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The Greatest Head-Fake Ever

Friday, January 16, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The Los Angeles Times notes that hopes for a bipartisan approach to a stimulus package are fading rapidly. “The air is coming out of that balloon,” said South Dakota Republican senator John Thune.

As it should.

Unlike the TARP funds, which could conceivably come back to the taxpayer and which went mostly into financial stability efforts, the massive spending splurge unveiled by House Democrats is just a joke, an expression of eight years of pent-up liberal frustrations at fiscal discipline –the teenagers given a fifth and the car keys, out on a destructive joyride.

Absent some serious reconstruction towards purposeful spending and more tax cuts on the Republican side, the GOP should seek to garner every vote against this absurd carnival of spending in both houses. This stuff just doesn’t work to stimulate the economy anymore than a binge stimulates a drunk.

Vast sums are proposed for projects which no one believes for a moment will be job generators. From the Washington Post:

Some provisions drew fire as unlikely to lead to job creation. The bill proposed a $650 million account for providing coupons to television viewers to enable them to make the conversion to digital television. The bill also includes $200 million to refurbish the National Mall, particularly the Tidal Basin walls around the Jefferson Memorial, and another $150 million for a backlog of repairs at the Smithsonian Institution.

The president-elect is a hoops player. The House proposal amounts to the greatest head fake ever. He had many of us believing that the stimulus package would actually embody a centrist approach, using proven methods of economic growth based in tax cuts and real infrastructure improvements like nuclear power plant construction.

The impacts on the deficit are chronicled by Heritage’s Conn Carroll, but the obvious reality is that this is a bill from the far left side of a largely left-leaning House leadership.

Either the president-elect demands it be overhauled in the Senate or we will know in the first month just how far to the left the new president really is on matters domestic. At least then we can put away the idea that he is about transforming politics. Pork and payoffs by any other name are still pork and payoffs.

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