Thursday, July 16, 2009

Salt Marsh Harvest Pork

I've read about this a bit. I have to laugh at the Dems ingenuity of denying that they did anything for the Harvest Mouse and then fund it none the less. It's a bit of prestidigitation on their part no doubt. Smoke and mirrors are probably in there as well.

Remember the salt marsh harvest mouse? We wrote about the mouse here and elsewhere. When the "stimulus" bill was being debated, Republicans charged that among the absurd pork that the bill would fund was a pet project of Nancy Pelosi's: protecting the habitat of the salt marsh harvest mice in the San Francisco Bay area. At the time, Democrats vigorously denied the charge and pointed out that the mouse was not named in the bill.

True enough: that was one of the major problems with the bill. It allocated enormous amounts of money to be spend on a department by department basis without specifying what the money was to be spent on. The real intent was mostly sub rosa. Thus, Republicans have been reduced to using Google to try to identify local government units and others that have received "stimulus" money.

Now, notwithstanding the Democrats' outraged denials that the mouse was one of the objects of their largesse, it turns out that the Republicans' suspicions were correct after all:

Frankly, I don't mind some funding for pet projects and no doubt it will be stimulative for a short period. But the stimulus money really should have been used for more long term employment. All these pay-and-pave projects are blips on the economy. They do nothing more than FDR did with his CCC, WPA or PWA. Temporary stimulus will not cause recovery.

The unfortunate side effect is that you can't make long term employment from this type of stimulus. So maybe we really should just stop throwing money at things and denying that they aren't stimulative. But then, you have to watch out, because big brother doesn't like you when you question his methods.
A Republican proposal to halt spending on federal stimulus projects has prompted a partisan dustup this week in Arizona, where defeated GOP presidential candidate John McCain has waded into the fight with his old Democratic rival, Barack Obama.

The conflict began after Arizona's junior senator, Republican Jon Kyl, who has called President Obama's economic recovery plan ineffective, wrote on his Senate website last week that the government should "cancel the rest of the stimulus spending." Kyl repeated the suggestion during a talk show appearance Sunday.

The Obama administration responded Monday with letters from four Cabinet secretaries to the state's GOP governor, Jan Brewer, outlining the transportation, housing, education and other projects that would be canceled in Arizona if stimulus spending came to a halt.

"If you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, please let us know," wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a fellow Republican and former House member.

If that isn't a threat to a state to force conformance of a political opposition member, I'd really like to know what it is. Four separate letters from four cabinet secretaries is a definitive threat.
[Oh and just because LaHood is a Repug doesn't mean he isn't a shill for the Administration. ]
The flap underscores the dangers for both sides in the debate over the $787 billion stimulus package, which has come under increasing attack from Republicans as the unemployment rate continues to climb. But many Republicans who voted against the package have also sought to take credit for projects in their own states, and the White House has become increasingly aggressive in pressing its case.
Hmm. Why should there be any threat at all? Each state should be entitled to stimulus at least based on what they put into the pot originally. Kyl's proposal struck me more as a call for a stop to what the administration themselves state isn't working. So how is it reasonable to call for shutting down a state because their political representative is calling for a reasonable end to a disfunctional program?

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