The LA Times reports on the latest omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2010 (which started on October 1), which includes a mere 5,224 earmarks:
The measure brings total earmarks in this year's spending bills to 7,577 at a cost of about $6 billion, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. The Pentagon spending bill, the last of the annual appropriations bills, is expected to contain more earmarks than the omnibus bill, said Steve Ellis of the taxpayer group.
Wha, wha, wha? Defense spending larded with pork? Say it so, Bob Gates! The Times notes that anti-earmarker Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
singled out for criticism $200,000 provided for the Aquatic Adventures Science Education Foundation in San Diego. Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-San Diego) said that the money would go to a program that will "inspire children to pursue education in the sciences while encouraging students from disadvantaged backgrounds to go to college."
The bill also includes $600,000 for an Echo Park streetscape project; $180,000 for "training the next generation of weather forecasters" at San Jose State University; and $250,000 for textile research at UC Davis.
Other must-fund projects include "trails for Monterey Bay," "an arts pavillion for Mississippi," and "bus shelters for Bellflower," California. If taxes are the price we pay for civilization (and they're not), then perhaps earmarks are the price we pay for being really, really civilized.
As Reason.tv explained in "Earmarks: The Alien Menace," such projects may amount to a small portion of the federal budget, but they are the gateway drug (and not in a good way) to massive and unrestrained spending on all things unwise and unwonderful. Watch and learn, then vomit. Repeat as necessary.