August 9, 2010

August 9, 2010 | Commentary on Deficits, Federal Spending

Monkeys, Ants, Dogs and Dinosaur Egg Stimulus

Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) have put out a report titled “Summertime Blues,” chronicling how the $862 billion in stimulus money is being spent. It proves that much of the money deemed “stimulus” is nothing more than wasteful pork doled out to buddies of the Obama Administration with zero economic simulative effects.

One program provides $144,541 in stimulus monies to Wake Forest University to study how monkeys react under the influence of cocaine. The president’s own web site, Recovery.gov, estimated that a fraction of a job—0.43, to be specific—was created as a result of the monkey cocaine stimulus grant.

Another of the President’s grants gave $1.9 million to the California Academy of Sciences to send people overseas to study ants, and $296,385 to Cornell University to study “dog domestication.” As if that wasn’t bad enough, stimulus money also went to Montana State University to send students to China for the study of dinosaur eggs. This grant created not one job.

These projects were not specifically approved as part of the stimulus plan. The President, frankly, has some explaining to do. Either he needs to stop these wasteful programs immediately, or Congress needs to take action to stop them.

Bailout of States

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling the House back into session this week to pass a $26.1 billion bailout for state Medicaid programs and state education unions. The bill passed the Senate last week with the support of Maine Republican Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. According to Lindsey Burke, an education expert at The Heritage Foundation, the $10 billion in state education money included in the bill is throwing good money after bad. She notes that it “comes on the heels of the $100 billion in ‘stimulus’ money that was appropriated to the Department of Education last year.” This bailout simply encourages states to continue making irresponsible fiscal decisions.

Obamacare’s Individual Mandate

The people of Missouri have spoken. They don’t like the individual mandate contained in Obamacare. Last Tuesday, 73% of them voted for a referendum to deny the federal government’s authority to penalize citizens for refusing to buy private health insurance. Rep. Steve King (R.-Iowa) has a petition in the House to repeal Obamacare with the support of 170 members. Maybe it’s time for the elites in Washington to listen to the voters.

Mike Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, explains the discharge petition in the DailyCaller as “a legislative tool which allows 218 members of Congress to force a vote on a bill that the speaker of the House is preventing from coming to the floor.” The King Discharge Petition lacks the support of one conservative Democrat. Needham theorizes that there are two reasons for this lack of Democratic support: “They may have genuinely changed their mind on the merits of Obamacare and now support the law.” Or “they have always supported Obamacare, but publicly opposed the measure to avoid political pain.” Both explanations seem to indicate that many conservative Democrats are avoiding this petition and further upsetting their own constituents, who clearly support repeal.

The people have made it clear that they don’t like Obamacare. The politicians walking the corridors of the Capitol better start listening, or they may join the 9.5% of unemployed Americans looking for jobs.

New START Treaty

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee punted consideration of the president’s New START treaty until September. As I have written in HUMAN EVENTS before, “the treaty will undermine America’s national security by failing to address Russia’s massive tactical nuclear arsenal, limiting America’s missile defense capabilities and ignoring Iran and North Korea’s nuclear developments.”

Some conservatives in the Senate seem willing to cut a deal for a promise by the Obama Administration to provide more money to modernize America’s nuclear arsenal. That isn’t enough.

The secret negotiating record still has yet to be provided to senators who want to see if President Obama secretly promised the Russians that he would dismantle missile defense. Both President Obama and the Russians oppose missile defense, and senators should slow-walk this process until they are provided with the negotiating record. Conservatives shouldn’t sell out our national defense for an empty promise of more defense dollars.

President Obama should stop stimulus money to provide cocaine to monkeys, repeal the individual mandate in Obamacare, and provide the secret negotiating record to senators for the New START Treaty. The best way to avoid the summertime blues is by listening to the people he is sworn to represent.

Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.

About the Author

Brian Darling Senior Fellow for Government Studies
Government Studies

Related Issues: Deficits, Federal Spending

First appeared in Human Events