Ben Stein: Half of Stimulus Goes to Unions
Columnist Ben Stein has taken a close look at President Barack Obama’s proposed $820 billion stimulus package, and made some eye-opening discoveries.
Writing for Spectator.com and NYPost.com, Stein calculates that:
As published in the New York Post. com on 01/31/09
POLITICS OF PAYOFF
I LOVE this. The new kind of politics of hope. Eight hours of debate in the House of Representatives to pass a bill spending $820 billion – or roughly $102 billion per hour of debate.
Only 10 percent of the “stimulus” to be spent on 2009.
Close to half goes to entities that sponsor or employ (or both) members of the Service Employees International Union, federal, state, and municipal employee unions or other Democrat-controlled unions.
This bill is sent to Congress after President Obama has been in office for seven days. It is 680 pages long. According to my calculations, not one member of Congress read the entire bill before this vote. Obviously, it would have been impossible, given his schedule, for the president to have read the whole thing.
For the amount spent, we could have given every unemployed person in the United States roughly $75,000.
We could give every person who had lost a job and is now passing through long-term unemployment of six months or longer roughly $300,000.
There has been pork-barrel politics since there has been politics, but the scale of this pork is beyond what had ever been imagined before – and no one can be sure it will actually do much stimulation.
Further, no one can be sure that we are not already at the trough of the recession – such that this money will be spent mostly after the recovery is well under way.
How long until the debt incurred under this program is so immense that it causes a downgrade in the nation’s sovereign debt? What happens to us then?
This has been a punch in the solar plexus to the kind of responsible, far-seeing, mature government processes that are needed to protect America. This is more than pork-barrel – this is a coup for the constituencies of the party in power and against the idea of a responsible government itself. A bleak day.