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Obama’s Pitch to Congressional Leaders – Not You: Spend $8,000 per Family

[Update: In my haste to report this to you, I deviated from the usual way costs are reported here. The figures reported below and in the title are what the stimulus would add to the national debt, not the cost per family/person as we usually report it here on WashingtonWatch.com. (See the "about" page for our methodology.)

Because the tax credits would return money to taxpayers, the cost of the stimulus by our methodology would be about $2,000 per family or about $650 per person. Again, $8,000 and $2,600 are the amounts per family or person the stimulus would add to the national debt.

I'd still like to see the bill online!]

President-Elect Barack Obama was on Capitol Hill yesterday pitching a stimulus plan to congressional leaders.

Why don’t he and congressional leaders pitch us by letting us read the bill?

According to the Washington Post, the package he proposes costs about $800 billion dollars. That’s a little over $8,000 per U.S. family, or $2,600 per person.

What’s clever about it – or dastardly, depending on your perspective – is that the plan includes tax credits: up to $1,000 for “working families” (hopefully just the adults are working, right?) and $500 for individuals. It shouldn’t be any surprise that getting money is politically popular. Getting a bone is politically popular with puppies.

But it’s important to recognize that the federal government is taking on $8,000 per family in debt – that’s $8,000 plus interest in future taxes – in order to hand out this money. The rest of it is going to all kinds of special pleaders in Washington. Maybe some should get our funds, but most probably should not.

The question is whether Obama’s pitch to congressional leaders has persuaded you.

On Sunday, George Stephanopolous reported that Republican leaders are calling for the details of the stimulus bill to be available online for the entire American public to read for a week before there’s a vote. I haven’t seen that idea picked up in places you might expect it. (C’mon, gang!) But it should be. It’s our money, after all.

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Let’s Have a Look at the Omnibus Spending Bill - The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[...] Then along came the economic stimulus bill (which is less and less clearly an economic stimulus bill – maybe we can call it the deficit-spending-that-we-would-hope-to-be-stimulus bill). That’s about $4,300 in costs as we calculate them here, which is spending minus tax cuts. (See our discussion of the calculations on an early version of the bill here.) [...]

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