As for Sen. Stevens, last year, the congressional transportation bill included $450 million to build two bridges to little-populated parts of his state, Alaska. One of these "bridges to nowhere" would connect Ketchikan to a nearly uninhabited island.
When Sen. Coburn proposed that the money instead be spent to repair a bridge over Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain that had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina, Sen. Stevens had a little tantrum. He stood on the Senate floor and said if his state's loot was cut, he'd resign and "be taken out of here on a stretcher!"
Good! Sen. Stevens, please go. I'll help carry the stretcher.
The Senate shot down Coburn's proposal 82-15. Big spenders stick together.
I'm skeptical of Sen. Stevens's demand for a cost-benefit study. Congress estimates it would cost $4 million to build the database and $2 million a year to run it -- small potatoes next to the hundreds of billions Sens. Stevens and Byrd spend on pork.
And the benefit? Can you put a dollar figure on the good that would result if the big spenders were inhibited because the people were watching them?
Maybe we wouldn't need a user-friendly database if the government weren't so big. But it is that big. So at least let's make it visible. Let's get rid of secret holds and secret spending.