A few days ago I noted that a Dan Eggen piece in the Washington Post about “pork” in the stimulus bill wasn’t about pork at all. The stuff he wrote about was just normal spending, not earmarks.
But I suppose one man’s normal spending is another man’s pork, and a couple of days later Eggen followed up with a piece that provided an actual number from Republican critics. Bob Somerby glosses his report for us:
According to Eggen, Republicans had “identified $25 billion” in spending provisions which were “questionable or non-stimulative.” ….But readers! The price tag for the stimulus package as a whole came to $787 billion!
….That’s right! According to Republican allegations, only 3.2 percent of the bill constituted a spending spree involving larded-up pork! Only 3.2 percent — a rather minuscule amount. You’d almost think that this percentage might have appeared in Eggen’s report. But given the way this press corps works, numbers like that will appear in the Post about the time pigs, and related pork products, fly. Modern journalists don’t do policy, as Eric Boehlert noted last week.
So even if this stuff was pork — a debatable notion in the first place — it was only 3% of the total. And presumably this was the best Republicans could come up with. The bottom line, then, is that even according to its sharpest critics, the final stimulus bill was 97% muscle. If that’s true, this is probably one of the cleanest spending bills in the history of congress. Nice work, Democrats!