Vin Suprynowicz

The Libertarian

Vin Suprynowicz

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The general principle is that each bill in Congress -- particularly spending bills -- should deal with one subject, and one subject only. If you want to argue that taxpayers from the other 49 states should be forced to fund your pet trolley museum in Oshkosh under penalty of prison -- that such an expenditure somehow complies with the limited list of specific powers delegated to Congress by the Constitution (you know, the power to coin money, the power to fund a navy ...) or even that it promotes the “general” welfare (as opposed to the “specific” welfare of a small number of Wisconsinites, only), then propose a separate bill and allow these absurd claims to be debated on their merits.

But that’s merely the general rule.

Surely this principle is all the more important when we’re dealing with a bill that funds armor, ammunition, and other equipment for the sorely pressed U.S. soldiers, Marines and other armed forces currently putting their lives on the line in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Surely no decent and patriotic U.S. senator would lard up that bill with local pork projects.

Would they?

In fact, The Associated Press reports that among the pork projects larded onto the current $82 billion defense bill in Washington are an authorization to spend $34.3 million to repair winter flood damage to national forest roads in Southern California, attached like a leech to this important measure by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and (hang your heads in shame, Nevadans) expenditures of $500,000 for an oral history project at the University of Nevada, Reno; an additional $500,000 for a desalination plant at the university; and $4 million for the Fire Sciences Academy in Elko.

While American men and women lie dying.

And mind you, these are federal tax dollars, collected under the guise they would fund only those functions delegated by the Constitution to the central government, because no individual state could accomplish those functions.

Why is all this rubbish being poured into this particular bill? Because it’s bound to pass, of course. Each senator thus extorts support from his 99 brethren under the obvious threat that “If you don’t vote for my oral history project, your opponent in your next re-election campaign gets to attack you for ‘voting against bullets for our boys overseas’!”

But none of this is taken from the troops, or will delay their receipt of their (decreasing) share of these vital funds, the senators’ professional wormtongues plead and wheedle.

Oh yeah? What if the president rediscovers some fiscal sanity and vetoes this entire Trojan horse? And why do the gentlemen think we now need $82 billion, to do what $4 billion would have done 70 years ago (in fact, the entire federal budget was a mere $4 billion, before the thief Roosevelt took over), if not for 70 years of 20-to-1 inflation caused by printing increasingly worthless fiat greenbacks to fund this kind of “buy some votes in Lyon County” porkfat?

But wait, the stench gets even more noisome.

Now comes late word that Nevada Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign are actually maneuvering to add a total of $95 million to this vital bill, mostly for non-classroom pork at UNR, but also to fund -- the stomach churns -- $10 million to cut down “bad” tamarisk trees along the Walker River, and a $5 million wild horse tourism and adoption center near Mound House, in western Lyon County. “This adoption center will provide a home for thousands of wild horses and burros,” that might otherwise die of disease or starvation, Sen. Ensign prattled in a prepared statement.

And how will that help a U.S. Marine about to be killed in Fallujah for lack of body armor?

This is disgusting, and the merits of a new wild-horse corral are totally irrelevant to the discussion.

The U.S. Senate should vote down this spending bill until all the irrelevant garbage -- including the Nevada-related measures, Sen. Feinstein’s bulldozer work and Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’s $35 million local sewage treatment plant -- is stripped out and put into a separate bill, ideally to be named the “2005 Omnibus ‘Print More Greenbacks; It’s Only Worthless Paper’ Porkfat and Irresponsible Inflation Act.”

Anybody got any air freshener?

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