04/15/09 — Stench of pork: Stimulus mad spending not only sign Congress doesn't get it

View Archive

Stench of pork: Stimulus mad spending not only sign Congress doesn't get it

Just in case you thought that there was nothing more to worry about in Washington and that your elected representatives now understand that wasteful spending is how we got here in the first place, take a whiff of what is wafting from Washington these days.

That's right, it's pork -- and huge amounts of it at that, maybe more than ever.

The source of the smell is -- first and foremost -- leftover from the proposed projects spawned as a result of the federal stimulus package. Even though many of the worst offenders were culled out of the bill, there are still some questionable requests. Don't think for a second that anyone has really wrung all the waste out of that behemoth. Your children's children will still be two generations removed from paying off that one.

But there is still some slippery dealing going on in Washington -- and if we aren't careful, it just might spread to Raleigh, too.

The federal stimulus package was a boon for members of Congress who decided to take this opportunity to hunt as much federal pork money as possible. The idea is to secure their own re-election possibilities by giving people what they want, high-profile spending projects. The how, what, where and why -- or the consequences -- are nothing when compared to the bump one gets in the polls from a press conference.

And, amusingly enough, there are more than a few familiar names on the list.

You have already heard many of the ridiculous projects proposed as part of the federal government's stimulus package designed to get more people back to work.

From high-speed rails to development of "green" lighting systems, there are plenty of spending plans that are not even close enough to the top of the needs list to even be called luxuries.

Now many national organizations are taking a closer look at what is in the new budget bills -- and how much of it is still going to cost taxpayers plenty.

Look for disproportionate highway spending, projects that really could wait or that will require huge operating costs and many more plans that are so inappropriate for a time when we should be spending conservatively that they squeal.

Keeping an eye on what any government plans to ask for with regard to the stimulus funds is critical -- unless you think more debt is what this country needs.

It is really up to the taxpayers to say no now -- and to make sure their own states and leaders push for responsible use of stimulus funds.

Because, in the end, we will be the ones paying the bills.

Published in Editorials on April 15, 2009 11:08 AM