Friday, September 25, 2009

An appropriate Kennedy memorial - more screwing of the taxpayers

One of the memorable moments during the 2004 Presidential Campaign was Zell Miller's brilliant speech at the Republican Convention, as he eviscerated John Kerry's opposition to virtually every recent weapon system or military platorm, culminating in that unforgettable line, "US Forces armed with what? Spitballs?" (starts about 30 seconds into this video):


Well, John Kerry has found some "defense spending" of which he approves:
A large military spending bill moving through Congress contains a little-noticed outlay for Boston that has nothing to do with national defense: $20 million for an educational institute honoring late Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

The earmark, tucked into the defense bill at the request of Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, requires US taxpayers to help the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate realize its goal of building a repository for Kennedy’s papers and an accompanying civic learning center on the University of Massachusetts at Boston campus in Dorchester, next to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

...

Kerry strongly defended the insertion of the $20 million earmark yesterday. He requested that it be included in the $360 billion defense budget, he said, to recognize Kennedy’s long tenure on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

It seems like a hanging curve ball, but I confess that it leaves me speechless. How do you actually deconstruct or mock a statement as full of self-mocking arrogance and irony as that one? Ted Kennedy may have sat on the Armed Services Committee for years, but he did so while fighting against every expansion, improvement and use of the US military over that same period of time. There is no segment of the federal government for which Kennedy did not fight for increased funding except the military. The idea that US taxpayers should allocate defense funds1 to provide a "repository for Kennedy’s papers" is so outrageous that I honestly can not find anything appropriate to say about it.



1 - Realistically, it doesn't matter whether the money is allocated in a defense bill or a department of Education funding bill or HUD or anything else. Money is fungible, and if the government decides it's going to spend money on this, well, the taxpayers foot the bill. It's just impossible to conceive of a less appropriate bill in which to include this particular waste of taxpayer dollars.

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