Obama has prided himself on removing government waste and not allowing pork to infiltrate his controversial $787B stimulus package, but was he successful? According to many outspoken opponents such as Senator John McCain, the answer is no.
Looking at the overall package – most of it (34%) is much-needed tax relief which should help stimulate the economy. But $308B of this bill is so called “discretionary spending”, which is where pork usually hides. $48B of this $308B goes to the Department of Transportation for overall infrastructure improvement – another necessity that was brought blatantly to the public eye by the bridge collapse in Minneapolis last year. This leaves $260B earmarked for what some consider necessary, but others consider pork. Some of the most heavily contested portions of this bill are:
Also known as the “Blue-Hair Bailout“, $650M has been earmarked for coupons for the new digital converter boxes. I have to agree on this one – I see no correlation between economic stimulus and digital converter boxes.
Pork on the Wall
$100M was earmarked for reducing the hazards of lead-based paint. I have a less expensive recommendation – DON’T USE LEAD BASED PAINT!
New green technology abounds and this bill DOES help a great deal in funding hybrid vehicles for government use and more. But it is puzzling that $3.4B has been earmarked for “clean coal“. Isn’t that an oxymoron? And couldn’t this money have been better spent towards newer, greener, technologies?
High on the Hog
$200M has been allocated to “design and furnish” the Department of Homeland Security headquarters. Are they planning to retain Martha Stewart?
House of Pork
In effort to prop up the flagging housing industry, Mister Obama has extended the $8,000 first time homebuyer tax credit as well as various other incentives to further our American Dreams. Not sure where I stand on this one, and whether it’s green or not. I mean if the houses are being built with local mud, I guess maybe.
Bacon – or Tasty Pork
$300M has been set aside for NEVs, or neighborhood electric vehicles. I personally support this one – why take a gas guzzler to the local grocery store to buy milk?
Overall, this bill was MUCH needed and hopefully will hail a turnaround in our beseiged economy. I just wish it could have been without some unnecessary items that will create generational debt. Yet one person’s pork is another person’s economic mecca.
And many of the provisions that are near and dear to the hearts of the green movement are considered pork by those who support the coal industry, and use outdated TV converter boxes. All this goes to prove that you can’t please everyone….