Rich, that list of Bailout Bill earmarks gives the game away.
When this thing first came up, a lot of us felt like the Mister Average Joe guy at the start of a conspiracy thriller who gets a call saying the place is gonna blow, you got 30 seconds to get outta there, jump out the rear window, and get into the unmarked car with the fellows in reflector shades.
“Whu..? Why? Er, lemme think…”
“Clock’s ticking, pal.”
Now it turns out the once-in-a-lifetime save-the-global-economy emergency-measure has got time for all the business as usual. Well, which is it? I’m willing to be persuaded of the merits of a bill for “wool research”, or the merits of a billion-trillion-gazillion-dollar bill to save the planet from economic meltdown. But the same piece of legislation cannot plausibly contain both.
I suppose sophisticated insiders would assure me that regrettably there’s no possibility of earmark reform; this is just the price of doing business in Washington. But that’s why non-sophisticated non-insiders hold the political class in contempt. The same blowhards who run for office on a platform of lowering ocean levels and healing the planet then turn around and insist they’re unable to do anything about the one small area of human endeavor for which they bear sole responsibility.
If this is an emergency, hold the wool research. If it’s an emergency that’s got time for wool research, let’s chew it over for another few months.
We’re poor little lambs who have lost our way. Bah, bah, bah.
[UPDATE: A reader adds:
So now the line will go something like this:
“…you got 30 seconds to exit the building or you’re toast…but be sure to stop by Quinzos on your way out for a free cup of soup with any qualifying sandwich…”]