Here is the text of an email I wrote in the middle of the stimulus bill vote:
With a quick search of the roughly $790 billion stimulus bill just passed by the House and soon to be passed by the Senate (that, by the way, was just posted for actual public view less than 24 hours ago), I was able to find the following non-stimulus-related items (below) that we will spend money we don’t have on. And this is all just from the first half of the over 1000 page bill.
– $146,000,000 for national park maintenance and repair
– $15,000,000 for historic preservation at historically black colleges
– $140,000,000 for the U.S. Geological Survey
– $600,000,000 for the Hazardous Substance Superfund
– $25,000,000 for repairs to the Smithsonian
– $50,000,000 in grants to fund “arts projects and activities which preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector threatened by declines in philan-thropic and other support during the current economic downturn”
– $1,000,000,000 to “construct, renovate or repair existing non-Federal research facilities” (medical research facilities)
– $3,000,000,000 for school improvement grants
– $1,300,000,000 for Amtrak
– $225,000,000 in grants “to combat violence against women”
– $1,000,000,000 to the Transportation and Security Administration “for procurement and installation of checked baggage explosives detection systems and check-point explosives detection equipment”
– $1,000,000,000 for Head Start
– An additional $90,000,000 for educating the public about the transition to digital television
– $1,000,000,000 for NASA
Keep in mind that this is supposed to be an economic stimulus bill that proponents argue will save our faltering economy. Yet most members of Congress have probably not even read the entire bill. It has been rushed through using the politically tried-and-true method of scaring people — scaring them into believing that something must be done to avoid utter economic doom. While some of the above spending items may have merit in separate bills, they have nothing to do with stimulating the economy. This is not to mention the fact the Constitution does not allow for most of these expenditures on the part of the Congress.
This is around $790 billion dollars. That is roughly $2600 for every man, woman and child in the United States. The only way for government to come up with this money is to either borrow it or print it. Borrowing it further increases our government’s debt (owned by other countries, especially China). Printing it leads to inflation, which makes everyone’s dollar worth less. Of borrowing, Thomas Jefferson said, “The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but a swindling futurity on a large scale.” And economist Milton Friedman said, “Inflation is one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.”
There is no free lunch — someone always pays when Congress doles out money.