October 26, 2005
Congress Did Is Disgusting
did is disgusting.
what the Senate did to Tom Coburn's attempt to impose some sanity
How do they
live with themselves?
interviewing economist Walter Williams for a show ABC News called
"Greed," I was perplexed when Williams said, "a
thief is more moral than a congressman; when a thief steals your
money, he doesn't demand you thank him."
silly hyperbole, I thought, but watching Congress spend, I see
that I was naive and Williams was right.
Democrats held power, I confronted Sen. Robert Byrd about wasting
our money on "Robert Byrd Highway"-type projects in
West Virginia. His answer was as arrogant as he was: "I would
think that the national media could rise above the temptation
of being clever, decrepitarian critics who twaddlize, just as
what you're doing right here."
serious matters," he explained.
"Is there no limit? Are you not at all embarrassed about
how much you got?" Byrd glared at me in silence, and finally
demanded, angrily, "Are you embarrassed when you think you're
working for the good of the country? Does that embarrass you?"
promised to change the culture. Democrats sold panic. "Don't
vote for them! They're going to shrink government and take away
your favorite programs!" They needn't have worried. The Republicans
got elected, but if the Democrats' goal was to expand the government,
they were the real winners.
were in power, they started spending money even faster than the
Ted Stevens responded to Coburn's good suggestion to kill a "Bridge
to Nowhere" with a tantrum on the Senate floor: He threatened
to resign and "be taken out of here on a stretcher."
Stevens, please go. I'll even help carry the stretcher.
Congress has an unwritten code: "Don't threaten the other
congressmen's loot." The Senate reprimanded Coburn by voting
82 to 15 to save the Bridge to Nowhere.
Alaska, bridge is particularly egregious because it's a bridge
to a nearly uninhabited island. Yet it will be monstrous -- higher
than the Brooklyn Bridge and almost as long as the Golden Gate.
Even some in Ketchikan laugh about it. One told us, "Short
view is, I don't see a need for it. The long view ... I still
don't see a need for it."
Alaska's other senator, Lisa Murkowski, said it would be "offensive"
not to spend your money on her bridge. When she first became a
senator, I asked her if Republicans believed in smaller government.
She was unusually candid: "We want smaller government. But,
boy, I sure want more highways and more stuff, whatever the stuff
Alaska's pork projects spanned 67 pages. They get much more than
other states. "Oh, you need to come up," she said. "You
would realize it's not pork. It's all necessity ... People look
at Alaska and say, 'Well, gee, they're getting all this money.'
But we still have communities that are not tied in to sewer and
water. There are certain basic things that you've got to have."
But my children
shouldn't have to pay for them. If people want to live in remote
areas of Alaska, why can't they pay for their own sewers and water,
through state or local taxes, or better yet, through private businesses?
Why should all Americans pay to run sewer lines through the vast,
frozen spaces of Alaska? Because Alaska has no money?
it. Alaska has so much money, it has no state income tax or sales
tax. Instead, it gives its citizens money from something called
the Alaska Permanent Fund.
Murkowski and Don Young, who once told critics of the Bridge to
Nowhere that they could "kiss his ear," are not unique.
Republican politicians talk about limited government, but the
longer they are in power, the more they vote to spend.
your money, they want "more stuff."
JFS Productions, Inc. Distributed by Creators Syndicate