The national GOP returned to its fiscal values last week when not a single Republican representative voted for the $819 billion so-called stimulus package.

"Our federal budget should be a statement of our national values. One of those values is responsibility. Without a return to fiscal discipline, the foreign countries that make our computers, our clothing and our toys will soon be making our foreign policy. Deficit spending is not just a fiscal problem - it's a national security issue as well," says the 2006 Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel House Democratic campaign plan, "A New Direction for America." It took Republicans 12 years to lose their way in the majority, it seems the Democrats have reversed their new direction in fewer than three. Now Pelosi and President Barack Obama are making George W. Bush look like a deficit hawk, and they united Republicans in the process.

Eleven Blue Dog Democratic congressmen joined Republicans in voting against the spending bill, including Mississippi's Gene Taylor. Taylor appeared on CNN and called the bill "nuts" and said, "President Obama ran on change. This isn't change...this is just more of the same."

Democrats Bennie Thompson and Travis Childers from Mississippi voted for the measure. Republican Gregg Harper opposed it saying, "I wish Congress would open their eyes to the wasteful government spending that is contained in this bill and that will drive the country further into debt. The American people know we cannot borrow and spend our way back to prosperity."

The Congressional Budget Office scored the bill's total cost to taxpayers at over $1.17 trillion. Initially touted as a Franklin Roosevelt style infrastructure funding bill - highways, dams, water, sewer, railroads, parks - liberals hijacked the bill. There is still plenty of spending, but not much on infrastructure and not immediately. Only 15 percent of the new spending would impact the economy this year.

The measure includes $137 billion for 32 new government programs. There is $15 billion for college scholarships, maybe to stimulate the purchase of pizza, beer, and ramen noodles. For kids not in college, there is another $1.2 billion for summer youth jobs.

The trickle up economics provides $20 billion for food stamps; $5 billion for public housing; $1.76 billion to help the homeless; $200 million for Meals on Wheels.

ACORN, under federal investigation for election irregularities, gets its share from $750 million in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

There is $600 million to buy cars for federal employees (the current fleet only accounts for 642,000 vehicles) and to balance that out, $400 million to research global warming.

This stimulus bill even stimulates trial lawyers. The bill authorizes state attorneys general to sue with contingency fee trial lawyers for damages and fees for violations of the Health Insurance Privacy and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This provision would stimulate higher healthcare costs while providing greater prosperity to trial lawyers.

There is $75 million in the bill to help people stop smoking. Which is the opposite of stimulating spending, and bad news for Mississippi which is depending on smokers to fund our budget needs.

Monday at the Stennis-Capitol Press Corps luncheon in Jackson, state House Speaker Billy McCoy said it was "unbelievable" to him that Gov. Haley Barbour suggested - depending on what strings are attached - that he might not accept Mississippi's full share of this federal bailout. "We intend for Mississippi to get the proceeds that Congress intends for us to receive," McCoy said of the projected $3 billion share for Mississippi.

But, the House Republican Conference estimates the cost of the bill for Mississippians will be over $8 billion or about $2,761 per person. Not really a good return on our investment.

Republicans proposed an alternative focusing on tax cuts and shovel-ready infrastructure to create 6.2 million new American jobs by the end of 2010 at half the cost of the Democrats' bill. More jobs; less spending.

According to projections from the House Republican Conference, 221,501 small businesses in Mississippi would benefit from the GOP 20 percent tax cut to small employers. More than half a million Mississippians would pay less money into the federal spending under the Republican plan to reduce the 15 percent tax bracket to 10 percent. And, more than 872,000 Mississippians would benefit with the 10 percent bracket's reduction to 5 percent.

In Mississippi's four congressional districts, those benefiting the most from the Republican plan would be in the First Congressional District held by Democrat Travis Childers. But, the Democrats defeated this plan.

Republicans in the Senate have scuttled the prospect of quickly approving the House plan. Whatever comes out of the Senate will look very different, but will still likely contain billions in wasteful spending and political handouts. This is just HR1, the first House bill. But as public opinion shifts, Democrats may indeed discover that Americans are looking in a new direction.

Brian Perry of Jackson, a former congressional aide, is a partner in a public affairs firm. Reach him at reasonablyright@brianperry.ms.