And this is why we n…
And this is why we need more tax cuts.

Austerity in big-ticket government programs hasn’t dulled lawmakers’ appetite for special interest spending items that curry favor back home.

The spending plan awaiting President Bush’s signature is packed with them, doling out $4 million for an Alabama fertilizer development center, $1 million each for a Norwegian American Foundation in Seattle and a “Wild American Shrimp Initiative,” and more, much more.

Despite soaring deficits, lawmakers from both parties who approved the $388 billion package last weekend set plenty of money aside for home-district projects like these, knowing they sow goodwill among special interests and voters.

They also raised the ire of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a pork-barrel critic who took to the Senate floor to ask whether shrimp are so unruly and lacking initiative that the government must spend $1 million on them.

“Why does the U.S. taxpayer need to fund this `no shrimp left behind’ act?” he asked.

Among items in the package: $335,000 to protect North Dakota’s sunflowers from blackbirds, $2.3 million for an animal waste management research lab in Bowling Green, Ky., $50,000 to control wild hogs in Missouri, and $443,000 to develop salmon-fortified baby food.

Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, won dozens of special items for his state — enough to fill 20 press releases.

In one aimed at northern Alabama, Shelby took credit for the $4 million budgeted for the International Fertilizer Development Center. “In addition to the important research conducted at this facility, the facility employs numerous Muscle Shoals-area residents,” he noted.

While there’s plenty of pork being doled out on both sides of the aisle, I’m especially disheartened to see that the victories handed to Republicans are being so ill-spent (pun intended) on this sort of business-as-usual waste. If the citizens of Alabama don’t want to fund fertilizer, why should I? If the taxpayers of Bowling Green are too stingy to research their own animal waste, why are they asking me to pay for it?

Ladies and gentlemen, you have the power of the majority. Use your power for good; for long term good. Tom Daschle, as minority leader, had quite the power for pulling pork, yet the voters there tossed him out in favor of better ideas. That’s what will bring change to Washington; ideas, not a larger share of the pork pie.

The solution is still, and has always been, smaller government.

(Cross-posted at Comments welcome.)

Filed under: Uncategorized

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!