“Moderate” Senators have apparently agreed on a $780 billion pork bill that reportedly will draw three or four Republican votes. The reduction in the bill’s size was achieved by reducing both spending and tax cuts; I haven’t seen any details on what the changes were. The process still has some distance to go; House Democrats are already talking about restoring whatever spending was cut by the Senate in conference (not the tax cuts, though).
The important thing, I think, is that Barack Obama and the Democrats own this bill, and they will own the consequences that almost certainly will result: delayed recovery (although this will be impossible to prove), unprecedented deficits, tax increases and inflation. Republicans, meanwhile, continue to come up with better alternatives, most recently John Thune’s proposal to scrub the entire pork bill and:
…replace it with a $936 billion across-the-board-middle-class tax rebate for 182 million Americans. The amendment would result in a tax rebate of $5,143 for single filers and $10,286 for married couples who file jointly.
That’s obviously a better idea, but it wouldn’t increase the power of government, so the Democrats aren’t interested.
One question: is there a single Democratic pundit who has acknowledged what an awful bill the Dems have cobbled together? No observer of any sophistication could seriously defend what the Democrats are doing, but I haven’t seen any Democratic pundit show enough integrity to acknowledge what we all know. Maybe some have and I missed it; I don’t read liberal pundits very assiduously.
UPDATE: Senate Republicans are rebutting press claims that the “compromise” bill costs $780 billion:
The $780 billion figure doesn’t include the $46.5 billion in amendments added to the stimulus bill this week. According to our numbers, the deal is at least $827 billion, $7 billion MORE than the House passed bill. With debt, that comes to $1.175 trillion total cost for the new deal.
You know things have come to a sad pass when reporters try to tell us that a pork bill costs *only* $780 billion.
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