The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the cost of Obama's stimulus package is creeping toward $900 billion and that lobbyists are licking their chops at the prospect of getting a shot at some of that free money:
The magnitude of the spending bill, and its urgency, drew a swarm of lobbyists seeking money and tax breaks. The concrete and asphalt industries battled over how the government should spend billions proposed for road and bridge repairs, while dairy and beef cattle producers butted heads over talk that the government might buy up dairy cattle for slaughter to drive up depressed milk prices. Unions backed infrastructure spending. States sought budget bailouts.
"When you've got 800-plus billion dollars to spend, you'll have an equal number of opinions on how it should be spent," said Chris Galen, spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation, the dairy industry's main lobbying group.
The economic stimulus package proposed by Democratic House leaders totals $825 billion and includes three broad pieces: a $365.6 billion spending measure for such brick-and-mortar projects as highways and bridges; a $180 billion measure to boost jobless benefits and Medicaid, among other things; and a $275 billion tax-relief package, which includes a plan to give a $500 payroll tax holiday to all workers, a proposal from Mr. Obama's presidential campaign.
I am going to start a pool on what the final cost of this monstrosity will be. A $10 ante gets you a guess. Mine is that when all is said and done, the total cost of the bill will be $1.2 trillion.
Have fun in the comments with your own guesses.