New York Times:
An examination of spending bills, news releases and communications with federal agencies obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows that nearly two dozen freshmen have sought money for projects that could ultimately cost billions of dollars, while calling for less spending and banning pork projects.
Politicians have long advocated for projects on behalf of individuals and businesses back home, even without earmarks. Several lawmakers said they were merely providing a constituent service. But since many of the freshman Republicans campaigned on a pledge to cut spending and to change Washington’s time-honored ways, their support of spending projects suggests that in many cases ideology can go only so far in serving the needs of people back home.
Let me be clear here, contrary to Republicans' own rhetoric, there's nothing wrong with this per se. People send their tax dollars to Washington and they should expect to see some of it return to their states. The federal government should supply states with infrastructure funding, education funding, etc. This is not the problem.
And the hypocrisy is only a marginal problem. If they're grandstanding on cutting spending, while demanding government funds, that's just par for the Republican course. It's a party characterized by hypocrisy. At least taxpayers are getting a bang for their buck, despite the bluster of the blowhards representing them.
No, what this story does is highlight Republicans' real intentions. Republicans don't have a problem with spending and they haven't since Reagan. GOP presidents have racked up deficit after deficit. The party helped the previous president run up record deficits. The idea that Republicans are institutionally opposed to spending, taxes, and deficits is a joke.
What Republicans have a problem with are social programs and policies they oppose on purely political or ideological grounds. Why do you think they want to go after Medicare, rather than raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans? Why do you think they want to do away with collective bargaining at the state level -- a move that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker testified under oath would not save the state any money? Why were they all so silent when Orrin Hatch suggested we raise taxes on the poor and middle class, to spare the wealthy their share of the tax burden?
And now, why are they talking about drastic cuts to spending -- except that spending that helps them get reelected?
It's not spending they hate, it's Medicare, it's Medicaid, it's Social Security, it's labor laws and consumer protections and regulations limiting fraud and pollution and bribery. Home to creationist morons, they're social Darwinists who believe that government aid must be earned. And it must be earned by becoming filthy rich and donating to Republicans. Anyone else is on their own; the General Welfare clause doesn't apply to them.
The Republican Party isn't opposed to spending and it isn't opposed to bringing tax dollars back to the states. But they'll be goddamed if any of those tax dollars wind up in the pocket of someone who isn't already rich.
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