The Looting and Pillaging Has Just Begun - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Looting and Pillaging Has Just Begun

Now that the “stimulus” bill has been signed into law, the looting and pillaging will really begin as the interest groups swarm government agencies.  And federal agencies are preparing to respond by opening their doors and putting out welcome mats.

Reports the Washington Times:

Passing the economic recovery bill may turn out to have been the easy part: The sheer size of spending increases in the $787 billion measure threatens to overwhelm the agencies that administer the money and the government watchdogs who keep the agencies in line.

Two chief examples are the Transportation Department, whose 2008 budget of $68 billion will be augmented by an additional $43 billion over the life of the bill, and the Energy Department, with an annual budget of $25 billion, which is slated to disburse $42 billion for grants, loans and other programs under its jurisdiction.

“This is a lot of money going out, and we want to make sure the money it’s going out for are projects that have economic merit,” said David M. Walker, who was the nation’s comptroller general for a decade before leaving last year to become president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “It’s going to be challenging for them to be able to do that, especially in the procurement area.”

President Obama on Tuesday signed the stimulus bill in Denver, calling it the “beginning of the end” of rough economic times while saying more work remains on stemming the tide of housing foreclosures and shoring up financial institutions. Mr. Obama’s spokesman even left the door open for still more emergency spending to pump money into the economy, though he said there aren’t specific plans right now.

Some federal agencies have only begun to determine how they will spend their windfalls. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will be getting $1 billion in extra spending under the stimulus bill, including a $2 million boost in the inspector general’s office.

Well, you really didn’t want that savings you pain-stakingly accumulated, did you?  Washington can put it to so much better use than you can.

Doug Bandow
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Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.
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