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The Responsibility Summit Is Too Late

Robert J. Samuelson informs us :

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that about $200 billion will be spent in 2011 or later — after it would do the most good. For starters, there’s $8 billion for high-speed rail.  . . Whatever’s done, the design and construction will occupy many years. It’s not a quick stimulus. Then there’s $20.8 billion for improved health information technology — more electronic records and the like. Probably most people regard this as desirable, but here, too, changes occur slowly. The CBO expects only 3 percent of the money ($595 million) to be spent in fiscal 2009 and 2010. The peak year of projected spending is 2014 at $14.2 billion.

Samuelson concludes that by allowing the bill to be drafted by Democrats intent on fulfilling their forty-year wish list of liberal pet projects, the president has “delayed and diluted” his signature piece of legislation, risking that it won’t have much stimulative effect. He concludes: “Obama is gambling that his flawed stimulus will seem to work well enough that he’ll receive credit for restarting the economy — and not be blamed for engineering a colossal waste.”

There are other factors which may, in due course, fuel the recovery, including a huge explosion in the money supply. But an eventual recovery does not eradicate the wasting of taxpayers’ money, risking huge fraud and abuse, and making our budgeting problems substantially worse. We may have a recovery in a year or so but the consequences of this pork-a-thon will live on. The ever-burgeoning deficit will retard growth by the CBO’s own estimation and  the Democrats handiwork will require, eventually, higher taxes (or elevated interest rates) to sustain our level of borrowing.

And no dog-and-pony show today about “fiscal responsibility” should obscure the utter lack of  fiscal responsibility that contributed to this awful piece of legislation. Maybe some brave soul in attendance at the confab with the president will have the nerve to bring up that unpleasant fact.


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