Congress guys remind me of a salesman my father had to contend with in his grocery store.
“Should I put you down for ten cases?”
Hey, business is slow. Really slow.
“Ten cases then?”
Business is terrible. We don’t have the money.
“Sounds like ten cases, then?”
Half the town just got laid off. Business is sooooo awful we may be out of business next week!
“So, ten cases it is, then?”
Hey, Congress, business is bad in America. We need genuine stimulus in that package you’re putting together.
“How about some pork?”
We need immediate tax cuts for the entrepreneurs who create most of our jobs.
“How about some pork? Like a billion dollars to flush down the toilets at Amtrak.”
We need to lower our corporate tax rates. Ours are 50 percent higher than countries we compete with.
“How about some pork? Like $150 million more for the Smithsonian?”
We need incentives for venture capitalists. To entice them to fund risky ventures that will create jobs overnight.
“How about some pork? Like $66 billion more for education.”
The President promised billions for new bridges and highway projects.
“How about some pork instead? We’ll earmark less than 5 percent of the package for bridges and highways.”
You get the message. Our economy stinks. Banks are collapsing. Stocks fell through the floor - pulling 401k’s with them. And Congress guys come up with a “stimulus” package that devotes about 12 cents per dollar to things that can be truly called “stimulants.” They should call the bill the Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage Resolution.
They packed the bill with a few billion for child-care subsidies. And $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. Oh, and nearly half a billion for global-warming research. And $650 million more for digital TV conversion. Nearly $2.5 billion for carbon-capture demo projects. Congress will send out more checks to more millions of us. Even though the previous checks did zip for the economy. They will even send out checks to illegal immigrants. Wunnerful, wunnerful. Heat up the skillet.
In other words, when our economy hungers for stimulus they give us lard.
Why do they do this? Our economy needs urgent attention. That is what our President tells us every other day. If it does, why do politicians stick their snouts in the trough per usual?
The answer is self-interest. Make that SELF-interest.
The representative you send to Congress is not much interested in the rest of the country. Oh, he or she says so. But it ain’t so. Your Congress guy is mostly interested in getting re-elected. To get re-elected he pursues pork. Pork that his voters seek. Pork that his biggest contributors beg for.
For example, he gets campaign money from the teachers unions. So he votes for $66 billion more for education.
How about the people who ask the Congress guy to vote for more money for them? What or who do you suppose is their number one priority? The country? The entire economy? Or their own pocketbook?
You know the answer to that question. And that answer, that SELF-interest, is the starting point in this relentless pursuit of pork by Congress.
How about the rest of the country?
“Can we pass you the bacon?”
From Tom ... as in Morgan.
For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.