Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Arguing just to argue

The current stimulus bill is chock full of wasteful spending according to the GOP. Which is actually wasteful?

According to CNN some of these include:
  • $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.
The car companies are doing fine, why would we want to give them any business?
  • A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.
The film industry (as in camera film) has been dying slowly over the past decade, turns out everyone is going to digital cameras. Nonetheless, a lot of people are still employed in the field, and this is not a particularly good time for it to go under.
  • $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD's.
WTF? Preventing STD's is wasteful?
  • $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint.
  • $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service.
  • $412 million for CDC buildings and property.
  • $500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.
  • $75 million for "smoking cessation activities."
  • $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction.
I'm seeing a general trend of the attitude "public health spending is wasteful."
  • $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs.
  • $125 million for the Washington sewer system.
Why don't we just dump our trash in the yard like they do it in Kentucky?
  • $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.
  • $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities.
This would be education, which we all know Republicans oppose, but the vast majority of Americans do not, nor do they consider it wasteful.
  • $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion.
How is it wasteful if it's money that would have to be spent anyway? Maybe because the 2010 Census is expected to shift power away from Republicans due to demographic changes over the last decade (e.g., what happened to Virginia and North Carolina in the last election).
  • $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI.
Because laying off FBI agents is the best choice to handle the rising tide of corporate scandals (due primarily to the reassignment of financial investigators to Dubya's "war on terror").
  • $850 million for Amtrak.
Rail transport is, dollar for dollar, the cheapest method of land transportation available. By definition Amtrak is efficient.
  • $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient.
Near zero-emission coal, and the prototype is inefficient? Duh. This is why it needs research funding. This sort of project is a quick way to a) begin breaking our dependence on foreign oil, b) reduce our own greenhouse emissions, c) give the coal industry a fighting chance to survive another 50 years.
  • $5.5 million for "energy efficiency initiatives" at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.
  • $6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings.
  • $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.
If it helps the environment, I guess it must be wasteful.
  • $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.
Congress requiring all-digital was wasteful in the first place (thanks again outgoing Republicans), there have been several delays including just last month. Looks like they're killing two birds with one stone on this one.
  • $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River.
  • $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.
They didn't much care when Katrina hit, why start now.

Is it me, or does it seem like they are arguing just to argue. It's like they are still12 years old and the Democrats are telling them to brush their teeth before going to bed. They know they'll have to do it anyway, and it's for their own good, but they would rather fight about it first.


Jane Dough said...

You are very wordy these days.

Tequila Mockingbird said...

and why didnt you tell me you had a blog? wtf. i feel left out. and where the hell did this name come from?

Jason Harx said...

Jane: Sorry, about the tl;dr
I'll try to correct the problem.

Tequila: My middle name is Jason, and of course I'm a physicist :)