The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Senate "Stimulus' Plan:
A Boondoggle for the Rich

Feb 9, 2009

Top Democrats and Republicans in the Senate fashioned a stimulus plan "compromise" that looks a lot like an attack.

The new bill cut 110 billion dollars out of the plan, including:

  • 40 billion in aid to the states. This is money that WON"T go to bolster programs like welfare and unemployment that are needed now more than ever.
  • 20 billion in school construction – at a time when new schools are desperately needed all over the country.
  • 8 billion to refurbish federal buildings – which would put construction workers back to work.
  • 1 billion for the Head Start program, which has been shown to be the most effective program for setting kids on a solid path when starting school.
  • 2 billion to expand broadband internet access in rural areas.

Other changes that were rejected included 25 billion in public works spending, including highway construction, public transit, and water and sewage construction.

These are all areas that would have led directly to job creation, or would have aided people hard hit by the crisis. But they were things that Republicans AND Democrats agreed to cut before the final version will be voted on in the Senate. Sure, Obama publicly said he wasn't pleased with the cuts – but behind closed doors, Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel, negotiated on the deal whole-heartedly!

Obama and the Democrats first said they needed to include all sorts of corporate tax breaks to get Republican support. Then they said they needed to cuts out funds for social programs and public works to get Republican support. They keep saying they need some Republican support for the bill to pass. Why? There are 58 Democrats in the Senate. George Bush had a smaller Republican majority than Obama has now – and sometimes had a Republican minority in the Senate – and STILL got his whole program passed!

This is only what can be seen now, before the bill passes and all the details are released. But it's already clear that, for all their talk about creating a stimulus plan that would help those of us who are hurting, the Congress and the White House are much more concerned with giving money to the folks at the top.