One of my favorite quotes from CPAC came from congressman Todd Tiahrt when he said, “making promises creates hope, keeping promises creates trust.” That is the perfect quote to describe Obama’s presidency thus far.
Transparency has been scarce, he’s talked one way about spending and acted another, and now he’s breaking his promise on earmark spending. Obama certainly isn’t creating much trust with the American people.
White House aides indicated that President Obama will sign a $410 billion spending bill, even though it contains thousands of special projects or earmarks. The AP reports the White House “on Sunday downplayed massive deficit spending and President Barack Obama’s pledge not to sign legislation laden with billions in earmarks amid Republican criticism that he was recanting on a key campaign promise.”
What’s the reason for this reversal? They simply want to get the past in the past and move on to the future, where they’ll actually be eliminating earmarks…or something like that.
White House Budget Director Peter Orsazg said Sunday that the new administration wants to “move on … get this bill done, get it into law and move forward.” Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, called the bill and its 8 percent spending increase over 2008 “last year’s business.”
Despite the fact that he has the power to stop earmarks now, it’s simply not the time. But it will be the time in the future, and that’s when he’ll be keeping his promise, you can bet on that.
So who’s requesting all this pork. Here are the top five porkers: Cochran, Wicker, Landrieu, Harkin, and Vitter. I don’t even care what party they’re in because that doesn’t matter. What matters is these guys account for 177 earmarks totaling $161,454,975 solo and $1,735,492,237 total when pork with other members is added in.
This isn’t a republican or democrat issue, it’s a fiscal responsibility issue. And because fiscal responsibility has suddenly jumped to the top of Obama’s priority list, he should have vetoed this bill.
Some of the spending in this bill is simply absurd (and I’ll get to that later), other spending is semi-legitimate, but in a time of economic recession should be shelved until we actually have the money to spend.
Projects such as renovations to three presidential libraries (all democrats) totaling $41,500,000, should be put on hold until we have the money to actually spend. Better yet, why don’t they find private donors to cover that cost.
Some of the best ridiculous spending includes…
-$1,049,000 for Mormon Crickets
-$225,000 for Everybody Wins! (how politically correct is that?)
-$200,000 for Tattoo removal program in Mission Hills, CA (I don’t live in California and I don’t have a tattoo)
-$75,000 for Totally Teen Zone, Albany, GA
-$300,000 for GoGirlGo! Boston, MA
-$100,000 for Police Athletic League of Buffalo, Inc
-$206,000 for Wool Research
-$3,800,000 for Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, MI
-$237,500 for Paving, sidewalks and streetlights, Islip, NY (how much does it honestly cost to pave sidewalks?)
-$45,000 for Weed It Now on the Berkshire, MA
The list goes on and on, you can view the full list of earmarks here.
I just find it funny that Obama is getting ready to sign a bill with that many earmarks when his website says…
As a Senator, President Obama introduced and passed bipartisan legislation that would require more disclosure and transparency for special-interest earmarks. Obama and Biden believe that spending that cannot withstand public scrutiny cannot be justified. Obama and Biden will slash earmarks to no greater than 1994 levels and ensure all spending decisions are open to the public.
Yeah, it looks like that bipartisan legislation has really worked out well.
Obama has promised the world to the American people, and that has certainly built hope in the country. However, if he wants to be a successful president he has to come through on those promises and build actual trust.