Thursday, April 06, 2006

Editorial of the day: The Pig Book is out!

Citizens Against Government Waste has released it's 2006 Congressional Pig Book, which is a must-read for taxpayers of this country. They even provide a nice little searchable database of almost 10,000 pork projects which your tax dollars are funding this year.

If you are still angry after recently finishing your taxes this year, you may want to avoid this book for awhile. Finding out you are spending $500,000 for the Sparta Teapot Museum may not be good for your blood pressure. (Did I mention the Sparta Teapot Museum is NOT in Iraq? It is in Sparta, North Carolina.)

Here is CAGW's summary of the pork situation:
"For fiscal 2006, appropriators stuffed 9,963 projects into the 11 appropriations bills, a 29 percent decrease over last year’s total of 13,997. Despite the reduction in the number of earmarks, Congress porked out at record dollar levels with $29 billion in pork for 2006, or 6.2 percent more than last year’s total of $27.3 billion. In fact, the total cost of pork has increased by 29 percent since fiscal 2003. Total pork identified by CAGW since 1991 adds up to $241 billion."

In all fairness, I do take exception to some of the items listed as pork. There are many items they list which involve energy research, which I think the government should help to fund. Even though the research may be located in specific parts of the country, I do not object. It is important, and it needs to be done. A good example:
"$79,745,000 for projects in the state of Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Harry Reid (D-Nev.), including: $14,300,000 for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas ($5,000,000 to study the deep burn-up of nuclear fuel and other fuel cycle research, $3,400,000 for the study of hydrogen fuel cell and storage, $3,400,000 to research the solar-powered thermo-chemical production of hydrogen, and $2,500,000 for photonics research and the evaluation of advanced fiber optics for hybrid solar lighting); $3,400,000 for the National Center on Energy Management and Building Technology..."

Kudos to Harry Reid on those worthwhile projects. However, then he has to go and screw it up:
"...$3,500,000 for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s virtual- site office; $2,500,000 for Altair Nanotech; $1,000,000 for materials reliability at the University of Nevada- Reno Center; and $250,000 for the Mojave Bird Study. Due to previous concerns regarding the safety of birds in the area, an environmental impact report, released in July of 2004, revealed that the death toll on red-tailed hawks and other bird species in the area would be minimal following the construction of a wind farm. According to an article published by Judith Lewis in LA Weekly, the local Audubon groups that led the attack on the Pine Tree Wind Farm offered to pay for a meticulous study that would focus specifically on the songbirds. However, the government insisted on conducting their own study using taxpayer dollars to fund the project."

So we could have had the private sector fund a study, but instead "Dirty Harry" would rather spend my money? Harry, get your damned hands out of my wallet!

In all fairness, I shall also pick on the Republicans, since they are in majority of Congress, as well as pork. One senator who spends way too much time in Washington and not enough time in his home state of Alaska is Ted Stevens:
"$47,326,000 for projects in the state of Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee member Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), including: $12,733,000 for Western Arctic Parklands; $7,000,000 for Alaska conveyance; $4,000,000 for a visitors center at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge; $1,100,000 for the Matunuska-Susitna Borough; $750,000 for the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park; $450,000 for the Bering Sea Fisherman’s Association; $400,000 for the Ketchikan Wood Technology Center; $150,000 for the Alaska Whaling Commission; and $98,000 for the Alaska Sea Otter Commission."

Let's save the whales and send Ted Stevens home!

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