September 28, 2005

ANNE APPLEBAUM on the Louisiana pols’ demands:

Surely this is not the time for the government to write blank checks, for legislators to get greedy about unnecessary canals in their districts, or for federal agencies to launch projects that make future flooding more likely. Surely this is the time to spend money wisely. Right?

Wrong — and if you thought otherwise, then you, like me, are still learning how deeply corrupt America’s legislative branch has become. . . . Despite the fact that Louisiana spent hundreds of millions of dollars on water projects that turned out to be unnecessary, or even damaging, the proposal makes it possible to suspend cost-benefit analyses.

In its scale and sheer disregard for common sense, the Louisiana proposal breaks new ground.

But, as she says, it’s just a more-dramatic case of the usual pork. I wonder if we won’t see a revival of Balanced-Budget Amendment enthusiasm, and perhaps even a revival of Perot-style third-party enthusiasm (which would be devastating for the Republicans) if things don’t come under control.