Senator John ThuneSince South Dakota's pioneer days, each generation has made great sacrifices so that their children and grandchildren could have a better life. Unfortunately, the trillion dollar spending bill passed by Congress turns this heritage on its head.
With the passage of this bill, Congress will spend more borrowed money than we did from the time of the Revolutionary War through the Presidency of Jimmy Carter. This is money that has literally been taken out of the pockets of future generations for spending priorities that do not address the root causes of our economic downturn.
It is clear that the "stimulus" bill was written with Washington interests at heart, not the jobs that are being lost in South Dakota and across the country. The bill spends over $1 trillion with interest, but only 0.3 percent goes to small businesses, which create most of the jobs in places like South Dakota. In fact, the bill devotes twice as much money to renovating government buildings in Washington ($6 billion) as it does to small business job creation.
The bill is full of examples of business-as-usual Washington pork. Government employees will have access to $300 million dollars worth of new cars. There is an $8 billion provision that will likely be used to fund a levitating railroad from Disneyland to the Las Vegas Strip. This waste is not only shocking in its content, but also in the way our children and grandchildren will be asked to foot the bill.
This legislation also creates programs that will require continued government funding far into the future. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, if 20 of the most popular programs in this legislation are permanently extended, which is likely, the bill could cost taxpayers $3.27 trillion over 10 years. Once again, future generations will have to pay the price.
Over the course of the debate I offered and supported several solutions that would have returned money to South Dakota taxpayers and small businesses, which would have created real, lasting economic growth and job creation. In fact, one of the amendments I offered, according to the methodology developed by the President's own economists, would have created twice as many jobs at half the cost.
Generations of South Dakotans and Americans of every stripe worked hard to provide a brighter future for their children. We are all beneficiaries of this legacy of sacrifice, which created a prosperous, powerful, and free nation. This bill could rob our children and grandchildren of that legacy, and instead leave a new one of debt and bloated government.