Plan features plenty worth opposing

Published 6:06 pm Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In case you haven’t heard, Congress has passed a stimulus plan designed to boost our woeful economy. And, in case you haven’t heard, it will cost us all about one bagillion, a new number Washington just made up because they didn’t have one large enough to cover what they needed.

Next, they are looking at spending a wakawillion, or something like that.

While lawmakers hope the plan will “help the common man,” you do have to wonder about any plan that includes funding for things like tax breaks ($246 million) for movie producers and more money ($400 million) going toward the screening of sexually transmitted diseases. I’m not sure what either has to do with helping the economy, unless the film and the STD folks all get together, but that’s a whole separate column.

Here are just a few of the gems in the stimulus package, according to CNN:

$448 million for construction of a new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security. An additional $248 million will go toward furnishing the building. Obviously, this is some very nice furniture.

$88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker ship. Assembly required, and that will cost extra.

$75 million for promotion of “smoking cessation activities.” An additional $25 million for alcohol and substance abuse programs on tribal lands. Double down at the casino on the tribal land and get $50 million.

$6 billion to turn federal buildings into “green” buildings. This is really crazy. What’s wrong with beige?

$1.2 billion for youth activities, including summer programs. Do you know how many Playstations you can buy for $1.2 billion?

$160 million for “paid volunteers” at the Corporation for National and Community Service. (Note to Washington: By definition, volunteers are unpaid.)

$5.5 million for “energy efficiency initiatives” at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs National Cemetery Administration. This is a department? And it needs $5.5 million just to learn to turn off its lights?

I know times are bad. And I do think the government is right to do something. This latest plan is ludicrous, though, unless you’re one of those paid volunteers or something. I can think of many reasons to oppose this plan. A bagillion reasons, actually.