The Democrats are right. Sleazy bribes and pork payoffs didn't start with their government health care takeover bill. They've been doling out taxpayer-funded goodies for votes all year. Harry Reid's latest Cash for Cloture deals are the culmination of Washington's 2009 shopping spree at our expense.
Go back to January and February. The multitrillion-dollar stimulus bill was the mother of all legislative Christmas trees. The ruling party used the economic downturn to redistribute wealth from struggling Americans to favored congressional districts, phantom districts and special interests from golf-cart makers to fly-by-night beauty salons.According to a new study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Democratic districts have raked in nearly twice as much porkulus money as GOP districts -- without regard to the actual economic suffering and job loss in those districts. In fact, the researchers found that far more stimulus money went to higher-income areas than to lower-income areas.
That includes Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's backyard -- where a $54 million no-bid contract was awarded to a firm with little experience to relocate a luxury Bay Area wine train due to flood concerns.
And it includes Barack Obama's home state of Illinois, which reaped the single biggest earmark in the porkulus bill -- $1 billion for the dubious FutureGen near-zero emissions "clean coal" plant earmark championed by disgraced Democrat and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin.
And it includes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's backyard -- where he secured billions in high-speed rail stimulus earmarks from which he plans to fund a pie-in-the-sky public transportation line from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
When taxpayers objected to business as usual masquerading as economic recovery, New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer sneered: "You lost." He jibed on the Senate floor while wagging a grabby finger, "And let me say this to all of the chattering class that so much focuses on those little, tiny, yes, porky amendments: The American people really don't care." The "American people" Schumer was referring to, of course, were the privileged minority of stimulus beneficiaries -- not the rest of us "chattering" dissenters stuck with the bill for those billions in "little, tiny, yes, porky amendments."