Saturday, November 27, 2004
Ever wonder where the money went?
Libertarians chide Congress for passing bill filled with pork -- and turkey, and more
WASHINGTON -- Just in time for Thanksgiving, Congress has passed another obscenely expensive budget bill crammed with pork -- and turkey, and potatoes, and soybeans, and bananas, and 11,768 other items that have no business being purchased with taxpayers' money, Libertarians say.
"This turkey of a bill couldn't fly anyplace except Washington, DC," said Joseph Seehusen, executive director of the Libertarian Party. "And while special interests have a lot to be thankful for, this legislation should cause ordinary Americans to lose their appetite."
The $388 billion omnibus spending bill for 2005, passed by Congress last weekend, contains an eye-popping 11,772 earmarked "special projects," adding up to $15.8 billion. Though the mammoth spending bill was temporarily held up by a tax provision, Bush is expected to sign it once that measure is removed.
And that's bad news for taxpayers, Libertarians say.
"Congress' Thanksgiving recipe for pork includes, well, pork," Seehusen observed. "Specifically, the Missouri Pork Producers Federation has been awarded $1 million to convert hog waste into energy. And just to prove they're in the holiday spirit, these turkey-barreling politicians threw in $225,000 for the National Wild Turkey Federation in South Carolina."
Also on the legislative menu: $1,593 to store potatoes in Madison, Wisconsin; $800,000 for "soybean rust" research in Ames, Iowa; $250,000 for asparagus technology and production in Washington state; and $25,000 for a banana factory for an arts program in Bethany, Pennsylvania.
But that's not all, Libertarians warn. As if to prove that no funding request is too frivolous, Congress will also spend $25,000 to study mariachi music in Nevada; $100,000 on a swimming pool in Ottawa, Kansas; $306,000 to repair an outhouse in Indiana; and even $75,000 to renovate the Merry Go Round Playhouse in Auburn, New York.
"Clearly, having the opportunity to spend other people's money brings out the animal instinct in politicians," Seehusen said. "That's why they squandered $1 million for a 'world birding center' in Texas; $150,000 to pay for 'beaver management' in Wisconsin; and $75,000 for hides and leather research in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania."
Americans who want to get an even better idea of the size of the bill can simply pick up a Thanksgiving turkey, Seehusen suggested. "This 3,000-page bill weighs in at 14 pounds, a good size for a bird, but a bit overweight for a responsible spending plan."
Perhaps the most telling provision in the mammoth bill, Libertarians say, is the $1.5 million that was quietly inserted for the Rep. Richard Gephardt Archive at the Missouri Historical Society -- demonstrating
that politicians never forget their favorite special interest: themselves.
"Programs like the Richard Gephardt archive prove that pork-barreling politicians continue to inflict financial damage on the country long after they're retired," Seehusen said. "Unfortunately, taxpayers don't
need an archive to remember all the ways that greedy politicians are gobbling up their money."
BayouBuzz.com-Louisiana Politics and News
Posted by The Red Wolf at 11/27/2004 01:57:00 PM