The “Wasteful” Stimulus Bill

Ken AshfordEconomy & Jobs & DeficitLeave a Comment

From CNN.  Having scoured the bill from top to bottom, the House Republicans put out a list of items that they found wasteful — i.e., "pork" that won't lead to job growth — in the Obama stiumulus bill.  They are:

• $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient.

• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.

• $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.

• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship).

• $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters.

• $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters.

• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.

• $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD's.

• $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs.

• $125 million for the Washington sewer system.

• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities.

• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion.

• $75 million for "smoking cessation activities."

• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.

• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI.

• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction.

• $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River.

• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.

• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings.

• $500 million for state and local fire stations.

• $650 million for wildland fire management on forest service lands.

• $1.2 billion for "youth activities," including youth summer job programs.

• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service.

• $412 million for CDC buildings and property.

• $500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.

• $160 million for "paid volunteers" at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

• $5.5 million for "energy efficiency initiatives" at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.

• $850 million for Amtrak.

• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint.

• $75 million to construct a "security training" facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.

• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems.

• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

Now, one can bicker about whether any of these provisions will or won't create jobs.  It seems to me that $500 million (for example) to renovate police and fire stations would employ people to, you know, actually renovate them.

But the bigger thing to consider is this: when you tally up all the so-called "pork", it amounts to $18.7 billion — less than 2% of the entire stimulus package.  In other words, House Republicans rejected a bill that they 98% agreed with.  Delay on the bill, by the way, could end up costing a hell of a lot more than $18.7 billion.  But no matter, right?

Keep this in mind when you hear Republicans whine about a bill "full" of pork.  It's not, even by their own admissions.