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Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 548 -- Earmarks.
Pork Doesn't Measure Up To Entitlement Spending, But It Drives Overall Spending Upward & Corrupts Congress-
Chuck Schumer infamously derided (via YouTube) "the chattering classes" for focusing so much of their attention on the "little porky amendments" in the stimulus package.
In some ways, he had a point. The "pork" or "earmarks" made up only a small percentage of the overall disaster of a bill. But to paraphrase Yogi Berra, when you take a billion here and a billion there, eventually you're talking about real money. And pork is bad for more than the sheer dollars figures involved. It does at least two really, really bad things:
1. It contributes to a culture of overall spending growth. There is a strong correlative link between pork growth and growth in non-pork programs.
2. It corrupts. It causes legislators to trade their votes to get their home project funded. It proliferates lobbyists' hands in bills. Pork eliminates competition and transparency. It's bad for a lot of reasons, even though entitlements are the real driver of government spending.
Just take a gander at government spending growth in 2009, which includes more than 9,000 earmarks:
The American people hired Obama to put out a fire. He showed up and sprayed a tank full of jet fuel all over it. It's no wonder that the stock market has completely tanked over the past month or two and the unemployment rate has jumped up to 8.1% (.pdf). Just for reference, Texas' rate is also climbing but remains 1.7% lower-- at 6.4%.
Interesting, too, that Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison wants to replace fiscally conservative Rick Perry as Governor, yet she is the 22nd biggest porker in the Senate, and she's the biggest porker in Texas:
WASHINGTON – Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison fought against earmarks this week, urging her colleagues to trim wasteful spending from a $410 billion bill and even voting to strip all 8,500 earmarks from the measure.
Actually, the Senator was responsible for 113 earmarks totaling $267,153,966. A little higher than the 150 million figure in the Dallas Morning News.
She also said:
I do think that earmarks are a legitimate role of Congress.
How is that fiscally conservative? How does she think she can win conservative Republican primary voters with that mentality, especially looking at the latest Rasmussen numbers showing Governor Perry's rising approval ratings?
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Top 10% Rule.
Posted by Will Franklin · 6 March 2009 11:53 AM
Just say NO to pork! That means no thanks, Kay!
Posted by: ZsaZsa at March 6, 2009 12:30 PM
All Porkers need to be on NOTICE that we refuse to accept supporting Pork. I think Kay is really cute. BUT not if she is running for Pork Queen!
Posted by: ZsaZsa at March 6, 2009 01:30 PM
Um... Will, that "billion here" quote is from Senator Everett Dirksen, I believe.
Posted by: Jay Tea at March 7, 2009 08:08 AM