"Our Country!
In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right;
but right or wrong, our country!"

    --Commodore Stephen Decatur

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The President Obama Comedy Hour

The Associated Press reported today, apparently without any sense of irony, that President Obama, "sent legislation to Congress on Monday that would allow him to force lawmakers to vote on cutting earmarks and wasteful programs from spending bills."  Back in 2008, candidate Obama spoke of using a scalpel to eliminate waste.  Of course, that was before the $787 billion "stimulus" bill, which was nothing more than the mother of all earmarks.

The AP itself criticized the underwhelming results of the stimulus bill last year:
The AP reviewed a sample of federal contracts, not all 9,000 reported to date, and discovered errors in one in six jobs credited to the $787 billion stimulus program — or 5,000 of the 30,000 jobs claimed so far.

Even in its limited review, the AP found job counts that were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of paid positions; jobs credited to the stimulus program that were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs that were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.
With the so-called stimulus bill, GM and Chrysler bailouts, and continuing subsidies for Fannie and Freddie, the Obama Administration created a 2009 federal budget deficit of more than $1.4 trillion, or almost 10% of GDP.  At the beginning of this year, the Congressional Budget Office predicted the 2010 deficit would decrease slightly to $1.3 trillion, but that was before the trillion-dollar health care bill and the European debt crisis, which threatens to reverse the modest economic gains of the past few months.

For Obama to demand tighter controls on spending after the presiding over the largest increases in federal spending since the Second World War is reminiscent of the old joke about locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.  Thus, it turns out that Al Franken isn't the first comedian to serve in the Senate.  If this trend continues, C-SPAN might start competing with Comedy Central for ratings.

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