More Spending, Less Transparency Means Deep Trouble for U.S. Taxpayers

Rep. Darrell Issa
The Washington Examiner
6/10/09

In those last moments before the R.M.S. Titanic gutted its hull on a jagged iceberg 400 miles south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, her captain ordered a full reverse of all engines and a hard starboard turn. It was – as history records – too little, too late.

Contrast that with President Obama’s announcement today that his administration will ramp up federal spending in the next three months. As the government chugs into uncharted waters of record fiscal irresponsibility, it seems our captain is shouting from the bridge, “Damn the deficits, men. Full steam ahead.”

Or in his own words, “We’re going to keep moving forward. We will not grow complacent or rest. Surely and steadily, we will turn this economy around.”

Cue the music, Mr. President. Women and children first.

Today’s announcement was troubling, not only for the shell game the President is playing with jobs creation, but for his redundant and hollow promises about transparency.

The President claims that his $787 billion stimulus has already “created or saved” 150,000 jobs in the first 100 days of the administration, compared with the 345,000 jobs that were lost in May 2009 alone. Moreover, the Labor Department reported last week that unemployment has spiked to 9.4%, higher than any point since 1983.

Among the new jobs that Obama hopes to create are 125,000 youth summer jobs, 135,000 education jobs, and rehabilitation and improvement projects at 107 parks and 98 airports nationwide.

Vice President Biden, the man charged with monitoring the stimulus, promised to “get more dollars out the door, more shovels into the ground and more money into the pockets of workers and families who need it most.” Of course, this also comes on a day that the reports have leaked that the administration is contemplating a new tax on healthcare benefits and international travel.

You might call it “spreading the wealth around.” Just Democrat politics as usual – spending money the government doesn’t have to create a job that doesn’t last by incurring debt that doesn’t end. And in the process, raise a tax here and there.

Overburdened taxpayers are getting tired of waiting for the promised accountability too. When the President took office, he guaranteed “unprecedented transparency,” and his administration launched a website, Recovery.gov, in early March 2009 to make good on the pledge.

Now in its third month, the site is a major disappointment. Reports are lagging behind, and taxpayers cannot track recovery funds from beginning to end as the Obama administration promised.

So today the administration announced the creation of a new website, www.whitehouse.gov/recovery. How we’re supposed to expect anything different from the new site when the old site never provided real transparency is uncertain.

The new site does feature a nice YouTube video of Vice President Biden and a new “Roadmap to Recovery.” Any ordinary traveler would have plotted his course before it began. A man who makes a roadmap after 100 days of wandering is seldom called a leader. More commonly, we say the man is lost.

And lost is where the nation is — so long as President Obama pushes deficit spending to incalculable heights, encumbers the federal budget with more entitlement spending and repeatedly fails to provide the genuine transparency that he promised.

Man the bilge, boys. It’s going to be a long night.

Rep. Darrell Issa is a California Republican and the Ranking Minority Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government.