Oinkers Feast

Well, it’s a porkfest on Capitol Hill.

We wondered what complete Democrat control would be like and here it is: over reaching on a grand scale. There will be bad ideas in spades and we’ll catch a few of them on this blog — but, honestly, we simply aren’t going to have time to chronicle them all.

One thing we do want to do, however, is give you a place to sound off about all the latest pork. So here goes: the oinkers are feasting on your tax dollars. What are they doing with them?

State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) — now covering illegal aliens and people who already have private health insurance (remember how well that worked in Hawaii?)

H.R.1 – the Democrat’s Stimulus Package — now this is a doozy.

I don’t even know where to start.

It costs $825 BILLION dollars. (upfront – but the CBO apparently says that’ll be $1.1 TRILLION with debt service).

Only 3.6% of this spending is for the famed highway infrastructure that we need so badly. Heck, split that evenly over the states (which they won’t) and we in Virginia wouldn’t even get what we need to cover the shortfall in our Transportation Trust Fund.

The jobs they are talking about creating — well, read the fine print. If this package goes through, each job will cost $210,000. Yep, that’s money out of the pockets of people who have jobs and are paying taxes. And, guess what the average taxpayer makes – just $45,000 / year. Is that really a good deal?

Now, Obama’s asked Speaker Pelosi to scrap the funds for birth control and we hear she’s agreed. That was a particularly funny one — especially since (sans immigration) we are not too far from dropping below a replacement birth rate. In Japan, which has already achieved that distinction, Canon is urging its workers to go home and procreate.

But, even with the tacit admission that birth control isn’t economic stimulus, there’s plenty of pork to go around in this bill. Now, I’m asking you, how do these things stimulate the economy?

  • $50 million to increase staff at the Student Aid Administration
  • $79 billion to bail out states (like New York & California) that have run up massive deficits and driven taxpayers and businesses away. Mind you, the total projected budget deficit for all states in FY09 is $43 billion.
  • $2.1 billion for Head Start
  • $300 million to construct research science buildings at colleges and universities. Now you really have to love this one. I’m pro-science and pro-education (really, I am) but if you were to ask a top research scientist what would be the best way to spend $300 million in his field, I really doubt that adding buildings to universities that already have BILLION dollar endowments would fit the bill. I mean, couldn’t we put that money directly into AIDS research or cancer research or something like that?
  • Same goes for this next one: $1 billion to evaluate the effectiveness of different preventative health care interventions. OK, so maybe that’s a great thing to do. If a doctor has a super fat person and wants to prevent heart disease, should she start with prescribing diet or exercise? Wouldn’t we all like to know? But exactly how many jobs is that $1 billion going to get us? How much economic growth will it buy? Could it be used more effectively in some other way?
  • $50 million to the National Endowment for the Arts to make sure the recession doesn’t hurt all those starving non-profit artists. I’m not anti-art, but what makes these jobs so much more valuable than, say, jobs in the homebuilding industry?
  • $400 million for NASA climate change research
  • $350 million to identify and track where broadband services are available.
  • $88 million to lease a new headquarters for the Public Health Service
  • $245 million to modernize computer systems at the Farm Service Agency (note, this is while recent legislation authorizing the National Animal ID System is putting small farmers out of business)
  • $800 million for Amtrak — which is always losing money and this won’t make things one iota better for the rail carrier
  • You recall what the Gipper said:

    “Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”

    How appropriate.

    I don’t often quote the Washington Post, but even they understand that this isn’t a stimulus package, unless what you are stimulating (and rewarding) is key Democratic constituencies:

    some in Congress and the new administration apparently see the country’s present recession as an opportunity to change the federal government’s spending priorities more generally or simply to reward loyal political constituencies. This is understandable, given that the voters endorsed the Democratic Party and its priorities in November. But it’s risky to make new, multiyear commitments in the middle of a crisis without debate over competing priorities — and without paying for them through some means other than borrowing.

    And that’s exactly right. Should we spend $850 billion to “jump start” the economy? Is $850 billion a magic number? Will $850 billion really do any long term good? What else could the same amount of money spent elsewhere – or used for job creation tax breaks – do?

    And, $850 Billion is about $7,000 for every American family (or, $10,500 that every American has to pay back – with the debt service). What could you do with $7,000? Someone did some figuring and apparently, $825 Billion would be enough to send all graduating high school seniors, for both the classes of 2009 and 2010, 4-year educations at private universities—and you’d still have more than $150 billion leftover.

    Stay tuned for more of the swill on which the oinkers will be feasting this year — and don’t hesitate to provide your own examples!

    h/t Republican Study Committee and Heritage Foundation