Friday, January 16, 2009

Digging Into Obama's Stimulus

I compiled a spreadsheet to organize and see where our money's going last night after reading through Obama's Economic Recovery Act last night. You can find your own personal copy of the act here and here. (Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin) I'm working on the spreadsheet for a few more things today, but I need to get some points up, first.

First thing's first, the grand total only adds up to about $363 billion. This is contrary to Obey's report that states the value of the stimulus amounts is $550 billion. I will grant there is potential I missed a few bits and pieces, but $190 billion worth of pieces? I doubt it.

Where is the other $190 billion?

UPDATE: According to Ace, there is $87 billion for a "Temporary Increase in Medicaid Funding." I haven't found it actually in the Act. Assuming it's there, I guess that cuts the gap down to $103 billion. Peanuts!

Onto a few highlights.

What becomes immediately apparent is a general lack of transparency regarding items that one would assume our Congress would rather we not know about. Anywhere that an act seems like it could cause controversy in the discussion, rather than referring to the act's purpose, as they do for the safer items, they refer only to "Carrying out activities as directed by Act ##, Title ##, Section ##."

This is no more egregious than where they allocate $22.6 billion to Section 502 Loans, a program basically giving away subprime housing loans to people who can't afford them.

Elsewhere, $14.4 billion is allocated to No Child Left Behind, referred to rather by it's actual name of ESEA.

Perhaps the most politically egregious is the fact that they allocate, first under this program, and then under the HUD Community Planning & Development fund, a total of $5.15 billion in the direction of ACORN.

Our next highlight is the fact that there is an incredible amount of what I'll call, "floating money." Quite often they allocate a large sum, and then say, X amount to be allocated for this, and Y amount to be allocated for that. Many of these cases do not add up to the inital total amount, leaving the "floating money." There is a total of $1.8 billion of this "floating money."

Under the Borrowing Authority, $6.5 billion is allocated for loans to the Western Area Power Administration, and the Bonneville Power Administration. These are loans intended to be paid back via the income from power generation. However, they include the caveat that "Balances Remaining at the end of any project's useful life will be forgiven." This just makes this a complete giveaway.

$420 million is allocated to "Prepare for and Respond to an Influenza Pandemic." I was unaware we were headed for a pandemic of any sort.

And let's not forget the elephant in the room.

$79 billion is allocated to the "State Fiscal Stabilization Fund" which is essentially giving money to the states to "improve education." This section reads that the Governor of each state will be in charge of this money. And while this section is supposed to improve education at the state level, it specifically only requires that the governors use 61% of the money for education, leaving them to do as they please with the rest. That's $30.8 billion gifted to the states to do with as their governors please.

I'll have more highlights and analysis as I dig through this thing line-by-line as to how much of any of this money will actually stimulate our economy. Trust me when I say it ain't much of it, though!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a lot of PORK to me...