Hillary takes pork barrel politics
Published: Thursday, December 13th, 2007
It’s no secret that Hillary Clinton favors a Nanny State approach to what ails us. Indeed, she seems to prefer it even for what doesn’t ail us. Sen. Clinton has promised $5,000 handouts to all newborn babies so they one day can buy homes or attend college. She wants $1 billion to force employers to provide paid sick leave. She promises to expand “high-quality child care” with a near-billion dollar subsidy nationwide. She promises up to $25 billion a year for lower- and middle-class families’ retirements, paid for by others. If Clinton becomes president, expect a Nanny State running at full gallop. Now, Monday’s Los Angeles Times informs us Clinton has another costly inclination — costly for taxpayers, but apparently lucrative for the well-connected. The Times says there seems a correlation between those who profit from Clinton’s generosity with public funds and those who give her campaign money. This is good old Washington, D.C., pork at work. Clinton, says The Times, “has embraced old-fashioned pork-barrel politics, first to build power in the state, then to extend it nationwide as she becomes a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.” In the Senate, Clinton uses earmarks, which The Times explains “enable lawmakers to bypass the normal budget process and insert narrowly drafted spending provisions directly into legislation,” to build political power among normally Republican-leaning voters. Since 2001 she’s delivered $500 million in earmarks benefiting 59 corporations, about 64 percent of which gave donations to her campaign through employees, executives, board members or lobbyists, the Times reported. This practice probably dates to the first politician who realized he could ingratiate himself by enriching others from public coffers. But Clinton isn’t merely a contemporary practitioner. The Times says she “does it on a different scale.” In appropriation bills passed by the Senate this year, she earmarked 216 projects valued at $236.6 million, compared with a mere $112.8 million for runner-up Sen. Christopher J. Dodd. If Clinton becomes president, does anyone expect an end to her rewarding of some at the expense of others, while simultaneously feeding her campaign war chest? We don’t.
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