The Obama stimulus package has passed the House by a vote of 244 to 188, without every Republican and eleven Democrats voting against. Republicans, who have claimed that the stimulus package is laden with pork, have found other flaws.
One flaw in the Obama stimulus package appears to be the fact that it provides money for illegal aliens, according to the International Herald Tribune:
“The legislation, which would send tax credits of $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple, expressly disqualifies nonresident aliens, but it would allow people who don’t have Social Security numbers to be eligible for the checks.
“Undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for a Social Security number can file tax returns with an alternative number. A House-passed version of the economic recovery bill and one making its way through the Senate would allow anyone with such a number, called an individual taxpayer identification number, to qualify for the tax credits.”
The Washington Post reports that the Obama stimulus package contains a “buy American” provision, barring foreign iron and steel from infrastructure projects. Some suggest the provision is similar in effect to the infamous Smoot Haley bill that started a trade war that in turn turned a severe recession into the decade long Great Depression of the 1930s.
The Wall Street Journal has already pointed out some of the dubious provisions of the Obama stimulus package that, strictly speaking, have more to do that liberal Democratic spending wishes than economic stimulus:
“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 Wall Street Journal suggests that only ninety billion of the eight hundred plus billion dollar Obama stimulus package could, strictly speaking, be called stimulative. The rest is either pork, projects that have a low or negative return on investments, or transfer payments from one group of tax payers to another.
One might conclude, knowing what is in the Obama stimulus package, that it is little wonder that President Obama and the Democrats want to pass it as soon as possible. It is not the fact that the economy would collapse if the stimulus package is not passed quickly. It is suspected that the stimulus package itself might collapse if it is not passed quickly, as otherwise more and more people will learn what is in it and will oppose it. And that would be a disaster for President Obama and the Democrats. The health of the economy pales in comparison, from their perspective, to their political fortunes.
Sources: House Passes $819B Stimulus Package, Fox News, January 28th, 2009
Hill Republican: Stimulus aids illegal immigrants, International Herald Tribune, January 29th, 2009
‘Buy American’ Rider Sparks Trade Debate, Anthony Faiola, Washington Post, January 29th, 2009
A 40-Year Wish List, Wall Street Journal, January 28th, 2009