Obama: Up to His Earmarks in Pork
To a roomful of Hoosiers, Obama said, "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." In truth, it depends on how the President defines the word "earmark." A majority of Obama's projects are wasteful, special interest spending programs. If the Coast Guard's $255 million "polar icebreaker" doesn't qualify as pork, what does? Maybe the $3 million tax benefit for people with golf carts or ATVs?
Obama bragged, "The plan that we've put forward will save or create three million to four million jobs over the next two years." As the Associated Press points out, those numbers are impossible to substantiate. "The president's own economists... stated, 'It should be understood that all of the estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error.'"
Despite voters' displeasure, the stimulus bill passed the Senate today, paving the way for some high-stakes bargaining between the chambers. Democrats have already indicated that most of the Senate cuts will be put back into the final legislation during the House and Senate conference. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the "compromise" expected to pass today will cost $18.7 billion more than the House bill. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said, "I do think that there was some spending in the bill that was makeup for a starvation diet under the Bush administration, some important priorities of our party." A "starvation diet" is hardly how I would characterize Bush's two terms, in which federal spending ballooned by more than 20 percent!
Unfortunately, this is just a tidbit of what the administration has in store over the next few months. On the threshold of an unprecedented $1.3 trillion stimulus, the President is moving forward with "phase two" of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), created to rescue Wall Street. In TARP 2, the Treasury Department has floated the possibility of spending up to $150 billion in new bank bailouts, shortly before the springtime omnibus, which is rumored to cost another $500 billion.
Associated Press: FACT CHECK: Examining Obama's job, pork claims