A Few Words About Pork-Barrel Spending

We all know what pork-barrel spending is. It is also known by the term “earmarks” and figured very prominently in that pork-laden transportation bill which, among other things, included money to build a bridge to nowhere in Alaska. It got quite a bit of attention as I recall.

But now, most of that attention is negative. Taxpayers are fed-up about paying for earmarks and Congressional spending sprees. House Minority Leader John Boehner tells us why in his most recent column:

House Republicans have taken a stand against wasteful Washington spending by calling for a complete freeze on all “earmarks” and pork-barrel projects. While our challenge has largely fallen on deaf ears — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, could shut down the earmark process tomorrow if she wanted to — our cause has a strong ally in Sen. John McCain.

Mr. McCain has been a leader in the quest to end pork-barrel spending and has led by example — the senator, like myself, doesn’t request earmarks. He strongly supported a one-year moratorium on all earmarks in the U.S. Senate. And as president, Mr. McCain has promised that any “earmarked, pork-barrel bill that comes across my desk, I’ll veto it.”

Ironically, a good number of Republicans in the Senate voted opposite John McCain.

But let’s look beyond the Congress:

Mr. McCain’s opposition to wasteful spending is a breath of fresh air to taxpayers who foot the bill for congressional spending sprees. Americans aren’t interested in paying for teapot museums, peanut storage and “monuments to me,” where congressmen name buildings and other projects after themselves. And with families feeling the pinch of high gas prices and skyrocketing health care costs, they’re certainly not interested in tax increases.

That is absolutely the most prominent fact in the column. With energy costs going up, the last thing we taxpayers need is any kind of tax increase at all. Look at what subsidies for ethanol has done: given us higher gas and food prices and more dependence on oil. That was and still is madness.

Well, we know where John McCain stands on earmarks. Where do the two uber-liberal Dem candidates stand?

Not surprisingly, Mr. McCain’s Democratic opponents have quite a different record on spending. In 2007 alone, Sen. Hillary Clinton, New York Democrat, earmarked $340 million in taxpayer dollars. Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, earmarked more than $91 million. As recently as last week, both campaigns refused to disclose their full list of earmark requests.

The pressure finally got to Mr. Obama, who released his 2005-06 earmark requests on March 13. His requests include $1 million for a hospital where his wife served as vice president of community and external affairs.

While Mrs. Clinton continues to decline demands that she make her requests public, one nonpartisan watchdog group says the senator landed 360 earmarks from 2002 to 2006. In 2007, Mrs. Clinton admitted to seeking funding for a hippie museum in Bethel, N.Y. Her spokesman has stated flatly that Mrs. Clinton is “very proud” of her earmarks, which cost taxpayers more than $2.2 billion.

We definitely need to bring earmarks and pork spending under control. So far, only the Republicans have shown any effort to get rid of earmark spending. Where exactly does Congress get the money to go on spending sprees like this?

Read this:

Last week, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama both voted for the Democrats’ $3 trillion budget that included the largest tax increase in American history. According to the Associated Press, the budget would raise income taxes “on individuals making as little as $31,850 and couples earning $63,700” to pay for more wasteful spending.

We need to have John McCain in the White House and the Dems out of power in Congress.

You can access the complete column on-line here:

American Taxpayers Beware
Rep. John Boehner
TownHall.com
March 21, 2008

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