On Jan. 28, Congress convened on Capitol Hill to vote for an $819 billion economic recovery plan. Without a single Republican vote, the bill was passed with a vote of 244-188.
This economic recovery plan, however, seems anything but stimulating, and this is coming from a person who considers himself economically liberal.
For starters, the $819 billion is only the beginning, and over the course of the next four years is estimated to reach $1.2 trillion. The one question that should be going through your mind right now is: How on God's green Earth are we supposed to pay for that, let alone borrow it?
Besides the fact that the $1.2 trillion is likely to cause global inflation in the world market due to the fact that the dollar is the global reserve currency, the economic recovery plan focuses on spending programs that mimic the very "pork-barrel" spending that both candidates vowed against during the 2008 presidential election.
Some of the spending projects include $1 billion for "periodic census programs," $650 million on digital-to-analog converter boxes and $6 billion to improve broadband Internet access in rural areas. The only stimulating part of the bill is the $41 billion for local school districts and $79 billion to states to prevent educational service cut-backs, and that's simply because I'm a student and it's the only thing that directly affects my life.
The rest of the bill is loosely organized and, when read, sounds like it was dictated by President Obama as a stream-of-consciousness piece. When focusing on the figures it is easy to imagine an eager Obama listing off random expenditures then asking, "So how much are we up to?"
Further, the billions of dollars being invested in infrastructure, public housing and the modernization of several industries is at a state level - presumably without any federal oversight of the actual spending. The result of this will be spending at an unprecedented level by incompetent governors who will find the money more attractive in their pockets than toward public works projects with actual worth. Just remember Sarah Palin and the "Bridge to Nowhere."
From a distance, the economic recovery plan looks attractive to most Democrats and should look attractive to some Republicans, considering the inclusion of tax cuts. This plan, however, rivals Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous New Deal of the 1930s. Although this may sound appealing to most people, it shouldn't. Roosevelt's New Deal brought us deeper into depression and did nothing but employ millions of people to build dams and roads, which back then we actually needed. The only thing that actually brought us out of the depression was World War II, an industrial growth most likely never to be seen again in the same fashion, and most definitely not to come any time during the investment in infrastructure with this plan.
If President Obama were serious about driving the economy out of this recession then he would focus less on spending billions of dollars on projects such as energy research and focus more on giving money back to the American people. All of those pleasant progressions he's promised this country have a place in my book, but they should be dealt with further down the road, perhaps when the country isn't destroying itself from the inside out.