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August 04, 2007

Bush's War In Iraq Caused The Bridge To Collapse? What About Murtha's $150 Million In Pork Boondoggles?

Rob Port makes the point I had wanted to about pork: with all this money being "legislatively directed" (Nancy Pelosi's preferred euphemism for "earmark," which is in turn a euphemism for "pork") towards projects of decidedly secondary or tertiary or even fourtionary importance, what happens to the first-order projects? You know, the actual critical stuff our government is supposed to actually be taking care of?

They get lower funding. Or no funding at all.

It's not as sexy to make repairs to a bridge as it is to, say, erect the John Murtha Center For Acting Like A Total Fucking Asshole All The Goddamn Time. For one thing, you can't name bridge repairs the John Murtha Memorial Series of Welded Steel Plates.

They're lower-profile, often temporary (unlike funding the John Murtha Center For Taking Money From Arab Sheiks In Order To Line One's Own Pockets, which would require permanent funding, year after year, to pay for ongoing salaries), and just not something a Congressman can brag about.

After all, if the federal government fixes federal roads and bridges, that's what they're supposed to do. As Chris Rock notes, you can't take credit for shit you're just supposed to do.

So the whole game of earmarks and pork is directing money towards things the government is not supposed to do. That's how you really flex your pork muscles -- by proudly unveiling a new 6000 square foot highway rest-stop bathroom/museum of the history of the internal bushing, something no one in their right fucking mind would ever have funded unless you were showing off your power by forcing it on the federal beauracracy.

And of course that money comes directly out of the funds available from the crucial things they are supposed to do.

Incidentally, there's a meme that pork is budget-neutral, in that it only directs agencies how to spend money already appropriated. Bullshit. Most of these projects are ongoing in nature for many, many years, if not for all of eternity, and once something gets paid for by the government by an earmark, do you really think it's not going to be part of the following year's baseline budget? Of course it will be. So it gets into the budget by unconstitutional means and stays there, and money actually needed for important projects just gets appropriated on top of that.

But then of course that money need for important projects gets siphoned off again the next year to fund the John Murtha Midnight Basketball and Methamphetamine Synthesis Clinic.

And what of supplemental appropriations bills? Every year we have those. We need to appropriate more money for just about every agency because they all run out of money -- they run into "unexpected costs" along the year. Perhaps they could live within their allotted budgets for the year if they were not constantly being directed to spend precious taxpayer dollars on golden potholes in John Murtha's home district.

John Murtha has $150 million dollars in pork. And yet the bridges in his state (and especially the neighboring state of NY) are crumbling into dust.

Coincidence? No, not a coincidence at all.

If the lefty blogosphere has taught us anything, they've taught us that there is no such thing as a mere "coincidence." Everything -- ev-er-y-thing-geh -- is connected.

I question the funding.

Memo To The Fiscal Hawks: Propose a law or at least a nonbinding resolution that directs all agencies involved with bridge and highway construction and repair that all earmarks be ignored in favor of making vital repairs to our nation's infrastructure, to safeguard this country's economic arteries as well as the very lives of its citizens.

Add in a kicker: Extend federal whistleblower protection/rewards to any bureaucrat reporting on a Congressman attempting to contact him in order to persuade him to fund his pork project in the face of this law or resolution.

Let's see the if the porkers dare vote against that.

I sent that out to a couple of guys I know on Capitol Hill, by the way.

Too Good To Check: Jiminjersey writes:

How about this small fact...

Despite the fact that it was known that the I35W bridge was "structurally deficient" Hennepin County (the county in which this bridge used to reside) agreed in THE TWINS BALLPARK ACT to contribute $392 million dollars to build a new baseball ballpark for Minnesota's MLB team.

It is widely know aside from federal highways roads and bridges are a state issue and responsibility. Knowing that their main bridge was "structurally deficient" the legislature decided to increase taxes and spend $392 M building a baseball stadium.


Not exactly on-point with my argument as it deals with dubious state-level funding decisions, but it does illustrate the basic problem.

digg this
posted by Ace at 02:29 PM

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