February 10th, 2009
10:30 AM ET
9 years ago

Stimulus plan is 'theft,' some lawmakers warn

Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan wants more transparency in how stimulus money will be spent.

Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan wants more transparency in how stimulus money will be spent.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As President Obama warned of "catastrophe" if the government doesn't spend more than $800 billion to recharge the failing economy, some lawmakers equated the measure to "theft."

"This is more money that's ever been contemplated in the history of our country," said Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan.

Republican John McCain calls the bailout "generational theft," a transfer of wealth from future generations to today's leaders.

"We are robbing future generations of Americans of their hard-earned dollars because we are laying on them a debt of incredible proportions," he said.

The numbers are staggering. Obama's package is more than $800 billion. President Bush's bailout plan was $700 billion. Add to trillions promised by the government in loans and potential spending to soothe the financial crisis. It all equals a mind-boggling sum, not including the interest on all that money.

President Obama appeared before a national audience Monday night to make the case for the roughly $838 billion economic stimulus plan.

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Filed under: economic stimulus
soundoff (185 Responses)
  1. carlo

    Read the polls again, GOP. 31% approval and sinking.

    February 10, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. JJ12345

    JPM February 10th, 2009 11:35 am ET

    What do you call what BUSH has already done! I didn't see you calling it 'theft' then! A trillion in deficit to fund his war in Iraq. Where was the republican outrage then? Hypocrites!
    And Obama will double it in less than a month in office.

    February 10, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Bob in Pa

    Amen Senator. It is theft. If Ii the taxpayer am to repay this debt, at least allow me the courtesty to spend the money as I see fit.
    Recovery needs to occur at the consumer level, then tax revenue will increase, and the Gov't can spend it.

    February 10, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. Ex-Republican Gal

    Yes Americans are angry and do not want to be saddled with all this debt. It's amazing however that McCain and his friends don't get it. We're angry at them. Every economist has agreed that doing nothing would be worse, tax cuts only would not be much better. So how is it that the people who got us into this mess are so outraged at the peope trying to clean up their mess? Why were they not worried about the deficit when they were making all their tax cuts for the rich and spending billions a month in Iraq?

    February 10, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. James

    Pot meet kettle. Or should I say: Robber Barons, meet Robin Hood. What the republicans aren't acknowleging is that is that this money is not being poured into Iraq, but back into our own country. The theiving has already occured!

    February 10, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. NoMo Bush

    What did they call it when Bush was giving them money? A loan. They stole most of it now they don't want us to have any.

    February 10, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. Mike, Albany

    If Bush's $700 billion bailout hadn't been such an unmitigated disaster with no oversight, we would not be having this discussion. In fact, if Bush hadn't failed so miserably in everything he did over the last EIGHT YEARS, we would not be having this discussion.

    February 10, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. Gis Bun

    It seems that the Republicans are complaining quite a bit about this package. Yet it amounts to less than 1% of the government budget. I saw them one after another complaining about the budget.

    May i remind them is that it was the Republicans who primarily got America [and indirectly the world] in this mess. I think that the first sign of problems was how they could let anyone with little income buy such expensive homes. This should of been [and still isn't] regulated.

    Meanwhile, what does America spend a day in Iraq?

    February 10, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. JoAnne Allen

    I am so tired of hearing what John McCain thinks. Did we forget the majority voted against what John McCain thinks in the November election. That was the government of yesteryear. We would all like to move forward; he can tag along or he can stick to the politics as usual philosophy.

    Throughly disgusted.

    February 10, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. Ray Ray

    Any time someone is pressuring you to make a LARGE financial decision REALLY FAST.... it's a scam.

    Obama, Pelosi, Reid = scamming America

    February 10, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Baze

    ya know, if they had something more than tax cutting and the simple answer to build more roads and bridges, then maybe someone would listen.

    February 10, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. Mittohead

    Republican credit = 0

    February 10, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. Tom

    I think the size of the Obama stimulus plan is grossly understated, and the Bush plan Grossly overstated. True, a $700 Billion plan was approved under the Bush administration, but they were only allowed to spend $350 Billion, with the remainder to be spent by the Obama administration. Total it up and you get $350 billion from Bush, and $1.188 trillion from Obama. I think we are going way overboard on the stimulus spending. Obama's showing how unprepared he is for the presidency by his public statements. When talking about the economy the presidenty shouldn't use words like catastrophe or depression because of the fears and resulting market swings. We really need to sit back and let the market self correct. Temporary government work is definitely not the answer we need.

    February 10, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. Thomas Paine

    Perhaps if the Republicans were as skepitcal and concerned over the spending they approved during the Bush years, the country would not be in this economic mess.

    February 10, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Puh-lease. Mr. "Don't know much about economics but I know the fundamentals of the economy are strong" who voted the party line when the Republicans were spending money like toilet paper is now claiming to be a fiscal conservative? Go away John, you're cache with the American people is spent.

    February 10, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Baze

    and where the heck is Michael Steele? He has no control over this party. A token election indeed.

    February 10, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Truth is that over the last 12 plus years WE and OUR future generations have ALREADY been ROBBED !!! By the very same folks that refuse to vote for the stimulus. They are trying to unload the blame on The Stimulus Package.....the fact is that these OLD POLITICAL Jerks have screwed us ...or kids ..grand kids...great grand kids.... etc, just to take care of their Wall Street, Corporate, Banking , and International Buddies at the expense of the uneducated and ill informed voter. They have thrown credit cards and an easy life at us IDIOTS during and SINCE the Clinton years. So while our jobs and wealth was leaving this country we spent our way into a FALSE economic system on CREDIT. These idiots who have been in Congress for years are now CONCERNED about spending.?? They can't spend enough to get out of this mess and the average American IS JUST NOW begging to smell the coffee. GET THESE IDIOTS to approve this bill so we can get on to (and I guarantee it ) the next Stimulus Package.

    February 10, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. gl, Pittsburgh

    some lawmakers – No CNN not some lawmakers how about being truthful with you head and put it out their like it. The heading should say some Republicans lawmakers some lawmakers is misleading.

    February 10, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Track Enfield

    "Generational Theft" = the new GOP meme, coined by Michelle Malkin.

    Get used to it people; these idiots will be repeating it ad nauseum for the next 3 weeks-

    More proof that republicans share one brain.

    February 10, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. james

    Repubs are the last people who should be talking theivery.

    February 10, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. JWNewYork

    Republican John McCain calls the bailout "generational theft," a transfer of wealth from future generations to today's leaders.

    John McCain sure has gotten smart since his campaign for President. This is coming from someone who just a few months ago thought the economy was fundamentally strong and sound. Someone needs to remind him and the rest of the republicans that they lost. All we hear is a lot of whining and doomsday predictions. Who is going to pay for"generational theft" of funds to pay for the borrowed tax cuts?

    February 10, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. Rob Stumpf

    Obama's 4 million job number is a complete and absolute work of fiction. He made that number up, you fools. He knew you wouldn't question him about it, and you mostly haven't.

    He also said there are no earmarks in the bill. Of course there are...another lie. We are just calling them something different.

    He said Republican policies are the reason we had a real estate crash. If he believes that, he's either a liar or an ignoramus. If John Kerry would have been elected in 2004, the same thing would have happened.

    He justifies his overspending by saying that Bush overspent! Now, come on...if Bush did something you think was wrong, would you actually do the same thing, even more so?

    And newsflash- because Bush was an overspender, does that mean that ALL Republicans are? If that's the case, why did Republicans vote AGAINST Tarp when it first came up?

    He lies, and you swear by him. Whatever damage Bush did to this country is going to be dwarfed by what Obama and his sheeple are going to do.

    February 10, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. Tim E

    Mr. McCain, this is not "generational theft." We are buying back our America. One home at a time, one job at a time, one community at a time until our grandchildren and our great grandchildren will no longer be in bondage to the fat cats of the Republican Party. These purchases are made at a dear price, a price you inflated with your Party's callous disregard for the perilous path of lax and unconscionable fiscal stewardship that lined your pockets and expanded your properties. Yes, our grandchildren and great grandchildren will bear the brunt of this retrieval of the American Dream; you made sure of that. You, however, underestimated them. And their willingness to work shoulder to shoulder with us to bring America home. Get out of town, John. You don't live here anymore.

    February 10, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  24. Bill NY

    WOW! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. The President is dealing with 8 years of "theft" by the former administration. Obama is totally on point when he says that doing nothing is not an option. The future of our future generations has already been gambled away by an ill-advised war and disastrous financial policies of the last 8 years. If we do not act soon, future generations will have zilch! The naysayers appear as spoiled children in the room with an adult(President Obama).

    February 10, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. Simpliticus

    This is "tit for tat"! Bush gets us into trouble with his do as you want! form of devil-may-care investing without oversight. Now the Republicans are complaining that we are spending beyond our means such that our children and our childrens' children will have to pay for all of this spending. Seems to me that was what the Democrats were saying when Bush launched his ill-conceived wars! Republicans spent like drunken democrats!

    February 10, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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