The Era of Big Government, Continued

In the NYT today: Broad Bills Stuffed With Lawmakers’ Pet Items. Some highlights:

  • “A provision benefiting a specific hospital in Tennessee was added to the Medicare bill at the last minute in an effort to get the vote of Representative Harold E. Ford Jr., Democrat of Tennessee … Mr. Ford’s father, a former congressman, is a lobbyist for the hospital.” [Ford still voted against the bill; we’ll see if they take out the provision in conference.]
  • “The energy bill includes $1 billion for a new nuclear reactor in Idaho, $800 million in federal loan guarantees for a coal gasification plant in Minnesota and tens of millions of dollars in subsidies for timber companies to log national forests for energy production.”
  • “The Medicare bill establishes a “special payment for brachytherapy,” a procedure that uses radioactive “seeds” to treat a wide array of cancers. The bill stipulates that Medicare will pay for the seeds, in addition to the procedure required to implant them.

    Two Georgia Republicans, Senator Saxby Chambliss and Representative Nathan Deal, proposed the new method of payment. Theragenics, which produces and sells seeds for use in brachytherapy, is based in Buford, Ga.” [Won’t the free market direct more resources to Theragenics if their seeds are truly useful?]

  • “Congress also agreed to a proposal to help a Missouri company, Briggs & Stratton, one of the world’s largest producers of gasoline engines for lawn mowers and other outdoor equipment.”
  • “The energy bill includes a section that would make it easier for a consortium of European and American companies, Louisiana Energy Services, to build a $1.2 billion uranium processing plant for nuclear energy near Hobbs, N.M.”

Seriously, conservatives. This is big government at its worst, Sixties-Style but without the redeeming benefit of at least being targeted at the downtrodden.


UPDATE: I just realized that I should have titled this “Have some pork with your turkey.” Happy Thanksgiving!