Despite the dire cries of "wasteful spending" and "failure" concerning the federal stimulus program, which we now know was about half as big as it needed to be, some of today's biggest names in conservatism have been gleefully signing their names to giant checks doling out stimulus funds and writing letters to the diabolical federal government requesting stimulus funds for their home states and districts.
One such name is Michele Bachmann, who is perhaps the most out-spoken critic of both the stimulus program and government spending despite reaping the benefits of both.
Despite repeatedly decrying the evils of federal spending, records obtained by the Huffington Post show Bachmann repeatedly requested money for her district even from agencies and programs she has vilified in her speeches. They include the stimulus program that she branded "fantasy economics" as well as the Environmental Protection Agency she's said should be renamed the "Job Killing Agency."
Among the issues she discussed in letters with various federal agencies were a transportation project in Waite Park, MN that had received nearly $2.6 billion in stimulus funding. In one "urgent" letter in June 2009 to Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood she asked the DOT to reverse a decision that would threaten the project, and wrote the next month that she was "pleased to learn" that her own state transportation agency was not going to "pull the nearly $2.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding set aside for the project." In September 2009, she wrote six separate letters to DOT requesting federal funds for six separate projects in her district.
Perhaps most out of character were her interactions with the EPA, however. In 2007, she signed onto a joint letter with other Minnesota politicians asking the agency to help fund rural water initiatives in the state. In 2010, she asked for help with a $270,806 grant application to replace two vehicles at local bus company as part of the EPA's Clean Diesel Grant Program.
More big government spending, socialism, and pork!
Did I mention that Michele Bachmann has also received farm subsidies, and that her husband's "pray away the gay clinic" has received funds from Medicaid?
Because big government spending is okay if you're a Republican.
Meanwhile, governor and would-be presidential candidate Rick Perry loves him some big government socialism too.
The federal stimulus program that many experts agree kept the U.S. economy running in the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis was especially valuable to Texas, which accepted more aid dollars than any other state apart from California, using them to close nearly 97 percent of Texas's budget deficit last year.
But according to a new fundraising letter from Gov. Rick Perry (R), a likely presidential contender, he thinks the stimulus "failed."
But that so-called failure is what let Perry and Texas Republicans balance the state's budget in 2009 and 2010, kept tens of thousands employed and ensured that hundreds of thousands continued to receive health benefits. Overall, $28.5 billion in federal assistance was sent to Texas, and officials used it to keep schools open, put more people to work on infrastructure projects and ensure children still received needed health care, among other things -- all in spite of Perry's posturing against such measures.
What happen to seceding?
Did I mention Texas is also the single biggest recipient of federal disaster relief funds?
Government spending is okay if you're a Republican, but completely unacceptable if you're a Democrat. And the next time a Republican occupies the oval office, deficit hysteria and hair-on-fire panic over the national debt will completely evaporate from the national discourse.