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A Bleak Day

I love this. The new kind of politics of hope.

By 1.29.09

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I love this. The new kind of politics of hope. Eight hours of debate in the HR to pass a bill spending $820 billion, or roughly $102 billion per hour of debate.

Only ten per cent of the "stimulus" to be spent on 2009.

Close to half goes to entities that sponsor or employ or both members of the Service Employees International Union, federal, state, and municipal employee unions, or other Democrat-controlled unions.

This bill is sent to Congress after Obama has been in office for seven days. It is 680 pages long. According to my calculations, not one member of Congress read the entire bill before this vote. Obviously, it would have been impossible, given his schedule, for President Obama to have read the entire bill.

For the amount spent we could have given every unemployed person in the United States roughly $75,000.

We could give every person who had lost a job and is now passing through long-term unemployment of six months or longer roughly $300,000.

There has been pork barrel politics since there has been politics. The scale of this pork is beyond what had ever been imagined before -- and no one can be sure it will actually do much stimulation.

Further, no one can be sure that we are not already at the trough/inflection point of the recession such that this money will be spent mostly after the recovery is well under way.

How long until the debt incurred under this program is so immense that it causes a downgrade in the sovereign debt of the USA? What happens to us then?

This has been a punch in the solar plexus to the kind of responsible, far-seeing, mature government processes that are needed to protect America. This is more than the pork barrel. This is a coup for the constituencies of the party in power and against the idea of a responsible government itself. A bleak day.

Unfortunately, it is only the latest in a long series of such days stretching across decades of rule by both parties, to the point where truly responsible government is only a distant echo of our forgotten ancestors.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.