One of the catch phrases surrounding the Obama stimulus plan has been “shovel ready projects.” Supposedly, all of the proposed billions for public infrastructure programs will fund immediately ready projects all over the country—projects all “ready to go,” they just need the funding to get started. The image given is of workers literally standing with shovel in hand, ready to start digging. This image unwittingly presents a metaphor for the whole stimulus bill—a pile of debt to fund the plans leftists have dreamed for decades, and now have an excuse to pass through. “Action Now!”
One reporter notes,
Once the stimulus makes it through Congress, there is no shortage of municipalities and states around the country already looking for money for infrastructure projects.
A report released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors entitled “Ready to Go” in early December listed more than 11,000 projects in 427 cities, many of which already have local approval.
The total cost for the projects — everything from a $100,000 driving simulator for Goodyear, Arizona to a $20 million expansion of a housing complex for the elderly in West Hartford, Connecticut — would be nearly $73.2 billion and they would create more than 800,000 jobs, according to the group.
“There is no shortage” of groups looking for a handout—Indeed! The $73B figure fits well intoObama’s estimates. Breakdowns of the stimulus bill put the infrastructure budget at $90B. $6.7B of this pertains only to renovations to Federal Government Buildings.
Of course the $90B on building projects makes up only about 11% of the big-spending bill. Here are some highlights from a breakdown of this leftist agenda:
• $825 billion total (as of 1/15/09)
• $825 billion total (as of 1/15/09)
• $550 billion in new spending
• $275 billion in tax relief
• $ 90 billion for infrastructure
• $ 87 billion Medicaid aid to states
• $ 79 billion school districts/public colleges to prevent cutbacks
• $ 54 billion to encourage energy production from renewable sources
• $ 41 billion for additional school funding
• $ 16 billion for science/technology
• $ 15 billion to increase Pell grants by $500
• $ 6 billion for the ambiguous “higher education modernization.”
The Washington Post put these figures into very helpful visual forms. They take the added measure of exposing some hidden facts about the “tax cut” portion of the plan. Obama touted 40% of the total would be tax cuts; Congress’ version claimed 1/3; “But congressional budget analysts count nearly $100 billion of these measures as spending because they are credits going to people who don’t pay taxes.” In other words, on top of huge government expansion projects, about 12.5% of this loot counts as overt wealth redistribution from taxpayers to non-taxpayers! Official figures come from the House Committee on Appropriations itself. The subtitle of the report is “Action and Action Now!” Here are some of their actions:
While the bill uses tax-payer money to pay non-taxpayers, it also pays the non-working: it gives $27B to continue unemployment benefits, plus another $9B to increase unemployment pay per individual, plus $30B to cover COBRA insurance for the unemployed.
The plan will subsidize healthcare (not including the $100B or so to Medicare and Medicaid) over $25B. This involves $3B for “prevention,” which previously included an explicit designation of $335 Million for HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted disease “prevention programs.” Since the original bill, this last specific measure has been removed, but will still be allowed under a blanket $1.35B transferred to the program’s parent organization, the Department of Health and Human Services “Common Fund.” At least we know what they have in mind.
The bill will fork out $20B to increase food subsidies for “modest income families,” and will end restrictions on how long those families can receive food stamps. Lifting time restrictions! What does this do except discourage people from even looking for work? Why work when your tax-paying neighbors will have to pay for your groceries? The old truth that whatever government subsidizes it gets more of is about to create more poverty. No more “welfare to work”; now only “Welfare to Welfare.”
Another whopping $20B aims to “jumpstart”—read: begin, which means a lot more funding yet to come—efforts to “computerize health records.” “Computerize” means “centralize” health records, which means, ultimately, a single government-owned huge hackable database, and great target for fraud, identity theft, and every other imaginable invasion of privacy.
$600M will go to NASA, with $400M of that designated to fund research in “climate change.” An additional $600M for satellites and “climate modeling.” Wonder how long we have to wait before we hear more about global warming and the need for carbon taxes and cap-and-trade systems?
$4.1B will go for new construction, renovations, or subsidies of public rail systems; $6B more goes to buy buses to increase public transportation. (Won’t this hurt the auto industry that the government just pretended to Bail Out to the tune of other Billions?)
Some of the expenditures seem frivolous in a time of great need: $200M to give Washington, D.C. a facelift, including maintenance to the Jefferson Memorial; $150M for repairs to the Smithsonian, and $50M for the National Endowment for the Arts. (These are the people who helped fund and exhibit the “Piss Christ”—a work of alleged art displaying a crucifix submerged in the “artist’s” unrine—several years ago. You can imagine what greatness this $50M handout will inspire.) Additionally, $3.1B will go to spruce up National Parks, etc.
One of the laughable (trust me, I’m laughing to tears) elements comes in the provision for $120B to states and school districts to “stabilize budgets and prevent tax increases.” Prevent tax increases? And how are we paying for this prevention in tax increases? Through federal deficit spending which will create inflation, etc. So they’re preventing open tax increases by means of a hidden tax increase. Brilliant! Just look at the smiling face on that Obama Commemorative Coin! He prevents taxes. And pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!
Of course we’ll need an accurate count of all people within the fiefdom from whom to extract the needed means, so we’ll throw in $1B to “ensure a successful 2010 census.”
All in all the bill looks like a breakdown of the Democratic political agenda for past decades. They are using the economic crisis as an excuse to fund Socialist programs to the tune of $800+ Billion. And as with most subsidies, these will almost certainly do little more than increase dependence and create more new dependents on government handouts. Those who wished for a political messiah have received one. Those who feared the worst will see those fears play out. For the lust for political messiahs and the worst fears about socialist dystopias go hand-in-hand. We shall all experience the failure that putting trust in man inevitably brings. The messiah will fail, and the nation will suffer with him.
This is true because where the money is going is not half as bad as the fact that the money is going. It will all be based on newly created debt and will increase the Federal deficit (all programs included with this particular bill) by about $3 Trillion. To understand the whole problem, I highly recommend the brand-new book by Thomas Woods, Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse.
$3 Trillion. What a legacy to leave our kids. Political messiahs come at a premium these days.
They could not have chosen a more apt description for government projects: “shovel ready”; as in, “Get a shovel, ‘cause it’s about to get real deep in here.” Deep in debt, and a few other things.
(If you have the time, you can examine the full 1,434-page bill here. Of course, you don’t have the time. Neither did your Senator or Representative. “Action Now!” So, go get your shovel.)
 Nick Carey, “Show us the money: shovel ready projects set to go,” Reuters.com, January 6, 2009;http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE5055NK20090106?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=10112(accessed February 12, 2009).
 Taken from http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/20639/ (accessed February 12, 2009), with slight editing.
 “Taking Apart the $819 Billion Stimulus Package,” The Washington Post, February 1, 2009;http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2009/02/01/GR2009020100154.html (accessed February 12, 2009).
 See “Summary: American Recovery and Reinvestment,” January 15, 2009;http://appropriations.house.gov/pdf/PressSummary01-15-09.pdf (accessed February 12, 2009).
 https://www.franklinmintobamacoin.com/flare/next?tag=os|sm|go|gn (accessed February 12, 2009).
 (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2009).