I say laughable especially given the fact that we know the bill is loaded beyond comprehension with pork projects of spending untold amounts on museums, parks, global warming research and countless other items.
See this flashback from First Read when Obama makes the vow on January 6th:
On his second day in Washington, President-elect Obama met with his budget team and promised no earmarks will be in the stimulus plan.
“We are going to ban all earmarks — the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review,” he explained. “We will create an economic recovery oversight board made up of key administration officials and independent advisors to identify problems early and make sure we are doing all we can to solve it.”
When asked to clarify if some projects could be put in after they are reviewed, Obama drew a harder line.
“We will ban all earmarks in the recovery package,” he said. “And I describe earmarks as the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review. So what I’m saying is, we’re not having earmarks in the recovery package, period.”
Sounds like he’s just fine with earmarks so long as their his earmarks and not those from members of congress which he didn’t approve.
Next, Newsmax gives us a little rundown of the pork riddled in this stimulus bill:
Provisions of the bill that many legislators are questioning:
# $1 billion for Amtrak, which hasn’t earned a profit in four decades.
# $2 billion to help subsidize child care.
# $400 million for research into global warming.
# $2.4 billion for projects to demonstrate how carbon greenhouse gas can be safely removed from the atmosphere.
# $650 million for coupons to help consumers convert their TV sets from analog to digital, part of the digital TV conversion.
# $600 million to buy a new fleet of cars for federal employees and government departments.
# $75 million to fund programs to help people quit smoking.
# $21 million to re-sod the National Mall, which suffered heavy use during the Inauguration.
# $2.25 billion for national parks. This item has sparked calls for an investigation, because the chief lobbyist of the National Parks Association is the son of Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wisc. The $2,25 billion is about equal to the National Park Service’s entire annual budget. The Washington Times reports it is a threefold increase over what was originally proposed for parks in the stimulus bill. Obey is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
# $335 million for treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
# $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. $4.19 billion to stave off foreclosures via the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The bill allows nonprofits to compete with cities and states for $3.44 billion of the money, which means a substantial amount of it will be captured by ACORN, the controversial activist group currently under federal investigation for vote fraud. Another $750 million would be exclusively reserved for nonprofits such as ACORN – meaning cities and states are barred from receiving that money. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., charges the money could appear to be a “payoff” for the partisan political activities community groups in the last election cycle.
# $44 million to renovate the headquarters building of the Agriculture Department.
# $32 billion for a “smart electricity grid to minimize waste.
# $87 billion of Medicaid funds, to aid states.
# $53.4 billion for science facilities, high speed Internet, and miscellaneous energy and environmental programs.
# $13 billion to repair and weatherize public housing, help the homeless, repair foreclosed homes.
# $20 billion for quicker depreciation and write-offs for equipment.
# $10.3 billion for tax credits to help families defray the cost of college tuition.
# $20 billion over five years for an expanded food stamp program.
Republican leaders say the stimulus package will add 32 new government programs at a cost of $136 billion. They object that many of the programs, once established, are likely to continue indefinitely.
Most media outlets are reporting the cost of the package at $819 billion. As Newsmax revealed yesterday, however, the Congressional Budget Office calculates that the interest on the debt generated by the bill’s spending will cost another $347.1 billion, making the total cost approximately $1.17 trillion.
Not a single earmark in sight, right President Obama?
Here’s more from the Obama circus via the New York Post:
WASHINGTON – “Fore!”
The federal government is preparing to spend millions to purchase a fleet of small electric vehicles that critics compare to golf carts.
The $838 billion economic stimulus bill that passed the Senate yesterday contains $300 million for the government to purchase a fleet of “green” cars.
But the money won’t just go to buy fuel-efficient hybrids such as the Ford Escape or Chevy Volt.
The cash also can be used to purchase “neighborhood electric vehicles.”
The NEVs, which resemble streamlined golf carts, scoot at up to 25 mph, operate on battery power and can be plugged into 110-volt outlets for charging.
They are sometimes used at hospitals, college campuses and retirement communities, and can cost around $8,000 each. They don’t produce carbon emissions.
The House-passed version of the stimulus provides even more money for federal car purchases – $600 million. The pot of money also specifically includes the NEVs.
There’s also a tax subsidy in the bill to juice up vehicle sales – a potential a job-killer for golf caddies.
The provision gives a 10 percent tax credit off the price of specified “low-speed” vehicles costing up to $40,000, for a total cost of $3 million.
The bill does not appear to cap the total number of credits that a person or business could take.
“Americans who aren’t lucky enough to get a piece of the stimulus pie will at least be able to rest comfortably at night knowing that the guy who just fired them is gonna get a tax break on his new golf cart,” fumed one Senate GOP aide.
The last line is classic, such a great description of what’s going on here. This “stimulus” as it’s currently written, is nothing more than a giant waste of money. It does little, if anything, to create long term stability and jobs. What it does do is reward liberal pet projects around the country with taxpayer money, is that what you voted for? Or did you vote for transparency and accountability? Because you’re getting neither.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also made a similar promise:
Do these people enjoy looking us in the eye and lying to our faces?
So thank you hope and change. If this is the definition of “no earmarks,” then I’d prefer to go back to when we apparently did have earmarks in legislation, thank you President Obama.
Even the Associated with Obama Press has taken on their master pointing out that he’s having it both ways on the “pork” issue:
OBAMA: “I know that there are a lot of folks out there who’ve been saying, ‘Oh, this is pork, and this is money that’s going to be wasted,’ and et cetera, et cetera. Understand, this bill does not have a single earmark in it, which is unprecedented for a bill of this size. … There aren’t individual pork projects that members of Congress are putting into this bill.”
THE FACTS: There are no “earmarks,” as they are usually defined, inserted by lawmakers in the bill. Still, some of the projects bear the prime characteristics of pork – tailored to benefit specific interests or to have thinly disguised links to local projects.
For example, the latest version contains $2 billion for a clean-coal power plant with specifications matching one in Mattoon, Ill., $10 million for urban canals, $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars, and $255 million for a polar icebreaker and other “priority procurements” by the Coast Guard.
See? It’s one GIANT piece of pork. Usually bills have pork added last minute as “earmarks,” however, this bill was one giant earmark from the start.
Obama is becoming quite a dictionary of redefinitions.