On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate rejected a ban on earmarks, the addenda to bills that allow congressmen and senators to steer federal cash toward pet projects in their states and districts. The vote wasn't even close. The ban was defeated 56-39.
"We have put in place the most dramatic reform of this appropriations process since I've served in Congress," whined Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Majority Whip and Appropriations Committee member. "There is full disclosure in my office of every single request for an appropriation."
Sorry to burst your bubble, Dick, but we're not merely interested in finding out who is stealing from the public till -- we're interested in stopping them from stealing. Transparency doesn't equate to responsibility. The O.J. Simpson trial was transparent. It was still a miscarriage of justice and a debacle of the highest order.
We want a fiscally responsible government. That, in fact, was the point of the last election: we're mad as hell that our elected officials treat our tax dollars like toilet paper. They ask us if they can "borrow" our money/toilet paper; we know they're full of crap, and that once they've used it, they have no intention of returning it. When they run out of money/toilet paper, they simply print new rolls of it, making money and toilet paper roughly equivalent. By the time our government is done, we might as well substitute one for the other.
We know that it isn't tough to cut spending. This week alone, for example, the federally-funded Smithsonian Institution spent cash stocking its National Portrait Gallery with pictures of Ellen DeGeneres clutching her naked bosom, penises, and nude brothers making out -- all of this in order to show America how gays and lesbians "struggle for justice ... [attempting to] claim their full inheritance in America's promise of equality, inclusion and social dignity."
Note to the federal government: the unemployment rate is 9.6 percent. Perhaps that money might be better spent actually helping those who "struggle for justice" by giving it back to the people who create jobs for those in need.
Also this week, the Senate approved $1.25 billion in funding for black farmers who were supposedly discriminated against by the Department of Agriculture. Only one problem: The vast majority of claimants to that cash are fraudulent. There are 18,000 black farmers in the United States. Over 94,000 supposed black farmers have filed claims against the Department of Agriculture. Those farmers who were discriminated against were already recipients of a $1 billion settlement distributed in years past. Why the sudden need to spend an additional $1.25 billion for non-farming farmers? Just another racial payoff by liberals to a key constituency.
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