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GOP: Stimulus used for permanent changes

Feb. 1, 2009 at 2:31 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Republicans say they're worried Democrats are using the economic stimulus bill to build a permanent role for an activist government in the U.S. economy.

They say the stimulus measure, meant as a one-time, $800 billion-plus kick-start to a contracting economy, is actually planting the seeds of a long-term expansion of government and will reverse decades in which the United States has relied on market solutions, The New York Times reported Sunday.

For instance, the stimulus, which will be debated by the U.S. Senate this week, contains $54 million for new forms of "American energy," "Buy America" requirements under trade treaties and $141 billion for education. Critics say the economic stimulus is being lost among efforts to answer pent-up Democratic demands to reassert an activist government.

"When you are filling a hole this big and adding to America's debt on such a large scale, you need to make sure every dollar is aimed for the economic boost you need," Harvard economist Martin Feldstein told the Times.

The newspaper said some Republicans view the stimulus bill as "1933 all over again," the year U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt launched the New Deal.

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