Grrrr. When the stimulus package was being debated, Indiana's Richard Lugar displayed proper conservative outrage. He said it contained "massive spending for a wide variety of projects, some of which are completely unrelated to the immediate economic challenges before us" and that it would "make certain that our children will face hundreds of billions of dollars of additional debt," both of which are true But now that the package actually exists, he has a slightly different attitude:
Sen. Richard Lugar may have opposed the $787 billion stimulus package, characterizing it as a "sprawling affair" when it passed in February 2009, but it hasn't stopped him from attempting to tap into the funds for various projects across Indiana.
The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit research organization supporting governmental transparency and accountability, recently obtained eight letters Lugar, R-Ind., sent to the departments of Commerce, Energy and Transportation.
The correspondence seeks money for several road projects, a renewable energy venture and a high-tech development in behalf of FiberTower Broadband Corp. of San Francisco, to bring broadband capabilities to strategic locations in Indiana with a focus on underserved areas.
Yes, I know that the argument is that the money is there and any we don't get some other state will, so we might as well get as much as possible, and there's some validity to it. But I've been hearing that excuse for 30 years, and it's gotten really old. It's one of the reasons the government has become so bloated -- that even politicians who are opposed to big spending end up taking their share of the money, thus perpetuating the justification for big spending.