Why do we call the stimulus package passed by Congress in February “Porkulus”? The bill mostly contained progressive agenda items that had nothing to do with job creation, and political payoffs like this (via JWF):
Nearly $6 million in stimulus money was paid to two firms run by Mark Penn (photo above), Hillary Clinton’s pollster in 2008.
Federal records show that $5.97 million from the $787 billion stimulus helped preserve three jobs at Burson-Marsteller, the global public-relations and communications firm headed by Penn.
Burson-Marsteller won the contract to work on a public-relations campaign to advertise the national switch from analog to digital television. Nearly $2.8 million of the contract was issued to Penn’s polling firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, according to federal records.
When Democrats said that they were going to spend almost a trillion dollars to stimulate the economy, most Americans would have taken that to mean almost anything but giving money to Democratic Party pollsters. This, however, is entirely representative of how Porkulus was created. Except for some tax breaks that Republicans pressured Democrats into including — while loudly objecting to them — almost the entirety of the $787 billion package went to either these kind of politically-connected recipients, states looking to paper over bad budgeting, temp jobs, or economic interventions like Cash for Clunkers.
And what has been the result? Unemployment has soared well past the 8% cap that the Obama administration promised if Congress gave it the Porkulus funds. We’re now in double digit unemployment, and most analysts expect that number to rise through the next three quarters. And why shouldn’t it? We’ve pulled capital out of the hands of people who actually create jobs, and handed it to people like Mark Penn, who saved three jobs at a taxpayer cost of $2 million per job.
If we actually had a Congress, it would investigate the cronyism that has gone into the spending of Porkulus dollars. However, since it was this Congress that made cronyism an essential part of Porkulus from the beginning, don’t hold your breath waiting for Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to do their jobs.