‘Stimulus’ is code for more bad spending

By Ernest Istook

When is $20 billion in pork-barrel spending not enough?

Answer: When “preventing a recession” becomes an excuse for Congress to spend more.

They just gave us a 3,417-page “omnibus” bill, finishing the year with 11,000 special projects earmarks ($20 billion worth!) last year. Now they have a new excuse to add more: economic stimulus.

But one person’s shot in the arm is somebody else’s fear of needles. Even good ideas can be hijacked, and in Washington they usually are.

If President Bush’s State of the Union address opens the door by proposing a stimulus package, then every special interest in Washington will push their pet cause in the name of boosting the economy.

It will be a rerun of 2001 when Congress eventually approved a rebate of up to $300 for every taxpayer. Most Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, opposed it for two reasons: First, because the bill contained permanent tax-rate reductions, including capital gains. Second, because the $300 rebate only went to actual taxpayers. Pelosi and friends wanted to send a $300 government check to everyone, regardless of age and regardless of whether they’d paid taxes or not.

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