Cash for cor­rupt Demo­crat clunkers

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

The Democrats are right. Sleazy bribes and pork pay­offs didn’t start with their gov­ern­ment health care takeover bill. They’ve been dol­ing out tax­payer-funded good­ies for votes all year. Harry Reid’s lat­est Cash for Clo­ture deals are the cul­mi­na­tion of Wash­ing­ton’s 2009 shop­ping spree at our ex­pense.

Go back to Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary. The mul­ti­tril­lion-dol­lar stim­u­lus bill was the mother of all leg­isla­tive Christ­mas trees. The rul­ing party used the eco­nomic down­turn to re­dis­tribute wealth from strug­gling Amer­i­cans to fa­vored con­gres­sional dis­tricts, phan­tom dis­tricts and spe­cial in­ter­ests from golf-cart mak­ers to fly-by-night beauty sa­lons.

Ac­cord­ing to a new study by the Mer­ca­tus Cen­ter at Ge­orge Ma­son Uni­ver­sity, Demo­cratic dis­tricts have raked in nearly twice as much porku­lus money as GOP dis­tricts — without re­gard to the ac­tual eco­nomic suf­fer­ing and job loss in those dis­tricts. In fact, the re­searchers found that far more stim­u­lus money went to higher-in­come ar­eas than to lower-in­come ar­eas.

That in­cludes Demo­cratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s back­yard — where a $54 mil- lion no-bid con­tract was awarded to a firm with lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence to re­lo­cate a lux­ury Bay Area wine train due to flood con­cerns.

And it in­cludes Barack Obama’s home state of Illi­nois, which reaped the sin­gle big­gest ear­mark in the porku­lus bill — $1 bil­lion for the du­bi­ous Fu­tureGen nearzero emis­sions “clean coal” plant ear­mark cham­pi­oned by disgraced Demo­crat and for­mer Illi­nois Gov. Rod Blago­je­vich and Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Whip Dick Durbin.

And it in­cludes Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Harry Reid’s back­yard — where he se­cured bil­lions in high-speed rail stim­u­lus earmarks from which he plans to fund a pie-in-the-sky pub­lic trans­porta­tion line from Los An­ge­les to Las Ve­gas.

When tax­pay­ers ob­jected to busi­ness as usual mas­querad­ing as eco­nomic re­cov­ery, New York Demo­cratic Sen. Charles Schumer sneered: “You lost.” He jibed on the Se­nate floor while wag­ging a grabby fin­ger, “And let me say this to all of the chat­ter­ing class that so much fo­cuses on those lit­tle, tiny, yes, porky amend­ments: The Amer­i­can peo­ple re­ally don’t care.” The “Amer­i­can peo­ple” Mr. Schumer was re­fer­ring to, of course, were the priv­i­leged mi­nor­ity of stim­u­lus ben­e­fi­cia­ries — not the rest of us “chat­ter­ing” dis­senters stuck with the bill for those bil­lions in “lit­tle, tiny, yes, porky amend­ments.”

No leg­is­la­tion has been im­mune to con­gres­sional shake­down. Af­ter the Con­gres­sional Black Cau­cus balked loudly enough, Demo­cratic Rep. Bar­ney Frank — chair­man of the House Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee — larded up the ma­jor­ity’s Wall Street reg­u­la­tory “re­form” bill with $4 bil­lion in pay­offs to mi­nor­ity spe­cial in­ter­ests — in­clud­ing for­mer failed Air Amer­ica ra­dio part­ner In­ner City Broad­cast­ing Corp.

The cash-strapped firm is run by Percy Sut­ton, a New York City crony of Char­lie Ran­gel’s and Al Sharp­ton’s. The money will come out of the ever-mor­ph­ing TARP bank bailout fund — which went from a toxic as­sets pur­chase plan to a cap­i­tal in­jec­tion plan, back to a toxic as­sets pur­chase plan, then to a life in­sur­ance com­pany bailout and on to an auto-sup­plier bailout.

Lead­ing the charge for the Cash for Cronies of Color drive: Cal­i­for­nia Demo­cratic Rep. Max­ine Wa­ters, who had al­ready ex­tracted $12 mil­lion in TARP funds for OneUnited, a mi­nor­ity-owned bank that is one of her key cam­paign donors and a com­pany in which both Wa­ters and her hus­band own mas­sive amounts of stock.

Which brings us to Dem­care, the lat­est wealth re­dis­tri­bu­tion scheme dis­guised as health care re­form. In ad­di­tion to the in­fa­mous $300 mil­lion “Louisiana Pur­chase” for Demo­cratic Sen. Mary Lan­drieu and the (at least) $45 mil­lion “Corn­husker Kick­back” for sell­out Demo­cratic Sen. Ben Nel­son of Ne­braska, Harry Reid threw around other, lesspub­li­cized gobs of cash for clo­ture votes to cut off de­bate and ram the bill through. He tossed in a Hospi­tal Helper of $100 mil­lion to Sen. Chris Dodd, DConn., whose re-elec­tion bid is in hot wa­ter.

There are ben­nies for in­sur­ance com­pa­nies and hos­pi­tals in Michi­gan, and “fron­tier free­bies” for hos­pi­tals in Mon­tana, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wy­oming. There’s a New Eng­land’s Spe­cial Syrup for Ver­mont and Mas­sachusetts — who will get sim­i­lar (though less gen­er­ous) spe­cial treat­ment by the feds to that of Ne­braska in cov­er­ing Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion costs. Com­bined with Ne­braska’s tab, the exclusive clique’s pay­offs will cost tax­pay­ers at least $1.2 bil­lion over 10 years.

There’s also an ACORN/com­mu­nity or­ga­nizer-friendly pro­vi­sion for mi­nor­ity health bu­reau­cra­cies that was sought by Sen. Roland Bur­ris, D-Ill., ac­cord­ing to John McCormack of the Weekly Stan­dard.

And there’s a $10 bil­lion so­cial­ized medicine sop to Ver­mont Sen. Bernie San­ders for “com­mu­nity health clin­ics” serv­ing in essence as uni­ver­sal health care satel­lite offices. “We are talk­ing about a revo­lu­tion,” Mr. San­ders en­thused dur­ing the Se­nate’s sneaky Dec. 20 ses­sion.

No, revo­lu­tion will come when tax­pay­ers have a chance to kick th­ese re­verse Santa Clauses pos­ing as sav­iors out of of­fice. It can’t hap­pen a minute too soon.

Michelle Malkin is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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