Cynical Synapse

Mon, 02 Mar 2009

Lipstick on a Pig—Still Pork

Filed under: Economy, Michigan, Politics, Take action — cynicalsynapse @ 10:49 pm

President Barack Obama wants no pork in legislation presented to him. Apparently, that’s too complex a concept for his fellow Democrats to understand. The Omnibus Appropriations Act passed by the House includes $7.7 billion in earmarks. That’s inexcusable, considering the country’s economic situation.

You can put lipstick on a pig but...

You can put lipstick on a pig but...

I’m appalled to find that Michigan’s Senators and Representatives are responsible for at least $.527 billion of the “pork” in the Omnibus bill. Of 265 projects, Senator Levin’s name is associated with 191 and Senator Stabenow supported 205 of them. Ok, so Sen. Levin is old school, where pork was how you greased the skids. But Stabenow is a second-term senator who seems to have mastered the concept. The old hand sponsored only 69% ($366.4 million) of Michigan’s earmarks compared to Stabenow’s 72% ($380.6 million). Levin and Stabenow are both Democrats.

While I guess I should be happy that Michigan’s representatives garnered 7% of the total earmarks (or more, since I didn’t check every representative’s name with the list), the problem is the earmarks themselves. Those put forth by Michigan’s delegation pretty much appear to be legitimate needs and some even come across as supporting the domestic auto industry, an apparently unpopular thing these days. Unfortunately, very few of Michigan’s earmarks appear to directly address the fate of auto workers themselves.

Although I think the One News Now post has an obviously slanted view, Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, succinctly summarizes part of what’s at the root of the problem: “Congressmen treat our income like their personal slush funds to spend on their pet projects and friends.”

Sen. Reid defends earmarks in the bill, essentially claiming it was Republican excess that gave earmarks a bad name. While there may be some basis to that, and there’s no question $7.7 billion pales in comparison to today’s additional $30 billion in TARP funds to AIG, Congress cannot continue to act like they have money to burn! It’s our money they’re giving away as quickly as they can. And it’s our children, and our children’s children, that will bear the burden.

The current spiral of spending is unsustainable. What’s really disturbing is Peter Orszag, President Obama’s OMB director, told ABC News’ “This Week” Obama will sign the earmark-laden bill, despite campaign promises to the contrary. See how your representative voted. Now is the time to act. Urge your senators to vote no on H.R. 1105 before it gets to President Obama. And, inundate the White House with anti-Omnibus Bill emails; hold Obama accountable to his campaign promises.

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