- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Democratic Congress successfully rammed through unpopular policies during this lame-duck session, but at least Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had to withdraw his pork-laden omnibus spending bill. This retreat suggests some members of Congress understand the public’s fury over out-of-control federal spending.

Recent “Pork Reports” from Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, show why Americans are so fed up. For example, outgoing New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is in the mix to head the Motion Picture Association of America. How convenient, then, that Mr. Richardson funneled $1.75 million in federal stimulus funds to a “historic ranch” where the state and actor Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute will train Hispanics and American Indians for jobs in the movie industry, according to KRQE-TV in Santa Fe. The state, which already owns the property, will use the cash for “a new 2,000-square-foot meeting room, an expanded catering kitchen, a communal bath house and new sleeping quarters.”

Speaking of sleeping, recipients of federal funds in California can catch some Z’s on the public’s dime. San Francisco’s municipal Entry Level Training Program, which is funded by the stimulus, “offered little training and in some cases paid workers to sit on [an empty] bus [for nearly eight hours straight] or look for other work,” according to Mission Local, an online news service. Some trainees spent time “in their cars catching up with reading.” Not a single permanent job resulted from this program.

In New York, $99,800 in stimulus money via the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be used for “meat processing activities,” the Putnam County News and Recorder reported. According to the government, “no jobs will be created by the issuance of these funds.” In Georgia, an Atlanta streetcar project - a majority of which was financed through a $47 million stimulus grant - “will have no impact on the region’s No. 1 transportation problem: traffic,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

These stimulus projects summarize what’s wrong with President Obama’s deficit spending. Federal largesse has no positive impact on unemployment or society other than benefiting politicians’ special interests.