Sunday, May 17, 2009


Got a ticket to see Obama at Rio Ranch High School last Thursday. Big crowd, most of whom seemed to be bigger fans of the President than I am. A few times during his speech I was muttering "that's not true" to myself.

At one point he was talking about the deficit, and how earmarks are not a big deal because they are only one percent of the budget. I thought:
1) 1% is equal to the entire foreign aid budget, so it is not that small.
2) since most of the budget is non-discretionary, i.e. medicare, social security, and interest on the debt, earmarks are a lot more than 1% of what Congress can actually choose to spend,

And most importantly:
3) With earmarks it is not just a matter of the amount of money as the appearance (and in many cases I believe the actuality) of corruption.

Look at the ugly triangle of PMA, Congressman Murtha, and the earmarks. Lobbyist raises huge money for a Congressman, who in turn funnels no-bid contracts to the lobbyist's clients. Of course it is hard for a Prosecutor to prove the existence of a quid pro quo, but the implication that there is one is irresistable.

A few other notes:

The woman who introduced Obama had a sad story, but there were a few details that seemed odd. First, she complained that her card company authorized a charge that put her over her limit. Now I can see other cases where this would be exactly what was desired, but she was angry about it. On her next point, she had more to go on, since they did raise her interest rate from about 10 to 30 percent. 30 is awful high, we can all agree on that, but she was getting a pretty good deal before that. In fact, she was paying less for her unsecured debt than GE has too!

When Obama came up, he sort of bounced up the three steps to the stage, as if just walking up them was too ordinary. Looked good though.

I had prepared a question, but Obama skipped over me to another fellow, who asked Obama to institute martial law. Actually, the fellow mentioned that there were some problems with Congress, and asked if something could be done, I interpreted that as mentioned.

My question was:
Mister President, given the bullying of Chrysler bondholders to give up their rights to benefit the UAW, are you concerned that private investors will avoid situations with the potential for government interference, such as lending to industries with powerful unions?

I still don't know the answer.


  • Interesting perspective on earmarks - I also think that they poison the system and have much broader negative implications on government. Unfortunately, Israel has a boat load of these...

    By Blogger Palore, at 10 June, 2009 10:11  

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