Okay, today may be the day that the American economy is forced to commit suicide. It depends on the Democrats. As briefly as possible, here’s the latest.
Sen. Ted Kennedy is reportedly going to miss the big vote in the Senate tomorrow due to health concerns. Since the Dems barely squeaked by the cloture vote, they need literally every single vote they can get, and this doesn’t help.
Another major development is that Obama’s pick for Commerce Secretary, Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, has suddenly backed out of the nomination (more on that in a separate post), adding another Republican vote presumably in the opposition category.
Things could get interesting…
No One Knows What’s In The Bill!
Seriously, no one appears to know what’s in it. A version popped up in the House, a different version popped up in the Senate, and another version is rumored to be released Friday morning. Oh, it’s also just about 1,500 pages long, so even if it had been released, the chances that anyone could have read it and understood it are somewhere between zero and nada.
All of this is raising some question marks as to whether or not the vote will actually take place yet. Obama is stamping his foot and demanding that he can sign something as soon as possible so he can take his President’s Day vacation, but there’s even been some reports of in-fighting between the Senate and House Democrats, so I don’t think anyone really knows for sure what’s going to happen.
But let’s look some more at the bill itself. Like I mentioned before, it’s almost 1,500 pages long. The Sundries Shack offers this bit of analysis to put things into perspective:
It is now 7 PM and the Democrats in Congress have yet to give their Republican counterparts a copy of the final Stimulus Bill for them to read. Steny Hoyer says that the House is going to move toward a vote starting at 9 AM tomorrow.
Today’s version of the bill clocks in at 1,434 pages and that’s not the final version. What Congress will likely vote on tomorrow (because President Obama has practically demanded that he sign it on Monday) is likely going to be larger.
There is no chance in the world that any member of Congress is going to be able to read the bill by morning unless they are a trained speed reader. Even then, they’re not going to know the full ramifications of what the bill contains. I’ll do some back of the envelope calculations to prove it.
Let’s start with two generous assumptions: that the bill remains at 1,434 pages, and it gets in the hands of your member of Congress at 8 PM. Let’s also assume that there are about 350 words on each page
In order for anyone to read the entire bill in 13 hours, they’d have to start the very minute they got it and read over 1.8 pages a minute every minute, without a break. They’ll be clocking in at a reading speed of 640.5 words per minute at that rate. If anyone needs a potty break, they’d better take the bill with them. Forget eating.
By comparison, the average human reads about 200-400 wpm if “reading for comprehension”. You only hit 640 wpm if you’re skimming the text (and the top end average skimming rate is 700 wpm and the comprehension rate drops dramatically).
Now, let’s get a little sample of what they’ll be reading at that eye-melting rate of speed.
Here’s a sample page from the original Stimulus Bill, HR1.
Okay, did you get all that? Including the bit about “sections 306 and 310B and described in sections 381E(d)(1), 381E(d)(2), and 381E(d)(3) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act”?
Do you know what those sections are and what they do and do not allow? Have you even read the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act? Remember, you have no time to look them up. You have another three-quarters of a page to read before your minute is up. And after that, you have 997 pages left to go. Hustle it up — 9 A.M. comes awfully early!
Oh, and so you know, that little section you just breezed through in 30 seconds is going to cost the American taxpayers almost 6 billion dollars.
Just know, as you’re at work tomorrow, that the Democrats will be voting to spend about $800 billion dollars without having the foggiest idea what they’ll be spending it all on.
Gateway Pundit observes that the Obama administration has previously committed to posting every piece of legislation online so the public can look it over for at least 48 hours before the vote takes place, but that obviously isn’t happening here:
Democrats broke another promise today.
They promised on Tuesday to post the Stimulus Bill online for 48 hours before a vote.
They even voted unanimously to do this:
Click to Enlarge
Every democrat agreed to this.
But, the stimulus bill is still not online.
And, democrats are voting on it tomorrow.
It’s too bad they chose to break such an important promise on a bill that is the single largest transfer of taxpayer money in the history of the world. But hey, if you’re going to screw the pooch, you might as well go all the way, right?
Some of the yahoos in Washington keep up their constituents with Twitter. Here’s a brief exchange regarding the speed of this monstrosity, one message from each side:
Claire McCaskill wrote today: “Don’t know when we’re going to vote. Will the no votes delay vote just because they can? Speed is important. They know that.”
And Eric Cantor responded: Those in favor of speed over commonsense may just be afraid of letting the People know what they are ramming through.
It’s getting awfully hard for any objective observer to accept what the likes of McCaskill are saying – the Democrats are getting more obvious with each passing day.
Another particularly infuriating aspect of this whole scam is a quick look at exactly who has the text of the bill itself:
Elected representatives on Capitol Hill complain that they have not yet received the final Porkulus write-up, but that’s because Democratic leadership on the Hill had more important people to consult. US News reports that the Democrats sent the bill to K Street lobbying firms before getting it to the people who need to vote on Porkulus…
Um…which party was it that was firmly in bed with lobbyists again? Let’s see…Democrats have the text of the bill before Republicans, and Obama has appointed over a dozen lobbyists to key White House positions… That’s right, it was the Republicans who were in bed with lobbyists! Duh, silly me.
Powerline posted an astounding visual to the debt hole into which this bill will sink the country (chart shows 1965 through this stimulus bill):
How do you feel about paying your way out of that? Well, too bad, ’cause you’re stuck with the check.
Finally, I will leave you with some comments by the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Remember back when President Bush did the first stimulus bill of $160 billion last summer? Many of us got ‘rebate’ checks of $600 (or $1,200 for couples). At the time, Michelle Obama said this to belittle the effort:
“You’re getting $600. What can you do with that? Not to be ungrateful or anything. But maybe it pays down a bill, but it doesn’t pay down every bill every month..
Barack’s approach is that the short-term quick fix kinda stuff sounds good. And it may even feel good that first month when you get that check. And then you go out and you buy a pair of earrings.”
I’m not sure what kind of earrings she buys, but her words sure look ridiculous when comparing Bush’s ‘rebate’ with the one her husband is giving us: $13/month. Yep, that’s right, a lousy thirteen bucks. Of course, that’s only for 2009…next year, that amount will drop to $8.
Don’t spend it all in one place. Of course, Congress will probably have to go ahead and raise taxes — we’re massively in debt, you see — so you might as well just mail it back to them. Isn’t Congress grand?
Like I said…this bill is the economic equivalent of a forced suicide at the hands of Obama and the Democrats.
There’s my two cents.