As a thank-you to its most famous customer, Amtrak is renaming the train station in Wilmington, Del. after stimulus “sheriff” Vice President Joseph R. Biden — after the project received $20 million in stimulus money, and came in $5.7 million over the initial announced budget.
Spokesmen for Mr. Biden, who said he personally fought for stimulus money for Amtrak, didn’t respond to messages Wednesday or Thursday.
But Amtrak said it alone made the decision to rename the station in honor of the vice president. The company also said its own budget projection was always greater than the $32 million the White House announced back in 2009 – though Amtrak itself has listed the $32 million cost that year, later raising it to $37.7 million.
Cost of $37.7 million, divided by the original budget of $32 million, that gives us what, a 17.8% cost overrun?
Now, if Amtrak’s projected budget “was always greater than the $32 million the White House announced back in 2009,” then somebody was deliberately lying. Did Amtrak officials lie to the Obama Administration, and not tell them that the station cost would be greater than $32 million, or did the Administration lie to the public, in giving an artificially lowered cost estimate, along with ordering Amtrak officials to list the cost at $32 million?
And, why lie in the first place? The stimulus plan was approved in 2009, when Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress by wide margins, and where the Democrats had enough votes in the Senate to invoke cloture on any Republican filibusters.¹ The Republicans tried to stop the stimulus plan, but couldn’t; they just didn’t have the votes.
The answer is simple: the Obama Administration had to lie to the Democrats, lie to its own supporters, because Barck Obama and Rahm Emanuel knew that a few of the Senate Democrats, such as Ben Nelson, would balk at the real numbers. It was easier to lie about project costs when they needed the votes, and have to explain — or simply ignore — the cost over-runs when they finally became public, than it would have been to get the votes they needed if they had told the truth!
Of course, what’s $5.7 million? Piffle! It’s nothing, nothing at all, nothing to see here, just move along, please.
Except, of course, that we’ll see more and more of these things coming to light, won’t we? But, t’won’t matter at all, will it? By the 2012 election, everybody’ll have forgotten about these things, won’t they?
As for the senators on the edge, the ones the Obama Administration lied to to get their support? Well, Arlen Specter has now been retired, Blanche Lincoln is back home in whatever pipsqueak state elected her in the first place, and Russ Feingold — who didn’t need to be lied to; he was always such a liberal sycophant that he’d vote for anything Democratic — is still trying to figure out why the voters of Wisconsin didn’t re-elect him. Nancy Pelosi is still in the House of Representatives, but she isn’t the Speaker anymore, because so many of the Democrats, many of them the moderate “blue dogs” who needed to be persuaded, are private citizens once again.
Karma strikes again!
¹ – This includes Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who hadn’t yet made his change from the Republican to Democratic Party.