Check Out the Pork for Law Enforcement in the Senate Stimulus Bill

"Give it away, give it away now."

Has anyone even bothered to read the House and Senate stimulus bills? The Wall St. Journal has a chart with the differences between the two. (Note: $=1000s.) They read like a Joe Biden crime bill. Pure pork and what on earth are they doing in a stimulus bill to help the economy and struggling Americans?

Every one of these needs to get tossed from this bill. No wonder we're going broke. Even the first one, which is laudable, doesn't belong in a stimulus bill.

  • Funds for office supervising humane confinement of federal detainees.
    House $0
    Senate $100,000
  • Justice spending oversight.
    House $2,000
    Senate $2,000
  • Extra FBI agents to focus on crimes against children.
    House $0
    Senate $50,000
  • Construction at US Marshals Service
    House $0
    Senate $100,000
  • Extra hires to target mortgage fraud.
    House $0
    Senate $75,000
  • Construction at FBI
    House $0
    Senate $300,000


  • Construction and renovation of federal prisons. House $0
    Senate $800,000
  • Grants to state and local law enforcement. House $3,000,000
    Senate $1,050,000
  • Grants to state and local law enforcement at the Southern border.
    House $0
    Senate $100,000
  • Grants to state and local law enforcement in rural areas.
    House $0
    Senate $150,000
  • Grants for state and local law enforcement to hire extra police officers.
    House $1,000,000
    Senate $1,000,000
  • Grants to state and local law enforcement for youth mentoring and improvements to justice system.
    House $0
    Senate $440,000
  • Grants to tribal law enforcement.
    House $0
    Senate $300,000
  • Grants to state and local law enforcement for domestic violence work.
    House $0
    Senate $300,000
  • Grants to state and local law enforcement for victim programs.
    House $0
    Senate $100,000
  • Grants to state and local law enforcement for Internet crimes against children.
    House $0
    Senate $50,000
  • Management grants to state and local law enforcement.
    House $0
    Senate $10,000

Also see TChris' earlier post.

Job creation isn't a smart rationale for funding crime prevention grants in the stimulus bill. Congress should instead consider a bill that focuses more specifically and comprehensively on crime prevention. The relative need (or lack thereof) for more police officers, more prisons, more after-school programs, more job training, and more drug treatment centers deserves more carefully considered debate than it can receive when packaged as part of the stimulus bill.
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    Come on (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Steve M on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:13:11 AM EST
    "Construction at FBI" is pork now?

    I scoffed at the Republicans when they tried to argue that spending on infrastructure and modernization for federal government buildings wasn't stimulus.

    "Pork" should mean something a little more well-defined than simply "spending on stuff we don't like."

    What we are trying to stimulate is demand (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by BernieO on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 06:59:25 AM EST
    and this requires spending on things like construction that create jobs. The people who get the jobs will spend the money. Even if they spend it in DC, the products come from all over. That is what defines a stimulus.

    FDR stimulated the economy by having things like the Golden Gate Bridge, Triborough Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, etc built. Contrary to what conservatives are saying, these kinds of building projects not only increased employment and boosted the economy,  helped set the stage for the growth of the fifties. In normal times these kinds of projects would be funded under a transportation bill but in times of tanking demand and employment they are much-needed stimulus.

    If projects like the FBI building are truly needed then it is perfectly legitimate to fund them. This is as much a stimulus as is repairing a road and it benefits all of us if the FBI is keep up to date. Waiting to put all these projects in the "appropriate" bills - ed funding, transportation bills, etc. only delays the stimulus effect. We cannot afford to wait.


    it belongs if at all (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:15:13 AM EST
    in a Justice Department appropriations bill, not a stimulus plan to help Americans who are going broke. Because it's unrelated to the purpose of the bill, in my view it's pork.

    Are you of the view (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Steve M on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:20:56 AM EST
    that all forms of construction projects are unrelated to economic stimulus, or only construction at the FBI?

    Construction requires people and materials.  This is the first I have heard anyone on the left argue that construction projects do not belong in the stimulus bill.

    I am disappointed, not because you oppose additional funding for law enforcement activities, but because you have chosen such a caustic right-wing frame as your means of attack.  I hope TL will not start calling it the "porkulus" bill now.


    construction is a small part of these figures (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:24:07 AM EST
    Look at the numbers for new law enforcement hires to target crime and grants to state and local law enforcement.

    Sorry, this reads like a war on crime bill.


    I wrote about this on Friday (none / 0) (#7)
    by MikeDitto on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:41:44 AM EST

    Those were proposed cuts before the senate bill was amended.


    I'm not sure where it belongs (none / 0) (#4)
    by Radiowalla on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:21:45 AM EST
    but I do know that the FBI building in DC is very old.  

    What is wrong with old buildings? (none / 0) (#9)
    by dualdiagnosis on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:58:25 AM EST
    Age should not be the criterion for new construction.

    The FBI needs to be state of the art (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by BernieO on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 06:47:53 AM EST
    in its technology - something they have not caught up with. (Remember how Louis Freeh was so busy playing politics he refused to address the problem? He wouldn't even use email.) Old buildings are not well-suited for this without serious retrofitting.

    It's done all the time (none / 0) (#31)
    by Cream City on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:12:34 AM EST
    on campuses, where we retrofit our halls, hallowed and often historic, for state-of-the-art technology needed in nearly every field -- and thus to teach them -- now.  I work in national historic landmark buildings more than a century old where the most modern communication technology is taught, for example.

    Not saying that this is always best, if the building is not worth saving, and the FBI building well might not be so.  But too many times, the excuse of modernization is used to take down historic buildings, when the real reason must be something else.


    The J. Edgar Hoover building's pig ugly. (none / 0) (#39)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:43:24 AM EST
    Reminiscent of the Humanities building at UW Madison.



    1970s (none / 0) (#15)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 05:13:18 AM EST
    I had a longer comment (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by andgarden on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:32:36 AM EST
    but. . .no comment.

    I tend to agree with Steve M.

    As is commonly said (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by CoralGables on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 01:14:48 AM EST
    One man's pork is another man's bacon

    Jeralyn, any chance of open thread? (none / 0) (#8)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:50:00 AM EST

    I'll put one up in the morning (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 01:39:45 AM EST
    We have over 15 threads today.

    The whole Bill is Pork! (none / 0) (#12)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 02:29:50 AM EST
    AT this point, I am ready to give u[ and advocate a tax cut, and  a check mailed to every family and a cut in social security withholding.  Let people have money to buy houses, buy cars, buy whatever they want.  That will put people back to work.  But I fail to see how these handout to all these groups will give people jobs.  Obama is saying that 70% of the bill will result in some jobs in 2 years.  Put money in the hands of people and I am pretty sure they'll spend it in less than 2 years.  Heck, I'd take a vacation in less than 2 months, help the tourist and hospitality business a bit.  

    I am trying to imagine (none / 0) (#23)
    by Steve M on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 07:53:05 AM EST
    how big a tax cut we would have to give in order to "let people buy houses."  It would take a lot of cash before I'd feel like suddenly running out and buying a house, or a car for that matter.

    The problem is that one-time tax rebates are very ineffective in stimulating consumer demand.  Since people know it's a one-time deal, they are far more likely to save it or pay down debt, as opposed to running out and buying new things.  So rather than throwing a bunch of money out there and "hoping" jobs get created and demand gets stimulated, the government is attempting direct intervention in the economy to accomplish those goals.


    I don't think the American people.. (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 08:17:14 AM EST
    are that frugal...they get a 500 dolla check, or a grand...they run out and buy a toy if their belly is full, or food/bills if it ain't.

    We're like kids that way...instant gratification.  The proof is the pile of debt so many of us are under.

    As opposed to government project stimulus, where we are always left to wonder how much actually trickles down to create a job after all the skimming and scheming and downright stealing.

    Give us the loot...no plan is guaranteed and if the individual stimulus fails at least we can have a few kicks...if the government project stimulus fails we the people will have nothing to show except our share of the interest and principal we owe China.


    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by CST on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:08:11 AM EST
    When times are good.

    I don't see anyone running out to spend money right now.  Even if it's money you don't expect.  And certainly not on the big ticket items.

    Also, a tax cut for someone who doesn't have a job and therefore doesn't pay taxes comes to a big fat 0.  Not very helpful for those most in need.


    There is empirical evidence (none / 0) (#27)
    by Steve M on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 08:36:55 AM EST
    that tells us how people have spent one-time tax rebates in the recent past.  The economists are not just guessing.

    Really? (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 08:46:55 AM EST
    Coulda fooled me...I'm no economist but it looks like everyone is guessing, some guesses more educated than others.

    Reality is, by all reports (none / 0) (#34)
    by Cream City on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:17:05 AM EST
    I've seen, the opposite of what you guess re the last rebates under Bush.  That "stimulus" didn't work because people didn't behave so badly as you always expect, they didn't run out and buy, buy, buy.  They used the rebates to repay debts.

    Of course, that's because we the people already knew that we were in a recession.


    Paying debts.... (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:34:21 AM EST
    isn't that good for the banks and other creditors?  I'd rather give it to a citizen to pay debts rather than just take it from a citizen to give to the bank while the citizen is still holding debt.

    Don't call it pork (none / 0) (#13)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 05:02:38 AM EST
    It is taxpayer money used by the gov't.  It has to be good.  It should have to stand on its own in its own bill.  Nope.  Ironically, this is called pork here in this case, but taxpayer money for the arts is not pork.  

    Thanks for clarifying! (none / 0) (#37)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:35:49 AM EST
    taxpayer funding for the arts (none / 0) (#44)
    by Dadler on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 11:19:05 AM EST
    gimme a break, it barely even exists.  you wanna call it pork, fine, but be honest and call it an infintesimal piece of a pork rind.

    Oversight (none / 0) (#16)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 05:21:52 AM EST
    Will the money be handed to State and locals before Holder's got his own people in the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), which dispenses money via the States?

    Just what sort of programs get funded will in turn nbe largely decided at the State level, and therefore uneven. In some states the Governor makes the calls, in others the AG.

    Here's WI Gov. Doyle...

    The federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act will provide a shot in the arm for Wisconsin's economy, Governor Doyle noted, and will help to create new jobs and rebuild the state's infrastructure. The U.S. House recently passed its version of the stimulus bill with $3 billion for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, a critical resource to the state's criminal justice community.

    A one-time infusion of Byrne/JAG stimulus funding would help local communities hire officers and district attorneys, fund treatment and diversion programs and improve justice system infrastructure. These investments will boost the state's economy and result in meaningful and sustainable improvements in public safety. Following justice reinvestment strategies will also help to reduce future corrections costs by diverting offenders from the state prison system and reducing recidivism.

    Full employment for lawyers and (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:39:12 AM EST
    recent college graduates with undergrad degree in psychology.  

    A report on favoritism in grant awards (none / 0) (#17)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 05:24:32 AM EST
    New Drug Czar named (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 07:22:36 AM EST
    Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske

    according to Seattle Times

    Not excellent, but a big improvement over the 1st name suggested, ex MN GOP Representative Jim Ramstad.

    I don't get how just because something (none / 0) (#21)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 07:22:44 AM EST
    is related to law enforcement means it is automatically pork.

    The states, whose revenues are down significantly, with many in a hole that is getting deeper, are supposed to fund things how, exactly?  Hey, I know, raise the property tax, so that those of us who own homes have to pay more.  Raise the sales tax, so those who are already hurting can pay proportionately more of the little they have.

    Sure, let's understaff and overwork and just put people on the honor system.  And let's do it now, when there is more crime because there are more people not working, more people homeless and hungry.  I don't get where giving the states the funds to allow them to hire more people is "pork;" a job is a job is a job, even if you don't like what that job might be.

    Construction puts people to work, from those who do the manual labor, to those who work in the factories and businesses that supply the materials; that the construction project is related to a prison or a government crime agency does not make it less stimulative.

    And (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 08:58:45 AM EST
    don't home values also drop when there is an increase in crime in the neighborhood?

    "Everybody talkin' about crime.... (none / 0) (#32)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:14:32 AM EST
    but tell me, who are the criminals?"

    - Peter Tosh


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:16:55 AM EST
    There'd be a whole lot of criminal defense attorneys out of work if they legalize drugs!

    Let me have you (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Fabian on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:26:39 AM EST
    talk to my friends who live in high crime neighborhoods.

    Who are the criminals?  Their neighbors.  That bullet in his living room wall?  His neighbors.  The near monthly break ins to steal whatever they can?  His neighbors.

    If there is a need for gated communities, it isn't for the rich folks.  It's the working class folks who need help to keep what little they have.

    In a way, it's a shame that they are homeowners and not renters.  At least a renter could pull up stakes when it turns out that neighbors know your schedule so well that they clean out the cupboards when they break in.


    I can relate.... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:51:48 AM EST
    I've had my home broken into...it sucks.  I just think more cops sucks more...and I'm not sure it even helps, you only have the rights you can defend, and that includes property rights.  All the cops are good for are the forms required to file a claim, if you even have insurance.

    Then again, I'm one of those criminals...in name only anyway.  Cops make me feel insecure...though I can understand the feelings of security more law-abiding people might have, though I still say it is a false sense of security.  

    Bottom line, only you can protect your home.


    Cops are less useful than (none / 0) (#41)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 10:24:04 AM EST
    an organized neighborhood.

    Maybe, but (none / 0) (#42)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 10:39:04 AM EST
    If I see my neighbor's house being broken into, I'm not going to get a posse of other neighbors to confront the guy - I'm going to call the cops.  Hopefully, they have enough officers that someone will be there ASAP.

    If my neighbor gets raped, other neighbors and I are not going to investigate the crime scene and run forensics, so when we do catch the scum, we can present evidence to the prosecutor so he goes away for a long time.

    If my kid gets kidnapped, my neighbor is not going to put out an APB and start looking for him.


    Nobody is saying... (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 10:44:27 AM EST
    no police what so ever...just less cops on the street hanging out lookin' to bust chops and collect fines and harass.  Less tanks like the a-hole sheriff has down in S. Carolina.  

    We need detectives to investigate and solve crimes, forensic scientists to solve crimes, uniformed officers to answer distress calls...definitely, but within reason.


    Last burglary on my block (none / 0) (#45)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:02:14 PM EST
    the guy emerged to see 3 neighbors w shotguns.

    When the cops arrived 10 minutes later, he was lying face down on the ground.


    Now that is what I call (none / 0) (#46)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:03:50 PM EST
    "neighborhood watch."  Hope those guns are kid-proofed though.

    Great story, except (none / 0) (#48)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:09:07 PM EST
    Can they legally do that?  It's not THEIR house they are protecting, so the castle doctrine doesn't apply.

    And unless you live in Texas, it's not justifiable to use deadly force against a burglar who is attempting to escape with property.


    He didn't say (none / 0) (#49)
    by CST on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:11:56 PM EST
    They shot the guy.  Just that they pulled shotguns.

    If someone pointed a shotgun at me, I would not wait until I was shot to get on the ground.


    Or a dog... (none / 0) (#50)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:23:19 PM EST
    if you are worried about a break-in.

    Dogs can be taken care of. (none / 0) (#51)
    by Fabian on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 01:09:44 PM EST

    I thought of one way in under 30 seconds.  If I can, so can someone else.


    Nothing is fool proof.... (none / 0) (#52)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 01:45:39 PM EST
    not even a cop standing on every corner.

    I guess it all boils down to how you want to live...


    Are there any ear marks? (none / 0) (#22)
    by Saul on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 07:52:06 AM EST
    Do you believe Obama when he says there are absolutely no earmarks in either bill.

    If not can you show link in either bill that exposes any earmarks.

    Depends on your definition of earmark. (none / 0) (#24)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 08:09:05 AM EST
    defined narrowly, it means an expenditure designated in the bill for a particular legislator's district. The bill  doesn't exactly do that, but there's categories that inherently favor some areas.

    Tell ya what... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 08:10:04 AM EST
    good economies and bad, our leaders are always trying to stimulate a police state...the meltdown of 08-09 is great cover for them.

    Seems Like A Lot Of Pork To Me (none / 0) (#47)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:06:52 PM EST
    You'd think that they were still quite fat after all the money they got during the last 8 years.