The 2001: A Pork Odyssey........
#20777 - 12/07/01 12:39 PM (22.214.171.124)
In fiscal year (FY) 2001, appropriators worshipped at the altar of
pork-barrel spending like never before. Just like the apes clawing at
the mysterious monolith at the beginning of 2001: A Space
Odyssey, appropriators saw the mountain of money created by the
budget surplus and grabbed so many of the taxpayers' dollars that
they created a new epic, 2001: A Pork Odyssey.
Members of Congress not only porked out at record levels, they also
made it difficult for opponents of such spending to protest its
inclusion in the appropriations bills. Some bills were brought to the
floor on a limited basis. At other times members had less than 24
hours between the bill's release from committee and the final vote.
These closed-door tactics ensured that appropriators, as leaders of
the spending cult in Washington, could logroll their way to a 297
percent increase in pork since 1997.
The 2001 Congressional Pig Book is cluttered with 6,333 porcine
projects - a 46 percent increase over FY 2000. The final tally of
$18.5 billion, a 4 percent increase over FY 2000, brings total pork
identified by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) since
1991 to $119 billion.
Congress's unrepentant use of the Treasury to fund these porcine
projects confirms the need for a 12-step program to reform the pork
addicts on Capitol Hill. A tough combination of budget reforms,
which will make it more difficult to hide the bacon, and tax cuts,
which will shut off the money supply, should help members go cold
turkey (or pork free). Otherwise, the sequel to 2001: A Pork
Odyssey will star the biggest porkers of all time.
The top three increases in pork from FY 2000 to FY 2001 were:
Treasury/Postal from $96 million to $648 million (571 percent);
Foreign Operations from $86 million to $227 million (162 percent);
and Interior from $332 million to $616 million (86 percent).
Alaska again led the nation with $766 per capita ($480 million), or
30 times the national average of $25. The runners up were Hawaii
with $391 per capita ($474 million) and Mississippi with $236 per
capita ($672 million). The common thread among the top three
per-capita states is that they are represented by powerful senators
and appropriators - Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted
Stevens (R-Alaska), Senate appropriator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii),
and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.).
All the talk about meeting national priorities, reducing the debt,
Social Security and Medicare reform, and fiscal restraint will mean
nothing if the easy choices aren't made first - eliminating pork-barrel
spending. The false altar of pork must be demolished so fiscal
sanity can once again reign in Washington.
The 433 projects, totaling $3.5 billion, in this year's Congressional
Pig Book Summary symbolize the most egregious and blatant
examples of pork. As in previous years, all of the items in the
Congressional Pig Book Summary meet at least one of CAGW's
seven criteria, but most satisfy at least two:
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.
Rangers, Lead the Way!
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
......and I went......
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