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The Madoff Bill

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009

I write this column without any illusion that it will reverse America’s current movement toward socialism. Rather I am writing it primarily so that future generations will not be able to say that the radical and destructive nature of the Obama/Democratic Party’s so-called stimulus plan was unknown at the time. I am writing this so that my children will know that their father vigorously opposed it and why.

How radical — in fact, revolutionary — is the $789 billion stimulus plan? It is, in the words of House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., “the largest change in domestic policy since the 1930s.”

It is, as Robert Rector, identified by the Times of London as “one of the architects of Clinton’s 1996 reform bill,” “a welfare spendathon that would amount to the largest one-year increase in government handouts in American history.”

It is the reason the Obama-supporting Newsweek headlined on its cover page, “We are all socialists now.”

It is why, in the words of The Times of London, “Republicans are not alone in fearing that Obama’s hastily concocted package is the first step towards the creation of a quasi-socialist welfare state.”

President Obama and the Democrats have put America into nearly $1 trillion dollars more debt by using the cover of America’s current economic crisis to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on welfare programs, green projects, and on schools.

In a nutshell, the stimulus plan is not a stimulus plan. It is the largest spending program in U.S. history. In the words of the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman editorial that supports the bill, “The essence of the bill is to spend money …”

Almost everything about it is dishonest.

Its name is dishonest. It is a spending bill, not a stimulus bill.

Its announced aim is dishonest. It purports to stimulate the economy. But its real aim is to push America toward becoming a Western European socialist welfare state.

The way it was enacted — the speed, the lack of transparency — was dishonest. As the Wall Street Journal wrote, “Democrats rushed the bill to the floor before Members could even read it, much less have time to broadcast the details so the public could offer its verdict.”

Even the spending is dishonest. The bulk of the spending will take place over years, not now, which is the whole point of a stimulus.

For these reasons, the bill could be renamed the Madoff Bill. Not because there are any parallels between characters of its authors and the character of Bernard Madoff. There aren’t. But there are parallels between the methods. Madoff took people’s money, promised to give them benefits, while in fact squandering their money — to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. So, too, the president and the Democrats are taking Americans’ money, squandering most of it — to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, while promising to give them a benefit, a stimulus, when in fact they are spending the money. As Harvard economist Robert Barro told the Atlantic, “It’s wasting a tremendous amount of money … I don’t think it will expand the economy. … I think it’s garbage.”

Even its defenders, now that the bill is passed, do not defend it as a stimulus bill. Typical was New York Times columnist Frank Rich, who devoted his essay to the stimulus plan but only attacked Republicans. He did not devote one of his 1,500 words to defending the bill as a stimulus package.

Even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., described the bill with words having nothing to do with stimulus: “By investing in new jobs, in science and innovation, in energy, in education … we are investing in the American people, which is the best guarantee of the success of our nation.”

No one should be surprised. Americans voted for a man who said time and time again that he wanted to “transform” America. He and his party are trying to do precisely that.

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