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Pork Is The New Normal

So I woke up this morning, and did what I usually do; scoured the news. The news today is, of course, all about the budget deal. Predictably, there is lots of analysis on who “lost” and who “won”. I don’t care about that, since everyone has figured out that part of the whole equation, except to say that democracy won. Our already fucked up system of governance didn’t get more fucked up by setting the precedent that a recalcitrant minority can undo the will of the people, as well as unraveling decades of duly passed laws.

The more important story to me, is about everything that was included in this bill. Rachel Maddow spoke about some of the “pork barrel” items in the bill like;

  • $450 million in Colorado flood relief 
  • $600 million to fight forest fires
  • Money for the widow of the late New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg
  • Back pay for state workers funded through federal grants
  • A $2 billion dollar increase in funding for the Olmsted Lock dam in Kentucky

I didn’t highlight that last one to single out Mitch McConnel for being extra, super porky (although…). I highlighted that last one because it illustrates something about Mitch McConnell in particular, but many members of the senate at large; they all know how fucked up the government is. The very act of including some of these things in a bill that wasn’t going to get any scrutiny, due to time constraints is a tacit admission that their fucked up government can’t fund anything any other way.

They understand that Colorado will remain in shambles, and that we can’t fight forest fires, or pay the widow of a United States senator the “normal” way. We can’t get jack shit done the “normal” way, and it’s in large part Mitch McConnell’s fault.

Remember, until the 2010 election, when the tealiban won some seats in congress, Mitch McConnell was the nutbag in chief in the GOP. Okay, co-chief. He had Paul Ryan by his whackadoo side. They were the ones insisting that we cut, and cut, and cut the budget without raising a nickle in revenue to balance the budget. They championed the idea that the United States’ only problem is that we just spend way too much money, and that we can do with less.

Guess what, Mitch? Your little $2 billion dollar pork project demonstrates that you know you’re full of shit. Now McConnell is trying his best to push the responsibility for this spending off on Dianne Feinstein and Lamar Alexander, who are on the senate appropriations committee but it’s abundantly clear that they made a deal with McConnell.

I will admit that I don’t know anything about this dam project. I don’t know if it’s vital to Kentucky, or if it’s a giant gift to McConnell’s donors. But I do know that it’s no more or less important than all of the other infrastructure projects that are waiting for funding all across the country. I know it’s not more pressing than feeding the working poor in Kentucky. I know that very poor families in Kentucky are more concerned with feeding their kids, than they are with building a dam. Curiously, McConnell porked up a dam instead of bringing some of that evaporated food stamp money back home to his constituents.

Paying for shit that you’re interested in, while eliminating funding for programs that you’re not, doesn’t demonstrate that we can do with “less”. And having to pay for those projects that you’re interested in by using sneaky underhanded tactics proves that we can’t do with less, and you know it.

I suspect that McConnell’s dam may have gotten funded with stimulus money, had McConnell not done his damndest to whittle down as much as he could. He and the rest of the GOP wouldn’t have to fund things with federal money like thieves in the night, if they would just admit that we can’t do with less. Pork is the new normal.

I’m not avoiding talking about the Lautenberg pork because I’m a partisan, prone to excusing democrats. I don’t care about the Lautenberg pork because democrats aren’t the ones that have been pushing this “we can do with less” bullshit. The issue here is the hypocrisy, and the way that hypocrisy has sped up an already untenably fucked up government.

This runaway train is most assuredly going to crash and unfortunately, the only solace we get in all of this is that the conductors go down with the train. I know that this won’t help feed your kids or get you a job, but it’s all you get in tealiban America.       

 

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