Friday, January 05, 2007
We like pork!
The local papers around here were filled with tributes to outgoing Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert yesterday. As our congressman, Hastert brought piles of money to our district during his tenure as Speaker (over $400 million) for things like roads, bridges, commuter rails, etc. When it's someone else's district or someone from the other party, such "financial reallocation" is called "government pork" and "buying votes" (which it certainly did around here); but, judging from the editorial letters and columns in our local papers, when it benefits you and your district it's called "bringing our tax dollars back from Washington". Funny how money changes ones point of view.

Apparently the American public is only concerned about deficit spending and pork barrel projects when the necessary cuts affect someone else's barrel. Frankly I think this is just flat out hypocrisy. We bemoan all the Washington pork, but then praise Hastert for "bringing home the bacon"? And what happened to the true conservatives? I was a big fan of the Republican Revolution's promise back in the mid-90's to cut government spending and balance the budget. And they did it! At least until their guy got into the White House and they gained control of all three branches of government - then instead of "tax and spend" Democrats we got "cut and spend" Republicans, and the deficit got worse than ever.

Where did all the conservatives go? Where are the people who really believe in limited government? I live in a very Republican district. So why are the so-called "conservatives" around here praising Hastert for exploding the deficit by bringing home all this pork? Why didn't they ever step up and say "Thanks but no thanks. All your federal funds for local projects go against our conservative principles"? I guess we really only believe in limited government when it's the other party that controls it, or when it's somebody other than us who is benefiting from it.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think roads and bridges and trains are good things. In fact, personally I'd rather our federal government spend its money on more things like that, than on starting wars in other countries. And perhaps if we weren't sinking hundreds of billions of dollars into Iraq, we'd have more "pork" to share among all of us. Wouldn't it be great if the government could spend more money on building things than on blowing them up? Maybe it's the unnecessary foreign wars that are the true "pork barrel projects" and building the infrastructure of this country is what our government is really supposed to be doing with our money in the first place.

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posted by Mike Clawson at 12:26 PM | Permalink |


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