Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dr. Pork Barrel or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Government Waste

Greetings, I'll be brief with my introduction: I am GJ, friend of DC, Sarge, and FZ. Hence, I've been given the chance to state my opinions on this tremendous political blog. However, because my knowledge of politics is about as extensive as, say, FZ's knowledge of 1980's baseball stars, I've been told to focus my articles on one specific topic I do have some passion for (which is pork barrel spending). There's nothing I enjoy more than reading over the specific parts of important bills through the Senate (for example, let's take that little bill the Dems tried to pass to get a time table on the war in Iraq) to find money allocated to be spent on the strangest projects (I'm looking at *you* Harry Reid and the four million dollars you wanted to be spent on fighting American's biggest insect threat: Mormon crickets).

Today, I'll be looking at one man's strategy to take a clear stance on pork barrel spending in an attempt to "do things the right way". I figured I'd try to write a positive article before tearing into the really insane Government waste in the weeks to come. Anyway, according to this little article, Barack Obama has decided to make public a list of specific projects he has pursued funding for in federal spending bills. Of course, there were personal motives for Obama to release the information:

In the past week, his relationship with indicted real estate developer Tony Rezco has come under increased media scrutiny, both nationally and in Chicago. Disclosing his earmark requests could allow Obama to argue that he's still above the fray of Washington and keep his reputation intact.
Fair enough. It's risky for him to put his fingers in the real estate pie. It's certainly a political pie I would not want a slice of at dinner. Now to give Obama credit, he tends to support spending on not-so-insane projects:

Road and water projects dominate the list, along with requested assistance for colleges and universities and non-profit groups that provide social services. All safe choices — which one would expect from someone seeking national office. Obama's most expensive request was $40 million for Metra, metropolitan Chicago’s commuter rail system.
See, this isn't too bad, Obama would never, ever request spending on something clearly wastef-

Perhaps the most unconventional request is also the first item on the list: $3 million for the Adler Planetarium to replace projector equipment.
Oh. Wow. Well, I really can't defend this. Maybe the planetarium has a lot of projectors for some reason. Or one that projects on a 5,000 inch screen.

Maybe there isn't a candidate out there that is completely against all irrational forms of earmark spending (Ron Paul might be an exception, but it won't matter when seven people vote for him in the primary). Sadly, pork barrel spending is one of the parts of government we all must live with. Also, it gives me an opportunity to write, so here's hoping fine people like Barack, who I agree with on many issues, will continue to want to spend millions of dollars of tax payer money on projector equipment for a Planetarium.

1 comment:

BrandonIsADork said...

Yeah...but what if it was a REALLY REALLY cool planetarium?

Haha No, very insightful. Everyone seems to be guilty of adding something idiotic like that to these bills. I feel like all you can do is pull your hair out and scream at the FICA part of your paycheck.