Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Was Actually In That "Stimulus" Plan Anyway?!?

Since we're on the topic, and all these folks are out marching about rampant, out-of-control gubb'ment spending today, why not take a closer look at the money that was allocated for the "Stimulus Plan" and see exactly how much of it is indeed "wasteful"?

I wilfully admit that I too got caught up in all the AIG Bailout nonsense and didn't take the time to objectively examine the "Porkulus Bill" before now. Yes, I'm got off my "concerned citizen" grizzly, but this TeaBagger's Ball forced me to take a closer look. The numbers that follow are the gubb'ment's, the commentary is mine. I would strongly urge each of you to go view the detailed breakdowns of both spending and taxation in the bill on your own time and draw your own conclusions. The links are below. These are only my opinions after all. You should always examine things more closely and draw your own.
Accountability ($323,500,000) - This relatively small amount went to various cabinet-level departments for reasons not fully explained. (Waste Rating : Sorta.)

Aid to People Affected by Economic Downturn ($36,910,807,000) - A relatively large amount for childcare for low income families, food banks, food stamps, and low income housing. This money is intended to help those most effected by the economic downturn and their children. (Waste Rating : Not Wasteful At All.)

Aid to State and Local Governments ($58,355,000,000) - This is perhaps the most politicized allotment, since some Governors (Jindal, Sanford, Perry) are turning back some of the money because they fear they'll be on the hook for supporting these programs once the stimulus money runs out. We already know the grand hustle there, so why rehash it? Most of the money here (a whopping $53M) goes to the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund to avoid cutbacks and layoffs. Again, this money is used to help states facing shortfalls due to a dwindling tax base from cutting back crucial services like police, firemen, and special education teachers. Yeah, sounds like a real fuckin' waste of money to me too. (Waste Rating : Not Wasteful At All.)

Business ($870,000,000) - A bulk of this is loans for small business most vulnerable to the economic downturn. Yep, another egregious waste of taxpayer funds. Damn that Obama, always looking of for the little guy. (Waste Rating : Not Wasteful At All.)

Education ($48,420,000,000) - This is beginning to get repetitive now. We all know that Pell Grants, Student Aid, head start, and adult job training aren't necessary for folks to better educate themselves in order to best adjust to the changing economic landscape so that they aren't dependent on the gubb'ment the next time something of this sort happens. (Waste Rating : Not Wasteful At All.)

Energy ($41,400,000,000) - You could argue that spending money for Modernize electricity grid, Federal building conversion to "high-performance green buildings", and Energy efficiency federal vehicle fleet procurement isn't timely. I'll give you that much. It'll need to all be done eventually, but perhaps right now isn't the time. Fine. (Waste Rating : Sorta.)

Health Care ($18,830,000,000) - Note, this has nothing to do with plans for "universal healthcare". Much of this has to do with scientific research at NIH for cancer, stim-cell research, etc. Much like energy, you could argue that this needs to be done, just not now. I'll give you that much. (Waste Rating : Sorta.)

Miscellaneous ($2,147,000,000) - Here's where much of the "pork" that fills up Conservative blogs originates. Note that the overall tag for these "other" items is marginal. Money for National Endowment for the Arts grants, Filipino World War II veterans compensation, Digital-to-analog television converter box program, and Census Bureau programs could be viewed as pointless. But bear in mind the overall price tag in relation to the full layout. (Waste Rating : Frivolous.)

Science and Technology ($13,142,000,000) - Hey, I wanted to be an astronaut as much as the next guy growing up, but perhaps NASA doesn't need as much funding in our current economic state. A bulk of this money is meant to providing broadband access to rural areas. You could argue that this isn't exactly essential, but it is creating new jobs. (Waste Rating : Sorta.)

Transportation and Infrastructure ($98,325,000,000) - The single largest category is spent on the most tangible asset. You'll see buildings modernized, highways rebuilt, schools refurbished, HBCU's "preserved" (whatever that means), and parks cleaned up. This is the aspect of the Stimulus Bill, that actually stimulates the most when it comes to creating jobs. There will undoubtedly be some blatant misuses of money at the state level, but it's encouraging that the first completed jobs (including the repaving of a major thoroughfare into DC that I drive on daily) are coming in on time and waaay under budget (since bids are lower than usual given the economy). (Waste Rating : Not Wasteful At All.)
I know some of you math nerds are adding numbers in your head and trying to figure out how the heck this amounts to nearly $800k in "spending". Well, you'd be right, because, guess what, the "spending" doesn't even amount to half (just over $300k in expenditures) of the total bill.

So just where'd the rest of the money go?

Wait for it... here it comes... brace yourselves... TAX RELIEF!!!!! Add it up!!!
Tax Relief for Individuals $246,869,000,000
Tax Incentives for Businesses $6,150,000,000
Business $3,540,000,000
Other Tax Relief $6,858,000,000
Infrastructure Financing Tools $19,350,000,000
Renewable Energy Tax Credits $19,968,000,000
Aid to State and Local Governments $95,136,000,000
Health Care $20,352,000,000
Tax Aid to People Affected by the Economic Downturn $62,310,000,000
Again, I repeat, an overwhelming majority of the Stimulus Plan went towards tax cuts for regular citizens, small bid'ness, and the like. Tax cuts that came at the expense (at the behest of Republicans) of more infrastructure spending (which woulda created jobs), and expanded early childhood education programs (which, unless you're a truly heartless bastard, you should always agree with funding).

Call me crazy, but it sorta kinda looks like the GOP got what it wanted (tax cuts, although they don't help you if you don't have a job), and the Dems got what they wanted (spending on lots of essential stuff, and a little bit of trivial stuff) as well. Sounds like a pretty square deal to me.

Could someone please explain to me why these folks are marching, again?!?

Question: Had you actually looked at how the Stimulus Plan was being allocated before now? Are you shocked that the majority of the money is indeed for tax cuts, not "wasteful gubb'ment spending"? Do these Tax TeaBaggers have a leg left to stand on?!?

The Stimulus Plan: A Detailed List of Spending []

The Stimulus Plan: The Tax Cuts []

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