Saturday, March 10, 2007

Democrats, accountability and pork barrel spending

The Democrats, in an effort to pass their withdrawal plan, have larded the military funding bill with $20 billion worth of unrelated spending. The GOP is predictably whining about pork barrel politics but they have no ground to complain on that score; they did the same exact thing when they were in control of Congress. It's just politics as usual and that in fact is the problem with our government today. Every single piece of legislation is loaded with unrelated pork for the folks back home.

The thing is, it's not that the expenditures are for bad programs for the most part. They're more often for worthy causes than not, but it's this endless amendment process that slows down the passage of all our legislation and the payola is designed simply to keep incumbents in the good graces of their constituents. People will vote for a politician that delivers the pork to the hometown crowd. However these endless negotitations over pork barrel projects does not serve the people well. Without it, this bill would have already been presented for an up or down vote.

The conservatives like to blame big government for our problems but it's not big government, it's this convoluted bargaining to effectively buy votes that allows our legislators to spend our money without oversight. If we simply banned the practice of inserting unrelated spending, not only would it shine some light on the allocations of the taxpayers' money, it would also force our legislators to take prinicipled stands on legislation based on its merits, instead of the payoffs.

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