Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It Wouldn't Be Washington If They Didn't Exploit a Tragedy

If you want to know why we’re $16 trillion in debt, just look at the pork-filled “Hurricane Sandy” relief bill that passed the House yesterday.

Judging by the breakdown in spending, one would get the distinct impression that money for hurricane victims was an afterthought, with the priorities being funding wasteful programs and new spending that wouldn’t have a chance standing on their own. Barely 1/3 of the money ($17 billion of the $50 billion) in the bill goes to relief for victims of Sandy.

That’s right, in a bill supposedly created to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, nearly $2 out of every $3 of the spending isn't about Hurricane Sandy victims.

That might not even be the worst of it. Some of that additional $33 billion goes to expand recurring programs and create new ones. Since it’s nearly impossible to eliminate (or even cut) an existing program, we will be paying for this over and over again for years to come. Or, rather, borrowing over and over again for years to come. The real price tag of this monstrosity is likely to be in the hundreds, not just tens, of billions of dollars.

Kudos to Nevada Congressmen Joe Heck and Mark Amodei for standing up against this pork-fest. Unfortunately there weren’t enough of their colleagues to go along with them.

It’s a sad commentary on our political culture that many people are going to try to portray them (and the others who opposed this gluttony) as the bad guys. Yet there won’t be a peep of criticism for those who exploited this tragedy by larding up this bill with spending that doesn’t have anything to do with the hurricane, much of which wouldn’t (shouldn’t) have been approved otherwise.

This bill is a perfect example of the destructive culture that exists in Washington. Big-spending opportunists exploit the victims of a tragedy to spend money that’s not their own, and incur debts they force other people to pay, for their own political gain. Then they demonize those who have the audacity to take a stand against such self-serving, irresponsible behavior.

Would it be too much to ask to have a hurricane-relief bill that focused exclusively on hurricane relief? Ah, but that’s not the way Washington works and that’s why we will soon have a debt that exceeds our GDP, with little hope of it ever being reduced.

By the way, both of Nevada's Democrat House members, Dina Titus and Steven Horsford, voted for it. Because they're certainly not there to cut any spending.

Further thoughts from Sunshine State Sarah.

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