The Pork Wagon (a political rant)

by Lou on August 10, 2005

President Bush signed a $286.4 billion, 1,000-page transportation bill weighed down with pet projects to benefit nearly every member of Congress. The bill’s price tag was $30 billion more than Bush had recommended, but he said he was proud to sign it.

The highway bill contains more than 6,371 special projects valued at $24 billion, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. The distribution of the money for these projects “is based far more on political clout than on transportation need,” said Keith Ashdown, vice president of policy for the group.

Alaska, the third-least populated state, for instance, got the fourth most money for special projects — $941 million — thanks largely to the work of its lone representative, House Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young.

The outrage I feel when I see legislation like this is something everyone probably agrees on, except members of Congress. But it’s nothing new. The highway bill is just the annual pork wagon, making it’s rounds and dispensing largesse to congressional districts, just as it has for years and years.

Thomas Jefferson once opined that this country could do with a revolution every twenty years or so, and he may have been right. The only way to stop pork barrel legislation is to vote for smaller government, but in a nation where so few of us actually vote, that doesn’t look like much of a possibility either.

But don’t blame me; I voted Libertarian.

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