More "Stimulus" Boondoggles - Social Engineering and Lobbying for Higher Taxes


Posted by Sandra Fabry on Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010, 3:08 PM PERMALINK

Early on, when opponents of the "stimulus" argued that the trillion dollar spending and debt package was nothing but a costly hodgepodge of politically motivated spending, those pushing for its passage vehemently objected. 

However, this is exactly what the package has turned out to be. It has clearly failed to meet its stated goals (after all wasn't the unemployment rate not supposed to go above 8 percent with its passage?). Instead, taxpayers have had to watch helplessly as their money is being doled out to prop up government rather than stimulate job creation in the private sector, and is being spent on questionable projects under the even more questionable - and debunked - claim of "saving and creating" hundreds of thousands of jobs.

One of the more questionable "stimulus" spending programs called "Communities Putting Prevention To Work" (CPPW) is being administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, specifically the Centers of Disease Control (CDC).  Under one of their "stimulus" grants programs, Connecticut was one of the latest states to announce having received about $1.3 million in federal money for social engineering purposes - to "help residents quit smoking, reduce obesity among children and provide other health initiatives in schools and communities."

This is the latest advance of government seeking to expand control over people's lives and to make consumption decisions for its constituents - which clearly is not its role. 

Leaving aside the fact that the rationale of saving and creating" jobs through such expanded government programs is questionable at best, what is even worse is that taxpayers are ultimately paying for the government to lobby for higher taxes on products generally perceived as "sinful."  

The CDC suggest a handful of "evidence-based strategies" to be utilized by grant recipients relating legislative and regulatory changes regarding "media, access, point of purchase/promotion, price, and social support and services."  For tobacco products, the "price" component suggests using "evidence-based pricing strategies to discourage tobacco use" - and if you look at which references they use in their supporting documentation it becomes clear what that means - tax increases. And for "nutrition," the suggested strategy involves "increasing the price of less healthy foods relative to the prices of more healthful choices," which may sound familiar if you're following the soda-tax or snack tax efforts in the states.

And of course, the states are going for it. According to the HHS website, Delaware, for example, is receiving $1,022,792 to"

educate leaders and decision-makers about the benefits of increasing the price on other tobacco products such as cigars and smokeless tobacco to equal the price on cigarettes.

Translation: to lobby for higher taxes on these products.

Likewise, Oregon is receiving $3,000,000 to

(...) support a policy proposal to increase tobacco price.

Again, translation: to lobby for higher taxes on these products.

Yes, you heard right, your "stimulus" dollars are going towards lobbying for damaging tax increases, draining even more money out of the private sector and productive use.

Way to "stimulate" the economy, right?

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