N.Y. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer took to the floor on Tuesday to sneer at public outrage over the trillion-dollar porkulus. "The American people really don`t care," he said, about those "little tiny, yes, porky amendments." He punctuated his derision by pinching his pointer finger and thumb together. [Video] Only the "chattering classes" worry about such trivial matters, Schumer scoffed.
Well, we are all "chattering classes" now. Congressional phones and fax lines have been ringing off the hooks all week with complaints from angry constituents across the country. And just two days after Schumer declared that no one cares, the taxpayer group Americans for Prosperity delivered 400,000 petitions to the Senate protesting the behemoth bill. Those petitions were signed before the latest details of the House-Senate conference report negotiations had been disclosed—and before any final legislative text had been made available to the general public.
If the stimulus plan were a Thanksgiving dinner entree, it would be a Turbaconducken —the heart attack-inducing dish of roasted chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey, all wrapped in endless slabs of bacon. But according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi`s fantasyland "fact sheet" released early Thursday afternoon, "there are no earmarks or pet projects" in the final package.
Trust her no further than you could throw a pot-bellied pig. Despite the self-delusional declarations of Pelosi and President Obama that no pet projects exist, Hill staffers spilled the beans on several new set-asides tacked onto the bill.
Then there`s Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid`s Railway to
Reid, you see, needs to stimulate
his re-election bid, so he haggled with President Obama
to tuck in a teeny, tiny, yes, porky amendment for
high-speed rail lines. Reid has his eyes—and paws—on a
Wasn`t it earlier this week that
Obama was lecturing companies not to travel to
But I digress. Along with these not-earmarks, not-pet projects, there`s $2 billion for impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich`s pet FutureGen near-zero emissions power plant project, $300 million for souped-up "green" golf carts for government workers, $30 million for "smart appliances" and $65 million for digital TV coupons. According to Hill Republicans, money for basic highways and bridges was cut by $1 billion from the House-passed level, but:
As I`ve reported previously, that "neighborhood stabilization" slush fund money will end up in the pockets of left-wing shakedown artists such as ACORN and the Massachusetts-based Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), led by self-proclaimed "bank terrorist" Bruce Marks. There`s an additional $3.25 billion in HUD grants and Community Development Block Grants in the bill that will also inevitably find its way into the coffers of these housing-entitlement lobbying groups.
Another egregious not-earmark earmark that survived untouched: $2 billion for the National Parks Service championed by House Democratic conferee and Appropriations Chairman Rep. David Obey. A report by the GOP minority on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee revealed that Obey`s son, Craig, lobbied the panel and advocated for the stimulus plan on behalf of the National Parks Conservation Association.
All told—and safely assuming the major spending provisions become permanently enshrined—the final price tag of this government hogzilla of all hogzillas over the next 10 years will be a whopping $3.27 trillion with a capital "T."
Not, ahem, that you care.
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Michelle Malkin [email her] is author of Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores. Click here for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click here for Michelle Malkin`s website. Michelle Malkin`s latest book is "Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild."