Thursday, March 12, 2009

Defining Asinine (see Washington)

I'm not taking this quietly.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs quiets a reporter's lighthearted comment about earmarks during the daily briefing Tuesday at the White House.

I try really hard not to get political on my blog, but I about spit out my cornflakes when I heard this on the news this morning. Part of the $410B spending bill proposed by Obama includes $200,000 for tattoo removal services for a small Californian program. Removing a black and white tattoo can cost $50 per square inch, more if colored and large often requireing several treatments.

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn said it best, "I would think under a personal-responsibility platform, if you were responsible for getting a tattoo put on you, you might ought to be responsible for getting it taken off, and I do not think our grandchildren ought to be paying for it."

I mean, seriously? You and I are paying for Joe-Dumbass to get his tattoo removed? Of all the earmarks that are ticking me off these days, this is the worst. I realize that to Washington, $200,000 isn't that much but I can tell you that a figure like that would make a world of difference to a family who's losing a house, a single mom whose food stamps aren't cutting it, or someone struggling just to afford his or her cancer treatment.

Now, it's true that this nun-founded, Hollywood-based clinic requires its clients (often former gang members trying to clean up their act and their skin—I've got no problem with that) to do about 48 hours of community service, but that's a hell of a killing for two full days of work, getting three free treatments. The program also helps other states.

This isn't how government spending should work, for example, I'm an overweight woman, so maybe I could petition that an earmark be added so the government could pay for my gym membership! It doesn't seem to matter that my choices made me this way, you guys wouldn't mind paying for me, would you? Oh wait, I'm not actually asking. You don't have a choice. That's how it works, right? Maybe I'll do a little community service to help pay for it.

I'd even consider softening up if we were taking about holocaust victims who had a tattoo forced on them or if I were a woman with a thyroid problem and had no control over my weight issues. This, however, is not the reality. These are cosmetic expeditures that are better undertaken by the individuals who had a choice and have a responsibility to help themselves if they want to see change.

I'm also thrilled to be a non-voluntary contributor, giving $1.9 million for the Pleasure Beach water-taxi service in Connecticut, $300,000 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of John Brown's raid on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia and $238,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society of Honolulu, which runs sea voyages in ancient-style sailing canoes.

Polynesian Voyaging Socieity of Honolulu. This has GOT to be a joke.

All this after Obama promised to avoid earmarking where possible. I support him as our presidential figure but I am sincerely hoping that his decision-making prowess improves before we all have to pay for more pet projects.

(Ben, it's not personal, it's politics.)

Facts and photos coming from http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2008838701_earmarks11.html

3 comments:

Benjamin said...

On the abuse of earmarks, agreed.

Keep in mind, earmarks are proposed by Senators and Representatives, not the President. The source of any "earmark" spending, responsible (as is most often the case) or not, is a state politician seeking funding for programs to benefit his/her constituents. For a more familiar look at the kinds of projects generally funded by earmark spending, check out this list from our dear ol' Neb.:

http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=2798&u_sid=10579655

So you see, the act of providing federal funding for such projects is not so evil afterall, and to avoid any confusion it occurs in the legislative branch, not the executive. I would suggest directing ire at irresponsible earmark spending in this budget by figuring out which projects your senators and representatives sponsored and calling or writing to them to express your dismay.

Thumbs up for politics!

Meg said...

Ben,

I just wanted to say that the respect you showed in your rebuttal speaks volumes about your character and your friendship to me. I just appreciate your non-confrontational approach.

Thumbs up for politics indeed. I'm reminded of the card you gave me a million years ago with the two dogs looking different directions. Remember that one? It's almost split in half from me revisiting it so often.

Miss Mapp said...

I'm with you on this one Meg.