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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 13, 2006 / 20 Elul, 5766

Secrets in the senate

By John Stossel


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Their arrogance is stunning.


Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alas.) and Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) are the acknowledged kings of pork-barrel spending. They bring billons of taxpayer dollars to their states to ensure their hold on power. But apparently, that's not enough. They also want to make certain that you and I don't see what they get away with. So secretly they tried to keep us in the dark.


Fiscal hawks in the Senate, led by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), are sponsoring a bill to create a database that would keep track of government spending. You could search that database from your home and find out who got all that special-interest taxpayer largess.


That seems like useful information for citizens who would like to keep their eyes on their spend-happy representatives.


But what's good for the taxpayers is not necessarily good for the politicians who ladle out our money, or the feeders at the government trough who get all those contracts and grants. The power brokers would rather the people not look over their shoulders.


The bill to create the database has sponsors from both parties, including Majority Leader Bill Frist and Minority Leader Harry Reid. It has support from 100 conservative and liberal government-watchdog organizations. It was approved unanimously by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.


The measure was headed for a vote in the full Senate when suddenly it was derailed by unidentified senators. The Senate, it turns out, has a rule that lets any member delay a bill — without revealing his identity. It's called the "secret hold."


This mystery led to several days of speculation, but finally, Sen. Stevens came forward. The next day Sen. Byrd did, too.


Byrd has since lifted his hold, but Stevens hasn't. Byrd said he wanted time to read the bill and try to improve it. Stevens, who is a member of the committee that held hearings but didn't speak up at the time, now says he wants a cost-benefit analysis done before he makes up his mind.


Sounds fishy to me. I think these guys just don't want us to see how they spend our money.


When the Democrats held power, I confronted Sen. Byrd about his "Honorable" Robert Byrd Highway-type projects in West Virginia. His answer was as arrogant as he was: "I would think that the national media could rise above the temptation of being clever, decrepitarian critics who twaddlize, just as what you're doing right here."


"Twaddlize?" I asked.


"Trivializing serious matters," he explained.


I persisted, "Is there no limit? Are you not at all embarrassed about how much you got?"


Byrd glared at me, "Are you embarrassed when you think you're working for the good of the country?!"


As for Sen. Stevens, last year, the congressional transportation bill included $450 million to build two bridges to little-populated parts of his state, Alaska. One of these "bridges to nowhere" would connect Ketchikan to a nearly uninhabited island.


When Sen. Coburn proposed that the money instead be spent to repair a bridge over Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain that had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina, Sen. Stevens had a little tantrum. He stood on the Senate floor and said if his state's loot was cut, he'd resign and "be taken out of here on a stretcher!"


Good! Sen. Stevens, please go. I'll help carry the stretcher.


The Senate shot down Coburn's proposal 82-15. Big spenders stick together.


I'm skeptical of Sen. Stevens's demand for a cost-benefit study. Congress estimates it would cost $4 million to build the database and $2 million a year to run it — small potatoes next to the hundreds of billions Sens. Stevens and Byrd spend on pork.


And the benefit? Can you put a dollar figure on the good that would result if the big spenders were inhibited because the people were watching them?


Maybe we wouldn't need a user-friendly database if the government weren't so big. But it is that big. So at least let's make it visible. Let's get rid of secret holds and secret spending.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JUST OUT FROM STOSSEL
Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel --- Why Everything You Know Is Wrong  

Stossel mines his 20/20 segments for often engaging challenges to conventional wisdom, presenting a series of "myths" and then deploying an investigative journalism shovel to unearth "truth." This results in snappy debunkings of alarmism, witch-hunts, satanic ritual abuse prosecutions and marketing hokum like the irradiated-foods panic, homeopathic medicine and the notion that bottled water beats tap. Stossel's libertarian convictions make him particularly fond of exposes of government waste and regulatory fiascoes. Sales help fund JWR.



JWR contributor John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To comment, please click here.


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