So what do we get in the stimulus bill? How about a $2 billion boondoggle of a “green” power plant in Illinois, creating 150 jobs. The FutureGen plant was started under the Bush administration as a public-private partnership, the costs ballooned, the technology became obsolete, and the Bush Department of Energy decided to kill it.
Now, like a zero-emission zombie, the FutureGen plant is back, hungrier than ever for a piece of the “porkulus”. A hefty $2-billion piece.
After FutureGen was abandoned, disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich paid Cassidy and Associates, a major Washington, D.C. lobbying firm, $468,000 in public funds to lobby to restart the project. The Illinois delegation in Congress has also been pushing hard for the FutureGen earmark, despite the fact that the Obama administration has been vocal about their opposition to earmarks in the stimulus, and has even specfically said they are oppposed to including funding for FutureGen in the bill.
The Wall Street Journal estimates that the FutureGen would generate about 2,675 new jobs—and only 150 of those are permanent. Congress would be spending just shy of $750,000 per new job.
Sen. Tom Coburn had introduced an amendment to kill the project in President Obama’s home state. I don’t know if the amendment was successful. Anyone?
Regardless of the fate of this particular pork-barrel project, you can be assured that there’s a lot more where that came from hidden among the aid to states and infrastructure spending that makes up a huge chunk of the bill.
And yet, there are still some people out there who think the stimulus is just another check coming in the mail from the U.S. Treasury. Sorry folks, not this time. In Democrat parlance, economic stimulus means stimulating government spending and jobs, rather than cutting costs and letting people keep their own money to invest and spend. (And since when did it become evil to save and invest your money rather than waste it?)
In any case, in the face of the worst economy in 80 years the party of the president who ran on “hope and change” shows that it’s the same old tax-and-spend game.