Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Pork Protest

It's official - I've decided to protest pork in the upcoming stimulus bill. CNN has a nice list (compiled by House GOP folk) of some of the sillier bits:

• $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient.

• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.

• $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.

• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship).

• $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters.

• $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters.

• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.

• $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD's.

• $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs.

• $125 million for the Washington sewer system.

• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities.

• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion.

• $75 million for "smoking cessation activities."

• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.

• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI.

• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction.

• $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River.

• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.

• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings.

• $500 million for state and local fire stations.

• $650 million for wildland fire management on forest service lands.

• $1.2 billion for "youth activities," including youth summer job programs.

• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service.

• $412 million for CDC buildings and property.

• $500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.

• $160 million for "paid volunteers" at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

• $5.5 million for "energy efficiency initiatives" at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.

• $850 million for Amtrak.

• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint.

• $75 million to construct a "security training" facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.

• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems.

• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

If there's one thing that we can trust Congress to do, it's to ignore the task at hand and do something silly. This cannot stand. It's a stimulus bill, not a pet project...project.

The regular media has to talk about this more - I only hope that regular Americans call their elected officials. Many of these programs are worthy, yes, but they will not jumpstart (or even rescue) the economy.

This is the Pork Protest.


John Wilker said...

This definitely needs more attention, and as crappy as it is, Pres. Obama should be emberassed to sign this, and pass on it.

It's a stimulous package for the health of our country. Not a pet project clearing house, fire sale.


Tucker Plumlee said...

Yeah, a lot of the stimulus bill still looks pretty pork...y? (eg. "A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film")

But honestly, there's plenty on the GOP's list that makes good sense as is. It has always been my opinion that funding education and youth involvement—ESPECIALLY in times of economic crisis and downturn—is a "no-brainer" (eg. computer centers at community colleges and youth summer job programs). If you're looking to stimulate anything, much less the economy, the minds of our citizens would be a good place to start. And if this is thing is going to supposed to be a New Deal for a new generation, then public works investments—especially with an eye towards those that are green and long term—make sense too (eg. $6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings).

I say its a mixed bag. And for a good article that informs some of my thinking: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1876535-2,00.html

Read: What we need is not just pointed and narrow short-term stimulus, but purposeful long-term investment.

Tim Brauhn said...

John - Agreed. The "fire sale" is an interesting thought.

Tucker - Keen points, especially the TIME article. I would like nothing more than for the stimulus to help fund after-school programs and the like, but I can't help but try to balance that with the immense need for safe bridges and roads and all the other things that will provide both immediate and long-lasting benefit to the US economy. :)

abc123.com said...

This is a great blog, I'll tell people about you, Nancy Pelosi and the gang are out of control. She should go back to her Bankrupt state and fix things there. God bless all the people that need food stamps, but what does that have to do with TARP? Keep up the good work, it peole like you who keep things in place. Thanks, Bob lewis

abc123.com said...

I just cut and pasted your list and sent it to my son in florida, and made a copy for myself. I love Ayn Rand, she said every time you look at a list like this, you can just say, "at the expense of whom"

Keep up the good work, Bob Lewis

Blue Gal said...

polar icebreaker is because there will be a new way to cross most of North America across Canada in a couple of years. Rural waste disposal, sewer systems, flood reduction projects (levees, hellooo) canals, wildfire management (apparently no one here saw the devestation and DEATH in Australia from same) is ALL infrastructure. Being a good commie I would also argue that energy updates to buildings (especially the cesspools that Veterans' Affairs no doubt works in) and computer upgrades (just read your subsequent post on AOL Netscape and noticed the irony, thanks) are infrastructure too.

Dear Ayn Rand: WHY are we not discussing the cost of the Iraq War? If the votes of the generally do-nothing Congress are there to finally put some borrowed Chinese dollars to work here in my homeland instead of in Bush's neocon wetdream war, I'm all for it.

Tim Brauhn said...

Right on, Bob. And BlueGal, I'm honestly completely confused by your comment, but I like it. :)