With the passage of the Stimulus bill in the Senate, both houses of Congress will work to reconcile the bill. Hopefully, they'll work to take out the most egregious examples of lunacy in the bill.
Hopefully they can bring the tax cuts down and increase the spending.
But in some cases, it seems as though in the push-pull of negotiations in the Senate things got worse. TexasVox turned me on to this string of stories and it certainly bears repeating. Last week, Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) slipped an amendment to the stimulus bill that would provide $50 billion to the nuclear power industry in the form of loan guarantees. These loan guarantees aren't for the "shovel-ready" projects that would actually stimulate the economy as nuclear power plants have lengthy approval and licensing times. Add to that the fact that it's estimated that each job created by a nuclear power plant costs about $1.5 million, this is truly nothing but pork.
But beyond that, it seems as though they're robbing school children to do it. Andy Wilson, again from TexasVox, pointed this out: tens of billions of dollars in stimulus money aimed at energy efficiency upgrades in public schools has been removed from the Senate version of the bill to make way for things like Bennett's planned pork.
This is preposterous.
And it's exactly why we need to pay careful attention to what's going on with the reconciliation of the bill in hopes that we can have some of these errors corrected.
We shouldn't be afraid to call our Senators and Congressional Representatives. In fact, just last week when House Republicans voted against the Stimulus across a straight party line, I called up my Congressman (sadly, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT, 3rd district)) and spent a half an hour on the phone with one of his aides. We went back and forth about the pros and cons of the stimulus and explained to him that spending in Utah's 3rd congressional district as well as districts all across the nation is exactly what they need.
We agreed to disagree.
True, my phone call probably isn't going to change Jason Chaffetz' mind, but he knows how at least one of his constituents feels.
But many more of you are represented by individuals sympathetic to the tenets of reality and real economics and could pressure and lobby (in the good way) to have injustices, like the one TexasVox pointed out, corrected.
In fact, I'm going to call Jason Chaffetz' office again about this specific issue.
Bob Bennett's office, too. And probably Orrin Hatch's while I'm at it.
(Bryan Young is the producer of Killer at Large)