02.01.2009 0

The Mice that Roared

  • On: 02/13/2009 10:09:34
  • In: Congressional Earmarks
  • By Isaac MacMillen

    There’s an old saying that, “If you give a mouse a cookie, it’ll ask for a glass of milk.” Well, it appears that the salt marsh harvest mouse may receive more than just a cookie. Thanks to house Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), up to $30 million has been allocated in the so-called economic “stimulus” bill, for wetlands restoration—surprise, surprise—Ms. Pelosi’s home district in order to accommodate the creature comforts of the harvest mouse.

    While the stated purpose of the $789 billion spending bill—$1.1 trillion after interest—is to promote job growth and thereby stimulate the economy, the bill has turned into special-interest funding heaven, with billions of non-existent taxpayer dollars going to fund legislators’ pet projects. And yet the politicians have no qualms about promoting it as the best-laid plans of mice and men.

    As the bill, almost universally opposed by Republicans—as well as 69 percent of Americans who lack confidence that Congress knows what it is doing when it comes to addressing the country’s current economic problems—entered the final stages of negotiation between House and Senate, Democratic leaders engaged in a game of cat and mouse with the American people, claiming that the bill has no earmarks. And they based that transparent obfuscation on the fact that that the billions in pork was added via a different method than the usual way earmarks are traditionally handled.

    And yet, spending $30 million on wetlands in the district of the Speaker of the House can hardly be called anything but an earmark—especially given the fact that Ms. Pelosi has pushed for funding of the mouse’s wetlands in past sessions.

    This cheesy earmark is, and represents, a tipping point in this trillion dollar total spending extravaganza that compels the American people to demand that the bill be recalled and redrawn.

    The fact that the full amount will have to be paid by future taxpayers—with interest—means that future generations will be left as poor as, well, a church mouse. As Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) pointed out, the average American family will be saddled with an additional $10,800 as a result of this bill.

    But Democrats have been as careful as possible to avoid any discussion of the full cost of this measure. Despite the many times they loudly objected to “passing the bill to future generations” when the Republicans were in power, they have been strangely silent as to the costs of their own measures. And with good cause.

    This pork-laden “stimulus” bill is only the first item on their agenda. Once it—and Mr. Geithner’s $2.5 trillion-dollar bailout plan—are passed, Democrats will finally be able to sit down and figure out how to fund their pet projects—nationalized health care, environmentalist power projects, coerced unionization—and the hundreds of other costly programs for which their supporters will lobby. And taxpayers will pay. But don’t expect to hear that from them. When it comes to the ultimate high cost of their policies, Democrats tend to be quiet as a mouse.

    Equally as disconcerting as their silence, however, has been the speed at which they have worked to craft a bill that—to put it in perspective—is nearly 33 percent greater than the total spent in Iraq since 2003. Certainly, one would think, such an enormous sum should be examined with extreme care. But it would seem that Democrats would rather say that they “did something quick” than that they “did it right.”

    As demonstrated by the Pelosi rat hole earmark, the American people need to keep a sharp eye on this bill—as well as all others produced by this Congress—to ensure that their hard-earned tax dollars are not quietly funneled away to special interest groups. Democrats are relying on recklessly spreading the “fear of fear itself” in order to rush through their money-guzzling measures.

    After all, “when the cat’s away, the mice will play.”

    Isaac MacMillen is a contributing editor of ALG News Bureau.

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