Tuesday, February 17, 2009

We're All Rubes Now

It was a natural fit - the former Democrat governor responsible for the largest tax increase in the history of Virginia did cartwheels for a chance to cast a Senate vote for the largest tax increase (all that spending will be paid for by tax payers) in the history of the United States. Still, Mark Warner has to justify this betrayal of his constituents by continuing to blow smoke.

You can trust the government, he assures Virginians. It's run by Democrats.

That would be the same government (run by Democrats) that started the mortgage crisis by forcing banks to loan money to people who couldn't repay it and then covered up the crisis with obstruction and denial.

"Thank you for contacting me with your views on the economic stimulus package. In order to best represent you as your United States Senator, it is vital that I hear your view on this and other important matters.

I recognize that many Virginians still have concerns about the need for a stimulus package. There has also been a good deal of misinformation surrounding this legislation, both about what is included and how it will be implemented. On February 10, 2009, I joined a majority of the Senate in approving a bipartisan compromise to restart the economy through a responsible mix of tax cuts and investments that will create jobs. The compromise includes more than $360 billion in tax relief and roughly $460 billion in short-term spending over the next two years on roads, rail, water and sewer projects, as well as additional health care and jobless assistance for the unemployed. The agreement was widely supported by our nation's leading business groups, and I was pleased to work with a centrist group of colleagues to craft the proposal that passed the Senate, which was signed by the President on February 17, 2009.

President Obama and the relevant Congressional committees have been in close consultation with state and local officials and a wide range of economic experts to develop an approach that represents a prudent and effective path to economic recovery. Their consensus found that if nothing is done in the face of this economic crisis, catastrophic consequences could face small businesses and working families across the country.

The Administration and Congress have provided for unprecedented oversight, accountability and transparency in the measure so that taxpayers' money is handled carefully and used in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Moving forward, I will continue to work for Virginians to ensure that the funds in the stimulus package are directly targeted to job creation and "shovel ready" initiatives. You should know that a Recovery Act and Transparency Board will also oversee the disbursement of the funds and a website provided by the White House, www.recovery.gov, will post detailed information about recovery spending.

The Recovery and Reinvestment Act is but one component of a three-part plan to restore our economy. We still have important work to do to address the foreclosure crisis and shore-up the real estate market and we also must take steps to repair our banking system so that credit will begin flowing again to consumers and small businesses.

Again, thank you for your input. As we move forward in the 111th Congress, please continue to be in touch with your opinions and concerns"

United States Senator
Mr. Warner claims that there is "considerable misinformation" about this spending bill. Well, since no one who voted for it even read it, there were no hearings, no opportunity for public input, and no opportunity for Republican input, one might assume that the misinformation here is coming from Mr. Warner.

He also asserts that three RINOs make a bad bill bi-partisan and, contrary to his claim, this spending bill was widely denounced as nothing but a patronage bill for Democrat special interest groups which will do little to create jobs.

All we have to do is trust the government, according to Warner. It's run by Democrats.

Here's a few items in the spending bill which Warner neglected to mention:
Questionable or Non-Stimulative Spending in the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1)

-$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
-$2 billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Fund, providing funds to organizations such as ACORN, which has been accused of practicing unlawful voter registration in recent elections
-$10 million for the inspection of canals in urban areas
-$100 million for grants to small shipyards
-$198 million to authorize payments to certain Filipino veterans from WWII
-$300 million for the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program
-$2 billion to support the manufacturing of advanced vehicle batteries
-$1 billion for Community Development Block Grants
-$1.3 billion for Amtrak, including $450 million for a new rail security grant program not included in either the House-passed or the Senate-passed bills
-$300 million for federal procurement of plug-in and fuel efficient vehicles
-$8 billion for a High Speed Passenger Rail Program, after the House did not include any funding for the program and the Senate included $2 billion, which will fund at least one project from Las Vegas to Los Angeles
-$15 million for historic preservation at historically black colleges and universities
-$170 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to research the cause, effects and ways to mitigate climate change
- $200 million for Americorps and other paid "volunteerism" programs
-$400 million for NASA to accelerate climate research missions
-$5.5 billion for federal buildings (GSA), including $4.5 billion to convert federal buildings into "high-performance green buildings" and $450 million for a new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security
-$210 million for a new grant program to modify and upgrade local fire stations
-$142 million for the Coast Guard to alter or remove 4 obstructive bridges
-$25 million for the Smithsonian Institution for maintenance backlogs
-$1 billion for expenses in conjunction with the 2010 decennial census
-$650 million for Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupons
-$1 billion for a Prevention and Wellness Fund, which can be used for sexually transmitted disease (STD) education and prevention programs at the CDC
-$500 million to replace a 30-year old computer system at the Social Security Administration
-$500 million for a health professions training program-funding which an earlier committee report said were allocated because, "a key component of attaining universal health care reform will be ensuring the supply of primary care providers."
Just trust the government intones Mr. Warner. It's run by Democrats. Oh, and it'll all be on the web site... the same way this spending bill was posted online for public perusal and given lengthy debate in the House and Senate.

Don't worry. It's run by Democrats. It must be a crisis.