Their Barrel Runneth Over

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"This is more pork with one vote than they have ever passed in their lives," says Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, referring to the $397.4 billion spending bill approved by Congress last night. According to The New York Times,

The extent of home-state spending did not sit well with everyone. Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, noted that the measure included $90,000 for the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, $350,000 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and $750,000 for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"I'd nominate Congress for the Pork Barrel Hall of Fame, but I'm afraid the appropriators would actually try to appropriate money for it," said Mr. Flake, who said he was even more irritated that the measure was largely written by Republicans.

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  1. I agree with Flake on this one. I’ve come to expect billions upon billions in wasteful pork spending from Democrats. I guess the fact that these slices of pork were primarily the creation of Republicans shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to me, except part of me was still under the delusion that today’s Republicans could actually be called “Conservative”. Chalk this up as further evidence that, at day’s end, there really is very little difference between Demicans and Republocrats.

  2. Actually, I recently ran a statistical analysis of government size (gov’t spending as fraction of GDP) against party composition of government (since 1929), and there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans. Small government correlates strongly with a Democratic President and Republican Senate; large government with the opposite. The House, oddly, is totally irrelevant.

    So, in terms of size of government, there is a difference. It’s just not consistant.
    –G

  3. Just think of how much we could hack off with one Libertarian senator

  4. On a tangent to this pork story, it seems that the group tax haters need to really worry about is Republican governors. Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute just published a story praising new-new democrats such as Bill Richardson, Jennifer Granholm and Ed Rendell for fixing state budgets through reductions in spending and not raises in taxes(he missed democrat Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas who has also not raised taxes in the face of budget difficulties). However, Republican governors, often elected on promises of fiscal responsibilty and no new tax pledges, are clamoring for tax hikes.

    You can read the article here (subscription only) http://www.weeklystandard.com/weekly/weekly.asp#473

    It’s no surprise that Republican governors would be more likely to raise taxes though, and here’s why: state and local taxes are disproportionally regressive. Here’s a site where you can find out how much more the lower and middle class pay in state taxes than the upper 20th percentile.

    http://www.itepnet.org/whopays.htm

    So, Republican Governors can raise taxes without biting the hand that feeds them.

  5. while the jury is still out, Gov. Jim Doyle (Democrat) here in Wisconsin seems to be looking a lot more like a fiscal conservative. He ran on “no tax increase” and had huge union support. So far, no tax increases and he’s cutting like a Reagan Republican. It’ll be interesting to see if he pisses the unions off when he furloughs state workers.

  6. Too bad us Californian’ers are still stuck with Gov. “Tax-and-Spend” Davis. At least some Democrat governors are living up to their stereotype.

  7. for all simpsons fans:

    assume the yoga position, “the american taxpayer”…

    drf

  8. I just finished working a 60-hour week. Had a bowl of soup for dinner. Will be clipping coupons on Sunday to make sure I can handle the grocery bill this month. Bracing to tell the significant other that, no, I don’t think I’ll be able to afford the four-day beach trip this summer after all.

    Then I see this news and … well, at least SOMEBODY is getting some use out of my money.

    God, this crap makes me freakin sick.

  9. I’ll take all those Halls o’ Fame over the NEA and the NEH any day–and over PBS as well.

  10. I agree, Rachel, but wouldn’t it be nice if they allowed US to decide where to put that money? Put the money back in my pocket and I’ll make better use of it.

  11. CAGW is right wing front group. They put out these examples of really egregious spending to build their credibility, so they can get a lot of press as a “neutral” or “nonpartisan” goo-goo group when they attack liberal programs. To these people, any program that aims to help the poor or strengthen the public realm is “government waste.” But they never get called on it. Pretty clever, really.

  12. Joe:

    All those programs aiming to “help the poor or strengthen the public realm [gag]” are called “corporate liberalism.” They were not, as the corporate liberal flack Art Schlesinger claimed, forced on big business against its will. They were created at the instigation of big business, as a way of socializing the cost of reproducing the labor force, stabilizing society, maintaining aggregate demand, and cartelizing industry through regulations.

    That being said, if they don’t go after transportation pork–which Republicans love–they’re intellectual whores. The trucking and airline industries here in northwest Arkansas, and companies that depend on them like Tyson and Wal-mart, have got highway pork from Congressman John Paul Hammershit and his Republican successors. We had an airport shoved down our throat on land stolen from its rightful owners, through the collusion of Hammershit and the local big shots, so the Waltons, Tysons and Hunts could ship their freight at subsidized rates.

    And did this group tear into the renowned cheerleader from Ole Miss, Trent, for his shipbuilding pork?

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