I'm a Pundit Too

Friday, March 13, 2009

Obama's Hypocrisy On Earmarks

During his Presidential campaign, President Barack Obama promised to end the era of earmarks in Washington. Sadly for the American taxpayer, his promise has turned out to be nothing more than empty campaign rhetoric.

After Congress passed the $787 billion “stimulus” bill, President Obama stood before a joint session of Congress and proclaimed, “I’m proud that we passed the recovery plan free of earmarks, and I want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend reflects only our most important national priorities.” Either Obama suffers from short-term memory loss or his understanding of what constitutes an earmark is severely warped.

One of the many spending measures in the “stimulus” bill was $1 billion measure for one specific “zero emissions power plant” in the former Senator’s home state of Illinois. The same power plant was removed from a program last year because after years of government funding it had produced no results. After several years of trying to capture carbon emissions and turn them into liquid to return to the earth, and $1.8 billion, they were unable to show any progress. Instead of spending taxpayer money on a project that might actually stimulate the economy, Congress and the President saw fit to waste approximately 1/18th of the amount spent on all earmarks last year on a proven failure.

Next came the $400+ billion Omnibus spending measure that was pushed through Congress last week. This bill contained more than 8000 separate earmarks from members of both political parties. President Obama tried to deflect the criticism by saying that this bill was actually drawn up before he was inaugurated. The truth is that it was written back in December before Obama became the current resident of the Oval Office, but a deeper look shows that Obama is far from innocent on the earmark case in this bill. The former Senator had submitted his own earmarks that were included in the Omnibus.

For my readers who are intellectually challenged, the timeline is as follows: Obama campaigns on ending earmarks, he gets elected in November, in December the Omnibus bill is written including his earmarks, he becomes President and signs the “stimulus” bill and the Omnibus spending bill, he then proclaims his pride that they were able to pass the recovery measure without any earmarks.

After the political fallout started to become clear to the White House, the President claimed that they would be fiscally responsible in the future. He went on to say that they would make it clear who had requested the earmark and where the money would go. With his stellar record of the truth on earmarks, I suppose we are expected to take him at his word. After his drunken spending spree is completed, all we will have left is his word. Maybe I am just cynical, but that doesn’t give me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

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