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The insanity of the stimulus


February 26, 2009

A politician from Chicago with enduring ties to radical socialism and community activism has been elected president of the United States. A man with no business accomplishments or achievements of any kind in either the public or private sector, pushed over the finish line by empty rhetoric about hope and change, is now managing our economy and has hurriedly signed a $789 billion "stimulus bill" laden with earmarks and partisan pork, and worse. Should we be surprised?

Combined, the House and Senate versions of the stimulus bill - some 1,400 pages - are roughly the equivalent of the complete works of Shakespeare. Yet, it was rammed through Congress at light speed without a single lawmaker having time to actually read the entire bill. When asked direct questions about the bill during a recent press conference, Obama had to look around the room for answers.

The 73 percent of Americans who did not support the bill are angry. The speciously-titled American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is not a stimulus bill at all and this sort of profligate government spending is not the answer to our problem, unless the problem is how to make generations of middle-class Americans dependent on Democrats in government.

Even the Congressional Budget Office had to admit that the bill is going to hurt the U.S. and global economies and predicted it will lead to a lower Gross Domestic Product and swamp America with debt. How much debt are we talking about? Letís ignore for a moment the fact that the official $789 billion price tag of the current bill is pure fantasy. Letís set aside the reality that its mammoth funding increases for programs like Head Start, Medicaid, and COBRA are not going to be temporary because no Democratic Congress will ever cut funding for these programs. The true 10-year cost - according to Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and the CBO - is upwards of $3.27 trillion. The Obama legacy will be total U.S. government liabilities of $65 trillion dollars - more than the entire GDP of the rest of the world.

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. This bill includes $275 billion in house-flipping subsidies - $75 billion to pay off the private mortgages of real estate speculators and people who bought more house than they could afford and the rest in additional financial backing for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - and Barney Frank says even that isnít enough. Instead of being indicted or the subject of Congressional hearings, the very culprits who created our current crisis are now in charge of fixing it, and they are repeating their mistakes. The bill, just like its sponsors, is all about punishing those who do the right thing, and throwing money at those who donít.

The stimulus bill is also a time machine - sending us back to the Ď70s and Ď80s by heaping $264 billion in new welfare spending on the backs of future generations and completely reversing in two short weeks all of the bipartisan welfare reform enacted by President Clinton a dozen years earlier. But this welfare spending is only the tip of the giveaway iceberg. The bill also sets in motion another $523 billion in new cradle-to-grave welfare spending hidden by budgetary gimmicks.

The only thing the stimulus bill will stimulate is more dependence on a bigger government: $600 million for "green" government fleet vehicles, $650 million for digital TV converter box coupons, $21 million to re-sod the Washington Monument National Mall, and millions for safe sex programs for public schools. Thereís even $6 billion for climate change research that Al Gore told us was complete and conclusive 20 years ago.

The bill that was supposed to be chocked full of "shovel-ready" projects strengthening the countryís infrastructure is full of boondoggle pork projects like an $8 billion high-speed levitating train from Nancy Pelosiís Disneyland to Harry Reidís Las Vegas.

There is nothing in the bill for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf to explore for oil and gas. There isnít one penny for nuclear power plants or building a wall to keep "undocumented Americans" from scrambling over the border to claim their piece of the shrinking American pie. You will find $50 million for habitat restoration, $62 million for projects in Guam, $500 million for biofuel makers, and $198 million to compensate Filipino World War II veterans for their service - most of whom do not live in this country.

ACORN, the ex-Obama voter fraud organization infamous for registering dead people and even giving Mickey Mouse the right to vote is a $5.2 billion lottery winner in this bill. The bill spends billions for Community Development Block Grants, neighborhood stabilization (whatever that is) and $750 million for a consortium of non-profit organizations. At the same time, the bill decimates First Amendment rights by banning universities and colleges from using one dime of the stimulus funds to renovate any building wherein students have engaged in religious meetings, clubs or worship.

The stimulus time machine then takes us to the dystopia of George Orwellís 1984. Buried in the bowels of the stimulus plan is a Trojan horse that even The New York Times editorial page acknowledges will set America on the road to socialized medicine and involve the government in your choice of a doctor. It creates a mammoth new bureaucracy - the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, which will now monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems "appropriate and cost effective." Democrat-voting AARP members should take notice because seniors will now be forced to "accept conditions that come with age." Assisted suicide and euthanasia are on the horizon.

It gets worse. Much worse. If you dig deeper, youíll find more Orwellian horrors. The bill creates something called the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board - the RAT Board, as itís known by the few insiders who are aware of it. This board will oversee the in-house watchdogs, known as inspectors general, whose job is to independently investigate allegations of wrongdoing at various federal agencies without fear of interference by political appointees or the White House. Obama will now direct the agencies to investigate what the White House wants investigated, and also to kill what it doesnít want investigated. Hope and change. Obama hopes you donít find out about the change. This is how it all starts, folks. Wake up!

Misty-eyed liberal groupies gobbled up Obamaís scripted campaign promises before returning to their government jobs and college quizzes. Promises to make government more open and transparent, prevent pork from slipping into bills, put earmarks online and give the public at least five days to look at any bill before voted on were all broken with one stroke of his pen.

Sadly, there is more stimulation on the way. Obama and Pelosi will soon announce Porkulus II "because the first bill didnít have everything in it we need." TARP II is also on the launching pad. Another $1 trillion in socialist spending and further nationalization of private enterprise is already in the works. What many Pollyanna Americans do not understand is that the destruction of the American way of life isnít an obstacle for those who voted for this bill - itís an objective.

Gary Wickert is an author, trial lawyer, and town of Cedarburg supervisor, who lives with his wife and two sons. He can be reached at His column is available online at


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