(01/31/2009)
COMMENT - Following several years of supporting lock-step, record deficit spending by the Bush Administration, railing against earmarks but being an amiable participant, the remaining Republican conservatives are now taking their long-held positions against deficit spending, including the stimulus bill to help the economy.

Although it has the ring of the the pot calling the kettle black, it is a return to what makes government work better. Where have these congressmen been when we needed them to prevent the economic collapse? - Bob Weaver

OPINION By Johanna Maurice
Charleston Daily Mail
Editorial Editor

Some people in this area are perhaps less concerned at the moment by wild swings in the financial markets and wild spending in Washington than they are by wild swings in the weather.

As many as 60,000 West Virginians have gone without heat or light or television at home in recent days, and for many, physical discomfort rose to the top of the worry list overnight.

But nagging economic and political questions are not going to go away.

Where is the nation going? Does the United States government even know what it's doing?

It is certainly not inspiring confidence at the moment.

There's an out-of-touch-with-reality quality to recent actions in Washington.

Democrats in the House of Representatives passed, without much ado, a 647-page so-called "economic stimulus" bill that calls for the spending of $825 billion that the American people don't have.

The Obama administration package is in addition to a $700 billion Bush administration program - also deficit spending - to get banks lending again.

The United States is $10 trillion in debt, for pity's sake. Where is this money going to come from?

Americans don't have it. Its existence is a mirage.

And as the Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial, what House Democrats passed wasn't so much an economic stimulus program as a 40-year political wish list.

"We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it," the Journal said.

"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."

How will that bring change to believe in?

SOME people in this area are perhaps less concerned at the moment by wild swings in the financial markets and wild spending in Washington than they are by wild swings in the weather.

As many as 60,000 West Virginians have gone without heat or light or television at home in recent days, and for many, physical discomfort rose to the top of the worry list overnight.

But nagging economic and political questions are not going to go away.

Where is the nation going? Does the United States government even know what it's doing?

It is certainly not inspiring confidence at the moment.

There's an out-of-touch-with-reality quality to recent actions in Washington.

Democrats in the House of Representatives passed, without much ado, a 647-page so-called "economic stimulus" bill that calls for the spending of $825 billion that the American people don't have.

The Obama administration package is in addition to a $700 billion Bush administration program - also deficit spending - to get banks lending again.

The United States is $10 trillion in debt, for pity's sake.

Where is this money going to come from?

Americans don't have it. Its existence is a mirage.

And as the Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial, what House Democrats passed wasn't so much an economic stimulus program as a 40-year political wish list.

"We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it," the Journal said.

"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."

The Journal figures that only about 12 cents of every dollar in this funny money package could possibly stimulate economic growth.

The rest is just spending, pure and simple - $600 million for more government cars (hybrid Chevys made by United Auto Workers, maybe?), $7 billion for federal buildings, $83 billion in "earned income tax credits" for people who don't pay income tax (simple redistribution of money earned by others), on and on and on.

Heck, $54 billion goes to programs the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office has branded as "ineffective" or have failed to pass basic financial audits.

President Obama had promised to go after programs like that "line by line."

That's a deeply disappointing first move for a new administration that promised "change we can believe in."

To their credit, not a single Republican in the House voted for this charade.

"There is a bailout fatigue, a spending fatigue, that set in," commented Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga.

Equally to their credit, Republicans apparently were able to stop even worse stuff.

The Associated Press reported that last year's (failed) economic stimulus bill poured dollars into the pockets of, among other people, illegal aliens.

This year's "stimulus," it is said, will have stricter eligibility requirements.

We'll have to wait and see.

Now the U .S. Senate will get involved, and people expect our cost of saving ourselves to go up.

"We must simply begin to restore confidence among the American people in the future of our economy," Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, told a reporter.

Wild spending is not going to have that effect on people who have seen Wall Street do the same.

The Obama administration would have been off to a much more persuasive start had it come in with a plan for lightening the taxpayers' burden by a couple of trillion dollars.

That would be real change.

Maurice is editorial page editor of the Daily Mail. She may be reached at 348-4802 or ha...@dailymail.com

dailymail.com


Hur Herald ©from Sunny Cal
The information on these pages, to the extent the law allows, remains the exclusive property of Bob Weaver and The Hur Herald. information cannot be not be used in any type of commercial endeavor, or used on a web site without the express permission of the owner. Hur Herald published printed editions 1996-1999, Online ©Hur Herald Publishing, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019