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This post is not a commentary on the overall stimulus package being planned by president-elect Obama. That will come later. I'm only talking here about the additions that were offered up by the House of Representatives on thursday.
House Democrats have unveiled their changes to Obama's stimulus package. Included is spending for the following:
- $79 billion for states to fund schools and other education programs.
- $18.5 billion for renewable energy and energy efficiency research, programs and improvements to buildings.
- $6 billion in federal money for mass transit systems improvements and expansions.
- $5 billion for public housing construction and improvements.
- $16 billion in extra college financial aid for needy and other students as well as higher student loan limits.
- $13 billion in new K-12 education spending for disadvantaged students.
- $1 billion to renovate and build new public health centers.
- $3 billion in construction grants for airports.
- $4 billion for governments and housing agencies to deal with foreclosed and abandoned homes.
- $1.2 billion for state and local summer jobs programs for youth.
- $1 billion extra for Head Start, preschools.
- $8.4 billion for various water grants related to drinking water.
- $4.5 billion for defense construction projects.
- $1.5 billion for worker retraining programs.
- $1.5 billion in extra federal money for services and shelters for the homeless.
- $3.8 billion to build new military and veterans hospitals.
- $300 million in grants for railroad improvements.
These items total $167.7 billion, and I don't see how most of it has anything to do with stimulating the economy. Some of the construction projects will create temporary jobs, but that's about it. And none of it is paid for. What I see here is pretty much just more big deficit spending on public works projects, not economic stimulus. Obama said previously that he didn't want any earmarks or pet projects of Congressional members to be included in his stimulus package, preferring instead to concentrate only on projects conducive to long term growth. From the above list, I don't think Congress is listening.