It's almost tiring.
But, alas, it has a downside: I wish I wasn't right.
But WHAT, you ask, could have me so down?
The short definition is that pork spending is "the congressional habit of using taxpayer money to reward or benefit a specific constituency, company, or campaign contributor" (Falk 13). The money is doled out according to earmarks set out by congress, which sets up the budget to include provisions that direct funds to specific persons/places (13).
What are some of these persons/places? GREAT question!
A.) In 2005 there was Republican Senator Ted Steven's "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska that cost 223 million dollars (13).
B.) Hillary Clinton recently put a million bucks into a Woodstock museum (13).
C.) Republican Rep. John Peterson put 500 grand into buying 21 train cabooses to be repurposed for a "caboose motel" (13).
D.) This one is my favorite: Democratic Rep. James Clyburn sent 3 million smackers to "an organization called the First Tee, whose mission, according to its website, "is to promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf"" (13).
Now is all pork spending bad? No. It can be used by members of congress to assist their districts. They may try and help small businesses, or start up some local social programs.
But here's my beef with pork:
It's doled out in favor of the ruling political party. Again, we have a clear as day example of statist government at work. Our hard earned money is at the whim of whoever rules.
We have no say. They make us dependent on them by taking ever more of our money, and yet encouraging us to fuel the status quo.
I have a small, humble suggestion:
I am in no way opposed to taxation. It is taxes that fund our infrastructure, our government. But why not massively reform our foreign policy in favor of non-interventionism, bring our troops home, stop nation building, and waging war, and take the resultant resources saved and give it back to the people?
Each county in each state should have the money on hand to truly tackle their own unique issues, whether it be drugs, bridges and roads, education, etc. Only then will the complexity and diversity of America be addressed. It is safe to say that my mayor knows the issues facing my county much better than Washington DC.
By working toward an end to the income tax, and allowing us more control over the money we earn, we allow ourselves to build stronger communities. EVERY community would be stronger with more money on hand locally. Does that mean some areas would struggle? Yes. They struggle NOW.
But let's all be honest with each other: having extra casholla is always cooler than being broke and helpless.
There shouldn't be any need for things like federal pork spending. By eliminating the income tax, you help provide local governments the chance to do far better than the Fed could ever hope to do. Eliminating this tax is far more socially responsible than any entitlement program.
And now I shall retire to my chamber of rightness wherein I eat grapes and ponder my own personal Lost theories.
Falk, William, et al, eds. "Pass the pork, please." The Week. 25 April 2008: 13.