The $800-billion bill that cleared the House last week brings back big government: to school buildings, worker paychecks, electric lines and more. Here’s a look at where the money would go.
Reporting from Washington — With Congress moving toward passage of an $800-billion-plus economic stimulus plan, big government is back. Unabashed. With a vengeance.
The stimulus is bigger than the Pentagon’s entire budget. It’s more than the United States has spent on the war in Iraq. And its hundreds of provisions reach into almost every aspect of American life — including workers’ paychecks, local schools, digital television and modernizing medical records.
Perhaps not since the Great Depression has Congress set out to expand and redefine so dramatically the government’s role in the economy, all in one bewilderingly complex blueprint.
“The three-decade-long period where the default assumption was that government is the problem, not the solution, has clearly ended,” said Bill Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former aide to President Clinton.
If the enormous stimulus plan succeeds, it’s likely to mean a larger, more activist government for years to come. If the plan is judged a failure — whether because the economic crisis persists or the public becomes disenchanted — the idea of government as an active player in national life could be discredited anew.
Even as Senate Democrats and Republicans begin sparring over the bill, it remains a challenge just to understand what’s in the plan. The version passed by the House last week ran 647 pages; the Senate version, which may come to a vote this week, will probably be longer.
Read the rest:
Economic Stimulus About “Soul of America”