Posted by: adoseofliberty | September 30, 2009

Cronies-R-Us

Gore and Green

Who would have ever thought that 9 years after his presidential hopes were swept away, Al Gore would still have his name on national newspapers.  The Green Savior’s most recent headline “Gore-Backed Car Firm Gets Large U.S. Loan” reeks of the same “success” story of the federal government’s Cash-for-Clunkers program analyzed in an earlier post.  This time around, Uncle Sam is providing $529 million for “hybrid sports cars” (I smell an oxymoron) that will sell for the low price of $89,000, to Fisker Automotive Inc., based in Finland, a country that contributes a whopping 0.2% of total U.S. imports.

The Airport For No One

And of course, earlier this month, we heard about John Murtha’s Airport For No One, that on average services a flood of 30 passengers per day and 18 flights per week.  In fact, you’re pretty much guaranteed a full row to yourself on most flights.  Yet Rep. Murtha, whose image appears on a sign near the center of the airport that reads “Partnerships Make a World of Difference”, was able to cajole $150 million of taxpayer money over 20 years for this quaint Johnstown, Pennsylvania facility that flies exclusively to Washington Dulles.  Some more titillating facts:

The airport has an $8.5 million, taxpayer-funded radar system that has never been used. The runway was paved with reinforced concrete at a cost of more than $17 million. The latest investment was $800,000 from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to repave half of the secondary runway. (Never mind that the first one is hardly ever in use.)

Ah, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Our favorite little slice of budgetary heaven.  Who can forget the billions in pork that included gems like $2 million for those fine makers of childrens’ wooden arrows and $192 million in excise tax rebates on Puerto Rican and Virgin Islands rum.

Nevada Sugar

It should come as no surprise that one of the proposed amendments to the House health bill maintains the theme, including some “sweeteners” for none other than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.  The New York Times piece by David Kirkpatrick reveals how a select handful of medical facilities would receive more “favorable” Medicare payment rates.

The identities of the beneficiaries are hard to determine on first reading. The text of the amendment describes its purpose only as ensuring “access to high quality cancer care.”

Then, in classic rifle-shot style, the text masks the names of the beneficiaries by using, in a kind of code, the dates they first received “comprehensive cancer center” grants from the National Cancer Institute. The amendment would cover “certain hospitals” if they “received N.C.I. comprehensive cancer care designation on July 27, 1978, February 17, 1998, June 13, 2000.”

The dates cover three hospitals that are “comprehensive cancer centers” that receive this distinction and grants from the National Cancer Institute.  Another date in the provision includes the relatively new Nevada Cancer Institute, conveniently located in Senator Reid’s home state, which, sadly, does not hold the “comprehensive” status.  The amendment would “exempt each of the centers from the Medicare ‘prospective payments’ system, which compensates hospitals on the basis of diagnoses rather than treatments they actually provide.”

Am I the only one who feels as giddy as a school girl awaiting our upcoming government health care “reform”?

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Responses

  1. […] is quickly becoming the spoiled only-child when it comes to legislative preference (see an earlier post on the Nevada Cancer […]


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