The Great D.C. Pig-Out!

By: Patti Bankson

If a “culture” were dropped into a Petrie dish every time Nancy Pelosi used the words, “culture of corruption” before last year’s election, by the time we’d voted, the country would’ve been awash in bacteria. No matter the topic, she always squeezed those words in somewhere! And, silly me, I thought she was talking about the Republicans. That’s what she said: “This administration’s culture of corruption.” Then she promised that when the Democrats were the majority party again, that corruption would end … disappear. It has, but only from our sight.

In its place? A pig-out! That’s not the meat on your dinner plate, but it’s certainly a feast for politicians. It’s money secreted into bills, unrelated to its original purpose and that benefits only certain states. An example: the “Emergency War Funding Bill” that will be debated and voted on this week. Citizens Against Government Waste call the bill “a blatant betrayal of the Democrats’ campaign promise to restore fiscal accountability to Congress.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questioned the validity of the criticism when she spoke to reporters last week: “Are they talking about the money that we have in the bill for health care for the poorest children in America — legislation that has been asked for by both Democratic and Republican governors? Are they talking about disaster assistance, which they have refused to give to America’s farmers, which is long overdue?” she said. “I don’t know, but I am very proud of the product that we are putting forth. It makes our country stronger by improving our military readiness. It holds the Iraqi government accountable by putting forth the president’s own benchmarks.”

I love it when they do that! Who can argue with helping the children or the poor or our failing schools or the people who feed us or people who have been struck by disaster? Only someone who wants to be attacked as heartless and ruthless; cold and uncaring. O.K. I’ve painted a target on my back, let the attack begin.

But first … How do these subsidies change things in Iraq? $1.4 billion for ranchers’ livestock lost in disasters; $283 million in milk subsidies, $74 million for peanut storage, $25 million in spinach subsidies; $400 million to continue funding for rural Northwest school districts facing cuts in federal compensation (they already get) because timber and salmon harvests declined. The following are all more than the President requested: Gulf Coast hurricane relief – $2.9 billion; Army Corps of Engineers’ flood control projects – $1.3 billion; colleges – $30 million; schools – $30 million and, Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program – $25.1 million.

Good projects? Some, maybe. But, again, how does all that money spent here help or change things in Iraq?

Why can’t these people just be open and honest about what they’re doing? Could it be because they know they’d be hearing taxpayers across the country howl over the tax increase that has to follow that kind of spending? Could it be because they know that we know that their spending is threatening to bankrupt the country? And oh, yeah … could it be because, contrary to what they say, not everyone believes we should give terrorists a heads-up regarding when we’ll be folding our tents, tucking our tails and crawling home?

Patti Bankson invites your comments at
&copy 2007 Patti Bankson

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