• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: A Trillion Dollar Failure

    The United States Congress is about to pass the largest single-year increase in domestic federal spending since World War II. Despite the fact that neither the Republicans in Congress, the media, nor the American people have been allowed to read the bill, the House plans to vote on the plan today. The Senate will quickly follow suit so that the bill will hit President Barack Obama’s desk by Monday. Even without the full benefit of digesting what is in this trillion dollar debt bill, over 200 economists have expressed their belief that this plan is destined to fail. And conservative economists that once supported the idea of a stimulus are now calling the current plan “An $800 Billion Mistake.” Even center left economists like President Bill Clinton’s budget director, Alice Rivlin have told Congress that the long-term spending items in the plan “should not be put together hastily and lumped in with the anti-recession package.”

    This past summer, Obama Administration National Economic Council director Larry Summers said that any stimulus bill must be “timely… targeted … and credibly temporary.” The plan coming out of Congress is none of those things.

    Not Timely
    The Heritage Foundation has never believed that temporary tax cuts have a stimulating effect on the economy. That is why last year we predicted that President George Bush’s tax rebates would not help the economy. The Obama Administration temporary tax cuts will be equally ineffective. However, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the tax cut portion of the stimulus bill was the fastest working part of the package. It was also one of the first things reduced in the conference committee to make room for more spending. This means the stimulus will be even slower acting than the CBO originally predicted.

    Much of the infrastructure spending in the bill will also not help the economy recover. The Obama Administration’s budget director, Peter Orszag (who was previously head of the CBO) authored a report in 2008 stating: “Large-scale construction projects of any type require years of planning and preparation. Even those that are ‘on the shelf’ generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus to the economy.”

    Badly Targeted
    The White House has pretty much conceded that most of the stimulus bill is not fast acting and are instead telling the Washington Post that “the president secured many of his biggest priorities in the legislation, including the longer-term health-care and energy investments that the administration views as a down payment on broader reforms.”

    Many of these “broader reforms” will undermine immediate economic recovery, including:

    The bill also settles old ideological scores including the abolishment of the bipartisan 1996 welfare reform policies and a ban on funds for faith based educational institutions.

    And then there is the pork. Despite assurances that the bill would be pork free, the Obama Administration has been crisscrossing the country highlighting which local pork projects are in the plan. Plus the $6.5 billion line item for medical research was key in winning Sen. Arlen Specter’s (R-PA) vote.

    Not Temporary
    There is nothing credibly temporary about the spending in this bill. The new welfare spending in this bill has already become the new budget baseline and anyone who dares to try pare it down is being attacked for “slashing” government funds. According to Heritage fellow Robert Rector, once this permanent new spending is factored in, the real cost of the plan balloons to $1.34 trillion.

    Trillion Dollar Deficits for Years to Come
    The “stimulus” bill alone will create more debt (approximately $1 trillion including interest costs), than Bush’s first three years of budget deficits combined ($948 billion). Under the Reagan Administration, the deficit peaked at 6% of GDP in 1983. According to the CBO the 2009 deficit will reach 8.3% of the economy, not including the stimulus or bank bailout cash. If you include the permanent nature of the stimulus spendathon, the deficit could hit nearly $2 trillion, or 13.5% of the U.S. economy.

    That is why the CBO has predicted that this so-called stimulus bill will actually harm economic growth. Democrat appointed CBO director Doug Elmendorf explains why:

    The principal channel for this effect is that the legislation would result in an increase in government debt. To the extent that people hold their wealth in the form of government bonds rather than in a form that can be used to finance private investment, the increased government debt would tend to ‘crowd out’ private investment—thus reducing the stock of private capital and the long-term potential output of the economy.

    Why are we passing a stimulus bill that our own government is telling us will cause our economy to shrink?

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    42 Responses to Morning Bell: A Trillion Dollar Failure

    1. Ozzy6900, CT says:

      "Despite the fact that neither the Republicans in Congress, the media, nor the American people have been allowed to read the bill, the House plans to vote on the plan today. The Senate will quickly follow suit so that the bill will hit President Barack Obama’s desk by Monday."

      How is this allowed to happen? Even though there are not enough Republicans to really affect the vote, why are they not allowed to read the bill? Why isn't the Obama Administration sharing this with the People (one of President Obama's campaign promises)? They don't want anyone off the "Hill" to know what is stuffed into this pure pile of defecation!

      These are the same people who constantly cried that the Bush Administration was shady and underhanded – look at what the Left is trying to pull!

    2. Andy Wist, Murphysbo says:

      I am new to this site so this probably has been answered but does this information researched by Heritage get distributed to congress? I suspect it does and they don't listen.

    3. Walt in El Paso, TX says:

      arlen spector is a true R.I.N.O. – he and people like him are the reason i quit sending money to the repulican party.

    4. D. Timmerman says:

      It's incredible that our so called conservative senators at the capital would allow the wholesale destruction of the dollar and our monetary system by another trillion dollar wealth transfer, this is clearly unconstitutional yet they do it anyway under the pretence of saving the country while the whole time they are destroying it. These hypocrites should be thrown out of office on their ears!

    5. Sliver, Wisconsin says:

      Well here we go nobody gets to review the policy before it's passed, makes you wonder what they are hiding, but we already know. It's our current fascist government playing with our lives and all you elderly people who voted for this idiot better make sure you stay healthy because if you get sick and big brother determines you don't have many years left, well you like myself will be SOL. Isn't this change just wonderful?

    6. JIM H , GROSSE ILE , says:


    7. LVKen7@Gmail.com - says:

      "Despite the fact that neither the Republicans in Congress, the media, nor the American people have been allowed to read the bill,"


      THAT hasn't kept HF

      from BEING AGAINST IT.

      They don't know what it says,



    8. Richard Cancemi,Arli says:

      Obama and his socialist cohorts in the House, the Senate and in the Judiciary are wanting to destroy American Constitutionalism and replace it with Marxism. They are rushing this so-called Stimulus package using stealth and speed to embed Socialist programs on which they can further build their Socialist regime.

      Something must be done to protect those in America who want no part of this idiot philosophy. Under Socialism one stops being an individual person and is lost in the collective. We will exist for the Government and there will no longer be any way for any of us to realize the American dream.

      Like all Ponzi schemes, it will eventually collapse (see Russia and its shambles).

      These people in our Government have encroaching on our Liberties for years. Now the present Administration has begun to run rampant.

      There must be a resistance by the Conservatives if there is to be any chance to save this Country from disaster.

    9. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      I'm extremely disappointed by the majority party's chosen represtentives. Their's is a total violation of the fiscal stewardship American's entrusted to them. At this point, I'd support an uncontested divorce of Texas from the vortex of big government waste spending.

    10. LVKen7@Gmail.com - says:


      # From the movie "Horse Feathers"


      Web pages about this song:

      Where to Buy:

      Song Lyrics:


      I don't know what they have to say,

      It makes no difference anyway,

      Whatever it is, I'm against it.

      No matter what it is or who commenced it,

      I'm against it.

      Your proposition may be good,

      But let's have one thing understood,

      Whatever it is, I'm against it.

      And even when you've changed it or condensed it,

      I'm against it.

      I'm opposed to it,

      On general principle, I'm opposed to it.

      [chorus] He's opposed to it.

      In fact, indeed, that he's opposed to it!


      For months before my son was born,

      I used to yell from night to morn,

      Whatever it is, I'm against it.

      And I've kept yelling since I first commenced it,

      I'm against it!

    11. kenneth sizemore says:

      This is an outrage;Everybody I know is upset with this bill,I feel so helpless to do anythining about it.The country is going downhill faster than this bill being past!WAKE UP AMERICA!

    12. Ardell Nagle Rexburg says:

      I heard that Democrats got together behind closed doors to go over the stimulus package. They don't want the Republicans involved. Well the democrats are going to sink on their own.

      I would like to know who they are going to get6 to borrow money from banks when so many people are losing their jobs. And those who haven't lost their jobs are afraid to borrow any money because they don't know if they will have a job tomorrow.

      They were still better off to give all the money dierectly to the people. We could spend it and put it back into the economy than congress.

    13. OSCAR says:

      Borrowing all this money will weaken our Country -we have no reserve. I wonder, if this is a plot to weaken our Country, twist everything around that makes money sense around and ruin the U.S.

      Rules to qualify for a US President HAVE TO BE CHANGED…..

    14. Dennis Weber--Michig says:

      The current Administration and Congress know exactly what they are doing. They are not stupid and are using this problem to destroy America. We have elected our own destruction. There was a good reason why the Founding Fathers limited voting rights to property owners and men. Those who have no stake in America are gladly destroying it.

    15. Richard Cancemi,Arli says:

      The Government has been hi-jacked by Socialists and nobody is stopping them. Conservatives must not aid and abet them, in the name of bi-partisanship, in destroying our great Country.

    16. daniel says:

      this bill is a disgrace, down with the obama adminstr. and those who support it.

    17. Hank Ruland (snowbir says:

      I never thought I'd see something like this in my lifetime. Representative government as we know it is dying. The constitution means nothing to these people. If anyone, I mean anyone votes for Specter in Penn. they then deserve what they get. Didn't they about unseat him the last time? This is sooooo frustrating to see this thing jammed down our throats. The good news is that a power much higher than us will take care of this in his good time. Be patient.

    18. ETK, North Carolina says:

      I am absolutely SHOCKED at B. Hussein Obama's aggressive attack on this Nation in the form of the so-called Economica Stimulus Package. He has brought Chicago Politics to the White House and is smearing the beloved position of President of the United States. It is incomplehensible to me that he is ignoring, no, not ignoring, he is BLATANTLY taking our beloved America and destroying it in one fell swoop!… *shaking head* Incomprehensible, ab-so-lute-ly in-com-pre-hen-si-ble!

    19. Frank W., New Mexico says:

      I remember a while back when Paulsen said it was absolutely necessary to pass the TARP bill and if we did not the whole country was going down the tubes. Well it was passed, we are still here, nothing happened, and they have only spent 1/2 of the money alotted. The only thing the 300 Billion they did spend did was, give everyone in the banks a new bonus. They lost 78 billion of the money that was given to them and nobody seems to care or worry about where it went. Well I say the whole thing is a bunch of Bull, and I'm not referring to the market (I would say this to my mother). How on earth did we become one of the richest countries in the world, with the largest middle class, and no working mothers with out any taxes at all? Ever since the government started taxing us we have been going down hill. Maybe we should do away with all indiviual taxes and see how it works. I know one thing, passing this stimulus plan is not the answer. The politicians are the only ones that seem to think it's necessary. The taxpayers are againest passing the bill. When I look back at it the taxpayers were 2 to 1 againest the TARP bill and it passed. The politicians, Banks, and Wall Street are the behind the stimulus bill for some reason. I guess it's becasue they are for anything that they can make money off of without working. Well folks welcome to the new transparency in government, you can get a copy of the new bill on line. You have two days to read it and call your congressman. He's already made up his mind anyway if you do talk to him.

    20. Ginger in Alexandria says:

      How can the Congress pass a compromise bill that increased from 600 to 1200 pages that no one has read and that has not been provided to the public, as required by law, 48 hours prior to its passage.

    21. Jean High, Gaffney, says:

      How can this be called a Stimulus Bill?

      Why not present a Spending Bill after our financial problems are solved?

      How deceitful our leadership has become! Obviously this is all about them, not the American citizens.

      Does anyone know someone who wants socicalized medicine? How sad for our senior population!

    22. Terry, NJ says:

      I had heard that their is a passage in the bill that the american people have 48 hours to read the bill before it is to be voted on. Is this true? If so don't we, the american people, have the right to protest this bill if our rights are violated? I am ready to head to Washington tomorrow. Actually, I am wondering why we are not there protesting now as it appears that the majority of the american people are against this bill. Obviously, our phone calls to our congressmen and senators are not working. Sitting hear in NJ pulling my hair out seems senseless, is anyone game to start a major rally and protest?

    23. Donna in midwest says:

      We need to vote out our Senators and House Representatives next time around. I wonder how South Dakota got rid of Daschle? Someone needs to find out! We need term limits also.

      Don't let these people use class warfare. Obama has already made statements indicating/inferring negative thoughts about wealthy persons. Although not all wealthy persons are good people and socially responsible, many wealthy give back to society and are responsible, hard working citizens. These people do care about those without homes, health insurance, etc. I think of the man who started Habitat for Humanity, or the Huntsman family and many, many, others.

      How dare those in Congress treat people like they have in the Hearings with the auto execs, and the bankers when they themselves have been totally irresponsible in representing our citizens? Most of the Senate and House have never worked a real job in thier adult lives. I am telling you there needs to be a real push to move these people out of our government and replace them with people who love our country, want what is best for our country, and serve for the love of our country.

      There is no integrity left!

    24. Derek, Las Vegas Nev says:

      TARP?? Should be called KARP.!!


    25. Judith in Michigan says:

      I just heard that a Democrat in Congress fired back at Republicans today who wanted to read the bill before they voted, saying–you don't need to read it because you won't vote for it anyway. This is the most OUTRAGEOUS, DISPICABLE act of treason I have ever heard!!!!

      Whoever said this should be kicked out of Congress, and brought up on obstruction or treason charges or both.

      As a US citizen, I DEMAND a full investigation!

      How did The United States of America get to this point??

    26. Pingback: Last push against the "stimulus": Sign the NoStimulus petition - Practically Speaking

    27. frankz, brewster, ny says:

      Obama, Pelosi, Reid & Co believe it's their job to redistribute wealth in this country and we voted them in. It's clear from Clinton to Obama that they have never held a job in the private sector and don't understand how to fix the economy or anything else. This shotgun approach will only make things worst for all of us. We should work to improve the systems in place and not go overboard in one direction or another to 'try' to fix everything all at once. This package is ridiculous.

    28. Wallyblu, Zion, IL says:

      We should run this country like a corperation. If you don't pay taxes you are not a stock holder. If you do pay taxes you get 1 vote for every dollar you pay, then see how these socialistic programs would fare.

    29. Thomas M. Nigro Sr. says:

      The current economic situation that we the people of this great country are living in is too perilous to countinue this petty partisanship!


    30. Rita Morrisville, NC says:

      I hate it, but this is a done deal. We have only one choice. The people in Congress and the Senate will be up for re-election in 2010. Now we have a way to make a change. Go to the polls and make sure they pay for what they are doing. We have learned that we can not let this Preisdent have FULL run of the country. If we do not make this change, God only knows what will come of this country.

    31. Paul, Newton, NH says:

      Isn't this the entire bill, or am I missing something…

    32. Mike Sheahen, Hickor says:

      Why is a Pork and Socialism-filled so-called "Stimulus bill" being passed, which our own government is telling us will cause our economy to shrink?

      Cutting through and boiling away all the panic mongering and heavy-handed power-plays by Left, the bottom line is:

      It comes down to a money and power-grab by the government elitist Left, no matter what they have to do to get that money and power, including their Leftist government elitist panic mongering and power-plays.

      How so? Examples are indeed the documented government elitist panic mongering and power-plays by the Left (including RIPO [Republican In Party Only] turncoats) to ram-through their vote-buying Pork-filled money and Socialist power-grabbing so-called "Stimulus Package", before even Senators read what's really in that 1,000-Plus page (and growing) monstrosity of $1.34 Trillion Dollars of additional deficit spending and debt, for which both current and subsequent generations will be forced to pay in money, freedoms, rights, prosperity, and security, as individuals, businesses, and as a nation.

      Even our own government is telling us it will cause our economy to shrink?

      That doesn’t matter to the Socialist Left, since they will simply use that shrinkage as yet another excuse to demagogue, pander, and panic-monger for yet another Leftist government elitist money and power-grab, blaming it all on others, as both FDR and Carter did, at yet more expense, in more ways than one, against current and subsequent generations of we the people.

    33. Marha L. Witt says:

      Please do not pass this stimulus bill, it will be a disaster. It is only another evil and under handed thing that Pelosi, Reid and Obama want to do to help bury the hard working American people.

      How can we, the people get these terrible people out of the U.S. Congress. It just scares me and

      my family so much. Why can the Democrats do anything they want and nobody seems to care,except

      us little people, Pelosi needs to look in to her own back yard. The Congress needs to get rid of all their perks, get rid of her airplane, cars everything that us the tax payers has to pay.

    34. Barb -mn says:

      Don't give me credit for voting these clowns in. I suggest no one take credit for what is happening if they did not vote these clowns in.

      LVKen7- So far congress has been extremely bias, deceitful, racist and SOCIALIST. You don't have to look far to see the corruption building. Maybe you should take up residence with Obama to stay safe and warm in his 78 degree house while we struggle to pay our heat a 58 degrees.

    35. MJ, South Jersey says:

      What is going to happen to people's credit with the current structure of the credit system. More people's credit will be tarnished and tons more to come. How are they going to afford a vehicle or home. We need to have a credit structure that is flexible and customized to individuals. Why stick with the old FICO score way? Nobody is going to be able to buy anything anymore. Find a new way to issue the credit needed so that people can purchase the bigger ticket items. People will always need a roof over their heads and a way to get to the job they have been doing for 20 years or more. They have the money, just tarnished credit making it impossible to afford a car or home.

    36. John E Rosina, Borde says:


      Apparently bloggers, by and large, do not read anything but their own personal or partisan rants. I resubmit the simple comment of Paul from NH, (sic) "is not this (above url) the bill you wish to read."

      Tell you Republican Congressmen and Senators to Read it! Quit your uninformed bitching.

      Incidendtally, no one pulled more illegal midnight quorums and "No Detailed Bills" than your hometeam Republican's. Get over yourself!

      That is politics in America.

      YOU MAY NOW CLICK AND READ if you have the patriotic ilk to do so. Or – leave it up to the DECIDER.

    37. H L PUCKETT VA. says:


    38. Audrey D Anderson, V says:

      Would a more accurate term for the"stimulous" package be the Obama Quid Pro Quo package????

    39. Chris Berg says:

      I've been seeing this coming for years. Got my place in the mountains, solar panels, wood stove, greenhouse, etc. I've had a website for years that outlines how 7 million private sector workers could strike and force government reforms. Interesting that nobody is interested in joining mensunion.org. It's like you people want to experience a Great Depression. Well, good luck, boys. See you on the bread line. Best regards, Chris Berg

    40. ella quinn kinsto says:

      Luken you need to have a attidue adjustment.

    41. Pingback: Moe Lane » Stimulus not filling potholes.

    42. Pingback: Stimulus not even filling potholes. | RedState

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.