The Pittsburgh Trib has a nifty breakdown of the House bill versus the Senate bill. To bring around the stimulus bill to semi-local issues:
First, the Senate decided to remove $25 BILLION in state grants from the stimulus package.
No state block grants = higher state taxes.
But it's okay because we'll all get a $1,000 per couple tax credit for the next 2 years. Don't worry, if you phase out of the tax credit (at a combined income of $140,000), there's a loop-hole for you. The Senate also decided to add a fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax. "The change would save a family of four an average of $2,300." Glad to see we're focused on who needs the money during this recession. How about you save a family of four who's making under $150,000 per year $2,300??? Between those 2 tidbits, we've got $210 BILLION of the stimulus. The Senate and House are ignoring that Bush's stimulus checks did almost nothing to help the economy and the people are not clamoring for a check.
The people were actually excited about the prospect of a major infrastructure investment. The Senate decided to chop out $43 BILLION for rail and general public infrastructure repairs. They leave the infrastructure component at about $55 BILLION or about 6.5% of the package.
But wait, there's also lots of money for energy.
The Senate thought energy was so important they added $11 BILLION to that area. Maybe we'll see some of that trickle down to $25 Million for Pittsburgh LED street lights? Fat chance. Instead the extra money is divided out like this: $4.6 BILLION for fossil fuel research and development; $6.4 BILLION to clean up nuclear weapons production sites.
The Senate also decided to sneak in an auto-makers bailout by allowing folks to deduct interest on their auto loans as well as extending tax benefits to companies losing money. Another $16 BILLION down the drain there. And they'll give all of us a $15,000 coupon if you buy a house in 2009. Except in Pittsburgh where most houses cost less than $150,000 so we'll only get 10%. Another $35 BILLION there.
All in all. This "stimulus" is a gigantic mess that is mostly managing to alienate the American people from their overlords in the House and Senate. With $838 BILLION to play with, you'd think they could manage to please someone. Instead, the Democrats appear to be setting the stage for a major Republican come-back in 2 years.
Of course, at least all this money is being spent in the USA. And I'd rather have a deficit based on spending and tax cuts that benefit my family rather than spending the staggering trillions of dollars on destroying and rebuilding Iraq.