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2/14/2009
HATE TO RUIN YOUR WEEKEND, BUT…

Read this piece from Veronique de Rugy at Reason Magazine about what exactly our legislators voted on yesterday.

It will turn your stomach, at the very least. With the economy falling down around our ears, these pork-loving, cynical, selfish bastards larded up a spending bill with some provisions that will easily make the Hall of Fame of Wasteful Spending.

A partial list:

  • $24 million for United States Department of Agriculture buildings and rent
  • $176 million for renovating Agricultural Research Service buildings
  • $290 million for flood prevention
  • $50 million for watershed rehabilitation
  • $1.4 billion for wastewater disposal programs
  • $295 million for administrative expenses associated with food stamp programs
  • $1 billion for the 2010 Census
  • $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges and libraries
  • $650 million for the digital TV converter box coupon program
  • $2 billion for Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program
  • $10 million to combat Mexican gunrunners
  • $125 million for rural communities to combat drug crimes
  • $1 billion for the Community Oriented Policing Services program
  • $1 billion for NASA
  • $300 million to purchase scientific instruments for colleges and museums
  • $400 million for equipment and facilities at the National Science Foundation
  • $3.7 billion to conduct “green” renovations on military bases

Again, for dimwitted lefties who may be lurking out there, some of this spending is no doubt needed - but has absolutely no business being attached to this bill. Why can’t some of these programs be funded through normal legislative channels? Because the whole Congress knows they would never be able to spend the amounts earmarked in this stimulus package or even pass some of these spending provisions at all unless we had a president out there deliberately and cynically ginning up fear in order to scare people and thus justifying its passage as a result of a national emergency.

And that’s not all:

The conference report dedicates 30 percent of all discretionary spending to 33 new programs totaling $95 billion and expands 73 programs which are normally part of the regular appropriations process by $92 billion.

That’s 33 new government programs brought into existence that, like almost all government programs, will take on a life of its own and we will be funding them long after you and I have let this planet for more hospitable climes.

Also, that’s another 73 programs getting money in this stimulus that should have gone through the regular appropriations process but didn’t because Democrats wanted to spend more money on them than they could possibly get going through channels.

That kind of thing happens occasionally. Bills will have riders attached that have little to do with the nature of the spending but is stuck in there by some member as the result of a favor. But it has never been done to this gargantuan extent nor with such blatant disregard for rules and procedures.

Finally, de Rugy shows us some things that were put back in conference that the senate had taken out:

So now funds can go to museums, stadiums, arts centers, theaters, parks, or highway beautification projects. Most significantly, this reopens the door for many of the projects on the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ wish list of “shovel ready” projects that includes many items that are nothing but waste and pork, such as doorbells, construction of dog parks, replacement of street lights, and money for a “mob museum.”

“No earmarks” doesn’t mean that Democratic mayors aren’t salivating over the prospect of getting their hands on this cash for their little pet projects. The only people who will benefit by that kind of spending are the political supporters and cronies of the big city mayors.

I am suffering from “outrage fatigue” this morning. And after reading de Rugy’s piece, I feel like getting sick to my stomach. The rank cynicism it took to write this bill and then sell it as a panacea for what ails us is perhaps the greatest betrayal of the public trust in my lifetime.

I only hope there are American historians a hundred years from now to write about it.

This blog post originally appeared in The American Thinker

By: Rick Moran at 11:13 am
29 Responses to “HATE TO RUIN YOUR WEEKEND, BUT…”
  1. 1
    michael reynolds Said:
    12:10 pm 

    Let’s add up the cost of all these terrifying new government programs and see whether they equal Mr. Bush’s prescription drug program. Or Mr. Bush’s Let’s Turn Iraq Into Vermont initiative. Not even close. Put it all together and it doesn’t equal the amount we’ll spend on the bottle caps of all those meds, or the amount that will be stolen by Iraqi politicians and end up in Switzerland and the Caymans.

    Rick, the idea of a stimulus is to spend money. We’re giving some to taxpayers to spend, and we’re giving some to government to spend, most of which will in turn be spent in private industry. Are we going to manage to piss away a goodly portion of those funds? Yes. And gravity is real and the sun rises in the east and car dealers lie.

    Did you imagine that we’d contrive a way to spend 800 billion dollars and zero dollars would be wasted? I read your list and thought, “Wow, that’s all he’s got?”

  2. 2
    BeT Said:
    12:28 pm 

    Elections have consequences….what else can you say?

    The public elected a very liberal man with a slight resume, questionable allegiance to our country, who is a smooth speaker, quick on his feet, rhetorically.

    Chances are this spending spree won’t help the economy much at all and the public will tire of our “Halfrican Prince”’s face and voice dominating everything, media-wise, 24-7. He has a HUGE ego and with a willing, fawning press/media, he is already over-exposed, with much more to come.

    What was it the Gov. of South Carolina said the other day, we have a “savior based economy”. How true.

    And the media perpetuate the idea that B. Hussein is the Savior. How pathetic.

  3. 3
    mannning Said:
    1:17 pm 

    How is it that we can go further into debt to get out of far, far larger debt that is itself growing at a furious pace? We are indeed in Alice and Wonderland times.

    Maybe the psychology is for the government to spend, spend, spend, till the public catches on and says: “What the hell, I will go spend, spend, spend, too? My money will never again be worth neasrly as much as it is right now!”

  4. 4
    mannning Said:
    1:18 pm 

    oops. nearly

  5. 5
    Chris Said:
    2:28 pm 

    “et’s add up the cost of all these terrifying new government programs and see whether they equal Mr. Bush’s prescription drug program. Or Mr. Bush’s Let’s Turn Iraq Into Vermont initiative. Not even close. Put it all together and it doesn’t equal the amount we’ll spend on the bottle caps of all those meds, or the amount that will be stolen by Iraqi politicians and end up in Switzerland and the Caymans.”

    Michael;
    When will your points not include reference to George Bush. Isn’t saying “Oh yeah, well your guy did it too” simply reinforcing the disgust at wasteful spending. If I spend $1 billion on high tech security devices in the Airports that don’t work and don’t make us safer, is that any better or worse than spending $1 billion dollars on midnight basketball and other community organizing activities that neither “organize” nor help the community?

    And finally, if spending is all that it takes then I’ll present my proposal that I presented over at Poligazette: Why not $50,000 to every church in America to spend on community activities. Churches are well known for hiring cheap and getting folks to work overtime for free (and even work on Sundays), getting people to churches will get folks “fellin’ the love” and politically, its a winner for the Dems (pulling all those “Palinites” over to their side.

    Now some would worry about church/state issues but hey its “spending” right!? Others might worry about “fake churches” springing up to get the money. Who cares, its spending right?

  6. 6
    Old Guy Said:
    2:34 pm 

    I would like help figuring out how to get more bailout money for myself.

  7. 7
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    2:56 pm 

    Only 1 Billion for NASA? That’s a crime right there.

  8. 8
    Rynlds Said:
    3:02 pm 

    The public has spoken. We will receive exactly what we asked for in the elections. Change. Instead of spending on meaningful purposes and the betterment of people worldwide, we will now spend on whatever the lobyist’s have convinced your politicians are important projects.

    The time for true change has passed. The time for fiscal responsibility has come and gone. At this point sit back and watch the show. The stimulus is not going to benefit anyone remotely close to the “niddle class” or median income mark. The fat cats that set this up will get fatter, and the dregs that specialize in living off entitlements will ind new ways to live off the hard working citizens.

    The writers of the Declaration of Independence and the original Constitution of the United States would shudder if they had known what has become of this country. Personally, I cringe at the thought of what will be here for my children when they reach adulthood.

  9. 9
    BeT Said:
    3:54 pm 

    Rynlds - I appreciate your points but I don’t think much of “change”. That’s just sloganeering. Regression is more like it - back to Cater-era, pie in the sky, spend money on alternative energy (a few ok but most just whacky schemes), more welfare, less armed forces, less NASA. Instead of drilling for the great amount of oil we have. Instead of building more nuclear power plants. Instead of more coal plants, Hopey McChange wants to build windmills. Can anyone say Don Quixote (spelling)?

    So our enemies and adversaries around the world will advance as they conclude that the Americans are turning inwards to “build roads and bridges” and “weatherize” public schools(too funny!). More Islam, more Chinese mercantilism, more Russian corruptocracy/Russian mafia.

    Foreign powers realize that we have a wimp in the White House. Period.

  10. 10
    William Teach Said:
    3:56 pm 

    What? Nothing in there for those of us who have been responsible with our mortgages, cars, and financial lives? That’s weird.

  11. 11
    sara in va Said:
    4:38 pm 

    Now that Obama has his Spendulus in place, we barely have a moment to catch our breath before he’s already back on TV asking for more.

    He’s got our money, now he wants our time. Give to your community, he tells us. Do your part! Lace up your shoes, get to work! And, I’ll be here, comrades, leading you, my visage on the TV; today, and tomorrow and the day after that! I promise to be on the screen, all the time, constantly!

    Are we facing four years of this little dictator, constantly telling us that we aren’t doing enough, aren’t giving enough, aren’t paying enough?

    (all the libs here are gleefully scratching themselves and whispering yes! yes, and it will be 8 years, 8 years!)

    Remember Michelle’s warning that “Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved”? Well, dammit I don’t want to serve Obama. I’m busy. I filed my taxes, paid tens of thousands. All I want to do now, is I want to watch Jeopardy, and then, after that, maybe King of Queens.

    If someone shows up at my door asking why I haven’t logged into USAService.org, I’ll claim I have Outrage Fatigue (great term, Rick). They can run it through their new Daschle federal computer medical database, where it will be determined that it’s a viral ailment that spreads easily in communities with high IQs. Then I’ll be shot, for the benefit of the collective. I suppose it beats slapping Hope posters on street posts.

  12. 12
    retire05 Said:
    4:50 pm 

    Put armed citizens on the border and tell them to shoot anyone they see crossing the Rio Grande. There, that $10 million is saved.

    Oh, and that little couple of million for “urban” canals? Nothing but more money thrown at Rag Nagin’s total disaster of a city named “Chocolate City”.

  13. 13
    John E. Howard Said:
    4:53 pm 

    Michael;
    When will your points not include reference to George Bush?

    Never, because he can’t defend what his side is doing. He’s lost the capacity. Just watch. People like him will blame every failure over the next four years on Bush.

  14. 14
    Michael S. Said:
    4:53 pm 

    Michael R. -
    I have a quarter I’d love to send you so you could buy a clue. Regarding expenditures by the Bush government, I certainly don’t agree with a lot of what he did. I know most true conservatives abhor a great deal what he and the current crop of ‘Republican’ politicians have done supposedly in the name of conservatism. But then again, you seem to be the overly simplistic type that automatically assumes that conservative = republican and vice versa. And even worse, that we (conservatives)blindly agree and support everything done by ‘our’ side. That said, how about we look at a few real numbers now. 2008 cost for the Medicare prescription program was $44 billion ($6 billion less than expected). Expenditures to date for the War on Terror to include Iraq and Afghanistan (2001-2008) ~860 billion total. So in one month in office and in just this one bill, President Obama pretty much equals that spending. And this does not include the unknown amount ($1 trillion or more) for Mr Geitner’s completely clueless and unexplainable bank bailout plan nor any of the other back-door wheeling and dealing started by the Bush administation and continued and expanded by the Obama administration.

    My biggest grief is the current budget is already $3.1 Trillion and ALREADY includes funding for all these very same things. Having worked for and around the federal government for years, I KNOW untold billions are being wasted on a daily basis and now we are going to throw another trillion dollars into the mix. What happened to Obama’s promise to make all his proposals spending neutral; his guarantee to go through the budget LINE by LINE and eliminate wasteful programs; his promise to post all legislation on the Internet for a minimum of five days for public examination and comment … words (lies), just words (lies). I absolutely shudder thinking about what the Obama administration’s first (2010) budget is going to be … In fact, I have another quarter I’d like to bet that it is over 4 trillion dollars.

    In the words of the immortal Forrest Gump …. stupid is as stupid does.

  15. 15
    eaglewingz08 Said:
    5:16 pm 

    I believe the reason for these customary expenditures being put in the porkulus, is because, besides military budgets, the Democrap congress has not passed any regular spending authorization bills in the past two years. I believe most of the spending has been done through continuing resolutions/authorizations. Dems, don’t set the bar high, cause that would negatively affect their self esteem, and that wouldn’t be fair.

  16. 16
    angulimala Said:
    5:39 pm 

    Sum = 12.57 Billion.

    12.57/800 = 1.5% of the money we are spending.

    This is government spending. There will be waste. This is small potatoes compared to other examples of waste.

    Partial list. Click the link, lazy.

    ed.

  17. 17
    bsjones Said:
    6:03 pm 

    Chris,

    The ability, to so often, be able to say, “Your guy did it too!!” should alert us to two things:

    1) Our political system, as it currently operates, is systemically broken.

    and

    2)The gigantic hole we find ourselves in as a nation is not the fault of “just” the other guy’s party.

    Both parties are working overtime, they’re just not working for the American people. Rynlds is right we get the government we deserve.

  18. 18
    michael reynolds Said:
    6:49 pm 

    Chris:

    When will your points not include reference to George Bush.

    Last I checked Republicans were still blaming Bill Clinton for everything. So how about this rule: when we stop hearing Republicans blame Clinton — who has been out of office for 8 years — we’ll start a one year countdown clock. At the end of that time we’ll stop blaming Mr. Bush. But with Mr. Bush gone less than a month I think it might be a bit early to pretend that he never existed.

    And, I’m sorry, but did you see “midnight basketball” on Rick’s list? I didn’t. Which means you are yourself reaching back to 1994 — 14 years. You go back 14 years and get pissy when I go back a month?

    By my rough math the total of Rick’s list comes to roughly 1.5% of the total stimulus package. 1.5% and the sky is falling.

  19. 19
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    10:46 pm 

    The writers of the Declaration of Independence and the original Constitution of the United States would shudder if they had known what has become of this country.

    No they wouldn’t. They’d be hanging out and marveling at the light bulb and downloading internet porn.

  20. 20
    Moon Jaguar Said:
    12:23 am 

    Everything on the list creates or saves jobs! Jobs for the people who produce and sell food, rehab government buildings, build scientific equipment, enforce the law, build computers, operate college libraries, build and run wastewater plants, and on and on. Jeez, people, try to see the bigger picture!

  21. 21
    sara in va Said:
    7:19 am 

    Chuck

    Thanks for letting us know what you do all day.

    :
    :

    I’ve noticed that our liberal antagonists here aren’t defending the bill beyond

    1. It’s only a small percentage of total spending

    2. George Bush did it

    Anyone who jokes about wasteful spending, probably doesn’t work that hard. Confiscating a person’s income to “piss a goodly portion of it away” is evil, not funny.

    This cavalier attitude towards people who pay taxes is sick, sick.

  22. 22
    Michael S. Said:
    8:07 am 

    Sorry Moon, but government spending does not and cannot create jobs. At best it can be said to support jobs or, more specifically, it moves jobs from the private to the public sector. This is all done at the expense of the taxpayer using non-existent money that has to be printed or borrowed. The 2009 budget was $3.1 trillion and projected revenues were $2.7 trillion. This means we were already $400 billion in the hole before this whole spending spree even started. If government spending truly worked the way you claim, Japan would have never had their ‘Lost Decade’ and our Great Depression would not have dragged on for years. Despite the massive spending and the endless works programs of the New Deal (which we seem so desperate to repeat), unemployment remained relatively unchanged. There were ups and downs for sure, but overall it pretty much stayed at %18. For more information, check out:
    http://www.heritage.org/research/budget/bg2208.cfm

  23. 23
    michael reynolds Said:
    9:35 am 

    Jaguar:

    Shhh. You’re making sense. They want a stimulus that doesn’t cost any money. And then they want cheesecake that doesn’t make them fat and whiskey that doesn’t make them drunk. Reality not welcome.

    That’s a lie. You know its a lie which makes you a bald faced liar. You refuse to accept the fact - a fact that hundreds of economists have made clear - that there is a lot of wasteful spending in this bill - spending that will not energize the economy and belongs in separate legislation but the cowardly Democrats won’t present it that way because they know they can’t get $13 billion for special ed or another billion for NASA, or the tens of billions that will be added for new programs that deserve a separate vote.

    It is dishonest to present this bill the way Obama has. You are party to a fraud - actually, gleefully supporting a fraud upon the taxpayer. Using an economic crisis for pork, for passing unrelated spending, for rewarding loyal constituencies may be the most cynical move any president has made in my lifetime. And you saying that most of us here don’t want to spend money is an outrageous lie because you know it is not true.

    ed.

  24. 24
    Chris Said:
    9:58 am 

    Michael;
    “Last I checked Republicans were still blaming Bill Clinton for everything.”

    There may be some Republicans blaming Clinton for (____________), I believe the courage lies in identifying issues/faults with any past administration regardless of party. That will move the discussion beyond partisanship.

    For example, George Bush, IMHO, expanding a program, with good intentions, that was already headed toward bankruptcy (Medicare). Bill Clinton, in his desire to address unfair real estate practices and expand the value of home ownership to lower income brackets, pushed regulation to “strongly encourage” lenders to lend to those with less than stellar credit. Both of these actions had great intentions but lead to seriously negative financial consequences. And I’m one who believes in better access to costly prescription meds and in the value of home ownership.

    “And, I’m sorry, but did you see “midnight basketball” on Rick’s list?”

    I probably wasn’t explicit in creating “hypothetical”, but not too unreal, examples to illustrate how either “side” can, with good intentions, waste money.

  25. 25
    Chris Said:
    10:05 am 

    Moon Jaguar,
    “Everything on the list creates or saves jobs! Jobs for the people who produce and sell food, rehab government buildings, build scientific equipment, enforce the law, build computers, operate college libraries, build and run wastewater plants, and on and on. Jeez, people, try to see the bigger picture!”

    So let me understand this. Unless a program burns money or ships it off to a foreign country, I would assume at least ONE person receives that money. And if I assume that ONE person doesn’t hoard it all, but spends some of it, some economic activity will occur. That would suggest that regardless of how the money is spent jobs are created.

    Call me simplistic, but since the past 8+ years the government has spent more than it had and increased federal spending, why haven’t we continued to create jobs? As best as I know the Federal budget has increased every year over the past ___________ decadesand yet we haven’t seen a coincident steady drop in unemployment. And would it be fair to say that if the federal government just spent “enough” money it would eliminate unemployment?

  26. 26
    michael reynolds Said:
    10:30 am 

    Rick:
    In #23 you say:

    That’s a lie. You know its a lie which makes you a bald faced liar. You refuse to accept the fact – a fact that hundreds of economists have made clear – that there is a lot of wasteful spending in this bill

    In #1 I say:
    Are we going to manage to piss away a goodly portion of those funds? Yes. And gravity is real and the sun rises in the east and car dealers lie.

    Which would make me not a “bald-faced liar” but a realist.

    You say:
    Using an economic crisis for pork, for passing unrelated spending, for rewarding loyal constituencies may be the most cynical move any president has made in my lifetime.

    This is hysterical and ahistorical drivel, and you know it. Your list was composed almost entirely of things which would certainly create or support jobs. 50 million for watershed rehab for example. Is that work done by waving a magic wand, or is it done by guys with shovels? Guys who get paid to wield those shovels.

    3.7 billion for green renovations on military bases. Is that done by magic or by guys digging up barrels of sludge and disposing of same?

    Is some of the spending bullshit? As I pointed out in comment #1: duh. Is some of it stuff that would have been spent anyway that we’re pretending is new stimulus? Yes. Is the bill imperfect? Of course it is. Jesus, this is our government we’re talking about, it hasn’t yet achieved the kind of perfect free-market efficiency we might see in a CitiBank or a Lehman Brothers or a GM.

    Suddenly you want to apply the “perfection” standard to legislation? Have you been applying this consistently over the years? Your list amounts to 1.5%. The full list, according to my rough math, is about 10%. Even assuming either list makes any sense (and neither does) you think a 10% fudge factor is cause for this much outrage? The greatest betrayal of trust in your lifetime? A lifetime that includes Vietnam, Watergate, Desert One, Iran/Contra, Abu Ghraib among so many, many others?

  27. 27
    the Fly-Man Said:
    12:09 pm 

    What exactly did the responsible mortgage payers get from 12 Billion a month spending in Iraq? Where were you all to defend restrained spending for the last 8-years. I’d love to see the GOP, take Steven Colbert’s suggestion, namely, just turn down all of the spending that is headed for their districts. Wouldn’t that be the principled stance?Also why did the GOP use Acorn as a poster child for ultimate Liberal corruption, but when this bill came up they now need support for the white spend thrifts? My wife and I have never missed a mortgage payment in the last 18 years since we first owned our home and were offered an interest only loan when we moved to where we are in 05. We did our homework and said no thanks and couldn’t be more pissed than anyone else is for being negatively rewarded for our prudent behavior. So why does the GOP insist on helping people who made bad decisions now, but were so ready to blame Fannie May and Freedie Mac and minorities for the debacle before this bill came into being?Again, if the GOP is soooo against it, give all of the funds back to the treasury.

  28. 28
    Surabaya Stew Said:
    4:55 pm 

    By the way Obama is spending our money, you would think he’s engaged in some sort of a “nation building” project. Like the one thats been going on in Iraq or Afghanistan or somewhere. It even seems as if he’s preparing for future elections by spending money on other Americans! Wow, is he like a “Politician” or something?

  29. 29
    Bob C Said:
    8:43 am 

    Oops. Doesn’t this Roman orgy of spending reflect the ‘hopes and dreams’ that conservatives are supposed to come to terms with? Isn’t this the government that the people have chosen, and doesn’t opposition…unflinching opposition…to it reflect the stone age thinking of Rush Limbaugh acolytes?

    Or, more properly, does it merely reflect the fact that if conservatives continue to allow liberals to define the issue, that the typical, distracted, non-political junkie is more likely seduced by the promise of government largesse than they are by being told they have the wherewithal to make their own way.

    If this is the ‘government as it is, not as we wish it to be’, that conservatives are supposed to come to terms with, yeah, Sara, it most assuredly is scary.

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