Friday, April 8, 2011

Aborting government

(Cross-posted at And Sometimes Tea)

In approximately six hours, the threat of a federal government shutdown may be realized if Congress can't pass a budget. And yes, the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood has remained a live one:

"We know the whole world is watching us today," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

He, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner all agreed a shutdown posed risks to an economy still recovering from the worst recession in decades. But there were disagreements aplenty among the principal players in an early test of divided government — Obama in the White House, fellow Democrats in control in the Senate and a new, tea party-flavored Republican majority in the House.

For much of the day, Reid and Boehner disagreed about what the disagreement was about. [...]

Originally, Republicans wanted to ban federal funds for Planned Parenthood, a health care services provider that is also the nation's largest provider of abortions.

Federal funds may not be used to pay for abortions except in strictly regulated cases, but supporters of the ban said cutting off government funds for the organization — currently about $330 million a year — would make it harder for it to use its own money for the same purpose.

Democrats rejected the proposal in private talks. Officials in both parties said Republicans returned earlier in the week with a proposal to distribute federal funds for family planning and related health services to the states, rather than directly to Planned Parenthood and other organizations.

Democrats said they rejected that proposal, as well, and then refused to agree to allow a separate Senate vote on the issue as part of debate over any compromise bill.

Instead, they launched a sustained campaign at both ends of the Capitol to criticize Republicans.

I highly doubt the whole world is watching this budget showdown; most Americans aren't even paying all that much attention. Because, if they were, I think more Americans would be outraged that the Democrats in Congress are ready to abort the funding of the federal government rather than stop funding the nation's largest abortion chop-shops run by Planned Parenthood.

For my part, I think that there are several bloated government projects that could stand to be aborted. Consider this list of some such projects from last year, courtesy of the Citizens Against Government Waste. Here are some of my favorites:
$12,500,000 by Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) for 13 projects, including: $2,750,000 for polymer research; $1,000,000 for wheat genetic research; $1,000,000 for a phosphorous reduction cooperative agreement through the Kansas Livestock Foundation; and $250,000 for workforce development and out-migration through the Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation (KFBF). In addition to the appropriation, KFBF has also applied for a $7 million stimulus grant for rural broadband deployment. To add insult to injury, the Kansas Farm Bureau, which is conveniently located at the same address as the foundation, had a fund balance of $98 million at the end of 2007. [...]

$775,000 for the Institute for Food Science and Engineering (IFSE) requested by Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee member Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.). One of IFSE’s research areas is called “Pickle Science and Technology” which the institute’s website boasts, “is dedicated to increasing product value by improving production and quality of pickled vegetables. The program, which enjoys significant industry support, includes the annual national evaluation of pickled vegetable products.” With the continued spending of taxpayer money on initiatives like these, it is not surprising that taxpayers are in a financial pickle of more than $12.7 trillion in debt. [...]

$61,600,000 for 30 projects by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), including: $14,000,000 for the Cooperative Institute and Research Center for Southeast Weather and Hydrology at the University of Alabama; $6,000,000 for six projects for the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville; $1,000,000 for the Tools for Tolerance program at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, California; $250,000 for a wireless area network for the city of Hartselle (population 13,888); $200,000 for the Cherokee County Methamphetamine and Marijuana Reduction program; and $150,000 for Zelpha’s Cultural Development Corporation for the University of Alabama’s After-School Delinquency Prevention program. [...]

$1,200,000 by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House appropriator Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) for the American Museum of Natural History for infectious disease research. Funding museum research in a defense bill really bugs taxpayers. [...]

$1,250,000 by Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee member Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) for research into the long-term environmental and economic impacts of the development of a coal liquefaction sector in China. Sen. Byrd has directed $2,070,150 to this project over the past three years. [...]
I could go on, but you get the point--and that's before we look at the number of "historic" small theaters, museums, and other businesses being restored with federal money, because apparently the people who actually live near these things don't care to spend state or local funds to fix them up. Something to bear in mind as you work on your taxes this weekend, anyway.

So, I'm all for a government shutdown, if it comes to that. I'd much rather abort wasteful government than continue to permit federal funds to finance the Abortion Kings of America over at Margaret Sanger's racist, eugenicist organization, Planned Parenthood (unofficial slogan: "We kill more of the poor than drugs and gun violence combined!"). Let's hope enough of the new Republicans are thinking the same thing tonight.