Free Markets, Free People

Long On Pork And Relief – Short On Stimulus And Jobs

Stephen Spruiell and Kevin Williamson over at NRO have put an excellent “stimulus package” summary together.

I’m going to give you an condensed summary from their work. Make sure you read the whole thing.


$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
$380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children program
$300 million for grants to combat violence against women
$2 billion for federal child-care block grants
$6 billion for university building projects
$15 billion for boosting Pell Grant college scholarships
$4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion for “youths” up to the age of 24
$1 billion for community-development block grants
$4.2 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities”
$650 million for digital-TV coupons; $90 million to educate “vulnerable populations”


$15 billion for business-loss carry-backs
$145 billion for “Making Work Pay” tax credits
$83 billion for the earned income credit


$150 million for the Smithsonian
$34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters
$500 million for improvement projects for National Institutes of Health facilities
$44 million for repairs to Department of Agriculture headquarters
$350 million for Agriculture Department computers
$88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building
$448 million for constructing a new Homeland Security Department headquarters
$600 million to convert the federal auto fleet to hybrids
$450 million for NASA (carve-out for “climate-research missions”)
$600 million for NOAA (carve-out for “climate modeling”)
$1 billion for the Census Bureau


$89 billion for Medicaid
$30 billion for COBRA insurance extension
$36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits
$20 billion for food stamps


$4.5 billion for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
$850 million for Amtrak
$87 million for a polar icebreaking ship
$1.7 billion for the National Park System
$55 million for Historic Preservation Fund
$7.6 billion for “rural community advancement programs”
$150 million for agricultural-commodity purchases
$150 million for “producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish”


$2 billion for renewable-energy research ($400 million for global-warming research)
$2 billion for a “clean coal” power plant in Illinois
$6.2 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
$3.5 billion for energy-efficiency and conservation block grants
$3.4 billion for the State Energy Program
$200 million for state and local electric-transport projects
$300 million for energy-efficient-appliance rebate programs
$400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments
$1 billion for the manufacturing of advanced batteries
$1.5 billion for green-technology loan guarantees
$8 billion for innovative-technology loan-guarantee program
$2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects
$4.5 billion for electricity grid


$79 billion for State Fiscal Stabilization Fund

You add it up. Estimates say that only 17% of these funds would be spent in the first year.


No – pork and relief.


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12 Responses to Long On Pork And Relief – Short On Stimulus And Jobs

  • Apparently, even the dems (spit) will reluctantly admit that this isn’t all “stimulus” if they are pressed.  However, they start waving their hands and ASSURING us that, even if the spending won’t stimulate the economy (i.e. do what the hell it is supposed to do), the projects are good ones that the government OUGHT to be funding.

    Yep: to hell with the normal budget process.  Just put all your wants and desires in one huge bill, promise (cross my heart!) that “it’s all good” and ram it through with as little time for debate as possible.  The bill won’t come due for years, by which time you’ll either have retired or have somebody else to blame when the economy collapses from all the additional government debt and government spending to maintain the programs that were advertized as “stimulus” but inevitably became permanent fixtures of the budget.

    Congress is starting to sound like some hustling salesman: “You’ve gotta buy NOW to get the special offer!  This deal won’t last long!  What are you waiting for?” MiniTru is running stories that TAO, for all his messianic communication skills, is losing the “message war” over Porkapalooza.  Maybe he needs to get Billy Mays to pitch it for him!

  • “$145 billion for “Making Work Pay” tax credits”

    Ummm. Isnt’ that kind of the definition of work? Something someone has to pay you money to do unless you are doing it at your own house?

  • $150 million for “producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish”

    At least Pogue gets something.

    • what? Animal husbandry?  Or at least that is what I think he calls it 😉

      • I think he is a beekeeper in real life.

        • Beekeepers have been eligible for federal assistance for years.  And as there is plenty to bark about farm subsidies, having a healthy agriculture industry is a food safety and national security issue.   The system is definitely flawed, but unless one wants all or most of the US agriculture industry to go down to world markets, and unless one wants a little anemia with their morning biscuit, something should be done.  Don’t ask me what though.

          Fortunately for me, I have found a niche market and have been selling all or most of my product every year.  That said, if Obama came to my door with a bag of cash, I wouldn’t turn it away.


  • From the Times

    “Japan’s rural areas have been paved over and filled in with roads, dams and other big infrastructure projects, the legacy of trillions of dollars spent to lift the economy from a severe downturn caused by the bursting of a real estate bubble in the late 1980s. During those nearly two decades, Japan accumulated the largest public debt in the developed world — totaling 180 percent of its $5.5 trillion economy — while failing to generate a convincing recovery. “Now, as the Obama administration embarks on a similar path, proposing to spend more than $820 billion to stimulate the sagging American economy, many economists are taking a fresh look at Japan’s troubled experience.

    In the end, say economists, it was not public works but an expensive cleanup of the debt-ridden banking system, combined with growing exports to China and the United States, that brought a close to Japan’s Lost Decade. This has led many to conclude that spending did little more than sink Japan deeply into debt, leaving an enormous tax burden for future generations.

    Et tu, Brute Times ?

  • This is just a small quibble with Spruiell and Williamson’s designations, but I don’t think that the funding for a new icebreaking vessel should be under the heading of “Pure Pork.”  One of the three vessels capable of operating in Antarctic and Arctic waters is headed either for a costly overhaul or permanent decommissioning, so preserving the icebreaking fleet’s capacity should be a valid goal, though I’d like to come up with financing through means other than this stimulus bill. 

    That said, I can’t find anything in the stimulus bill sent to the Senate that would indicate an earmark for an icebreaking ship, so I can’t verify exactly what the money was supposed to be spent doing, whether building a new ship (unlikely at that price) or perhaps a partial overhauling of USCGC Polar Star.

  • Great list. Thanks for the pointer.

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