After decades of watching their extravagant, wooly-headed, far-left programs languish in never-never land, Democrats are now realizing their once-forlorn hopes for a return to the good old days. Massive giveaways for their pet, socialist schemes -- and payoffs to labor unions and other financial supporters -- will now be the order of the day.
This time they are outdoing their New Deal, Fair Deal, Great Society overspending extravaganzas, cobbling together an $825 billion package they laughingly call a stimulus program, allegedly designed to put unemployed Americans back to work and get the economy back on track.
The Wall Street Journal calls the gift package "A 40-Year Wish List" -- a gravy train the paper called "a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years."
And what a wonder! It spreads money around -- which our bankrupt government doesn't have -- with reckless abandon, gratifying the wishes of their party's constituency, while doing practically nothing to create jobs or give the ailing economy a shot in the arm.
Among the giveaways being financed with our grandchildren's money, as cited by the Journal, is a cool $50 billion for the National Endowment for the Arts, hardly an engine for creating employment for the unemployed. About the only jobs it might create would be for the bureaucrats who would oversee the grant or an artist or two who specialize in exhibiting jars of urine containing a crucifix as their contributions to the nation's culture.
Then there is $1 billion for the notorious Amtrak system, which can't even run its trains on time, a trick even the late Benito Mussolini managed to pull off during his notoriously inept regime. Amtrak hasn't made a dime in profit over the last 40 years. How many unemployed bank tellers, secretaries, reporters or computer technicians will get work at Amtrak?
Most shocking is a $400 million giveaway to study what a growing number of scientist regard as a hoax -- the great global warming scam -- at the very time the nation is chilled to the bone and probably verging on a new ice age, little or big. To make matters worse, there is $2.4 billion for another scam for demonstration projects called "carbon capture," a process that has yet to be invented.
Among the other goodies the Journal discovered buried in this massive bill:
· $30 billion, or less than 5 percent of the spending in the bill, to fix bridges or other highway projects in a bill that touts rebuilding of the nation's crumbling infrastructure as a job-creating engine.
· $600 million + to buy new cars when the Feds already spend $3 billion a year on its fleet of 600,000 vehicles.
· $7 billion for modernizing federal buildings and facilities.
This is the result of turning the Democrats loose after years of frustration, during the years of my dad's presidency, George H.W. Bush's four years in the White House, Republican control of Congress from 1992 to 2006, and George Bush 43's presidency, when they couldn't fund their wildest dreams.
All of the crazy stuff they once couldn't get passed is now in the pipeline, starting with the stimulus package. What's interesting here is the question of exactly where Barack Obama stands on all of this Democratic squandermania.
When he spoke with the Republican leadership on Tuesday, it was obvious he hadn't the vaguest idea of what's included in that $825 billion stimulus package. Yet, he's the one who is going to have to scramble to find ways to borrow all that money to pay for the items in the bill.
According to House Minority Leader John Boehner, the president was learning some of what is in the package at the same time Republicans are learning about its provisions.
My question is, if when Obama sees all of the gaudy stuff in the bill, will he rear up on his hind legs and veto the thing?
If he doesn't, he will be acknowledging that the real power lies in the hands of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and for the next four years he'll be doing their bidding.
Mike Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is heard on radio stations nationally as part of American Family Radio. E-mail comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.