Politics isn’t something easy for me to write about. I don’t like politics; it makes me feel a sort of nausea of the heart. But reading an NPR news release about last year’s stimulus package and what congresspersons are doing with it now has supported my theory that Democrats and Republicans are barely different from each other. Time to dust off one of my soapboxes.
The NPR report, just released this morning, says that critics of the stimulus bill have been trying to get stimulus grants through a back door method called lettermarking. It’s a way for representatives to request money for pet projects that aren’t given by earmarks. President Obama praised congress for not including earmarks in the economic stimulus bill, but we can always count on our political leaders to know a way to get money.
It’s like when I was a boy. If Mom wouldn’t let me have a cookie between meals I tried my darndest to get my hand in the cookie jar some other way. Feel free to create analogies linking congress with childish behavior.
NPR used an investigative report from the Center for Public Integrity as its source. They found that letters for stimulus funds flooded in from Democrats and Republicans. They came from Democrats who praised the stimulus bill for not having earmarks and from republicans who have been criticizing it for not creating jobs. John Solomon, investigative reporter for the center, says those who claimed the stimulus package would fail to create jobs wrote in their letters that the funds they requested from it would create jobs.
In short, Democrats were ok with the stimulus bill not having earmarks because they could still get money, while Republicans criticized it since they could still get money, too.
When the economic stimulus bill passed, Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander said on the senate floor that, “It is not temporary. It is not targeted. It is not primarily creating jobs. It is not a stimulus bill. It is mostly a spending bill.” Yet he later wrote letters to the Transportation Department for stimulus funds for local projects he said would create jobs.
Idaho Democrat Walt Minnick is running ads expressing opposition to the stimulus bill. But he’s written at least three letters for stimulus grants.
The Center for Public Integrity used the Freedom of Information Act to acquire the letters. Solomon says that when the letters arrived on his desk, it was literally a mountain of paper so high he couldn’t see colleagues in the hall from his office.
For nearly all of us this comes as no surprise. Democrats and Republicans have always been big spenders of our money. One party uses our emotions for the underprivileged to throw taxpayer money around. The other claims fiscal conservatism while writing checks practically from our own bank accounts.
Is it a Democrat or Republican? Is it a stimulus bill or a spending spree? Is it an earmark or a lettermark?
Is it a PotAYto or a potAHto?
NPR news article at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130602175