Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Pulled Pork

Citizens Against Government Waste has tallied $27.3 billion in pork barrel spending in this year's edition of their annual Pig Book.

That's the most pork they've ever found in Uncle Sam's budget. The Pig Book this year details 470 of what CAGW consider the most egregious examples. Things like:


  • $10,000,000 for the International Fund for Ireland
  • $3,000,000 for the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
  • $1.7 million for the International Fertilizer Development Center
  • $1,430,000 for various Halls of Fame, including $250,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, and $70,000 for the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in Appleton, Wisconsin
  • $350,000 for the Inner Harmony Foundation and Wellness Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • $100,000 for the Tiger Woods Foundation
  • $100,000 for the Bach to School Program

Many of the items have social, cultural, or other benefits. But CAWG says all items on the list should have been funded in other ways or sought through more open debate.

For instance, there's $4 million for the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System. It's in Sen Bill Frist's (R-TN) home state. His website says the money's needed to help the district expand for an added 1,000 students. But it's not in the Education Department budget. It's in the Defense budget.

To meet their standards to be declared "pork", a project has to meet one of seven criteria:


  • 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
  • Serves only a local or special interest

They found an amazing 13,997 projects that met those criteria.

The Pig Book is also available online along with a state-by-state breakdown of how much pork per capita gets spread around. And CAGW has a searchable database of every item they labeled "pork."

You'll also find that the most money goes to the home states and districts of the folks on the Appropriations Committee -- where many of the items are added. The two most senior senators by party got the most cash. Both long serving Senators serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Sen Robert Byrd (D-WV) earned CAGW's "Flipping the Byrd at the Taxpayer Award" for the $399 million in pork he got for his home state. And Sen Ted Stevens (R-AK) won the "Hogzilla Award" for bringing home $646 million in bacon for Alaska. (CAWG)

[Crossposted at BlogCritics.org]

1 comment:

PSoTD said...

People from the other 48 states ought to be pressuring Alaska and West Virginia to dump these porkers.