t like one, but I’m very likely to save it for a rainy day.

    One thing I would like to hear is a new idea from Republicans. I’ve heard the lower taxes one, what else do you have?

  2. Michael February 2, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    Yes Kyle, it’s incredibly naive to think that nearly a trillion dollars in new federal spending in the middle of a recession could be anything even remotely close to a good idea.

    And just exactly what are we “getting” for that spending? You really need to read the bill. Or a least a list of some of the pork that’s in it. Further the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that it will be at least 18 months or so before any “real” spending could take place. The money can’t be distributed that quickly. How does that stimulate the economy? How does that create the jobs that people need NOW?

    Sure you’re going to save your money for a rainy day. The one good thing that may come out of this is the realization for lots of people that we need to save.

    But you’ll continue to hear about tax cuts. Because legitimate tax cuts do work. Not “stimulus” not “rebates.” Republicans and Democrats in DC have both goobered that up. But real, sustained tax cuts do grow the economy. It’s a proven historical fact.

  3. Kyle February 3, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    I didn’t say that either approach is necessaily a good idea. What I was trying to say is that spending and tax cuts are two sides of the same coin. Either way, money comes from the government and hopefully goes into the economy. Either way the Federal Debt is going to get larger. It is a ton of lead vs a ton of feathers, they both weigh a ton.

    This is how I simplify the distinction between the two: tax cuts give back money (or do not collect it) without the country gaining any service, benefit, or product from it (I walk up to you on the street and give you $10). More spending takes that same money and pays someone to do a service or create a product (I pay you $10 to paint my mailbox). Either way you get $10, but by spending it I get my mail box painted. I know this is an oversimplification, but it is much more logical than some of the arguments against the stimulus that I have heard on tv.

  4. Michael February 3, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    Kyle, tax cuts do not “come from the government.” There’s no such thing as “government money.” Or at least there shouldn’t be. And, like I said, tax cuts need to be accompanied by spending cuts.

    The problem with your mailbox illustration is that if you want to pay me $10 to paint your mailbox, it’s a done deal. You spend $10. Your mailbox gets painted. I get $10.

    But when the government gets involved, there’s an additional $40 surcharge for the administering of the Federal Bureau of Mailbox Painting.

    Education is the prime example of this. We spend millions of dollars on education, but most of it is tangled up in the beauracracy and never gets to the classroom. The worst thing this country ever did for public schools was to create a federal “Department of Education.”

    Check out some of the projects listed in the “stimulus” bill. All the bill will accomplish is digging us further and deeper into national debt. Well, that and prolonging the recession.

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