by John Grooms
Its funny how many Congressional conservatives, both Republicans and Democrats, voted against the federal stimulus package, but came back later with their hands out, asking for all the stimulation their local economies could handle. Thanks to the folks at NC Policy Watch, we found out about a new investigative report from The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit journalism group. Their report reveals that Rep. Sue Myrick and Sen. Richard Burr, two of the strongest foes of the stimulus, at least according to their campaign ads, asked for millions of federal dollars for local and state projects. Luckily, the online investigative report includes a search feature that lets you see the actual letters sent to various agencies asking for stimulus money.
Myrick sent several letters asking for funding for rail facilities in Charlotte, the North Corridor transit project, as well as for multiple green projects in Gaston County. Myricks campaign ads, of course, tout her opposition to the failed stimulus.
Burr signed on to several letters, along with the rest of the states Congressional delegation, asking for stimulus money to replace the famous aging I-85 bridge across the Yadkin River. Also included are letters from the entire delegation, as well as separate letters from Burr and Sen. Kay Hagan, in support of various projects wishing to take advantage of stimulus money for extending broadband coverage in rural areas of the state. Burr, you remember, has already been criticized for showing up at public events, taking credit for stimulus-funded projects he had voted against. You expect professional politicians to be cynical (remember Myricks pledge to quit after two terms), but it seems unusually hypocritical, to put it mildly, to both condemn and take credit for projects at the same time.
In a similar vein, theres a great story on the front page of the New York Times today, set at the Pig Pickin rally last week at Northstone Country Club in Huntersville. The thrust of the story is that Americans seem to have completely forgotten that the Obama administration, as part of the stimulus package, cut taxes for 95 percent of working families by changing withholding rates. Those cuts totaled $116 billion, but a recent New York Times/CBS poll showed that fewer than one in 10 people know the Obama administration had lowered taxes for most Americans. This isnt primarily a problem of peoples bad memory, nor of the press not doing its job; it seems to this writer that the biggest problem is inept political strategizing by the White House and the national Democratic organization.