Poorly built bill retains positive note
Earlier this year, President Obama signed into law the largest spending bill in U.S. History. The bill was a little more than a thousand pages long and was passed prior to being fully studied, understood or even read.’
This drew tough criticism from Republicans in Congress and fiscal conservatives, who see the bill as wasteful spending at the expense of the American taxpayer.
The bill is scheduled to dramatically increase national spending on programs ranging from welfare to education and infrastructure expenses. A total of $787 billion will be spent on government initiatives.
This bill is expected to increase the national deficit higher than any other fiscal year in U.S. history.
Dedicated to analyzing the costs and effects of Congressional spending, the Congressional Budget Office is a non-partisan group that estimates the deficit would total almost $1.7 trillion (11.9 percent of gross domestic product, or GDP) this year and $1.1 trillion next year.
These numbers do not take into account any more spending that may occur between now and the end of the fiscal year. Even though the national debt is already more than $11 trillion, it is expected to increase dramatically during the next ten years based on President Obama’s spending proposals.
‘The cumulative deficit from 2010 to 2019 under the President’s proposals would total $9.3 trillion, compared with a cumulative deficit of $4.4 trillion projected under the current-law assumptions,’ CBO said on the Web site.
Aside from the fact the bill was rushed through Congress and violates President Obama’s campaign pledge to reign in deficit spending, the bill reeks of unconstitutionality.
Nowhere in the constitution is there a provision allowing the federal government to set up welfare programs or give a provision giving the government authority to subsidize most of the programs the bill intends to fund.
Given that the 10th amendment states any authority not given to the federal government belongs to the states, one would think the federal government would consider whether their spending spree is constitutional.
One of the key provisions of the bill affecting UH students is the increase in spending for education. Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Finaid.com, estimates an additional 800,000 new recipients of Pell Grants. The stimulus adds $200 million for federal work-study and new tax credits for students or their families.
The stimulus, however does not affect federal loans for educational expenses. The spending on education in the stimulus is one of the few concrete benefits of the stimulus bill and will increase long-term productivity. It will be of little help to students whose parents’ income disqualifies them from most financial aid even though they pay for college on their own.
Students from low-income families stand to gain the most benefit while high income families stand to lose greatly from the new taxes and burdens put on them from the rampant spending Congress has engaged in.
Chris Busby is a political science and English senior and may be reached at [email protected].