A dozen years ago, Joe Biden tried to sell Obamacare to the public using these eloquent words:
Now, his administration continues to deliver on his 2009 promise. As the nation’s debt has passed $30 trillion and inflation continues to skyrocket, federal funds are being used to fund…four-star hotels and bailouts for deadbeat dads.
An Associated Press investigation discovered that the $1.9 trillion “Covid relief” package Democrats rammed through Congress last March has resulted in all manner of pork-barrel and wasteful spending programs—most of which have very little to do with the coronavirus, and all of which should outrage taxpayers forced to fund this nonsense.
Your Tax Dollars at Work
The spending spree Democrats passed in March 2021 included more than $500 billion in bailouts to state and local governments—on top of more than $400 billion in funds distributed to states in prior spending packages during 2020. These additional bailout funds, many of which have yet to get disbursed, came even though state and local government coffers were already flush by last spring, as lockdowns ended and the stock market boomed.
The Associated Press investigation examined what states and counties did with the federal dollars they received. Among the projects federal dollars helped fund:
- “$1 million to pay off overdue child support in St. Louis. A city memo states that owing child support stops some people from looking for work because the overdue payments are garnished from paychecks; the program would ‘empower individuals’ by paying down a portion.” Translation: St. Louis is bailing out deadbeat dads who have skipped out on their obligations to their children—a fine way to teach responsible parenting.
- $300,000 for a museum in Worcester, Massachusetts honoring a famous African American bicycle rider from the turn of the last century.
- $5 million for the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, which “features niche sporting contests such as DanceSport, korfball, and flying disc.”
- $2 million to purchase a ski area in Pottawattamie County, Iowa.
- “$6.6 million to replace irrigation systems at two golf courses in Colorado Springs.”
- “$2.5 million to hire new parking enforcement officers in Washington, DC.” As a District resident, I particularly “appreciate” this “investment”—because if there’s one thing Washington needs, it’s more government bureaucrats levying arbitrary fines.
- A $12 million renovation for a minor league baseball stadium in Dutchess County, New York.
- $5 million from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts “to pay off the debts of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in Boston, a nonprofit established to honor the late senator that has struggled financially.”
- $15 million in New Jersey to fund upgrades “to sweeten the state’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup.”
- $53,000 to renovate City Hall in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
- Tens of millions of dollars for tourist marketing campaigns—as if people who felt uncomfortable traveling during Covid need any more incentive to take a much-needed vacation.
- $140 million to fund a 29-story, 800-room hotel in Broward County, Florida that the county will own while a private company will manage. (Why a county has any business owning a hotel is anyone’s guess.) To get around a federal prohibition on using the “Covid relief” money for large capital projects, the county commissioners transferred the federal aid to the county’s general fund, then transferred general fund dollars to the project. If anyone in the private sector tried a gimmick like this, he would get arrested for money laundering—but it’s all in a day’s work for government entities maximizing the cash they can squeeze out of Washington.
By and large, the officials defended these projects, despite their questionable association with the pandemic. Speaking about the $12 million baseball stadium renovation, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro called it “ironic that this criticism emanates from the same congressional members who have brought back pork barrel earmarks.”
In reality, of course, many conservatives criticizing this spending don’t approve of earmarks. However, Molinaro’s rationalization for this wasteful spending—“Everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t we?”—reinforces the pernicious nature of earmarks’ return.
Spending Spree Fueling Inflation
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how programs like these “dirty dozen,” in addition to accelerating our national debt, have created the inflation mess our country faces at present. Hundreds of billions in wasteful government spending on projects like those above—because states literally have more money than they know what to do with—has resulted in an overheated economy.
Coupled with the trillions of dollars in money the Federal Reserve continued printing as recently as last month, this government spending has placed real families in a real financial squeeze. The sooner Washington stops over-spending, and claws back whatever money it can from these fiscally irresponsible projects, the sooner our country can get back to something approaching normal.