Do not give politicians a slush fund.
The so-called "Stimulus Bill" was a giant slush fund -- the biggest of all in history to date (at least until President Obama gets some of his programs enacted, like Cap-and-Trade). We were told that the economy was on the brink of collapse, and that the Stimulus Bill just had to be passed to save us from chaos and disaster.
Well, what is the result? There has been economic downturn, unemployment, and a dearth of capital, I grant you that. Does that mean that the Stimulus Bill worked, and saved us from chaos and disaster? Hardly -- it's like the man who goes to sleep each night in his suburban home with an elephant gun under the bed. "It works," he says when asked why -- "I've never had to shoot an elephant."
The politicians, meanwhile, have been having a field day handing out the stimulus money to their cronies. From an AP story today (sorry, can't link, because of AP's policy -- go to Google News and type in "Montana checkpoint"; it will be the first story), we learn that a small border checkpoint in Montana, which normally sees just three people a day crossing into or from Canada, will receive $15 million to upgrade its facilities, thanks to the efforts of Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both Democrats from Montana.
Meanwhile, another checkpoint in Laredo, Texas -- which serves 55,000 travelers per day, and sees 4,200 trucks go through every 24 hours -- has been passed over for funds. (Hint: guess the political party to which both of Texas' senators belong.)
The Nogales border station in Arizona is receiving almost $200 million, which is five times more than any other border station in the country. Now you might think this disproves the point of my other examples, because both of Arizona's senators happen to be Republicans. But I have a trump card to play: border stations are under the purview of the Department of Homeland Security, and the home state of its Secretary Janet Napolitano is -- you guessed it -- Arizona.
Do not give politicians slush funds. Do not give politicians slush funds.
Meanwhile, the Customs and Border Protection Agency refuses to make public the original list it developed to rank all the country's border crossing checkpoints in terms of their need for funds to upgrade their facilities. The reason (well, at least they are being honest): "Because then the public and Congress could see whether the Stimulus money is going to places other than those which were ranked highest on the list."
Other uses of the stimulus funds documented to date: to fund research by Professor "PETA" Singer and others that deduces the life of one teenager is worth the lives of fourteen 85-year-olds; to produce government-sponsored pornography; to save the habitat of Nancy Pelosi's favorite rodent, the salt marsh harvest mouse; to pour yet more taxpayer dollars into that astoundingly useless monument to ego and waste, the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria Airport (be sure to watch the video if you haven't already); and many, many other boondoggles too numerous to list, and which Congress itself needs Google's aid to find. The Democrats in Congress, you see, did not want there to be any way to track their slush funds, so they doled out the money to individual departments with no strings attached. Then they can lean on individual department heads to influence how the funds will be spent.
You can track just how effective the stimulus funds are being in curbing the rise in unemployment by looking at this post. It shows a graph that displays first, the unemployment rates which the Obama Administration projected its recovery plan would produce, compared to what it projected would happen if there was no recovery plan. Then it plots (in red) the actual unemployment numbers as they have come in over the past few months:
(Click to enlarge.)
Result: we are now far worse off than Obama told us we would be if his "recovery plan" had not been put into effect!
How much longer are we going to play Charley Brown to the politicians' Lucy? Repeat after me:
Do not give politicians slush funds. Do not give politicians slush funds. Do not give politicians slush funds.
Here's hoping we vote them all out in November 2010. In case this post hasn't motivated you to respond to their greed and arrogance, then be sure to read this.