Stimulating pork


President Obama hailed the House last week for passing the $825 billion "stimulus" package. He has been outspoken in urging Congress to move quickly on the issue.

In fact, though, taxpayers deserve a closer examination of the bill's details -- and this president's actions on the bill will go a long way toward revealing his true commitment to fighting pork, earmarks and other wasteful nonsense.

The Associated Press notes some of the fine print in the House "stimulus" bill:

-- $345 million for Agriculture Department computers.

-- $650 million for TV converter boxes.

-- $15 billion for college grants.

-- $1 billion to deal with Census problems.

-- $870 million to combat the flu.

-- $88 million to provide a new building for the Public Health Service.

The list of pig slop goes on and on. It's even too much for some Democrats to bear.

"I have communicated to the administration," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., "that there are parts of this package that don't meet the test that they themselves established of temporary, timely and targeted."

No kidding?

And then there's the $1 billion for Amtrak, $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and $252 billion for wealth transfer schemes -- in other words, welfare -- highlighted Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal, which calculated that maybe $90 billion of the package could "plausibly be considered a growth stimulus."

The rest?

"This bill was written based on the wish list of every living -- or dead -- Democratic interest group," the Journal argues.

Not a single House Republican supported the package, which passed the lower chamber 244-188, with 11 Democrats joining their GOP colleagues. Senate Republicans should -- at the very least -- insist that this spending free-for-all be stripped of the out-and-out pork and include more than a nod to the idea that tax cuts are a better means of reviving the economy than returning to the Keynesian prescription popular in the 1930s.

Less than nine weeks ago, USA Today reported that "Obama vows to slash wasteful federal spending." Now he wants to shower billions and billions on welfare recipients, Amtrak, analog TV converter boxes and Census problems in the name of economic "stimulus"?

That certainly didn't take long.

 

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