We had this Sequester thingy. Yet despite this humble, meek downsizing of government funding, John Kerry lunched with Egypt’s ignoramus Muslim Brotherhood and handed over $250 million US dollars. Then we read that the Obama Administration wanted to make the Sequester “hurt” to give a black eye to the Republican Party. Well the fact is, our government has been pissing around money for decades, playing political football with all kinds of programming.
Every year, the good people at Citizens Against Government Waste, spend their warm summers and cold winters, combing through proposals and bills before Congress. The objective is to review for Pork. CAGW didn’t choose the word. It’s been with us for awhile.
Don’t know why we settled on the word “Pork”. Tasty, yummy pork. I mean, here’s the first definition at Merriam-Webster: The fresh or salted flesh of swine when dressed for food. My mouth starts watering at salted (and this is coming from a Morrissey worshipper). How did this word come to mean the second definition: Government funds, jobs, or favors distributed by politicians to gain political advantage. Maybe it goes back to the Bible, where the Hebrews were prohibited from eating the pig because it was thought to be a filthy animal. Okay, that makes sense. Moving on.
The first I heard of the CAGW was in the late 90s. And I bought their Pig Book in 1999. Here are some entries:
- $3,354,000 for shrimp aquaculture.
- $500,000 for research at North Carolina State University on the impact of pfiesteria.
- $1,470,000 to begin planning for the marine mammal research and education center at the National Energy Laboratory.
- $19,600,000 for the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) in support of the Anglo-Irish Accord.
- $4,250,000 for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
- $2,000,000 for the Guadalupe Cener in Kansas city for training in culinary arts.
- $475,000 for Women’s World Cup Soccer.
- $100,000 for improvements in accessibility and safety to the Black World History Wax Museum in St. Louis.
- $1,000,000 for the Animal Waste Management Consortium through the U. Of MO for projects associated with animal waste.
- $500,000 for the Boston Symphony Orchestra for restoration of the Boston Symphony Hall.
When I found it on my bookshelves and flipped through it again with 2013 eyes, what first hit me was how small these numbers were. Here we are, about fourteen years later, and I’ve been conditioned to hearing billions. It seems like government does nothing less than a dollar sign followed by ten digits. So I wondered if I had false memories.
Checking in with the CAGW website, they are kind enough to publish online, a summary of the Pig Book. And here are some entries for 2012:
- $120,000,000 for three earmarks of $40,000,000 each for alternative energy research within the Air Force, Army, and Navy. (Hilarious if you consider an aircraft carrier is never, ever, never done ever, gonna run on solar).
- $50,000,000 for the National Guard for Counter-Drug Program state plans.
- $13,840,000 for hydropower construction.
- $3,388,000 for national fish hatchery system operations.
- $5,000,000 for abstinence education.
- $2,094,000 for the Asia Foundation, which is “committed to the development of a peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region.” (With Kim Jong-un getting testier as of late, I’d say we’re not getting our monies worth).
Although the numbers weren’t in the billions, it’s interesting to note two things:
1) My memory serves correct; in that, our government has continued to piss away money on the most Unconstitutionally-authorized projects.
2) My memory serves poor; in that, the money spent in 2013 is similar to 1999. What has changed is that there are more pet projects than 1999. And that explains the huge federal budget.
Granted the above examples are not apples to apples. It’s not entirely common to have, say, $4,250,000 for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area happen again. The point is that the federal government continues to spend our tax dollars on pet projects or, at best, what should be local (State/City) endeavours.
In Fourteen-years, the federal budget has grown by trillions. It’s an increase in garbage spending, and increased in exploits and plundering. None/most of the activity is not authorized by the Constitution. How do they get away with it? I think it’s because the same two parties have been in power for decades. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Remember John McCain’s ultimatum, during the scandals of steroid use in Professional Baseball? He gave the Major Leagues an Old West Get it together or I’m pulling this piece of mine. * This pretty much shows a we’ll do whatever the hell we want attitude. A dangerous attitude. A dangerous old curmudgeon.
So it’s time for a change. A change of the old guard. A change from an incumbent, members-only club. If you want to see the pork go away, you have to start voting for groups and/or individuals who want to do that. It’s why I vote Libertarian often.
The story doesn’t end there. I’m not rolling credits yet. There is a New Hope. It’s kinda like Episode IV in Republican circles these past few weeks.
It used to be that we, Libertarians, would smirk and wince come election season. We’d see Republican candidates campaigning, using libertarian language, and selling themselves as small-government politicians. But then they’d get into office and trash the place. Like teenagers with new licenses, back seats full of buddies and a party to get to, we knew it wouldn’t end well and probably cost a lot of money in damages. But two Republicans have caught our Libertarian eyes which has this Libertarian not yet ready to throw in the towel.
Libertarians are no stranger to Ron Paul. He ran under our banner for president in 1988. But then switched to the Republican Party for reasons of his own (I don’t know why). But he’s gone now. He quit Congress and went back home. But a new Paul rises.
In 2010, we saw the election of Ron’s son, Rand Paul, to the US Senate. He serves for the State of Kentucky. And so far, he hasn’t disappointed me (he did, however, endorse Mitt Romney for president in 2012 which made me go all wide-eyed for a bit but I forgive him). Senator Paul’s thirteen-hour filibuster was a grand way to make him a household name and I don’t believe it was a publicity stunt. He truly believed an answer was needed to the question on whether or not the President could use drones to kill American citizens on American soil. It was a proud moment to watch a Senator, who calls himself a Republican, act like it. I also saw a number of other liberty minded Republicans join Senator Paul on the Congressional floor. When Marco Rubio quoted Jay-Z and the Godfather to President Obama, oh wow.
That evening, I didn’t go to bed early. It was a great thing to see a sitting Senator and comrades, for once, demanding the president answer a question that wasn’t about a mystery stain on a clerk’s dress.
Senator Rand Paul has lit a fire, a burning towards liberty and away from big government. If the Republican Party can run with it, find their way again (it’s what they claim to be about) I might call them friends again. I might Like them on Facebook. I might occasionally Tweet GOP goodness. And I might proudly vote for them in future elections.
Senator Paul, Kill this Hog! We, at Freedom Cocktail, Stand with you!
* McCain’s sour notes over the triumph of Rand Paul shows that he really is like Ferris Bueller’s sister.
And now, let’s check in and see what Congress is up to…yep, same shit.