And nobody in Congress who voted in the stimulus plan was able to
read it through. Shouldn’t they have taken just a bit longer to review
and debate it? What’s in this economic package?

The Heritage Foundation has been studying it and the politics surrounding it.

For the last 35 years, educators and analysts at The
Heritage Foundation have been intimately involved in the nation’s great
public policy debates. In all that time, we have never encountered
legislation with such far-reaching and revolutionary policy
implications as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act currently
before Congress. And never have we seen a bill more cloaked in secrecy
or more withdrawn from open public exposure and honest debate.

That’s how they began an open letter to the Congress and the President.

In addition to being the single most expensive bill ever
proposed, this measure calls for a massive expansion of the federal
government’s reach into the day-to-day life of virtually every citizen,
business and civic organization in the nation.

Look at just the few itemized measures they list that are written
into the bill, thus ‘re-writing the social contract between the
American people and the government’. Items like welfare reform, the
understanding of federalism, health care regulation, and religious
censorship.

We are appalled that Congress is even contemplating such
profound changes with so little openness and due diligence. In the
past, major policy changes in our welfare system, or health care, or
trade policies, etc., were always, quite properly, preceded by
extensive public conversation and full debate. That is how a democracy
should make important decisions.

The failure of Congress and the Administration to allow that debate is damaging to our democracy.

And, Heritage claims,

both the President and the leaders of the House and
Senate have violated their solemn promises that the bill would be
available for several days of public review prior to voting, so that
the American people might have a chance to learn what is in the bill
and to make their views known to their elected officials.

Right. What happened to that transparency the administration
promised? What happened to that White House promise that key
legislation would be made available online for Americans to review and
comment on for a few days before Congress votes on it? This is the
biggest spending package in history. And we have yet to learn what’s in
it besides payback to interest groups.

And where is a trillion dollars going to come from, anyway?

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....