UPDATE - February 12: The text of the House/Senate conference report of the stimulus package has been posted online. Here are the links:
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The 647-page House stimulus package scored the coveted designation of H.R. 1, which the Speaker reserves for her highest legislative or symbolic priority. The bill is a combination of legislation that moved this week through the Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Appropriations Committees. It is scheduled to be introduced Monday.
[UPDATE: Here's the amended version that passed the House.]
Please take a look through the bill and let us know if you find anything noteworthy or surprising. Specifically, search for anything a little out of the ordinary, such as the section on page 14 that makes sure no money goes directly to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. That provision was introduced earlier as an amendment and it has made it into the final bill.
Or read through the oversight sections and the authority (and money) given to Government Accountability Office. Is it real oversight or are there wide loopholes?
John Maynard Keynes famously said that burying bottles of cash under ground would be a suitable -- if not ideal -- way of reducing unemployment. One person's bottle-burying earmark is another's job-creation project.
"If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez faire to dig the notes up again . . . there need be no more unemployment," Keynes wrote in his work The General Theory. "It would indeed be more sensible to build houses and the like; but if there are political and practical difficulties in the way of this, the above would be better than nothing."
Is this stimulus burying bottles of cash? Or building houses and the like?
Again, send your thoughts and finds to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS: Don't have time to read all 647 pages? Shame, shame. Still, this bill is mostly a combination of bills moved through three major committees. Summaries of each section can be found here, here and here.