A very stupid stimulus bill?
The package is a mixture of $550 billion in spending programs and $275 billion in temporary tax cuts that Democrats hope will add 3 to 4 million jobs to the American workforce. . . . .
The measure calls for $87 billion to help the states meet the rising cost of providing health care for the poor in the recession, and another $39 billion to subsidize coverage by out-of-work wage-earners who cannot afford the cost of their employer-covered health care.
More than $100 billion is ticketed for education, including money for school districts to shield them from the effects of state cutbacks in services. Democrats also provided tens of billions in spending and tax breaks designed to lessen the nation's dependence on oil as a principal source of energy.
Obama's top aides have worked closely in recent days with Democrats in Congress to shape legislation that generally adheres to the president-elect's wishes.
At the same time, lawmakers departed dramatically in one area, jettisoning the incoming administration's call to give a $3,000 tax credit for each new job created by private companies.
Another key priority of the new administration was preserved, though. The summary calls for a tax credit of $500 per worker and $1,000 per working couple.
The measure does not include money to help middle- to upper-income taxpayers ensnared in the alternative minimum tax, which was originally designed to prevent the extremely wealthy from avoiding payment of taxes but now threatens more than 20 million tax filers. Several officials said the Senate was likely to include that provision in its version of the bill, a step that could push the overall total close to $900 billion.
With unemployment rising, and applications for various forms of federal aid keeping pace, the legislation calls for increased spending on food stamps, unemployment insurance and job training. It also proposes an increase in Pell Grants for college students of $500.
House leaders called for $30 billion for highway construction and $10 billion for mass transit and rail. . . .
The WSJ says that the plan has "broad backing in poll." But my reading of the poll is that it isn't even close to majority support, and that most people are either unsure or opposed.
Asked about the economic-stimulus package, now estimated to cost $850 billion over two years, 43% of people surveyed called it a "good idea," while 27% said it is a "bad idea." The rest didn't have an opinion. . . .
UPDATE: Here is something from the Galen Institute:
As expected, the House rushed to pass a bill on Wednesday to continue funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program. At 285 pages, you can be sure it delivers a lot more than money.
One example: The bill changes the rules of the game, making it much easier for states like New York to put children from families making up to $84,800 a year on this publicly-funded program.
In addition, generous "income disregards" will be allowed, which means that a family can subtract things such as rent or mortgage payments, heating, or food costs from its income in calculating eligibility. That means that children in families making well over $100,000 a year will be eligible for SCHIP. . . .
So you make over about $85,000 after housing and food costs and you can't afford to pay for your kids health care? It makes more sense to tax you and then give the money back to you through the government providing the insurance?