Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ham, Bacon and Pork Barrel Spending

The Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released their annual Pig Book this week, a document containing the 11,610 earmarks (also known as "pet projects" or "pork barrel projects" Congress "stuffed into 12 appropriations bills this year." Now, many of us know that earmarks are not always bad--they can allow members of Congress to fund large projects in towns and communities that don't have enough resources, or other necessary projects, but frequently are used benefit particular constituents or campaign contributors. The article from CAGW lists some of the top "Porkers" as well as some of the most ridiculous earmarks. I'm not sure how one gets their hands on the entire list. When I tried to navigate through their site it got a little wonky and then froze my computer. Just sayin'. Here's some text from the article...

"“When Congress adopted earmark reforms last year, there was hope that the number and cost of earmarks would be cut in half. By any measure, that has not occurred,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz.

In fiscal year 2008, Congress stuffed 11,610 projects (the second highest total ever) worth $17.2 billion into the 12 appropriations bills. That is a 337 percent increase over the 2,658 projects in fiscal year 2007, and a 30 percent increase over the $13.2 billion total in fiscal year 2007. Alaska led the nation with $556 in pork per capita ($380 million total), followed by Hawaii with $221 ($283 million) and North Dakota with $208 ($133 million). CAGW has identified $271 billion in total pork since 1991.

For the first time, the names of members of Congress were added to the projects. The top three porkers were members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, beginning with Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) with $892 million; Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) with $469 million; and Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) with $465 million.

The Pig Book Summary profiles the most egregious examples, breaks down pork per capita by state, and presents the annual Oinker Awards. All 11,610 projects are listed in a searchable database on CAGW’s website Examples of pork in the 2008 Pig Book include:

$3 million for The First Tee; $1,950,000 for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service; $460,752 for hops research; $211,509 for olive fruit fly research in Paris, France; $196,000 for the renovation and transformation of the historic Post Office in Las Vegas; $188,000 for the Lobster Institute in Maine; and $148,950 for the Montana Sheep Institute.

“Americans do not send their hard-earned tax dollars to Washington so that Sen. Daniel Inouye can bring home $173 million in defense pork and receive the Pacific Fleeced Award or get sapped by $4.8 million going to wood utilization research, on which the government has spent $91 million since 1985,” concluded Schatz."

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lifestudent said...

I love ham, bacon and pork. I couldnt pick a favorite, they are all just so delicious. Though, I dont think I could eat a whole barrel.

LC said...

a whole barrel makes me want to puke.