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A Voice in the Pork-Barrel Wilderness

Even if Congress eliminated all pork-barrel projects, aka earmarks, the dent in the federal budget would not be significant because earmarks represents only a small portion of the federal budget. However, it seems safe to say that if Congress is unable to stop the abuse of earmarks, there is no hope of making a serious dent in entitlements, which are the far greater problem of the federal budget.

With publication of its 2010 Pig Book, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) takes its 20th annual look at wasteful federal spending. Tom Schatz, president of CAGW, has a column in Pajamas Media announcing the new expose of wasteful spending. He writes:

“For fiscal year 2011, House Democrats are not requesting earmarks that go to for-profit entities; House Republicans are not requesting any earmarks (although there are both exceptions and definitional questions). Not surprisingly, the Senate has rejected any limits on earmarks. None of these reforms are sufficient to eliminate all earmarks, so CAGW expects there will still be a 2011 Congressional Pig Book.

“The transparency changes are far from perfect. The fiscal year 2010 Defense Appropriations Act contained 35 anonymous projects worth $6 billion, or 59 percent of the total pork in the bill. Out of the 9,129 projects in the 2010 Congressional Pig Book, there were 9,048 requested projects worth $10 billion and 81 anonymous projects worth $6.5 billion.  These projects included $2.5 billion for C-17s and $465 million for an alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter.

“The latest installment of CAGW’s 20-year exposé of pork-barrel spending includes $4,481,000 for wood utilization research, $400,000 for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, $300,000 for Carnegie Hall in New York City, and $200,000 for the Washington National Opera in the District of Columbia.  Two of these projects were among the 14 winners of CAGW’s “Oinker Awards.”

“Pork is not only wasteful, it is also inequitably distributed. Some states receive far more than other states. Hawaii led the nation with $251 per capita ($326 million), while Wyoming received $12.28 per capita ($6.68 million.) The average for all states was $27.36 per capita.”

Congrats to CAGW on the publication of its 2010 Pig Book, and as Liz from Maryland comments:

“I’m sick of people who trivialize the size of pork spending compared to the overall budget. I put a “pittance” into a jar everyday, and it pays for an extra mortgage payment each year.

“Those who receive pork are as greedy and corrupt as those delivering it.”

Let’s hope that after the November 2010 elections, there will not be a need for a 2011 Pig Book. It’s safe to say, I think, that Liz from Maryland, is a leader in the Tea Party movement, too.

p.s. You can also watch Tom Schatz on PJTV describe "20 Years of Exposing Pork” in addition to reading his column.

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