It might have been turkey season, but it was pork carved up in Washington, D.C., last month. And all pork, of course, is paid for by money taken forcibly from taxpayers.
“Despite a record $413 billion deficit, the government spending plan Congress approved (on Nov. 20) that awaits President George W. Bush’s signature is chock-full of special items for industries and communities,” reported The Associated Press. The bill is for fiscal year 2005, which began last Oct. 1.
The president is maintaining his perfect record of never vetoing even one spending item despite the switch from surpluses to record deficits under his watch. His “tough guy” persona for terrorists turns to papier mache when he confronts congressmen protecting even a single slice of bacon.
“It’s getting worse,” Council for Citizens Against Government Waste President Tom Schatz said. The group was set up in 1984 by the late J. Peter Grace, who headed the Grace Commission in the Reagan administration that identified government waste.
“Defenders of the bill are saying that non-defense spending is up only 1 percent over the previous year,” he said. “But the increase in the first three years was 7 or 8 percent” each of those years. “And the president said the increase would only be half a percent. They’re not really cutting.”
He pointed out that two years ago, pork funded two halls of fame at a cost of $1.2 million. But this year, seven halls are decked with $1.4 million of our money.
Here are some of the pork items AP and CCAGW identified, beginning with a few of those halls:
n $35,000 for the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
n $350,000 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
n $250,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn.
n $75,000 for the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in Appleton, Wis.
• $100,000 for a municipal swimming pool in Ottawa, Kan.
• $2 million for kitchen relocation in Fairbanks North Star Borough in Fairbanks, Alaska.
• $1.5 million for a demonstration project to transport naturally chilled water from Lake Ontario to Lake Onondaga.
• $500,000 for the Kincaid Park Soccer and Nordic Ski Center in Anchorage, Alaska.
• $25,000 for fitness equipment for the YMCA in Bradford County, Pa.
This waste is just shameful. As Schatz noted, the president and the Republican leadership in Congress need to realize that the tax and Social Security reforms they seek will be a lot harder if their piggish spending habits keep bloating the deficit.