Barack Obama made the claim at least twice yesterday that the stimulus bill had no pork in it. In his prime-time press conference, Obama almost angrily rejected the notion that the Generational Theft Act contained pork:
But what I — what I’ve been concerned about is some of the language that’s been used suggesting that this is full of pork and this is wasteful government spending, so on and so forth. …
But when they start characterizing this as pork without acknowledging that there are no earmarks in this package — something, again, that was pretty rare over the last eight years — then you get a feeling that maybe we’re playing politics instead of actually trying to solve problems for the American people.
And earlier in the day, during his Elkhart town-hall meeting:
And, listen, I know that there are a lot of folks out there who’ve been saying, “Oh, this is pork, and this is money that’s going to be wasted,” and et cetera, et cetera. Understand, this bill does not have a single earmark in it, which is unprecedented for a bill of this size, does not have a single earmark in it.
In a literal sense, that’s true — but only because the stimulus bill is essentially an Omnibus Earmark Package. It consists entirely of local and state projects that would normally only get funded as earmarks on other appropriations. Even the Associated Press calls shenanigans on this claim:
THE FACTS: There are no “earmarks,” as they are usually defined, inserted by lawmakers in the bill. Still, some of the projects bear the prime characteristics of pork – tailored to benefit specific interests or to have thinly disguised links to local projects.
For example, the latest version contains $2 billion for a clean-coal power plant with specifications matching one in Mattoon, Ill., $10 million for urban canals, $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars, and $255 million for a polar icebreaker and other “priority procurements” by the Coast Guard.
And how did Obama sell this to the good folks in Elkhart? By using the same, old, tired pork-barrel pledges he supposedly rejected:
Obama told his Elkhart audience that Indiana will benefit from work on “roads like U.S. 31 here in Indiana that Hoosiers count on.” He added: “And I know that a new overpass downtown would make a big difference for businesses and families right here in Elkhart.”
That’s pork, no matter what Obama calls it. The stimulus package contains nothing but porky, wasteful spending, most of which has little chance of creating jobs within the first year, when jobs will be most needed. Obama even sells it like pork. If it looks like a pig, acts like a pig, gets sold as a pig, and stinks of pork, it’s not difficult to identify it.