Share This Page

The 'Sandy Scam'

| Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, 8:45 p.m.

What would a disaster-relief bill submitted just days before Christmas be without a good ol'-fashioned Washington tree trimming? Indeed, President Obama's $60.4 billion bauble-laden Tannenbaum for Hurricane Sandy relief truly decks taxpayers' halls.

Fiscal watchdogs are calling it “Sandy Scam” for valid reasons. Billions of dollars are slated for areas and special interests that have nothing to do with damages from Sandy, according to The New York Post and The Washington Times. Among the more audacious ornaments:

• $13 billion for “mitigation projects” to prepare for future storms.

• $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for fisheries in Alaska.

• $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Justice and Homeland Security departments.

But these items should go through the regular appropriation process (such as it is) in Congress, right? Not if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., gets his way. He wants to speed the bill through. Never let a crisis go to waste, eh?

And it's not just Mr. Obama who's stringing tinsel. He sought $32 million to repair part of the Amtrak rail system; Senate elves pumped up that amount tenfold, according to The Times.

So while Congress and the president endeavor to fix the latest fix of their fiscal disregard — presumably without going over the so-called “cliff” — they're also decorating a disaster-relief “tree” that stands as a shining symbol of their hypocrisy.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.