Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Left's Selective Affinity For Blank Checks

What is it with the left and "blank checks?" You could fill an entire box set of CD's with every Democrat out there repeating the meme "No more blank checks." But, truth be known, whether the issue is Iraq or domestic legislation, it seems the only blank checks that the left oppose are those that don't satisfy their parochial and partisan interests. For example, on the domestic side, there is this:

Buried in section 4010 of the Water Resources and Development Act on pages 315 and 316 is an earmark directing the secretary of the Army to conduct a feasibility study for a project on flood control of the San Francisco Bay’s south shoreline, restoration of the bay’s salt ponds and “other related purposes, as the secretary determines to be appropriate.” No amount of federal tax dollars are authorized for the project.

The 4010 earmark is not unique, however, as there are 35 other earmarks in Title IV of the WRDA, 27 of which similarly do not specify an amount of federal tax dollars to be spent. The bill — which mainly concerns the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — was reported to the Senate by its Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

The fact that no specific spending amounts are specified for these earmarks makes many of them essentially blank checks that senators are being asked to approve, in effect while wearing legislative blindfolds.

. . . Being open-ended, these earmarks make a mockery of the official estimate of WRDA’s cost at approximately $15 billion. The truth is nobody, least of all the senators voting for it, knows the actual cost of the bill.
Read the whole post here. I think this on top of the billions in earmarks in the supplemental appropriations bill for Iraq, the refusal to let CRS publish information on earmarks in pending legislation, and the fact that the Democratic committees are sitting on anti-earmark legislation makes an utter joke of Nancy Pelosi's pledges to clean up earmarks and corruption in Congress.

Be that as it may, the domestic blank checks the Dems would have us sign aren't the worst of it. There is bigger and more important one. Call it the "Dems in 08" blank check. Its the one America will be paying in installments for generations to come if we pull out of Iraq now. I am pretty sure that blank check will dwarf by orders of magnitude the costs to put Iraq into a position of security and stability. And, according to Gateway Pundit, Dick Cheney agrees. But there is no need to rely on Mr. Cheney alone. If you want an opinion from an unimpeachable source, you ought to listen to Bernard Lewis. He gives some idea of just how big the "Dems in 08" check is going to be.

It is far beyond the time that we call the Democrats to compare the costs of bringing Iraq to security and stability with some realistic assessment of the long term costs of quitting Iraq now. And do remember, my friends left of center, that the 9-11 Commission assigned the blame for 9-11 to a lack of imagination.


billm99uk said...

You know, I've never understood how the US administration got into this habit of stuffing bills with entirely unconnected earmarks. Usually you're so anti "big government". I couldn't see it being tolerated in Britain today. How the heck would you control public spending if every MP could stick his pet projects into an Act? The current Chancellor, Gordon Brown (and I'm no fan of his), would have a heart attack. And I'm not even going to attempt to guess what ol' Maggie Thatcher would have said ;)

scott said...

The habit began with the Democratically controlled Congress of 1970 stuffing some 12 earmarks onto a defense appropriations bill. From there, the taste of pork just ballooned.
And unfortunately, it is a disease that has cut across party lines. Earmarks live in the dark and are handed out underneath desks as favors. It has had a tremendously corrupting effect, and to call it undemocratic and fiscally irresponsible would be a gross understatement. It needs to come to an end. My own belief is that conservative disgust with our elected officials in Congress largely over the free spending policies and earmark laden bills of Republican rule is what led to the backlash in the last election - far moreso then a desire to quit Iraq. I think we could learn from Her Majesty's government on this one.


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