Pork in the Obama Stimulus Package? You Decide….

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:

Aged Pork

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!

Fossilized Pork

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….

Written by Brenda Keener


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  1. Digital converter boxes in and of themselves may not be stimulus, but completing the transition to digital television is. Once the transition is complete the spectrum used by over-the-air broadcasters (which is a substantial because it’s still being used by analog technology) can be turned over for other users including 3G networks and other advanced services. The roll-out of these services will certainly create jobs.

  2. “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?”

    This blows me away. How many working families are being evicted (not forclosures) because they have lost their jobs due to this economy? If you paid 10K a family to pay their rent while out of work you could help 20,000 “Working Americans” keep their homes. I guess having thier carpet compliment the drapes is more important than those of us who pay thier incomes.

  3. 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!

    —- Well said Brenda! The less money thrown at wasteful ideas, the better!

  4. I grow so weary of ignorant individuals bashing the attempt to make coal cleaner. It seems no one ever gives any consideration to the people who WORK in the coal mines, such as my husband for one. This coal mining job provides food, clothes, a home, a car just to name a few. Why do you suppose you have the right to these things and we don’t? Have you given consideration as to what these families will do if you succeed in destroying their livihood – The very way they provide for THEIR families. Do you have an alternate income source to offer these hard working Americans when you destroy their lives for the sake of your conscience? Or is it ok that there will be hundreds of thousands more in the unemployment lines. Before you do any more coal bashing (which by the way, provides some if not all of your electricity) channel your energy towards coming up with employment options to offer the families when their lives are destroyed and you’ve lent a hand to help in the destruction.

  5. This is about the best brief commentary I have heard so far. That is exactly right, what is to some pork, to others the spending is important. Looking at this stimulus and what the president is working toward doing to help america will be debated because no matter what the proposal is, there will be those who disagree. That is why we can’t get away from the two + party system of government and opinion. No matter the facts or projections, if a person is republican minded it will be difficult if not impossible for them not to side against democratic supported ideas for getting this country moving in a better direction. Now democrats are leading the decisions and when I look back to the leadership of the republicans for most of the last 8 year term, I don’t see that they made decisions that help. In fact the beginning of “spending” had to begin with the top leader in the republican party, George Bush. As he said, when he passed the first stimulus in that last days of his presidency, it is necessary. Though passing the stimulus went against his republican ideology, he knew it was necessary. We need to get into that mindset as americans and understand that the “status quo” (which you will find is connected to the definition of conservatism when you look it up) is not working and it is time for action. Will this action be flawless, of course not, no agenda ever is, but it is good action and will have tax cuts and will have job creation. Most importantly it is tailored to help the middle class and it is about time. I love the quote that “Capitalism is supposed to be based on trust, but in reality is based on self interest”. I am very supportive of capitalism, and being able to have the opportunities we have with capitalism, but we as middle class americans have to be angered at the loss of trust we now have with some of our greatest examples of capitalism in the works. Wall Street, financial institutions and many big corporations have let us down with the waste of billions of our dollars as small investors. They have let us down as we see those who failed in business to get large bonuses, especially when they have taken tax payer money. I am in support of our new presidents plan. I feel very secure that he has our best interests in mind for a change.

  6. Yes, there is a lot of pork in the bill. But I do not hear anyone talking about the beans in the bill. The beans are the food that will stimulate us.

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