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During tuesday's speech to Congress, President Barack Obama spoke of the need for fiscal responsibility, eliminating wasteful government spending, and cutting the deficit in half, among other things. Republicans and Democrats alike cheered. Sitting directly behind Obama was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who appeared positively ecstatic with our new President (was I the only one creeped out by Pelosi's cult-like rapture ?) In particular, the Republican side of the aisle cheered (derisively ?) when Obama made a pledge to reduce spending. We'll get back to that in a minute.
But tuesday was tuesday. Let's call it Fiscal Responsibility Tuesday (ladies drink free), because what a difference a day makes. On wednesday, when the whole country wasn't watching the dog and pony show on teevee, Pelosi's House of Representatives passed a huge $410 billion Omnibus spending bill, with 8,570 porky earmarks attached. The price tag for the spending bill was $32 billion more than last year. Clearly, there's no recession on Capitol Hill, and there darned sure isn't any fiscal responsibility. The vote on the bill was largely along party lines. It passed 245-178, with 159 Republicans and 20 Democrats opposed.
I would have thought all the pet pork projects were used up in Obama's stimulus bill, but apparently, there is no end to the ways Congress can dream up to spend our hard-earned tax dollars. Here's just a taste of the pork - $200,000 for a tattoo removal violence outreach program, a dozen earmarks for a lobbying group currently under federal investigation for corruption (PMA Group, linked to Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and others), $1.7 million for a honey bee laboratory, $346,000 for research on apple fire blight, $1.5 million for work on grapes and grape products, $1.8 million to conduct research on swine odor and manure management (pork spent on actual pork !), $173,000 for research on asparagus production, $206,000 for wool research, $209,000 for efforts to improve blueberry production, $208,000 to control a weed known as cogongrass, $1.2 million to control cormorants, $1 million to control Mormon crickets in Utah, $162,000 to control rodents in Hawaii, $17.5 million for Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidential library, $22 million for John F. Kennedy's presidential library, $2 million for Lyndon B. Johnson's presidential library (what, no money for Republican presidents ?), and on and on and on.
While I'm glad the Republicans voted against the bill, it must be noted that 40% of the earmarks WERE INSERTED BY REPUBLICANS. What in the heck is wrong with the GOP ? They are supposedly trying to rehab their image from the Bush days, and then they do this. If they want to be taken seriously, they have to walk the walk, but it looks like they only talk the talk. What a bunch of hypocritical morons.
If that's not enough "fiscal responsibility" for you, the Congressional Budget Office released a report analyzing Obama's stimulus monstrosity, and determined the permanent increase in the size of government resulting from the bill could cost $3.27 trillion.
Then there's the $634 billion health care reserve fund in Obama's budget, to help pay for his health care reforms.
The hits just keep on coming.
There is no fiscal responsibility in Washington D.C. There is no leadership coming from Obama on this subject. There is no leadership coming from Congress. It's just spend, spend, spend, the taxpayer be damned. The soaring rhetorical fluorishes from our President are little more than misdirection, meant to fool the rubes. Our government is growing to a place it's never been before, and if any of you really think "the rich" are going to pay for it all, while the rest of us suffer no consequences, you're living in a dream world. We will ALL pay in the end, one way or another. That lunch still isn't free, and it never will be.