President Obama's rhetoric on the stimulus package is distinctly short on hope. He is making the American people an offer that they can't refuse (Mafia-speak as tribute to diversity!). But he is providing plenty of change. Stimulus bills are supposed to be a pragmatic, job-creating enterprise. They are supposed to grow the same types of jobs that are in danger of being lost.
Ah, but The One could not be expected to produce a traditional bill in the eschatological age of Himself. His New Age stimulus bill does indeed look different- it's manna from heaven for the legions of lawyers who will oversee its environmental policies, and for the hordes of "green job" holders whose existence might not be economically viable without the provision of said manna. And, of course, it all costs one huge pile of change. Once Obama constructed the paradigm for the bill's presentation - pass it or else - he gave his leftwards Congressional leadership the, er, green light to move on to, er, hog heaven.
It's not that the Congress isn't trying to save money. The Senate, ever mindful of the strain on the public purse, is doing its best. To wit:
The House-passed version was estimated to increase the deficit by $820 billion over 10 years. The version initially considered by the Senate cost $885 billion, but grew to more than $900 billion after amendments were passed last week.
Now lawmakers and others estimate that the cost of the revised package, including the bipartisan compromise, is between $820 billion and $827 billion, the same or higher than the House package.
So, you see, the Senate has saved you between $58 and $65 billion! As the Church Lady might say, “isn’t that special?”
And out of the goodness of their hearts, the Senate is providing relief for one year from the AMT that, somehow, the House never got around to. More on the evolution of the bill can be found here.