Which ‘America’s Treasure’ Should We Save?

The “world’s largest pipe organ” in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall (formerly?Convention Hall) was not played in the last six years.?? It needs $10 million of cleaning and repair work.? I heard that organ a lot? in my younger days, but I wouldn’t pay to hear it again.??? I also wouldn’t pay to hear a scratchy 78 record, or see a movie through my car windshield on a “world’s largest” outdoor drive-in movie screen.? To me, Atlantic City’s organ was an expensive, overpriced, under-used boondoggle the day it was built in the 1930’s.? I don’t think every old piece of? junk is a historic treasure.

You may disagree.? You are free to donate your own money, or buy high priced tickets to hear the sound of that organ again.? But? I can think of? better ways to spend ten million bucks.
Unfortunately, our local politicians from Congressman Frank LoBiondo to the folks who run Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall don’t see it that way.?? Last month, they started the process of spending $10 million of federal and state tax money to get that organ working again.??? Normally, Congressman LoBiondo claims credit for every nickel of federal money spent in this district.? But this time, he did not say a word.?? The plan is to quietly spend so much tax money on the project that it won’t pay to stop when taxpayers wake up and start squawking.?? Our daily Atlantic City Press is helping.

Last month, it reported that the “not for profit Historic Organ Restoration Committee” was “thrilled” that the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority got a $100,000 “Save America’s Treasures” grant to restore the organ.?? Historic Organ Restoration Committee member and “pipe organ expert” Curt Mangel also said “there is about $2 million in (state) funds to repair the organ”.??? This money would be used to “spread the work out over many fine firms.”
Where is this money coming from???? From our taxes, of course!? But the Atlantic City Press never said so.?? It never mentioned that? “Save America’s Treasures” grants are $30 million federal tax dollars dished out by the federal National Park Service each year.? The most popular programs for the 2006 election year were new roofs for churches.?? The 16th Street Baptist Church of Birmingham, Alabama got? $400,000, the Baptist Church in Helena, Arkansas got $300,000, and there was money for churches in Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Virginia.?? Click here for the complete list of grants for 2006. (Notice that although Congress spent $30 million on the program, all of the grants? together total only $7.63 million.?? What happened to the rest of the money?)?
Many of these projects are worthy, most are not.? But all are LOCAL projects with little or no NATIONAL significance.?? Are fixing these old buildings more important than fixing roads, bridges, schools, and prisons or enforcing immigration laws??? If you believe in “government of the people”, shouldn’t the LOCAL folks who live near and know the most about these projects decide whether or not to pay higher taxes for them?
Democrat President Bill Clinton began this ?”emporary” program as the “Millenium Fund to Save America’s Treasures” in 1998.?? Democrat Clinton asked the Republican controlled Congress for $30 million to spruce up important national landmarks for the 2000 Millennium celebrations.?? But as soon as the Republican dopes gave the Democrat president control of the money, he put his wife Hillary Clinton in charge.??? Hillary then barnstormed the country and handed out $30 million in checks for the “important” projects that locals would not spend their own money on.??? And she leveraged that good will to win votes and campaign cash for Democrat Al Gore’s campaign for President, and her own campaign for U.S. Senate in New York.??
When “compassionate conservative” Republican George Bush became President, he continued the $30 million per year program, even when he was short money for the wars against terror and in Iraq, and to enforce our immigration laws.
Since the Save America’s Treasures grants must be matched by state and local funds, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority will spend $100,000 of state tax money to get the $100,000 federal grant.? And you know that next year, state politicians will spend another $200,000 to keep the project going another year, because they would never admit that the first $200,000 was wasted.
Visit www.libertyandprosperity.org and look for the section of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to fix old pipe organs, put new roofs on churches, etc.?????? Do these projects “define and punish piracies”, “suppress insurrections” or “repel invasions?”?? Do they establish “post offices and post roads” or “regulate commerce with foreign nations” or “among the several states?”? Of course not!??? The Constitution was designed to give Congress the LIMITED power to fix NATIONAL problems, that local folks could not handle on their own.
When will we realize that America’s greatest treasure is our Constitution??? Why not spend some money to save that?

For more information, visit www.libertyandprosperity.org or contact Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman at grossman@snip.net or 609-927-7333.

  • Seth Grossman

    Seth Grossman is executive director of Liberty And Prosperity, which he co-founded in 2003. It promotes American liberty and limited constitutional government through weekly radio and in-person discussions, its website, email newsletters and various events. Seth Grossman is also a general practice lawyer.

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