Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Other People's Money On Other People

Milton Friedman said there are four ways to spend money:

1. You spend your money on yourself.

2. You spend your money on other people.

3. You spend other people's money on yourself.

4. You spend other people's money on other people.

If this list sounds familiar, you are either very well-informed or you remember me mentioning this before. *grin*

The economic stimulus package that the House of Representatives is voting on today (you can read all 647 pages here) is a very good example of what happens under situation #4. Here is a summary from today's Wall Street Journal:

"Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."

So said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November, and Democrats in Congress are certainly taking his advice to heart. The 647-page, $825 billion House legislation is being sold as an economic "stimulus," but now that Democrats have finally released the details we understand Rahm's point much better. This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.

We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There's even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.

You can read the entire article here.

The Senate has their own version of the stimulus bill which should come up for a vote in a few weeks.

Sounds like the same old pork, different congress. Whether your political beliefs or understanding of the Constitution allow for a government stimulus of private commerce or not, shouldn't the majority of the bill contain laws which would actually stimulate something economic? Maybe they are trying to stimulate a faster economic downfall? In so, way to go!

So much for change.

Update: The House passed the bill this afternoon (Jan. 28th) 244-188.

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