Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON -- There were 9,000 pork-barrel earmarks buried in the $410 billion omnibus budget that passed the House last week -- giving bureaucrats 9 percent more money to spend in the remainder of this fiscal year.

President Obama told Congress the day before it passed that he was happy it didn't contain any earmarks, eliciting gales of laughter from the Republican side of the chamber.

Earmarks include $22 million for an addition to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and money for tattoo removals. These pork projects appear in the budget year after year, inching higher every year, deficit or not, recession or not.

Tom Schatz, the waste-watch warrior at Citizens Against Government Waste, told me that taxpayers have been bilked out of $95 billion since 1985 to research new wood technologies for furniture companies in 11 states.

This begs the question, why shouldn't furniture companies be paying for their own research? But that's the whole point of pork, to get ordinary taxpayers to shell out the money so others can keep their own.

Obama is going to sign this bill with nary a peep about billions being spent on the subprime spending projects stuffed into it by powerful, well-heeled special interests that live by this code: "Why pay for anything when you can reach into the federal till and let the taxpayers foot the bill."

Obama lives by the same code. The mortgage-bailout plan he and his advisers unveiled a week ago will subsidize renegotiated and redesigned mortgages to save the owners the indignity of going into foreclosure after buying a home they couldn't afford in the first place.

Who is going to pay for this subsidy? The beleaguered taxpayers who live within their means. CNBC's Chicago Board of Trade analyst Rick Santelli said Obama's plan was "rewarding bad behavior."

By my count, the administration in the past month has already put the government -- i.e., the taxpayers -- deeper into hock to the tune of $2.5 trillion over and above what we already owed.

And it gets worse. Contrary to Obama's budget-cutting rhetoric at the recent White House budget conference, the president is proposing a laundry list of new spending: for national health insurance, energy research and development, increased aid to education, more social-welfare spending and dozens of other costly initiatives.

If there's a problem on this Earth, Obama has a spending plan to deal with it, and it's going to cost us lots of money.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.