I have a piece in this morning’s New York Post, and I did not try to be polite. Commenting on the end-of-year orgy on Capitol Hill, I slam corrupt deal making that leads to ever-bigger government. Here’s part of what I say about the “omnibus” spending bill.
The weeks since Election Day have provided nauseating confirmation of Mark Twain’s observation: “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” Exhibit A is the “omnibus” spending bill Harry Reid is trying to push through the Senate. This monstrosity contains about 6,500 earmarks — special provisions inserted on behalf of lobbyists to benefit special interests. The lobbyists get big fees, the interest groups get handouts and the politicians get rewarded with contributions from both. It’s a win-win-win for everyone — except the taxpayers who finance this carousel of corruption. …earmarks and pork-barrel spending are the gateway drug that turns good legislators into big spenders.
And here’s some of my commentary on the tax deal.
Regardless of what you think of its core elements, it’s also packed with provisions — known as “extenders” — that reek of corruption and special-interest deal making. Extenders are the tax version of pork-barrel spending: special tax breaks put in the law by powerful politicians in exchange for campaign cash and other support. …There are strong policy arguments against these kinds of special tax breaks, especially since we could use the revenue to finance lower tax rates — but most people are even more upset by the dead-of-night process used to put these goodies into the tax bill. The behavior on Capitol Hill reminds me of the movie classic, “Animal House”: After their fraternity has been placed on “double-secret probation,” John Belushi and the rest of guys at the Delta House decide to go out in a blaze of glory with a toga party. Likewise, the politicians on Capitol Hill just got placed on the equivalent of probation by a Tea Party uprising. Yet rather than mend their crooked ways, they’re throwing a massive party with our money.
But after further thought, I feel compelled to apologize to the guys at Animal House. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, at least they were partying with their own money.