$237 Billion Surplus Wasted By Congress In Overnight Spending Binge

James Baughn on Saturday, October 28, 2000

from the i-smell-bacon dept.

"A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money."
   -- US Senator Everett Dirksen, Illinois

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF CORRUPTION -- The nation's $237 billion budget surplus lasted four, maybe five minutes last night before Congress spent all of it during a marathon spending binge.

"Lots of people have this misguided notion that Congress suffers from gridlock and that we can't get anything done. But last night we were able to spend money at a rate of $10 billion a minute. Now that's what I call efficient," said Senator Phil E. Buster (D-Minnesota).

The Spend-A-Thon ended last night at 3:05 AM EDT when both houses passed the "Big Chunk Of Moola Act", officially known as the "Federal Appropriations Bill of 2000". President Bill Clinton is expected to sign the bill shortly; after all, it includes a $20 million grant to recruit more minorities (read: women) for the White House intern program.

Most Congressmen seemed upbeat about the historic bill. "Every single citizen will benefit from this year's budget. Well... maybe I should say every single citizen that contributed more than $500 to my re-election campaign," announced Rep. Gordon Fattecat (R-Washington).

Outside of Capitol Hill, however, reaction to the Congressional spending orgy has been less than enthusiastic. Said a spokesperson for one watchdog group, "This is an outrage. One large corporation in Fattecat's district that donated $10,000 to his campaign will receive $250 million worth of subsidies and tax breaks under this spending bill. That's a 2,500,000 percent return on investment. Why buy stocks and bonds when you can just buy a Congressman?"

Many critics are criticizing the cornerstone of the spending plan, a $152 million grant to purchase porkbarrels and ten other kinds of barrels for farmers. "If this isn't porkbarrel spending, I don't know what is!" said Penny Wize, President of the American Association Against Administrative Avarice And Abuse.

Rep. G. Raft (D-Missouri) defended the porkbarrel plan, saying, "This addresses a growing problem among farmers in the Midwest: they need some place to store their pork products. These porkbarrels do not represent porkbarrel spending -- this a plan that will benefit all Americans with lower prices on bacon and pork chops."

However, even Mr. Raft admitted that Congress did go a little overboard last night. "Some Republican from California slipped in a $2.5 million grant to fund a university study on why the sky is blue. And somebody else gave the University of Gary Indiana a $5.8 million windfall to research the psychological reasons why men like to look at nudie magazines. What a joke."

"Still," he continued. "I think we did a lot of good last night. I'm particularly proud of that $128 million appropriation I crafted that will pay for gold-plated toilets in the bathrooms of the House and Senate. Now that's the kind of thing that makes America great."