If Your Family Had $8,800 to Spend
Would it be on any of this? Because the $825 billion we are about to borrow and spend amounts to $8,800 for every American family.
- $1.1 billion is for rural community facilities direct loans (agricultural)
- $2.8 billion for internet access in rural communities
- $350 million for additional salaries for employees in the national telecommunication and information administration
- $650 million to continue the analog to digital converter box program for those folks with old televisions
- At least $140 million for “Procurement, Acquisition and Construction” of climate data modeling equipment
- $4.5 billion for “Facilities Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization programs of the Department of Defense (including minor construction and major maintenance and repair)” because the half-trillion they get each year is just not enough to get that done.
- $250 million more for the Army Corps of Engineers to do “stuff” on the Mississippi River and its Tributaries
- $600 million for electric cars for the General Services Administration
- $500 million more for the folks molesting you at the airport security lines
- $200 million for updating the monuments on the DC Mall
- $850 million more to stop forest fires
- $1.2 billion for a youth activities fund … intended to create summer jobs for youth … defined as age 24
- $750 million for job training in “high growth” industries as defined by the bureaucrats
- $600 million to train nurses and primary care physicians. Of course, their high salaries are not enough inducement to get people into that sector. And of course, the health care sector has been suffering from massive spending cuts and recessionary unemployment.
- $1.5 billion for the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health to basically use at his discretion
- $50 million to carry out “injury prevention programs”!
- $13 billion for the educational bureaucracy to play with, including $5.5 billion for “targeted grants”, but of course we can’t see what they are targeted for. My guess is anything that makes the AFT happy.
- Up to $200 million to help economists get cool data to do research projects – “That a portion of these funds shall also be used for a rigorous national evaluation by the Institute of Education Sciences, utilizing randomized controlled methodology to the extent feasible, that assesses the impact of performance-based teacher and principal compensation systems supported by the funds provided in this Act on teacher and principal recruitment and retention in high-need schools and subjects.”
- $20 billion to modernize K12 and university school buildings (70% for K12). That’s another sector that is just suffering from a lack of funds and huge employment losses, right? Of course, this is an effort to make them “greener” – yeah, meaning the lining of the pockets of the construction, electrician, plumber and other unionized workers in the building trades.
- $40 million for operating expenses for the Corporation for National and Community Service. What exactly do they do?
- $920 million to pay for housing of US army trainees and recruits, because the half-trillion in the annual budget is not enough
- $800 million to Amtrak for capital construction and maintenance
- $5 billion more for public housing and $500 million for native American housing
- $100 million to pay someone to remove lead paint from houses.
- $79 billion of state fiscal stabilization funds … to be administered by … the Department of Education
- $325 million for trophies! (to establish an Innovation Fund, which shall consist of academic achievement awards that recognize States, local educational agencies, or schools that meet the requirements described in subsection (b).)
You should read the fine print of the provisions – the hubris is incredible. It includes provisions that projects that are labor intensive are given preference, that Secretaries of the corresponding departments fast-track various projects according to their importance and likely speed of implementation (“priority to projects that can commence promptly after passage of the Act”), that maximum amounts of funding be allocated to administrative tasks within each department, that housing stabilization funds (up to $5 billion) be used primarily in “high need” (high foreclosure) areas, etc.
I don’t see as much infrastructure spending in there as one would suspect given the rhetoric. This is an orgy of rent seeking of historical proportions. And when passed in an atmosphere of hysteria and misinformation, all of us taxpayers will be forced to choke down these horsepills and like it. A good exercise would be to revisit this bill in 5 years and look at how much of it turned out to be “temporary” which is what this sort of a stimulus is supposed to be.
Another way to think about whether this plan is a good idea, is to ask yourself, would you prefer $8,800 in cash, or a share of stock in a company that is “investing” in all of the things this stimulus bill is doing? How about $4,400? $1,000? Yeah, I thought so. Perhaps that is not a perfect comparison – would you rather a government bond with a face value of $8,800? $4,400? $500?