Camel’s nose under the tent, as I’ve said before. I’m watching Chuckie Schumer on the Senate floor right now heralding Pelosi and Boehner for hammering out the tax rebate agreements for a $150 billion economic stimulus package. That proposal will be announced today at 1:30pm Eastern.
But, of course, it’s not enough.
In addition to $180 million for “Housing Counseling Assistance” that he helped stick into the omnibus spending bill, Schumer wants more money for counseling borrowers who should have known better before buying more house than they could afford.
And he wants a second stimulus package to deal with “infrastructure.” Whatever the hell that means.
They’ve only just begun.
Hans Bader at OpenMarket.org points out that Welfare + Discrimination = “Stimulus Package:”
They’re giving out rebates, but if you are a middle-class taxpaying family in a high-living cost region, you’re out of luck. The rebates only go to single people making less than $75,000 per year or married couples making less than $150,000.
For the crime of being married to me, my wife, who made less than $75,000 last year (she recently quit her job to take care of our new baby daughter), will be denied her refund, because our combined household income is just a hair over $150,000. If we lived together “in sin,” she’d get a rebate, but because we’re married, she won’t.
If she weren’t married to me, she’d receive a rebate for our daughter, too! Too bad our daughter wasn’t born out of wedlock. Then we’d qualify.
By contrast, non-taxpayers — people who currently pay no federal income taxes and actually get an earned income tax credit back — will be eligible.
Don’t you love farce?
More to come, via the NYT:
Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who is chairman of the Finance Committee, reiterated his interest in extending unemployment benefits at a hearing on Thursday morning, where he said his committee would mark up a fiscal stimulus bill next week.
“There are reports that a deal may be close on the House side,” Mr. Baucus said. “The Senate will want to speak, as well.”
That announcement of potential action by the Finance Committee could jar Democratic leaders who have been striving for a carefully coordinated effort on the economy. Earlier this week, Mr. Reid announced that the House would take the lead in developing the stimulus package and would conduct the immediate negotiations with the White House and Congressional Republicans.
Noting that tax rebates were one potentially cost-effective method to spur new spending, Mr. Baucus said: “Another example would be expanding unemployment insurance benefits. In recent recessions, Congress has extended the number of weeks that unemployed workers could receive benefits. We could do that again. We could provide a further extension for recipients in high unemployment states. And we could also temporarily increase the dollar amount of benefits to help unemployed workers to pay their bills.”