I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
A new report on government waste – specifically on how the tax-funded stimulus money is spent – has been released by Senators Tom Coburn and John McCain. Aptly called "Summertime Blues," the money pit ranges from funding a study showing the effects of how "monkeys react under the influence of cocaine" to funding sidewalks to nowhere in Oklahoma.
One thing we can say about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is that she's consistent. During the great health care debates, her most memorable statement was that "We must pass the health care bill so that we can find out what's in it." After looking at the idiotic pork projects in the Blues report, it's obvious that Pelosi and her Democratic cohorts in the House gave blanket approval to the stimulus plan without knowing what they were funding.
Meanwhile, the National Debt clock – now well over $13 trillion – keeps ticking. Check usdebtclock.org. to monitor that staggering black hole.
That sidewalk to nowhere is a prime example of pork barrel spending at its worst. The $90,000 awarded for the project in Boynton, Okla. might not seem like much, but it's a good indicator of the mindless spending of this administration and this congress.
Money was allocated to replace a quarter-mile stretch of sidewalks that were replaced only five years ago. What makes the project more absurd is that the sidewalk at the north end of town leads directly into a ditch. In defending the project, Oklahoma Department of Transportation said the new sidewalk was needed for a "conformity with federal guidelines."
Now on that note they may be right. Nothing typifies a "conformity" to federal government more these days than a pathway leading to a ditch!
What is most distressing is that the area that really needs the help is the Boynton public school system. The school superintendent struggles to scrape together $9,300 to pay for the school's gas and electric bills.
Dollars were shoveled into a senseless project in one part of town but on the other end, a school facing cuts in staff and curriculum because the federal funds are late or missing. It's typical of the bureaucracy and red tape in Washington that handcuffs local and state governments.
Another negative in Obama's $800 billion stimulus, according to the Blues report, is that some projects have actually cost jobs or hurt small businesses. "By largely closing off access to local shops to build some of the stimulus projects, some business owners have had to cut staff hours, and let people go," it states. And oh yes, taxpayers are also paying the hundreds of thousands of dollars for those self-promoting stimulus signs posted at project sights.
The $144,541 allocated for research at Wake Forest University to see how monkeys react under the influence of cocaine is another gem. When asked how studying drug-crazed primates would improve the national economy, one spokesperson at the University Medical School stated that it was for "very worthwhile research."
When we hear Obama, and other Democrats defend this kind of spending by throwing out numbers like the "three million jobs" saved or created in the economy, it's too much to take. The jobs may be in our bloated federal government, but they're not in the private sector.
The Nancy Pelosis of the world who keep spinning numbers out of thin air must be on something stronger than what the research monkeys are taking at Wake Forest.
By Jim Zbick