January 28, 2009

Ryan loses his taste for economic stimulus bills

I was misled by my email inbox tonight. A quick look at the message headers showed one interesting subject line:

Paul Ryan supports Economic Recovery
Yeah, so? Who doesn't? For a moment I thought: Ryan, R-WI, 1st District, who voted for the last two economic stimulus billsm while dancing around his own objections, might have voted for the latest one -- despite its coming from a Democratic president, despite his previously announced objections. But, of course, I was wrong, as I saw instantly as I opened the mail and read the full subject line:

Ryan Supports Economic Recovery Alternative;
Trillion dollar spending bill is "not worthy of our new President's signature"

And then the press release showing our fiscally conservative Republican representative has finally reverted to his true self... along with every other Republican who voted in the U.S. House of Representatives today, which passed HR 1, the innocuous-sounding "Making supplemental appropriations for fiscal year ending 2009" bill. The roll call was 244 in favor, to 188 opposed... with every one of those "aye" votes coming from a Democrat and 177 of those "nay" votes coming from a Republican. Bi-partisanship at its most "bi-."

As you read Ryan's explanation, keep in mind his prior votes in favor of almost $800 billion in bailouts at the end of 2008, the first TARP and the auto industry bailout:
“This is the worst recession we’ve seen in generations. We’re losing tens of thousands of jobs a week and communities in Southern Wisconsin continue to be hit especially hard. Congress is making matters worse with a fiscal response that is slow, wasteful, and will leave us a nasty debt hangover for years to come. This bill is not worthy of our new President’s signature.

“This trillion dollar spending bill misses the mark on all counts. This is not a crisis we can spend and borrow our way out of – that is how we got here in the first place. Yet this is precisely the path the Majority chose today. We’re repeating the mistakes of a flawed economic doctrine that deepened our depression in the 1930s and prolonged the economic stagnation in Japan in the 1990s.”

Ryan highlighted these "most troubling" flaws:

Trillion Dollar Price Tag: The $816-billion package will be financed by borrowing, which will result in additional interest costs of $347 billion – putting the total cost of H.R. 1 to over $1 trillion. (Um, the first two didn't come out of the piggy bank either.)

Does Very Little to Help Protect and Create Jobs: We need to help small businesses, entrepreneurs and the self-employed survive this recession and give them incentives to expand. 70% of our jobs in America come from small businesses. Yet there are more taxpayer dollars dedicated to arts and culture, cars for federal employees, and renovating federal buildings, than to helping small businesses grow. (TARP funds went to banks for lending... as if!)

Wasteful Spending: $54 billion is spent on 19 programs deemed “ineffective” or “results not demonstrated” by the Office of Management and Budget.

Special Interest Wish List: $600 million for brand new “green” cars for Federal government employees; $650 million for digital TV coupons; $7.7 billion to improve federal buildings; $50 million for the National Endowment of the Arts; and other dubious special interest projects. (Here I'm in full agreement with Ryan.)

Not So “Timely” After All: Even if borrowing and spending is the answer to our economic crisis, only a small fraction of the spending in the Majority’s bill will take place in 2009. By the start of fiscal year 2011, roughly half of the spending from this bill will remain unspent.

Another Round of Rebate Checks: The tax provisions in this bill do not encourage risk-taking; they do not encourage investment and job creation. The bulk of the tax ‘cuts’ are simply rebate checks - $10/week for individuals and $20/week for couples. We tried rebate checks last year, and they simply don’t work. (Whose idea was rebate checks in the first place?)

Guarantees Future Tax Hikes: The calls for new record spending would only exacerbate our exploding budget deficit, a national debt nearing $11 trillion, and well over $50 trillion of unfunded promises. By adding over $1 trillion dollars to this abysmal fiscal situation, we are guaranteeing tax increases in the near future. To hit a recovering economy with massive tax increases is a recipe for disaster.

Ryan noted that he fought to improve the stimulus bill with amendments and alternative proposals, including amendments aimed to boost incentives to expand business operations and create jobs. He said the Obama Administration claims H.R. 1 would preserve or create 3 million jobs, while the Republican alternative would create 6.2 million jobs at half cost.

To watch Paul Ryan speak on the House floor, go here.

The House Budget Committee analysis of H.R. 1 is here.

The Ways and Means Committee summary of the Republican Substitute is here.


  1. Obama’s Bill Hands ACORN $5.2 Billion Bailout

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009 7:06 PM

    By: David A. Patten

    A rising chorus of GOP leaders are protesting that the blockbuster Democratic stimulus package would provide up to a whopping $5.2 billion for ACORN, the left-leaning nonprofit group under federal investigation for massive voter fraud. Most of the money is secreted away under an item in the now $836 billion package titled “Neighborhood Stabilization Programs.”

    etc. etc. - I think I might have voted no as well -

  2. This is not a stimulus package.

    This is funding every leftwing special interest they could think of and calling it stimulus.

    I published the whole list, read it for yourself.


    Stimulus helps business create jobs and helps get the money down to the people where it can do the most good.

    This bill is NOT that. In fact most of this will not have any effect on anything for better than two years.

    This is a joke, and Ryan and the 10 Democrats who voted against this thing did the right thing.

  3. BTW Pete, your left wing is showing again.

  4. Fred (RealDebate, for those of you who don't know), your comments are as predictable as Ryan's vote. All those criticisms could have been leveled at the first stimulus -- the BUSH stimulus -- as well. The only thing that's changed is the name (and party) of the President. And that was my point.

  5. Comment on the actual bill Pete, go read the actual items.

    Now tell me how will that bill effect any actual stimulus in Racine.

    I'll be waiting.