Loyal reader LJdiver posted the following comment to my “Tea Partiers Unite” blog:
ljdiver Says: Here is the 2010 list of pork!
Consider your tax dollars well spent!
Intrigued, I followed the link. According to the Citizens Against Government Waste (America’s self-described #1 taxpayer watchdog) :
The Congressional Pig Book is CAGW’s annual compilation of the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. The 2010 Pig Book identified 9,129 projects at a cost of $16.5 billion in the 12 Appropriations Acts for fiscal 2009. A “pork” project is a line-item in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures. To qualify as pork, a project must meet one of seven criteria that were developed in 1991 by CAGW and the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition.
Now let’s see, the total Federal Budget for 2010 was $3.55 trillion . That would make the pork percentage of the budget–lessee—divide $16.5 billion…carry the two…My gosh – how outrageous! That means that–are you ready for this, outrage in hand–the percentage of pork in the Federal Budget is .0046478873 or, to round it , five-hundredths of one percent. My Lord, if only we cut all that pork out we’d only have to find another trillion or two to balance the budget!
My point in all of this is not to justify government waste no matter how trivial it all amounts to in the big scheme of things. Government can be more efficient, no doubt about it. (As can Wall Street in handling what’s left of my 403(b) and me in handling my food to exercise ratio.)
I do have two beefs with the most vocal of the anti-pork crowd, though. First, given that, according to the CAGW figures, my Nonfat milk has more fat in it that the Federal Budget I’ve got to question why it’s worth spending so much time and effort on attacking government for the money it shouldn’t spend rather than attack it for not spending the money it does more effectively? (Unless, of course, all these pork-attacks are a smoked pork screen to hide the real agenda of these “save the taxpayer” advocates which is to attack ALL government spending. In which case the argument being waged is purely ideological and not fiscal.)
Second, must one person’s pork is another person’s well-balanced meal. I grabbed one of the CAWG’s “pork” items completely at random from the list. It’s $200,000 for:
KidsPeace, Altamonte Springs, KidsPeace Florida Therapeutic Foster Care Program (Juvenile Justice)
The earmark was sponsored by Florida Senator Bill Nelson. Now, I can see where some might consider Therapeutic care for foster kids a big waste of time. I mean, if anybody really cared about them they’d have real parents, wouldn’t they? Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouse for they likes of them?
You get my drift.
So LJDiver, I can’t really say I consider this piece of pork to be necessarily badly spent. As for the list as a whole I repeat, $16.9 billion in pork is something to think about cutting. But slaughtering a piglet that small just ain’t gonna feed the whole Deficit family.