There is perhaps no better symbol of all that is wrong with the Democratic grab bag that was passed under the rubric of "stimulus" than the salt marsh harvest mouse. In a $787 billion bill that was sold as a necessity to restart our economy and keep unemployment from ever going over 8%, precious little of it is actually going to fan the flames of small business and create permanent private sector jobs. Instead, we learn today that $16.1 million of the stimulus is being spent to protect the salt marsh harvest mouse, an endangered rodent that lives in marshes abutting San Francisco.
This from the Washington Times:
. . . The Obama administration quietly announced last week that as much as $16.1 million from the stimulus program is going to save the San Francisco Bay area habitat of, among other things, the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.
That has revived Republican criticism that the pet project was an "invisible earmark" in the massive spending bill for Mrs. Pelosi, whose San Francisco district abuts the bay, and epitomizes the failure of stimulus spending to help an economy still shedding jobs.
"Lo and behold, the government has announced that the mouse is getting its money after all," House Minority Leader John A. Boehner said while standing beside a poster of the furry varmint. "Speaker Pelosi must be so proud."
The Ohio Republican continued, "So let's get this straight: The stimulus isn't creating jobs for American workers, but it is making sure American harvest mice have nice comfortable homes in the midst of the recession." Mrs. Pelosi's office was quick to dismiss the criticism.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill called the attack on the mouse "a tired and tried tale of Republican desperation," noting that the mouse was never mentioned in the legislation and the project competed with other restoration jobs for funding. Mr. Hammill said the bay project benefited both the economy and the ecosystem.
"Wetlands restoration projects, such as this one, not only create jobs, but improve the environment," he said. "Wetlands filter contaminants from the waters of the bay, protect our shores against sea level rise, and provide habitat for a myriad of wildlife, including several endangered species. . . .
Right. Just how many permanent jobs can we see coming out of this project? What is the possible economic justification for funding this in part on borrowed money? This has nothing to do with the economy and everything to do with a favored project of the left getting funded in the obscene spending - and borrowing - spree that was "stimulus." The picture of this mouse should be made the permanent background for the graphs of unemployment and national debt in America under the Obama administration.