In a study released this morning, Heritage senior fellow Robert Rector pegged the honest cost of the House economic stimulus plan at $1.34 trillion, not the $816 billion that has been reported. Rector reasoned:

The recently passed U.S. House of Representatives stimulus bill contains $816 billion in new spending and tax cuts. Of this sum, $264 billion (32 percent) is new means-tested welfare spending. … But this welfare spending is only the tip of the iceberg. The bill sets in motion another $523 billion in new welfare spending that is hidden by budgetary gimmicks. If the bill is enacted, the total 10-year extra welfare cost is likely to be $787 billion. … The claim that Congress is temporarily increasing welfare spending for Keynesian purposes (to spark the economy by boosting consumer spending) is a red herring. The real goal is a permanent expansion of the welfare system. … Any Congressman who, two years from now, suggests that the new welfare spending be allowed to lapse to pre-stimulus levels would be pilloried for slashing welfare.

The Senate has not yet even approved the House bill and yet the left has already proved Rector 100% correct! The leftist Center for American Progress blares “What Does The ‘Gang Of Moderates’ Gain By Slashing Education Funding In The Stimulus?” and writes:

As The Wonk Room noted yesterday, Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are attempting to craft a “compromise” on the economic stimulus package. This compromise entails making devastating cuts to the proposed education funding in the bill, a significant portion of which is aimed at low-income, disadvantaged students.

Obama’s Trillion Dollar Debt Plan is not even law yet, and already the House spending levels are being treated as the new baseline and anything less than the historic increases in welfare spending are being called ‘cuts’. Jonah Goldberg explains the left’s game plan:

The stimulus bill was designed to give Democrats maximum maneuvering room. It would increase non-defense discretionary spending by more than 80 percent in a single year, in a single bill! Moving forward, they could grow government by smaller percentages while seeming to be responsible budget balancers. By putting chips on every square of social spending, they could let it ride for years to come.