by Burt Prelutsky | Los Angeles
By this time, I’m sure you’ve all heard Senators Coburn and McCain reporting on all the goofy nonsense that has been financed by Obama’s trillion-dollar stimulus bill. But in case you missed the announcement, some of the items were new windows for a tourist center that’s been closed since 2007 and that nobody plans to re-open; a study of grandparent roles in Alaska; international ant research; repairing a sidewalk that leads to a ditch in Boynton, Oklahoma; $760,000 to study improvised music; $200,000 to help Siberian communities lobby Russian policy makers; and $700,000 to study why monkeys respond negatively to inequity.
As with all federal boondoggles, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. But that’s what happens when politicians get to spend other people’s money. For them, it’s play money, just a variation on Monopoly. When the dough isn’t coming out of your own pocket, it isn’t real. Who, after all, gives a second thought to building hotels on Park Place and Boardwalk?
The obvious fact about the stimulus bill is that the money didn’t go, as the administration claimed it would, towards creating shovel-ready jobs. Obama promised that if the bill were passed, unemployment wouldn’t reach eight percent. So Pelosi and Reid did what they do best, which is to give their congressional colleagues the choice of taking a bribe or getting a beating, and managed to get the bill passed. Then, as anyone who’s not a liberal could have told you, two things happened. One, the unemployment rate hit 10%; two, Obama blamed Bush.
The one element that has gone missing in all the expert analysis of the bill is how much money a trillion dollars really is. When I used to subscribe to the L.A. Times, I was always amused by how often the reporters confused “million” and “billion.” Rarely a day went by when the paper didn’t have to run a correction. Well, just in case you, too, are confused by large numbers, a million looks like this: 1,000,000, whereas a billion looks like this: 1,000,000,000. It is a thousand million. A trillion, which is a thousand billion, looks like this: 1,000,000,000,000.
Now, before your head explodes, it means that instead of blowing it on all those goofy pork projects, Obama could have sent 20 million American taxpayers checks for $50,000. Or he could have sent 100 million of us checks for $10,000. I can assure you that those checks would have stimulated the economy a hell of a lot more than blowing it on angry monkeys and funding Siberian malcontents.
Perhaps this is why in a recent Gallup poll, the generic Republican congressional candidate leads the generic Democrat 48% to 43%. As I see it, the only drawback is that the GOP will have to field actual, not generic, candidates in November.
Before moving on, it bears noting that when she was pressuring her colleagues to pass the stimulus bill, Mrs. Chicken Little, otherwise known as Nancy Pelosi, warned us all that without its passage 500 million Americans would lose their jobs. Apparently, none of her cronies wanted to embarrass the House Speaker by pointing out that our entire population, counting babies, toddlers and illegal aliens, is just slightly over 300 million.
Finally, I’m annoyed but not surprised that New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is on board for the 13-story mosque to be built adjacent to Ground Zero. But when you realize that New Yorkers keep re-electing this yutz, even allowing him to break the rule regarding term limits so that they could elect him a third time, I say they deserve to be forced to suck it up and live with the grotesque monument to Islamic barbarism.
Bloomberg, like most liberals, likes to think of himself as sensitive, wise, ecumenical, open-minded and compassionate, when in fact he is a world-class boob who just happens to be rich, and he richly deserves to be played for a sucker by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his fascistic cronies in CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), the public relations arm of Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah.
Next week, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Mr. Rauf has sold Bloomberg a controlling interest in the Brooklyn Bridge.
copyright 2010 Burt Prelutsky
Television scriptwriter, former humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine.