Friday, February 27, 2009

Pork Update

UPDATE: below

There's no doubt the Administration intends to spend more:
President Barack Obama is sending Congress a budget Thursday that projects the government's deficit for this year will soar to $1.75 trillion, reflecting efforts to pull the nation out of a deep recession and a severe financial crisis.

The $1.75 trillion deficit projected for this year would represent 12.3 percent of the gross domestic product, double the previous post-war record of 6 percent in 1983, when Ronald Reagan was president, and the highest level since the deficit totaled 21.5 percent of GDP in 1945, at the end of World War II.
The question is whether this is wise spending. Writing in Thursday's DC Examiner, Susan Ferrechio says the spending bill's "overrun with pet projects":
There is a barn in Deerfield, Mass., that is one step closer to getting a face-lift, courtesy of the federal government.

The House on Wednesday voted 245-178 to approve a $410 billion government spending package, and as is customary with appropriations measures, the legislation is lined with thousands of pet projects designated by Democrats and Republicans alike, including $100,000 requested by Rep. John Olver, D-Mass., for the restored former tobacco barn known as the Ashley House, built in 1734.

There are approximately 9,000 earmarks in the bill totaling nearly $8 billion, according to a tally by the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.

The bill is intended to fund the federal government from March until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 and would provide an 8 percent increase over last year’s spending.

House Republican leaders, invoking President Barack Obama’s recent calls for fiscal responsibility, demanded Democrats institute a spending freeze, which would have maintained 2008 spending levels. They also asked to have the earmarks stripped out.

"Are these projects really necessary in these challenging economic times?" House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence, R-Ind., asked during debate on the bill. "House Republicans and millions of Americans are saying enough is enough."

While some Republicans stayed clear of earmarks, including Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, many others did not. Democrats were quick to point out that by their estimates, about 40 percent of the earmarks in the bill came from GOP lawmakers.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., for instance, included $300,00 for the preservation of a 1925 coach stop in Savannah.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., added $400,000 for the Tennessee State Museum.

Millions more in local projects were funded through earmarks by Republicans and Democrats, many making bipartisan requests for the money.

Sens. Tom Harkin, a Democrat, and Charles Grassley, a Republican, requested $400,000 for the Salisbury House, billed as an “historic house museum” in their home state of Iowa.

A group of New York members inserted a $750,000 earmark for the state to hold festivities celebrating its 400th anniversary.

Democrats argued that the earmarks provide important funding for infrastructure and other projects and that the use of earmarks has declined significantly since Democrats took over the majority in 2006. . .

Next week, the bill heads to the Senate, where Republicans may attempt to pare down the cost of the measure, according to GOP leadership aides. Senate Republicans may also try to strip from the bill a provision that would phase out a popular D.C. school voucher program created when Republicans were in charge of Congress.

"Some folks, Democrats included, are not happy with what the Democratic leadership tried to pull on this specific issue," a Republican leadership aide said.
At least one of those earmarks came from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, says Jonathan Allen in CQ Politics:
Funny how items show up in spending bills without any notice — like an earmark for a president who promised not to seek any.

President Obama, who took a no-earmark pledge on the campaign trail, is listed as one of dozens of cosponsors of a $7.7 million set-aside in the fiscal 2009 omnibus spending bill passed by the House on Wednesday.

But not for long.

On Thursday, Rob Blumenthal, a spokesman for the Senate Appropriations Committee said the one earmark in the bill that carries Obama’s name will be edited. The committee will attribute that earmark to other senators on the list of that provision’s supporters, but not Obama.

No changes are expected to the earmarks requested by other lawmakers who ended up in top jobs in the Obama administration months after they sought set-asides for special projects in the bills that became the omnibus (HR 1105).

The catchall bill is an accumulation of leftovers from 2008 — spending measures that weren’t enacted before the 110th Congress expired. It’s moving through Congress now because a temporary extension of funds to run the government will run out after March 6.
By the way, "The House voted Wednesday to kill a resolution calling for an ethics investigation into potential quid pro quo between lobbyist campaign donations and lawmakers."


See Dr. Sanity's post "The Democratic Party As a 'Shame' Culture?", including this:
[M]any Democrats and certainly most leftists are completely shameless in the sense that they will never ever, for as long as they can possibly get away with it, going to admit to bad behavior. And in those rare cases where they simply cannot wiggle and maneuver and lie and deceive; or self-righteously tell you how wonderful they really are and all the wonderful things they have done; they will simply pretend they are still virtuous and have been victimized in some way.


OBloodyHell said...

> the one earmark in the bill that carries Obama’s name will be edited. The committee will attribute that earmark to other senators on the list of that provision’s supporters, but not Obama.

Pay NO attention to that earmark behind the curtain... !!

Uh, guys, I hate to tell you this, but those earmarks he made, they're, well, sorta, well... big. I don't think we can hide 'em.

@nooil4pacifists said...

That's because us inside-the-beltway types think anonymity preserves ethics.

OBloodyHell said...


> That's because us inside-the-beltway types think anonymity preserves ethics.

Which strangely fits the Honor-Shame layout box for wrongdoing...


Particularly this

Now think about the "Shame Culture" box, and compare it to how The Left thinks about Ethically challenged events, and why "not reporting" on such is perhaps more than even the political fallout from it, but perhaps also assuages their internal thought processes, such as they are.

There's a reason the minds of The Left find such... "charm", I guess... in Islam. It represents a similarly atavistic mode of thinking that they've never gotten beyond as so-called adults.

The Left truly is out of touch with America and all the moral-philosophical developments of The West in the last 500 years.

P.S. If you want to grasp how The Left got to the suicidal modes of thought that currently rule their actions, I suggest everyone consider:

by John Steele Gordon

I've recommended it before but there may be new lurkers.

It's long but I think it says a lot about how liberalism shifted from Classical Liberalism to Postmodern Liberalism, particularly how they got to be such a sorry lot of self-hating cultural suicide bombers.