“We have new ideas about how to spend government money wisely.” So said Vice President Joe “BFD” Biden this week while discussing the $787 billion “stimulus” passed by Congress last year. He continued, “I’m very proud to say that there’s been virtually no — knock on wood — virtually no fraud associated with the $787 billion program overall.” Unless you consider that most of the money spent so far has gone to Democrat constituents, that is.
The occasion of Biden’s comments was a Middle Class Task Force roundtable discussion on Wednesday with the aim of pushing the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010. The bill would extend the Sept. 30, 2010 expiration date of the Emergency Contingency Fund, which in turn is part of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program created by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. (Say that three times fast.) The extension would cost $2.4 billion over 10 years, but, hey, it’s all about “jobs,” which is apparently why we’re stuck at 9.9 percent unemployment.
The price tag for the overall bill could be as high as $190 billion, the bulk of which Democrats aren’t concerned about how to pay for. Paygo rules don’t apply because, of course, this is another “emergency,” a tune that will change before November as Democrats crow about their fiscal responsibility. The Wall Street Journal calls it a “grab bag of political payoffs, corporate welfare and transfer payments,” including $65 billion for Medicare physician payments, $47 billion for unemployment insurance, $24 billion in Medicaid payments to the states (though this provision may be removed), and $1 billion for summer jobs for teens, to name a few.
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) recently bragged on the House floor that such payments are “one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus” because “every unemployment dollar spent returns $1.64 of economic benefits.” Sounds like we should be cheering higher unemployment.
Speaking of spending, Barack Obama sent legislation to Congress this week seeking a new kind of line-item veto. The Associated Press reports, “The legislation would award Obama and his successors the ability to take two months or more to scrutinize spending bills that have already been signed into law for pork barrel projects and other dubious programs. He could then send Congress a package of spending cuts for a mandatory up-or-down vote on whether to accept or reject them.”
Though this serves to make Obama look tough on spending, toothpaste is pretty hard to put back in the tube.
As for the private sector, thanks to Democrat spendthrifts, it’s shrinking while the public sector grows. “Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year,” according to USA Today. “At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.”
“The truth of the matter is that the Recovery Act is working,” Joe Biden declared. All too well, as a matter of fact.