- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 4, 2009




Anybody looking at the current $1 trillion Democratic stimulus bill should agree that most of those funds will not be spent on items most Americans would consider stimulative or on items that President Obama has emphasized in his speeches about the bill. Most Americans probably believe that the stimulus package is mostly devoted to rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and cutting taxes. Considering that those were the goals President Obama outlined for the bill a few weeks ago, those assumptions are understandable. However, little in this bill is truly stimulative.

Out of $500 billion in spending, only $30 billion is for highways, and only $1 billion is for Community Redevelopment Block Grants, the main HUD instrument for improving neighborhoods. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 15 percent of the money is estimated to be spent in Fiscal Year 2009, and only 37 percent in Fiscal Year 2010, when many economists predict the recession may be over even the stimulus.

So what are we getting for our $500 billion? Basically just a grab bag of non-stimulative liberal spending priorities, such as the National Endowment for the Arts, Americorps, climate research, and yes, it’s hard to believe, even a $25 billion down-payment on government-run health care. Perhaps there is a place for some funding for programs like the National Endowment for the Arts, but in an appropriate bill. An organization that I’m a member of, the Republican Study Committee, offers an excellent summary of the bill on its website at rsc.price.house.gov where Americans can unpack this mess of a bill and find the truth.

What about all the wonderful tax cuts supposedly in the bill? This will surprise readers who are not familiar with Washington double-talk, but there is actually not a single income tax cut in the bill. Supporters of this bill have cleverly turned the term tax cuts into meaning tax credits, which are mainly just one small $500 check per year for two years. Tax credits do not fundamentally make the economy more prone to grow like tax rate cuts do, so these checks will do little to get us out of the recession.

Readers who study this bill carefully will find that its primary purpose is not to stimulate the economy. It’s to take us along the path of having a permanently bigger government and less competitive economy. In the long run there is little doubt that taxes will have to be raised to pay for all the new government programs that will not be phased out, and in the short run the record government borrowing may crowd out private companies trying to borrow on the same bond market. It appears that the crafters of this bill want to take us along the path of socialized European countries such as France and Germany. The government spending and taxation problem has gotten so bad in those countries that they have been flat on their backs for years and will likely be for many more years to come.

The American way is not in expanding the government but in revitalizing the private sector. I, along with 62 of my colleagues in the House, are cosponsoring H.R. 470, The Economic Recovery and Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2009. This bill will grow the economy by lowering the excessive tax burden on individuals and businesses, which will stimulate job creation and set the foundation for American prosperity for years to come.

Some believe that one reason why the economy is having difficulties is because the Democrat majority is planning to let the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire in a couple of years. Businesses, investors, and individuals know they will be hit with an almost $2 trillion tax increase as a result, the largest tax increase in American history. H.R. 470 will prevent the tax increase, and will cut everybody’s tax rates by 5 percent, repeal the alterative minimum tax, cut many other growth-killing taxes, and even help pay for itself by restraining wasteful spending. The increased tax revenues resulting from the higher growth will likely pay for the rest of it. Details of this bill can be found on my website at aderholt.house.gov.

I hope the Senate will say NO to European solutions, just like I along with many of my colleagues did in the House, and will vote down the liberal phony stimulus bill.

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) is the ranking member of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee.

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