Monday, August 08, 2005

The Pork Party

An editorial on the Highway (robbery) Bill. Readers may also be interested in this Porkopolis detailed analysis of another pork provision for Alasak in the Highway Bill (Artic Pork: The Saga Continues)

Text of Editorial:


Congress' passage of a porcine obscenity of a transportation bill crafted by GOP leaders was further confirmation of the Republicans' emergence as big spenders every bit as reckless as the Democrats. The $286 billion measure – supported by every San Diego-area lawmaker – contains many worthy projects. But the final tab was inflated by $23 billion to cover the cost of 6,371 special requests from lawmakers – more than 40 times the "earmarks" seen during the Reagan years. How out of control was it? Not only did Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young, the worst porkmeister in history, succeed in securing hundreds of millions of dollars for roads and bridges that will barely be used in his near-empty state, but he also got $3 million to pay for a documentary about Alaskan infrastructure improvements. In other words, he got taxpayers to fund a movie about his success in snagging pork. We are not making this up.

But such excess is the norm since George W. Bush took office – and the bloat goes far beyond the rise in defense and homeland security spending after 9/11. Domestic outlays went up by 36 percent during his first term, putting Bush in LBJ's class as a big spender.

So the next time you hear a Republican lawmaker describe himself as a fiscal conservative, please groan aloud. This isn't Ronald Reagan's GOP. It's Don Young's. And the nation is much the worse for it.


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