Saturday, February 28, 2009


Consider two options.

While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes [...] $140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.' Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, DC.
While some of the projects in the bill make sense, my experience has taught me that some things just aren't handled well by the Federal government, and that the funds allocated to them are likely to be mis-spent. Rather than have $140 million dollars for monitoring volcanoes spent from Washington DC, we should trust that if we allowed the citizens of Alaska, Washington state, Oregon, California and Hawaii to keep more of their money, they would work with their state and local governments to create solutions uniquely tailored to their specific circumstances, without interference from bureaucrats three thousand miles away.
One of these options adheres to stated conservative principles - smaller government, lower federal taxes, and more local control over local issues. It even strikes a bipartisan tone, implying that even citizens of Blue states can care for themselves locally, without needing help from DC.* The other option makes the speaker sound like an insensitive jackass who belittles real problems so that they can be critical of the opposition in the name of fiscal conservatism.

One of these was written by me, after thinking about it for about five minutes this morning, after having read the transcripts of Tuesday's speeches. The other was written, presumably, by a professional speechwriter, hired by the Republican party to help craft Bobby Jindal's response to President Obama's address to the nation this past Tuesday.

I'll trust the Republicans to be good shepherds of my tax dollars, once they've demonstrated that they can hire competent wordsmiths with their own money.

* Now, as a resident of Washington state, the LAST people I want to be keeping an eye on (and attempting to mitigate) anything that might go catastrophically wrong anywhere near here is the state government. Considering that they just got around last month to deciding what to do about a major elevated highway that was damaged in an earthquake EIGHT YEARS AGO (to the day, in fact), I suspect that we'd all be up to our armpits in lava, and they'd still be studying warning systems. You could outsource the work to India and likely get better results.

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