Congratulations to Blanca O’Leary regarding her second attempt (“Not a time for division,” Aspen Daily News, Jan. 29) to mislead your readers about Rep. Scott Tipton’s “no” vote on the $50 billion Superstorm Sandy relief bill (H.R. 152). In my original letter, I described a partial list of pork-barrel spending in the bill that amounted to $18.38 billion. I give credit to Ms. O’Leary for correctly pointing out that $914 million I categorized as pork was legitimate relief, and that the $17 billion HUD slush fund had been reduced in the final bill to a mere $16 billion (32 percent of the final bill).
On the other hand, Ms. O’Leary incorrectly claimed that the $348 million directed to the National Park Service was for the Historic Preservation Fund, while the actual number is $50 million. In other words, I was 95 percent correct. I’ll take it.
An additional partial list of non-emergency, non-relief aid approved by the bill is as follows:
• $1.1 million — National Cemetery Administration
• $1.31 million — ammunition for the Army
• $3.86 million — Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
• $24.23 million — new military construction
• $44.5 million — NOAA aircraft upgrades
• $50 million — weather research programs
• $111 million — weather satellite data mitigation-gap reserve fund
• $582 million — future flood control
• $742 million — channel dredging
• $5.38 billion (10.6 percent of the bill) — a public transportation emergency relief program to carry out projects related to reducing risk of damage from future disasters.
And, there are scores of additional non-emergency spending items that cost billions of additional dollars.
I agree with O’Leary that emergency relief spending for natural disasters is a necessary and compassionate component of government spending. Pork on the other hand, should be negotiated in the regular course of business in the House and Senate.
My point is a simple one. The United States of America is the most broke country in the history of mankind, yet Ms. O’Leary and her crowd just can’t say no to any new spending or entitlement. The only way we can meet our future obligations is to print more money, which this administration is doing hand-over-fist. During the past four years, we have increased our money supply by more than $7 trillion, while we have seen commodity prices (food, fuel, clothing, transportation, etc.) increase by 76 percent as the dollar has weakened. A continuation of profligate spending will eventually force the world community to drop the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, which will open Pandora’s box on our economy.
With reckless spenders controlling the White House and the Senate, I for one am happy to have a watchdog like Scott Tipton looking out for future generations of Americans.