Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The audacity of pork

I was down at the legislature today, and watched the Senate debate on the Oregon "stimulus" bill. It's the plan to borrow $180 million or so and use the funds for a laundry list of current spending plans.

The floor speech by Peter Courtney was classic. He's an impassioned speaker and gets pretty wound up when he wants to. He gave this stemwinder, talking about how so many Oregonians are suffering, losing jobs, anxious, and insecure. He said he would do whatever it takes to help them get jobs. He wouldn't stop at anything, so concerned he was about the plight of these poor folks. In fact, he said, his only regret is that the package isn't bigger.

I sat watching this exercise in political posturing, thinking: So you'd do anything you could, Peter Courtney? OK then, how about increasing logging on Oregon's public forests? How about fast tracking the LNG plant? How about allowing all those Measure 49 claims to go forward? How about allowing offshore drilling?

I guess he meant "I'd do anything that is acceptable to the enviros."

And then he retired to his newly remodeled offices, which cost the taxpayer $400,000 each to remodel.


Huck said...

Rob, as a low-income earning liberal, I have a proposal that I'd appreciate some constructive feedback on, and it relates to Courtney's claim of being willing to do anything for the unemployed. How about ditching the minimum wage if it were coupled with some reasonable provision of health care and retirement savings?

1) Businesses and employees would likely save some money on payroll taxes and unemployment insurance. Health care is excluded from income for tax purposes, and the retirement contributions can be structured for tax advantage.

2) Public coffers would save money on health care and unemployment, and might.

3) Consumer confidence would improve as unemployment would drop and health and retirement security would increase.

4) We could subsidize working people if the wage truly doesn't cover necessities. We already do, so if we're going to dole out welfare benefits, I'd rather subsidize somebody who's working 40 hours a week than somebody sitting around killing time. Seriously, even if the wage were $2/hr, if you got health care and saved for retirement, you're doing OK in the long run. You'd definitely need some help, as $320/month isn't even going to rent you a room in somebody's basement, let alone pay for food, transportation, etc, but WE ALREADY SUPPORT THESE PEOPLE! The least they can do is work for it!

True, libs and unions, of whom I count many of my own friends and family, would kick and scream, but we need to get serious about this. Pork ain't gonna fix this thing. As a democrat, I feel like my party is trying to fix a bike by pumping up already inflated tires when the chain is broken!

Anonymous said...

Peter Courtney said a week or so ago that he didn't know what else to do.

Even when one tells him what else to do.

What he meant was he doesn't want to do anything else.

So it's spend spend spend.