Congress Critters Wallow in Pork Barrel Trough

By David L. Brown

It can be argued that this country got in the trouble it’s in at least in large part through irresponsible government spending, private lending to unqualified borrowers and of course lots of Wall Street greed. So the way Congress proposes to fix it is to, among other things, do the following:

A — Ramp up government spending like a whirling dervish, throwing trillions into Pork Barrel projects many of which won’t kick in for years and therefore cannot help the recession/depression unless it is expected to last for a decade (or forever) but which will help Democrats hang onto their seats until the fat lady sings.

B — Push banks to begin lending money again, preferably to those most needy (i.e., least qualified borrowers).

C — Replace the former head of Goldman Sachs who was heretofore in charge of the Treasury (Hank Paulson) with Timothy Geithner, a guy who cheated on his tax returns and who has immediately appointed as his chief of staff at the Treasury Department Mark Patterson, whose previous job was as Goldman’s lobbyist.

Yeah, that’s gonna fix things all right! Like Joe the Plumber could fix your Rolex. Using a sledgehammer.

The new administration and Democrat controlled Congress seems determined to push through a spending bill totaling more than a trillion dollars when interest costs are factored in, and the lion’s share of the spending won’t even kick in in time to help us out of the present situation. A report by the deputy director of the Congressional Budget Office issued a few days ago included this conclusion:

Assuming enactment in mid-February, CBO estimates that the bill would increase outlays by $92 billion during the remaining several months of fiscal year 2009, by $225 billion in fiscal year 2010 (which begins on October 1), by $159 billion in 2011, and by a total of $604 billion over the 2009-2019 period. That spending includes outlays from discretionary appropriations in Division A of the bill and direct spending resulting from Division B.

The CBO is supposed to be Congress’s own watchdog on spending, and yet it seems clear that these observations will be ignored in the rush to spend money on just about anything, no matter whether it makes sense, will help the economy, or is even sane just as long as money is being spent. And, how convenient that nearly all members of Congress just happened to have a big want list of Pork Barrel projects ready at hand. Just line up at the trough, add your favorite Pork to the bill (which now contains more than a thousand pages) and you’ll assure your job in the House or Senate from now until Doomsday.

Here’s a cartoon to illustrate the process:


Now there’s a small catch to that “keep your job until Doomsday” program. Doomsday may be coming a lot sooner than Congress Critters think. And like lemmings racing to be first to jump into the sea, they may find they have doomed themselves. If the “stimulus” package (which seems to contain very little actual stimulus) doesn’t work and the nation continues to slide into a deep recession or new depression, the plan might actually backfire. Republicans are apparently ready to vote almost unanimously against the plan, and when it and other shenanigans fail to do anything more than stick taxpayers with trillions in debts, voters might be less compassionate about “Hope” and “Change” next time around.

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