Recent news stories reveal that Congressman Kevin McCarthy objects so strongly to President Obama’s economic plan that he has declined all earmark spending in the upcoming budget, proudly securing ‘zip zilch nada” in funding for California’s 22nd Congressional District. He did so, he says, “on purpose.” This news got me wondering whether McCarthy showed the same intestinal fortitude when George W. Bush was president. So I looked it up. And whadd’ya know? Taxpayers for Common Sense, a self-described “non-partisan budget watchdog group,” reports that Kevin McCarthy brought home more than $56 million in pork-barrel spending as recently as fiscal year 2008! Among the programs McCarthy deemed worthy of federal tax dollars (while Bush was president, anyway) were $1,378,000 for study of the ozone layer in the Central Valley; $245,000 for San Miguel railroad crossing safety; $1 million for a “flow path analysis tool” in Redlands; and $359,000 to study “cotton pathology” in Shafter. Things sure have changed now that Barack Obama is president. It’s good to see a man who (grand)stands on principle—and is willing to allow his constituents to suffer just so he can score a not-so-cheap political point.
-- Jim Mallon - San Luis Obispo