On December 16th, 2009, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a $174 billion piece of legislation intended to boost employment. It provides roughly $50 billion for public works projects and another $50 billion for state and local governments.
According to the New York Times, the measure included a “mix of money for highway, transit and water projects and aid to help communities retain teachers and firefighters.” If this sounds familiar, it is because these are the issues that the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was supposed to address.
Touching on this, Republicans referred to the bill as the “Son of Stimulus,” and commented that, “Even though a mere quarter of the first round of stimulus funds has been spent, Democrats are eager to reach deep into taxpayer pockets again.” Democrats countered that the $75 billion was paid for with unused funds from the Wall Street bailouts.
This scenario shows a major problem with government borrowing. The Wall Street bailouts were supposed to be an “extraordinary” circumstance, and the money made from these transactions was to be used to pay down the deficit. Now, it seems that option has been discarded.
Additionally, it must be asked if the stimulus has worked. If it has, there should be no need for additional spending to continue its programs, especially since a lot of that money has not yet been spent. If the stimulus has been a failure, as Republicans have argued, then Congress should not be spending billions to continue failed programs.
Unfortunately, the biggest outcome from this legislation seems clear: more debt.