House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) yesterday tried to sell the media on a trillion-dollar government spending bill in a gaggle that somehow resembled a Congressional hearing.
President-elect Barack Obama first proclaimed in a press conference that all economic experts agree on massive government spending as the answer to putting this nation back on the right economic track. House Democrats then held the Wednesday meeting to ram home this notion while barring Republicans from participation at this faux hearing.
Democrat members of Congress and witnesses both used the same “the-sky-is-falling” tactics employed by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson when hastily pushing through the initial failed $750 billion Congressional banking bailout. Now, the Democrats hope these same tactics will help them justify nearly $1 trillion in additional government spending. (To put into perspective the number one trillion, talk radio king Rush Limbaugh yesterday pointed out on his radio program that one trillion seconds constitutes 31,000 years.)
Pelosi urgently warned that the bill must be passed by mid-February and downplayed the staggering expense, saying, “Many will focus on the up-front cost of it. While we are not discussing small sums, the bill is fiscally responsible because it will provide a fiscal dividend by returning 40 percent of the cost to the treasury, at least that much in increased revenues.” Neither she nor any of these experts testifying gave any clear explanation of exactly how taxpayers would recover this mythical 40 percent.
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) of the Democrat policy committee proclaimed that the Democrats’ stimulus bill must include long-term solutions for recovery in this “modern, globalized world.” These long-term solutions, he said, must fund “… science, health care, education, energy, job training and additional aid for college-bound students.” This colossal spending bill “… must help states finance the deep, widening gaps in programs vital to our most vulnerable citizens.”
Dr. Mark Zandi, co-founder of Moody’s Economy.com, returned to Congress. It was Zandi who advised senators at the auto bailout hearing last December that if they did bail out the auto industry in the fall, they’d have to do so again this year. And more than once. This time, Zandi opened with the standard Democrat line, “The economic downturn we’re struggling with will likely be the worst since the Great Depression,” and continued on that theme with accompanying slide show for his five minutes.
Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary, took over from there, seconding Zandi’s dire predictions. Reich’s current gig as a public policy professor at Berkeley doesn’t appear to have broadened his capacity for critical thinking. In his oral testimony, Reich pointed out, “Consumers do not have the money they need to purchase the goods and services produced in this country,” elaborating on the vicious cycle of economic downturn this causes and that this predicament, “… can only be turned around by concerted government action.”
Instead of offering an effective government action akin to Rep. Louie Gohmert’s (R-Texas) proposed tax holiday that would put people’s own money directly back into their hands — the actual “consumers” spoken of in his dire downward spiral — Reich proposed that the federal government spend $900 billion over the next two years as the “spenders of last resort.”
Not one member of Congress present asked Reich how government could more effectively spend our money than we can or how the aforementioned list of government spending “musts” is going to cure the economic woes of the local car dealership or department store. Then again, no Republicans were invited to the so-called hearing.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, House Republican leaders underscored concerns regarding the overall size of the economic stimulus package. Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called for accountability and transparency in the process along with controls on spending. “The Congressional Budget Office this morning came out and said that the deficit this fiscal year is estimated to be $1.2 trillion. That’s before we pass some sort of an economic rescue package,” he said.
Rep. Boehner also released comments from numerous economists who disagreed with Obama and House Democrats, expressing skepticism that massive government spending will spur economic growth. These respected experts along with any free market, capitalistic solutions were not presented for consideration at the hearing to balance the socialist, big-government solutions offered for sole consideration by the Democrats.
HUMAN EVENTS first reported Monday of the House Rules changes that would bar Republicans from offering amendments, alternative legislation or motions to recommit. The Democrat-led 111th Congress is shaping up to be just what Karl Marx had in mind.