As I type there’s a $400 billion spending bill winding its way through Congress that’s telling us a little bit about both John McCain, President Barack Obama and the way business is getting done in DC these days. The bill includes about 9,000 earmarks (for those who don’t know, earmarks are those little perks for the folks back home that politicians insist on putting in bills in exchange for their support of someone else’s bill). Anyway, those 9,000 earmarks, it turns out add up to approximately $8 billion out of the total of $400 billion.
According to one Republican, Rep. Paul Ryan, his party is responsible for about 4,000 of the earmarks. Whether Ryan’s number is exactly accurate or not is debatable. Maybe you could find a Democrat who’d say he’s way off and that Republicans are behind 60% rather than 40% of the earmarks. The point is that when you’re talking 9,000 earmarks it’s pretty clear both parties are still doing business as usual.
And for that I say HOW DARE THEY! Here we are in the worst ecomonic situation since the Great Depression and our representatives in Congress are busy padding spending bills with goodies to make sure they get re-elected by the voters back home. When will both parties get their heads out of their collective ass and realize that we can’t go on wasting money this way? WHEN? I say!
Look, I took junior high math and I even passed it. I know that $8 billion out of a $400 billion spending bill is a small fraction. But, this isn’t about math. This is about real lives.
At a time when America is struggling to make ends meet how do our representatives in DC justify blowing $8 billion? Think of all the good that this small fraction of the gigantic spending bill could have done if actually applied to things we REALLY need.
On the flip-side of all of this is Senator John McCain. McCain hates earmarks. And he’s remarkably consistent about talking about it. I’m sure he’s signed off on some in his past, but he’s done a good job this week railing against them. I think he did America a favor by taking the president to task for supporting this bill when President Obama has pledged to change the way these things go down in Washington. So cheers to John McCain. Let’s hope he keeps on fighting against business as usual.
That all said, I’m still glad Senator McCain didn’t win this past fall. I think it’s one thing to take positions like his as a senator. It’s a whole other thing to stay so strong in your positions when you’re the president and the country is counting on you to get things done, which brings us to one Barack Obama…
What does the Obama Administration have to say about their support off a bill laden with pork and clearly against the spirit of what they sold the American people? It’s interesting. President Obama and his team are taking a slick approach on this one. The spin is that this is actually a spending bill that had been hammered out under President Bush and so they’re letting it get through “as is” due to the dire circumstances of our economy requiring swift action. But, they are promising that moving forward they’ll be fighting earmarks with ever fiber of their being.
Nice spin, but total bull-@@@@!
The fact is that President Obama has had no trouble turning over his predecessor’s rulings previously. Why the problem now?
Furthermore, the president blew an opportunity to really set a tone. There’s still time. As someone who thinks the president is doing a good job so far and was happy to see him elected in the first place (I’m no Rush Limbaugh…), I encourage him to think seriously about re-visiting his support of this spending bill.
Whether he was president or not when the bill was written, it’s his responsibility to make sure it’s a good piece of legislation when he signs it into law. Obama is clearly trying to have it both ways here. That move may end up costing him down the line.
It’s good to be a little slick after all, but you’ve got to be careful you don’t end up getting lost on a slippery slope…