Imagine that. The most expensive social experiment in American history — one that will cost taxpayers more than both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined — was allotted less than a single day of debate in Congress.
How many speed-reading whiz-kid representatives do you think slogged past their own pork to read the entire 647 (or so) pages of the "stimulus" menu?
This week, more than 200 notable economists — including three Nobel laureates — signed an open letter in The New York Times challenging President Barack Obama's false suggestion that all economists agree a bailout is needed. It was titled: "With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true."
So though Nobel laureates can't reach anything resembling a consensus, your former community organizing/car-dealing/ambulance-chasing congressperson has the intellectual capacity to digest a $900 billion piece of legislation in mere days.
Name a single Iraq war supplemental that wasn't debated to death? You can't?
And did you know, that when the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 came before the Congress there were 1,000 hours of debate?
So what does the largest and most intrusive spending package in the history of the US get in Nancy Pelosi's House?
One stinking hour.
Yup - the same people who are screaming their guts out about the misuse of the first half of the TARP funds are now proposing two and a half times that amount of spending and deem it only worth - an hour.
They tell us it can't wait. They tell us this is so important to talk about or examine. Instead we must - wait for it - trust them.
My goodness, if you're not laughing out loud, you ought to be. Then you should cry.
Trust them? They bear as much responsibility for us being in the shape we are financially and economically as anyone. And when they tried this recently they ended up not even knowing where the first $350 billion went. And now they want more and don't intend to debate it or examine the bill in detail?
No sale. I wouldn't be satisfied with a 1,000 hours of debate on this turkey.
I'd love to see Congress answer any one of them, much less all 10. Like:
Politicians say deficit spending will expand the economy (as if President Bush's $300 billion budget deficits brought economic nirvana). If that were true, then the current $1.2 trillion deficit — the largest in history — would already be rescuing the economy. It's obviously not. So why would $800 billion more of the same suddenly end the recession?
We're told that government spending will add new spending power to the economy. But Congress doesn't have a vault of money waiting to be distributed: Every dollar lawmakers "inject" into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. If government borrows the money from American investors, investment spending drops accordingly. If it's borrowed from foreigners, net exports drop accordingly. How does borrowing $800 billion from one group of people and giving that $800 billion to another group of people make us wealthier?
Or how about:
Policymakers are basing the "stimulus" bill on economic models that wrongly assume every $1 of government spending increases the economy by approximately $1.60. Is it really that simple? By that logic, debt-ridden, big-government countries like Italy, France and Germany should be wealthier than America. And why stop at $800 billion? Such logic suggests unlimited prosperity could be guaranteed by the government borrowing and spending $800 trillion. Should America be basing such costly decisions on these types of economic models?
But you can't even ask those questions in an hour's time much less begin to answer them and all the other important questions that our "leaders" are ducking with the excuse "this is too important to wait".
Uh, no, it's not. In fact, it's too important not to wait and examine, debate and for the most part, reject.
However, given how the Democratic House refused to do that, I doubt we're ever going to see that happen. The Senate, I'm told, plans an even more expensive version than came out of the House.