There are two competing story lines developing on the Trillion Dollar Debt Plan. The first is that the bill passed by the House is basically a sound spending plan that only needs a few minor changes in the Senate before it can be passed and single-handedly save the entire U.S. economy from total collapse. So National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers tells the USA Today, “We’re focused on the pie, not the crumbs. The president is prepared to compromise but our focus is on the fact that the American economy badly needs help.” President Barack Obama was also on message last night telling ABC News: “The overwhelming bulk of the package is sound. Most of the programs that have been criticized as part of this package amount to less than 1% of the overall package.” That is the official White House version of events. Then there is the truth.
The truth is that the vast majority Obama’s Trillion Dollar Debt Plan has nothing to do with stimulating the economy and everything to do with permanently redistributing spending and power away from the private sector and toward government. That is why the plan is costlier than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. That is why it is larger than the entire GDP of India. That is why the plan will send our debt-to-GDP levels to unprecedented heights. Remember, only 15% of the spending in this debt plan goes to infrastructure. So where does the rest of the money go? Obama’s Trillion Dollar Debt Plan doubles the size of the entire Education Department and according to the New York Times, expands government health care spending in a way that fundamentally “rewrit[es] the social contract with the poor in ways [the left] have long yearned to do.”
As conservative stalwart Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) writes in today’s Wall Street Journal: “As a nation, we got into this mess by spending and investing money that didn’t exist. We won’t get out of it by doing more of the same.” Coburn is not alone in this assessment. The Washington Post reports today that Senate Democratic leaders have conceded they do not have the votes to pass the stimulus bill as currently written. And it is not just because conservatives like Sen. Coburn object. Moderate Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are also not happy with the core of the Trillion Dollar Debt Plan. Nelson says he and Collins have identified “tens of billions” in cuts they will ask Obama to remove. But Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) had an even more honest assessment of the bill telling the Post that “many of the provisions were jammed into the legislation by members of the Appropriations Committee who were ‘trying to short-circuit the normal legislative process.’” Snowe concluded: “They should scrub it.”
There is an alternative. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has an idea he calls The American Option. Instead of permanently expanding the size and power of Washington, DeMint’s idea would free American entrepreneurs from their stifling tax burdens and allow them to create millions of new private sector jobs. The American Option would create rapid growth in wages and business incomes by reducing business taxes from 35% to 25%; reducing the estate tax to 15%; keeping the tax rates on dividends and capital gains at 15%; reducing individual tax rates to three levels and permanently repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). According to a study by the Center for Data Analysis this policy would increase employment by a half million jobs in 2009 and by 1.3 million jobs in 2010, and create 4.8 million jobs between 2009 and 2012. By contrast, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Trillion Dollar Debt Plan will only create 1.2 million to 3.6 million jobs, one in five of which will be a government job.
Commenting on the rapidly shrinking support for the Trillion Dollar Debt Plan, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) predicted that “100 decisions” will be “made between now and when we deliver the bill to the president’s desk.” Let’s hope our Senator’s choose freedom and small government over Washington control over the economy and trillion dollar deficits for years to come.
- Iran fired its first satellite into orbit Tuesday, proving that once their nuclear program is complete they will have the ability to send warheads halfway around the globe.
- In her first day of intensive diplomacy yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had pointed words about Iranian behavior.
- North Korea has been moving what appear to be components of a long-range missile to a launching site.
- Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) unveiled a set of principles that will guide their efforts to regulate the entire economy in the name of stopping global warming.
- According to Rasmussen Reports, the percentage of Americans who believe Congress is doing a poor job jumped 7 points last week.