Citizens Against Government Waste has just released its 2008 Congressional Pig Book Summary, a breakdown of pork-barrel projects that made it through Congress last year. Some $17.2 billion in earmarks are broken down by state, lawmaker, and amount. It’s a quick, easy way to see how much pork your elected officials are grabbing, and how much you, the taxpayer, are paying for projects in other states. The book lists 11,610 projects (vs. 546 in 1991) that were included in just 12 Appropriations Acts for fiscal year 2008.
The Pig Book, first published in 1991, uses the following 7 criteria for evaluating pork. To be included in the book, a project must meet at least one of these crtieria; most meet two or more:
• 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.
Also, don’t miss the book’s Porker Awards. Examples are: “This Pork Was Made for Walking Award” to Representative Virgil Goode (R-Va.) for $98,000 to develop a walking tour of Boydton, Virginia; “The Pig in Sheep’s Clothing Award” to Montana Senators Max Baucaus (D) and Jon Tester (D) for $148,950 for the Montana Sheep Institute; and “The French Kiss Off Award” to Representative Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) for $211,509 in olive fruit fly research in Paris, France.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain has pledged that, if elected, he will not approve any bill that includes earmarks. Judging from The Pig Book, that promise will be very difficult to keep. It is worth noting, however, that the new book shows not one penny of pork attributed to Sen. McCain last year. In contrast, Democratic candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton sponsored 281 projects totaling $296.2 million and Sen. Barack Obama sponsored 53 projects totaling $97.4 million.
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2 thoughts on “New Pig Book details earmarks approved in Washington”
But these “porks” do add jobs to the LOCAL economy. It is a way to redistribute wealth. Most of the recipients are struggling local firms, businesses, and citizens.
They do indeed redistribute wealth, but usually as payback to campaign contributors, special interest groups, and constituents, not projects that benefit the nation as a whole. Federal tax dollars shouldn’t be supporting the Montana Sheep Association, for example, and most certainly not being sent overseas to fund a fruit fly study. There are already federal programs in place to aid small businesses and citizens in need. Generally, local economies are responsible for themselves.
If those were their purpose, these projects would be widely advertised, their budgets authorized and published to invite bids.
Here bribes have become so common in the building industry that even the most level-headed citizens find it hard to believe that they might be illegal. They somehow end of thjinking that the Mayor of a town has a right to take “commissions”.
In a little town where I lived before the mayor started out as an unemployed drummer and bricklayer with a scooter. He ended up a distinguished gentleman with his two BMWs parked in front of his villa. The people loved him, voted him back in until the police came after him.
And I forgot to mention: he ended up also controlling the local “labor market” when job opportunities came only through him.
Sounds like politicians are the same the world over.