2010 was a bad one, folks. At year’s end unemployment is barely changed. Small businesses are still struggling. We are so desperate for good economic news that favorable changes in indicators that would have gone unnoticed before the recession bring frenzied news flashes about a recovery.
Fearing a conservative backlash after November’s midterm defeats, President Obama signed the order for a two-year pay freeze for federal government jobs as part of his new Republican appeasement policy. The GOP had beat him to the punch when they included their own minimalist hiring freeze in the Pledge to America.
When Nancy Pelosi derided the Fiscal Commission’s suggestions as “unacceptable” (see: Fiscal Commission’s Bitter Pill Outs Lawmakers’ Intentions), her more reserved colleagues must have mouthed silent thanks for saying what everyone on Capitol Hill was thinking. If behavior is any indication of intent, the lists of earmarks in the proposed 2011 Omnibus Spending Bill, and the legislative agenda for the past several months, show how sincere our leaders are about spending cuts.
On Christmas Day 2009, Civil Candor posted an article on earmarking after Congress passed an omnibus spending bill laden with thousands of earmarks (see: Merry Christmas, America. Damn, We Must Have Been Good This Year!). One year later, Harry Reid continues to make good on his Founding Fathers remark, as if the survival of our democracy depends on earmarking.
Mitch McConnell likes to play both sides of the fence. Republicans built their midterm election resurgence on promises to cut spending, and by adopting Tea Party demands for Washington to reverse its course. McConnell sounded agreeable, even resolute, when he assented to a non-binding GOP earmark moratorium:
I have to lead first by example.