why our government failed us with the stimulus package

18 02 2009

You probably think I’m going to gripe about what’s in the stimulus package (and I might), but that’s not the main point of this editorial.  Our government has done something really bad, and some of the analysts in the media appear to be overlooking this issue.

As you know, last Thursday the $787 billion stimulus bill was finalized around midnight and was voted on Friday, starting in the morning.  The bill was 1071 pages long.  So our representatives in the House and the Senate had less than a day to read 1071 pages.  That’s like reading the entire Bible — with understanding (i.e., not skimming over it) — in a few hours, and most of that time was when people usually sleep.  So in other words, nobody read it.  Some of them even admitted it, and cited that as the primary reason for voting against it.  I think that’s a very good reason for not voting for it!

There was such a hurry to push this through to vote, and I have to wonder why.  Is our economy that fragile, that if this isn’t voted on that day, then it’s going to fall apart and become catastrophic?  As we’ve learned, that’s not it.  One thing we’ve seen is that Nancy Pelosi and 7 other Democrats flew out to Italy for a week-long trip after the vote.  And President Barack Obama wasn’t in a hurry to sign it.  He received the approved bill Friday night, but waited until Tuesday to sign it.

So here’s the main question — why were Congressmen not allowed to read and debate the bill?  Were the authors scared of debate?  Were they scared of people finding out what’s in it?  Were they just trying to push through various non-stimulus projects in the name of saving our economy as fast as possible?  I think it’s all of the above.  We know they resisted debate, because they wouldn’t even let Republicans in the room while it was being written and edited.  (Yet this was a bipartisan bill?  I keep hearing that, but I fail to see how they were working together in creating it.)

This bill was more than just a stimulus package, and I think everyone knows that (except for perhaps a few Obama-can-do-no-wrong-type people).  This bill pushed liberal agendas and ideology (like funding certain sex education and groups like ACORN) and pork projects (like giving $30 million to save an endangered rat).  And this bill included a lot of projects that Democrats have been wanting to do for years, including numerous projects that will receive no funding for over 2 years.  So what is that doing in this supposedly urgent stimulus package?!?

My point is, this bill is one of the largest influences on our economy and our nation that we’ve ever seen, and it puts our government in far greater debt than we were (and we’re closer to bankruptcy than we should be), yet many people voted for this bill without even reading it.  That’s where our government is breaking down and failing us.  We have so many representatives and senators so they can each look at the proposal, critique it, debate it, and then decide if it’s what is best for our country, and they failed us!  Instead of being responsible, they blindly followed their party and/or Obama.  This is not good.

I think this is one of the most irresponsible things our government has ever done.  Now before anyone jumps on their soapbox and condemns my opinion, let me clarify my stance on the issue.  I’m not saying a stimulus package is a bad thing, nor am I saying we shouldn’t act quickly to help the economy.  But some of the stuff in that bill has nothing to do with stimulating our economy, and it shouldn’t be in this bill at all.  And not only should our Congressmen read or hear every bill before voting on it, they should understand it.  To vote things into law without knowledge of what it will accomplish is foolish and irresponsible.  I think our government has just set a new low…

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4 responses

18 02 2009
Obama-can-do-no-wrong-type Person

Let’s take a deep breath. Everything is gonna be alright. I will explain how this happened.

Obama is an experienced politician, well beyond his years. Like most people in congress, they have experience in running government. So in order to get something passed, they don’t have to read anything. They already know what is gonna happen. For example, do lawyers need somebody to educate them about law after their accredited? No. Do surgeons need another surgeon to tell them what to do after 20 years experience? No. Do car mechanics need someone to tell them how to fix cars? No.

We must trust our noble leader will get us through it all. Call it a leap of faith.

22 02 2009
Christina W.

I’m one of the many who voted for President Obama. I’ve read at least two dozen conflicting reports about the stimulus package, and for the most I agree with you. It should have been read. It should have been smaller, and it should not have had so many dang bull-puckey addendums.

We need to remember that doing something is much better than doing nothing, and NO one was going to be completely happy. Like so many items pushed through the halls of Congress, there were compromises made. Do I like them all? Of course not!

What gets me is the utter surprise we as a nation seem to be in. Hello? WE voted for those people you know.

One more thing… The $30 mil for the rat study? That’s just a rumor.

“…a House Republican leadership staffer circulated a background email, charging that GOP staffers had been told by an unnamed Federal agency that if it got money from the stimulus package, it would spend thirty million dollars for wetland restoration in the San Francisco Bay Area — including work to protect the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse; …the House GOP staffer who wrote the initial email conceded that the claim by conservative media that the mouse money is currently in the bill is a misstatement. “There is not specific language in the legislation for this project,” he said. ”

Response from Nancy Pelosi’s office: “There are no federal wetland restoration projects in line to get funded in San Francisco,” Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said. “Neither the Speaker nor her staff have had any involvement in this initiative. The idea that $30 million will be spent to save mice is a total fabrication.”

Just so you know!

22 02 2009
Beppo

Perhaps something did need to be done quickly. I’m no economist, so I’ll admit I don’t fully understand the ramifications of the stimulus package and how urgent help is needed. But I really think Congress was irresponsible by pushing a bunch of stuff through that won’t help very many people, and they should’ve chosen more projects with an immediate impact. Some of the projects won’t help anyone for a couple of years, so they should NOT have been part of this stimulus package.

I’m glad to know the money is not just to save a mouse. But there is a degree of truth to it — there is an endangered mouse in that area, and the project will restore salt marshes into better areas. Here’s more detail:
{
Three projects would turn abandoned industrial salt operations back into natural wetlands, about 26,000 acres in all. It turns out the mouse is an endangered species that likes tidal salt marshes, and it’s mentioned by name as one of several species that will benefit.

But the projects themselves — the South Bay Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, the Napa Plant Site, and the Napa Salt Marsh restoration — are intended to do more than just benefit wildlife. It’s major construction work to create recreation areas and to restore marshland that will resist flooding and storm surge.

“This is bulldozers, front-end loaders, backhoes. These are major earth-moving projects to break down levees, to resculpt the landscape and to make sure nature can do its thing,” Ritchie said. “Right now, we just have these lousy little salt pond levees and they break.”
}
The mouse is not directly mentioned in the plans, although some sources say, “The vitality of the mouse has been an issue for Mrs. Pelosi and other California Democrats since the early 1990s.”

The projects sound like a good plan, but I’m not sure they belong in an economic stimulus package. I know, it gives some people work to do, so technically it fits — but I think $30M could be used in better ways to generate jobs on a larger scale.

I also read that there is $300 million budgeted for hybrid and electric cars for the federal government. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if the government is already buying their cars. Although supposedly this funding includes golf carts for federal workers, which is unnecessary. If that’s true, I’m not surprised…

Our government has shown many times through the years that they aren’t good stewards of our money. (And it is our money — government money is taxpayer money.) I wish they were a lot more careful with it, so there would be less waste and corruption…

12 08 2009
public approval rating going down « Buffet o’ Blog

[…] crossroads offers the perfect chance to push through extreme legislation, as we have seen with the stimulus package and the omnibus bill and bailouts, which were rushed so fast through Congress that most of our […]

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