Economics

Obama Signs Porkalicious Omnibus Spending Bill, Spits in Wind

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President Barack Obama has signed the $410 billion omnibus bill, the last (though not final) big chunk of spending slated for fiscal year 2009 (which ends in September).

As Radley Balko noted earlier, this bill sets a record for earmarks, a feat that apparently got Sen. John McCain, a self-described computer illiterate only months ago, so hopping mad that he learned the Twitter to tweet his displeasure. Up next for McNasty: Mastering his newfangled Rascal personal scooter.

In the Wash Post's account of the legislation, Obama, who pledged to kill earmarks, comes off as a bizarro Harry Truman: The bucks won't stop, here, there, or anywhere.

[Obama] used the occasion to criticize the more than 8,500 projects, costing more than $7.7 billion, that lawmakers inserted into the bill, and he declared that "this piece of legislation must mark an end to the old way of doing business and the beginning of a new era of responsibility and accountability that the American people have every right to expect and demand."…

"Absent a genuine veto threat, he's just spittin' in the wind," said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), an earmark opponent who walked through the House chamber yesterday carrying almost 100 pages of approved spending requests from a lobbying firm that is under federal investigation.

Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who said yesterday that Obama is trying "to fine-tune a fundamentally flawed process," supports a constitutional amendment that would give the president a limited line-item veto authority, allowing him to cross out specific items and give Congress the chance to override those actions….

"The problem is not earmarks, the problem is secrecy which led to abuses in the past," said Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

More here.

Inouye has it half-right, but mostly wrong. The problem isn't earmarks per se, which amount to 2 percent of discretionary spending (though they don't help). The problem is spending in general, which mostly happens in the light of day and which has exploded like a state-financed Mr. Creosote.

Planned spending for FY 2009 is already a huge record-breaking event, up some 32 percent from FY2008 spending (which comes at the end of huge growth under Bush to begin with). It will be higher still, as there are still some supplemental war bills and other things in the works.

Obama's first proposed budget for FY2010 is not as pricey as 2009's, but manages to boost spending over 2008's by a whopping 19 percent. Help out here—is that hope or is it change?

And when you think about that, and the way that Obama completely punted on this omnibus bill, Rep. Jeff Flake has got it all wrong. The president isn't spittin' in the wind. He's pissing in it. And it's blowing in the taxpayer's direction.

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  1. Sen. John McCain, a self-described computer illiterate only months ago,

    A self-described, “doesn’t type himself but has his wife read out the emails so he can dictate answers because his injuries suffered while a POW makes typing for prolonged periods of time painful,” actually. But hey, snark.

    You also missed the widely reported fact that President Obama debuted his first signing statement with this bill too, indicating that he doesn’t have to listen to Congress about, e.g., putting US forces under foreign command during UN peacekeeping operations or about congressional oversight of budgets.

  2. I do not know why so many of you are so afraid of the president in fixing the economy and saving the world.

  3. “There’s no time to quibble about a few measly billions; the sky is falling, and we have to prop it up with stacks of money.”

  4. P Brooks, I know you are joking, but you do have the right idea.

  5. Up next for McNasty: Mastering his newfangled Rascal personal scooter.

    Now that’s mean.

    Well played.

  6. Mastering his newfangled Rascal personal scooter.

    Well, he does claim to be independent

    *ba dum bum*

  7. …and which has exploded like a state-financed Mr. Creosote.

    I propose a moratorium on obvious, spending-related references to this particular fictional character.

  8. NOBODY expects Mr. Creosote!
    (Did I get that right?)

  9. Mastering his newfangled Rascal personal scooter.

    Completely paid for by Medicare, at no cost to him!

  10. Next thing you know, he’s gonna be strutting on superman’s cape.

  11. Next thing you know, he’s gonna be strutting on superman’s cape.

    Well, he already noted that you don’t mess around with… Joe?

  12. Wow. Python and Croce both in just a dozen posts.

    Hit & Run is on a roll today!

  13. The president isn’t spittin’ in the wind. He’s pissing in it. And it’s blowing in the taxpayer’s direction.

    From your lips to God’s ears!

  14. I’ve noticed a lack of Dave Weigel postings since the inauguration. Obama-supporting libertarians sure have gotten quiet since then.

  15. The problem is spending in general, which mostly happens in the light of day and which has exploded like a state-financed Mr. Creosote.

    When I saw the headlines about how the Obamacy had signed the pork-o-rama, but yet vowed to get tough on pork, Mr. Creosote was the first thing that popped into my mind.

    “Creosote eats 46-pound meal. Vows to cut back on carbs.”

  16. The gift that keeps on giving.

    On January 8, 2009 while explaining the causes of our economic woes, then President-elect Obama said

    Politicians spent taxpayer money without wisdom or discipline and too often focused on scoring political points instead of problems they were sent here to solve.

  17. Ya know, J Sub D, a quick scan of that speech doesn’t reveal any explicit promise to stop spending taxpayer money without wisdom or discipline in order to score political points.

    The Parsin’ Prez strikes again!

  18. “The problem is not earmarks, the problem is secrecy which led to abuses in the past,” said Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    As someone who grew up in Hawaii and witnessed first hand the spectacular ability of Daniel to bring home the bacon (he gave us interstates in a state separated by 2500 miles of ocean from any other state), I applaud Mr. Inouye for either the great acting abilities or profound stupidity and lack of a sense of irony required to make that statement.

  19. isn’t the part that deals with pork and other various animals less than 2%??

    I guess people don’t look for the specifics anymore…

  20. Obama is pissing on America and the liberals just cry ‘more, more, more!’.

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