The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

“Typical Rifle Shot” Bags Pork

Sep 28, 2009

The New York Times reports that the Senate Finance Committee has added a secretive section to the health care bill. Four cancer institutes, one each in Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey and Nevada, would be exempted from some Medicare payment limits. The incomes of the favored institutes will go up, paid by taxpayers.

The four institutes are not mentioned by name in the bill! Their secret is kept by special wording about dates and designations. The reporter had to dig behind the curtain to find their identities: the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Michigan, the Nevada Cancer Institute (still under construction!), the University Hospitals in Cleveland, and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

This sort of special treatment in secret is so common, the legislators have a special term for it. A spokesperson for Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow called this deal for Karmanos “a typical rifle shot.”

This reveals something of how Congress spends its days: rifle shots echoing across the chambers, hunting down ever newer ways to bag taxpayer money and deliver it to private interests.