Mr. Speaker, we've heard a lot about stimulating the economy. We've passed legislation to stimulate the economy. The Senate is doing the same thing. It's all in the effort to get us out of this economic slump that we are going to supposedly pass legislation of $800 billion to move America forward to stimulate the economy, to have pro-growth.
But if you look at this massive bill a little closer, I would like to ask this question: There are some programs inthis bill--just a few that I've picked out; there are a lot more--that I question whether or not these will stimulate the economy. By Congress taking taxpayer money and giving it to certain entities, does it stimulate the economy or is it just more pork? Is it just more favoritism to certain entities?
In the new Stimulation Economy Act, there's $4 billion that goes to neighborhood stabilization activities. What is that? That's the community groups like ACORN. You know ACORN. That's the one being investigated for voter fraud in several States, yet to be prosecuted, of course, but money to give to these organizations. How does that stimulate the economy? I don't know.
Three billion dollars goes to wellness programs; how we can take care of ourselves better. Does that stimulate the economy? Maybe not.
One billion dollars for census follow-up. What that means is after the census is taken, then a billion dollars is given to follow up on that.
Eight hundred million dollars goes to Amtrak. You know, Amtrak loses money every year. We have to give them money of the taxpayers to fund this subsidy.
Four hundred million dollars for climate change research. Now, I'm sure we all think we ought to study the climate and global warming and that sort of thing, but does that stimulate the economy to give $400 million to certain special interest groups to study climate change?
Six billion dollars to colleges. No question about it. Universities and colleges need money. But shouldn't a bill that appropriates money to the universities go in an appropriations bill rather than a bill that stimulates the economy?
Six hundred million dollars is going for new cars for government workers--not the average taxpayer but just government workers.
Fifty million dollars goes to the National Endowment of the Arts. Don't see how that's going to stimulate our economy.
I like this one a lot: $250 million for tax breaks for Hollywood movie producers so they can buy more film. Now, I don't know that those people in Hollywood need taxpayer money, but they're going to get it. And how that stimulates the economy, we'll let the taxpayers decide.
The Coast Guard is getting a new ice breaker, $88 million. Stimulate the economy? Maybe not.
Homeland Security is getting new furniture in the amount of $250 million taxpayer expense.
Seventy-five million dollars for stop-smoking programs. I'm not sure that will stimulate the economy.
And the one I like the most is $25 million for tribal, alcohol, and substance abuse reduction.
Now, this is taxpayer money. This doesn't belong to the Congress, it belongs to the people. And we have the obligation to take the people's money and use it wisely; in this case, to make the economy better. I doubt if these programs that I mentioned--and many, many others that are in this massive pork bill--will stimulate the economy. It's just another way of giving taxpayer money out to different groups.
What can we do to stimulate the economy? We ought to do the simple things. There are two things that I would suggest. One of those is a bill that Mr. Gohmert has sponsored, my cohort from Texas. It's no taxes for 2 months. Everybody in the United States that works, no W-2 taken out of their income for 2 months. When we have our own money--that's the taxpayers--we will spend the money how we see fit, not how the government sees fit. Don't you think that might stimulate the economy in the short term?
And in the long term, rather than spend money that we do not have, that we have to go in debt for, that we have to borrow from the Chinese of all people, and saddle that debt to our kids and our grandkids and our great-grandkids, why don't we have a tax break for everybody that pays taxes? Straight across-the-board income tax reduction. People keep their own money. They will decide how to spend it. They will decide better than government how to spend the money.
These suggestions won't cost the government anything. Won't cost the people anything. It's an approach that I think that it's worth that we have a lively debate about on the House floor.
It's important that we get out of this economic decline, but the way to do it is not to spend more money and make government bigger. And the stimulus package is a big spending bill for government. More government control, more government involvement in our lives, and it doesn't help the economy a bit.
And that's just the way it is.
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