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September 30, 2005

Porkbusters - Tilting at Windmills?

I went through a phase some years ago, when I was active about fighting the flood of "pork barrel" in federal government programs. This was back in the Reagan and Bush #1 years when the country was running large deficits ad there was much concern and talk about how we could ever balance the books. I wonder if the experience has scarred me; I feel a bit cynical about these issues today. I hate to be cynical, but I have learned the truth of what many at that time told me, that pork barrel spending is a bi-partisan feast, and that public concern over wastefulness was the one element of public opinion that politicians were willing to ignore no matter how loud the shouting. The more cynical point out that the public itself has been quite hypocritical about these things, note how newspaper editorialists are easily outraged about some other city's highway project, and are just as easily outraged when the feds provide inadequate Federal funds for some local boondoggle. There is truth in this, alas. We hate to see billions of taxpayer dollars handed out, but as long as it's going on, eager to have some sent our way.

I really don't want to be cynical about this, however, and I still hate to see such outrageous waste going on in a time when the country is in deficit and moreover, we are fighting a war. I also think that this is a good "centrist" issue. Both parties are thoroughly hooked on the political drug of pork barrel spending and are never going to do anything about it. This is a great illustration of the failure of the existing party structures, assuming you find wasteful spending objectionable. So I am heartened to find the blogosphere taking a strong stand against "pork", especially with the added leverage of the astronomical bill handed the US taxpayer for the hurricane damage in the gulf coast. If being in a recession and a war was not enough to curb spending, perhaps an historical-scale disaster will help. Well...perhaps it will.

Glenn Reynold has brought the considerable force that is Instapundit to the cause, along with Truth Laid Bear, in organizing a "Porkbusters" initiative amongst bloggers and anyone else who can help. The idea, if by some chance yo have missed it until now, is to organize citizens to identify wasteful federal spending that can be "sacrificed" to aid in the rebuilding of Louisiana and Mississippi. I saw this and said a prayer for their efforts, but have not allowed myself to get to excited because, well, I've been burned before, as they say. There does seem to be some movement, however. Could it be that this hurricane has put us at the "tipping point?" Americans have been so very generous with immediate cash donations to Hurricane relief, we just might be willing to part with a bridge or interchange in order to rebuild the Big Easy.

I have not been watching the more pork-laden bills in any detail recently, just to much frustration and stomach-upset for me, so I don't have any spending cut recommendations close at hand to contribute. The best I can do at this point is add my support, and a letter to Dianne and Barbara (aka, The California Senate delegation) and a congressperson or two. Good luck guys.

Posted by Jay on September 30, 2005 at 12:30 PM | Permalink


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