Gang Of Fools

Bill Scher

Gangs are groups of hoodlums that commit crimes and terrorize neighborhoods. In the Senate, we have a Gang of Moderates, and they’re a gang alright. A gang that is trying to commit crimes of humanity to the economic recovery bill.

The Plum Line has the latest draft of $80 billion in cuts the Gang is considering. It is sheer foolishness.

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Total Reductions: $80 billion

Eliminations:

Head Start, Education for the Disadvantaged, School improvement, Child Nutrition, Firefighters, Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, Prisons, COPS Hiring, Violence Against Women, NASA, NSF, Western Area Power Administration, CDC, Food Stamps

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Reductions:

Public Transit $3.4 billion, School Construction $60 billion [sic, I think they mean $6 billion, because the House bill only allocated $14 billion for school construction and improvements.]

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Increases:

Defense operations and procurement, STAG Grants, Brownfields, Additional transportation funding

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Can this be any more pound foolish?

Economist Mark Zandi’s analysis of effective stimulus makes it crystal clear that the Top 4 Most Effective Stimulus, in order, are: Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance, Infrastructure, and State Government Aid.

That puts money in the hands of the most needy, which will surely get spent on essentials. That invests in tangible projects that create jobs. That helps states avoid cuts in jobs and services that would undermine stimulus.

And these jokers want to eliminate any increase in food stamps?

Force states to layoff police and firefighters?

Make it harder for Americans to use cost-saving, energy-efficient mass transit?

Prevent us from fully rebuilding our crumbling schools?

And at the same time, increase military procurement when Defense Secretary Robert Gates just said we need to “critically and ruthlessly separate appetites from real requirements” for our national security?

This is not where the center of America is. It is not where the center of economic expertise is.

It is foolish posturing at a phony mantle of fiscal responsibility, when in reality, it is deeply irresponsible to our needy, our kids, our police and our firefighters.

This Gang of Fools needs to be stopped from terrorizing our economy.

Call your Senators toll-free at 1-866-544-7573 or if the switchboard is busy, find your Senate office’s contact information at Senate.gov.

And tell them to pass a big and bold economic recovery bill to meet our challenges, and resist any attempt to irresponsibly slash its size.

UPDATE: The Seminal’s Jason Rosenbaum has more: “The proposed cuts by [Sens.] Nelson and Collins aren’t cuts to ‘waste,’ or cuts to ‘non-essentials,’ they are cuts that fundamentally weaken the economic recovery package and would be directly responsible for eliminating hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs.”

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