The embarrassing exit of ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, removed for auctioning off President Obama’s old Senate seat, gave America an inside look at the notoriously corrupt Chicago Democrat machine. In their world, elections are just another means to an end — a mechanism to provide plum jobs and kickbacks in return for lifetime loyalty from their allies.
Corruption, of course, happens everywhere in almost every industry, but the unparalleled success of machine men like Blagojevich, former Representative Dan Rostenkowski and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley breeds imitation. And the odor of Chicago corruption wafts strong over the Congressional Democrats “stimulus” package. In it, there’s a stong smell of “Windy City” politics that has blown into the heart of Washington.
President Obama asked for a timely, targeted and temporary bill that was to achieve one thing: create jobs. Such a task, he said, demands bipartisan solutions and tough choices. Instead, Boss Pelosi and her ward captain David Obey made the easy decision to reach into the Chicago machine’s bag of tricks, shutting out the minority to rush through a cool $1.1 trillion down payment on dynastic Democrat rule.
Ironically enough, the bill signed into law by President Obama does just about everything but focus on creating jobs. A mere nine cents of every dollar in the package will actually put people back to work on shovel-ready projects. Inside that sliver of stimulus spending, House Democrats stuffed all the pork their cronies had been denied for the past eight years — equating to the largest and swiftest political payoff in history. America’s time of need morphed into a chance to settle scores and benefit political allies.
Or, as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel — a three term Illinois congressman who ran the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — put it last November, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
So where do the non-stimulating goodies go? As Watergate informer Deep Throat said, follow the money.
The package is “a classic case of pent-up demand — demand by Democrats for the kinds of programs that they could never get passed during the Bush years,” said an article in the New York Times. That is, programs by Democrats and for Democrats. There’s $54 billion for state education programs ruled by iron-fisted teachers unions. $170 million to research climate change. The effete are toasting the $50 million funneled to the National Endowment for the Arts.
And who can forget Barney Frank’s baby? Not the party bosses. Public housing gets $3 billion, with billions slated for a slush fund to suckle election year allies like ACORN. Even an organization that employs the son of the bill’s author, Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, managed to slide in a $750 million dollar earmark that would balloon the budget for the organization’s pet projects in National Parks. When the party bosses sit down to gorge, nepotism pairs well with a fat piece of pork.
Mayor Daley gave out trash collecting contracts. Boss Pelosi whips up $792 billion in new spending and tax provisions, including a $1 billion sexually transmitted disease education program. That certainly stimulates something, but it isn’t the economy.
It gets worse. A whopping $212 billion masquerades as income tax rebates. The problem is the recipients don’t have to pay income taxes, meaning a quarter of the package might as well be delivered in briefcases — unmarked bills, please. Only the grease on the edges of this package, designed to squeeze it past public outrage, is stimulus. It borders on outright theft. Will the majority now add provisions to legalize posthumous voting?
The coup de grace, however, is the timing. Every day we are reminded that we need quick action to stave off a depression. That’s right — but the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports that only 21 percent of the funds would be injected into the economy by the end of fiscal 2009. Thirty-eight percent comes next year. That means today’s stimulus will be feeding Democrat special interests for years to come. Money will still be flowing in 2019, says the CBO.
Even Mayor Daley couldn’t buy a decade of elections in one fell swoop.
In his first weekly radio address, President Obama laid all the cards on the table, saying the bill sold to taxpayers as timely, targeted and temporary “is not just a short-term program to boost employment.” Sen. Judd Gregg, before saying thanks-but-no-thanks to becoming the President’s Commerce Secretary, panned the bill because it is “replete with programmatic expansions that will be very hard to keep temporary.”
It will in fact be impossible to keep this Trojan horse temporary. Why would you set a time limit when the goal is to remake America in the image of the House Democrat machine?
Other news reports say plans are afoot to bring the Census Bureau, in charge of the decennial reapportionment of congressional representation, under senior White House management. Since buying votes isn’t enough, the bosses are stuffing a national gerrymander in their back pocket — just in case.
The Democrats, indeed, have learned from Chicago’s best and done them much better. In 2002, Emanuel bragged to the New Yorker that he and Obama “participated in a small group that met weekly when Rod [Blagojevich] was running for governor. We basically laid out the general election.”
Blagojevich is gone, but the Democrats in power are working hard to turn America into Cook County, Illinois. Somewhere, Mayor Daley is smiling.