Willisms
Navigation

Buy WILLisms

XML Feed


Featured Entries

The Babe Theory Of Political Movements.
Mar. 21, 2005 11:50 AM

Iran's Sham Election In Houston.
June 20, 2005 5:36 AM

Yes, Kanye, Bush Does Care.
Oct. 31, 2005 12:41 AM

Health Care vs. Wealth Care.
Nov. 23, 2005 3:28 PM

Americans Voting With Their Feet.
Nov. 30, 2005 1:33 PM

Idea Majorities Matter.
May 12, 2006 6:15 PM

Twilight Zone Economics.
Oct. 17, 2006 12:30 AM

The "Shrinking" Middle Class.
Dec. 13, 2006 1:01 PM

From Ashes, GOP Opportunities.
Dec. 18, 2006 6:37 PM

Battle Between Entitlements & Pork.
Dec. 21, 2006 12:31 PM

Let Economic Freedom Reign.
Dec. 22, 2006 10:22 PM

Biggest Health Care Moment In Decades.
July 25, 2007 4:32 PM

Unions Antithetical to Liberty.
May 28, 2008 11:12 PM

Right To Work States Rock.
June 9, 2008 12:25 PM



Donate





Links

Blogroll Me!







Search



Archives

July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004




Social Security Reform Thursday.
March 13, 2008

Caption Contest: Enter Today!
Due: July 29, 2008

The Carnival Of Classiness.
Mar. 14, 2006

Quotational Therapy: Obama.
Apr. 4, 2008

Mainstream Melee: Wolfowitz.
May 19, 2007

Pundit Roundtable: Leaks.
July 9, 2006

A WILLisms.com(ic), by Ken McCracken
July 14, 2006




Credits

Powered by Movable Type 3.17
Site Design by Sekimori




WILLisms.com June 2008 Book of the Month (certified classy):











The WILLisms.com Gift Shop: Support This Site

giftshopbanner.gif











This Week's Carnival of Revolutions: carnivalbutton.gif



Carnival Home Base: homebase.gif

























Willisms

« Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 390 -- Minimum Wage. | WILLisms.com | Barack Obama: There's No 'There' There »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 391 -- Entitlements Versus Earmarks.

Pork Ain't Nothin' Compared To A Few Select Programs Running On Auto-Pilot-

Pork spending has exploded in recent years:

The number of congressional spending earmarks totaled 10,656 in fiscal 2004 (costing $23 billion), 13,997 in 2005 ($27 billion) and just under 10,000 this past fiscal year ($29 billion).

WOW! Explosion! Ka-plow!

endoftheworld.gif

Okay, maybe not.

fy2006porkandentitlements.gif

Similar to last year's numbers, from FY05 (Oct. 2004 - Sept. 2005) to FY06 (Oct. 2005 - Sept. 2006), pork spending went up by two billion dollars, while mandatory spending not including net interest automatically increased by 102 billion dollars.

Now, one might quibble with the definition of "pork." Indeed, many Americans might consider the entirety of federal spending outside of "providing for the common defense" to be "pork." One could also easily make the case that certain wasteful habits within otherwise valid departments and programs are "pork" (fully refundable plane tickets that go unused, government building thermostats set too low in the summer and too high in the winter, etc.)

And while wasteful government spending certainly is bad any way you slice it, to be classified as pork, a government expenditure simply must meet one of the following criteria, developed by Citizens Against Government Waste, the authority on pork:

* Requested by only one chamber of Congress;

* Not specifically authorized;

* Not competitively awarded;

* Not requested by the President;

* Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;

* Not the subject of congressional hearings; or

* Serves only a local or special interest.

So, ~1% of the federal budget-- 9,963 projects total over the course of 11 appropriations bills in FY2006-- was pork. That's just under 100 dollars for every man, woman, and child in America.

Cause of concern, particularly when you add the cumulative pork identified by CAGW since 1991: $241 billion. That's real money. More than 800 dollars for every single man, woman, and child in America today.

Meanwhile, annual mandatory spending (which runs on auto-pilot) has grown to more than 1.4 trillion dollars:

mandatoryexpenditures.gif

Per household, that's quite a bit of moolah:

mandatoryperperson.gif

Note the dramatic ratcheting up just after LBJ's time in office. Indeed, "The Great Society" drastically increased the mandatory household burden:

Mandatory spending per household has increased over $8,817 since 1962, with 50 percent of that increase occurring between 1962 and 1983.

And as the Baby Boomers begin retiring in droves, we're looking at a sustained ratcheting effect greater than the post-LBJ era ratcheting. That's why reforming and modernizing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid NOW is so darned important.

In other words, even if Congress ends earmarking and conquers pork, it's still hardly noteworthy in the big picture. If Democrats are willing to eliminate earmarking for a year or two (I'll believe it when I see it), they'll only do it in order to earn some "fiscal responsibility" political capital which they will turn around and spend, tenfold.

It's truly brilliant politics, too. Make the symbolic gesture toward spending restraint, get away with not reforming Social Security. Forgo that new science museum in your district, get away with filling in the "donut hole" in Medicare's new prescription drug benefit. Give up the bike path, get away with taking us one step closer to socialized medicine.

Clearly not equal tradeoffs, but in this media environment, they might as well be. In 2006, Americans clearly believed Republicans failed to control the growth of spending; Congressional Republicans paid for it at the ballot box. Had GOP House members and/or Senators taken note of the growing grassroots porkbusting angst in 2003/2004 and eliminated earmarking entirely in 2005 and 2006, it not only would have averted much of the libertarian abandonment of the Republican Party at the polls, it would have boosted the Social Security reform effort.

Had "pork" had been completely eliminated but "record" (not my term) deficits persisted, it would have begged the question, "why, then, is government spending increasing so rapidly?"

Answer: entitlement spending explosion.

For example, annual Social Security spending has gone up by $147,050,000,000 (147.1 billion) since 2001, to $548,573,000,000 (548.6 billion) in FY2006 (.pdf). SINCE 2001. We now spend 147 billion additional dollars per year on Social Security than we did in 2001. Automatically.

Showing some spending restraint on pork/earmarks would have earned Republicans some street cred on the overarching theme of fiscal responsibility, and it would have made it exceedingly difficult for the media and the Democrats to stymie reform.

Now, however, Democrats can come off as angels if they actually do eliminate earmarks, and their halo will pave the way for far more deep-rooted fiscal irresponsibility.


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Minimum Wage Is Annoyingly Bad.

Posted by Will Franklin · 21 December 2006 12:31 AM

Comments

I hear people say that they don't believe our country is "Ready for a black or a woman President". I just don't think that our country is ready for Obama OR Hillary...

Posted by: zsa zsa at December 21, 2006 04:23 PM