Thursday, February 12, 2009

The American Anathema To Pork

Some porcine points from a liberal Washington insider:

The conservative blogosphere today is up in arms over some video of Sen. Chuck Schumer discussing American attitudes towards pork.

I think this is once again conservatives believing that conservative media is some kind of serious proxy for what Americans actually think. It isn’t. They convinced themselves that they lost in 2006 and 2008 due to pork, and that’s just ludicrous. They lost because of war and the economy.

People don’t like the government to overspend, they hate stories about $100 dollar hammers and the like. But at the end of the day people send their representatives to Washington to stand up for their home state and district in much of the government’s appropriations process. Show me a pol who doesn’t bring home “pork” and I’ll show you a pol whose seat is in danger.

Is that a license for politicians to spend the public money like the proverbial drunken sailor? Of course not. But the largest democracy also can’t seriously act like the skinflint conservative mythology has built up.

I detest waste, fraud, and abuse from the government - but lets not pretend that for the American people that “pork” is held with the same disgust that misguided war, corporate malfeasance, economic collapse, or careless leadership is.

I know its futile trying to get conservatives to think about these issues in any way more complex than “government = bad” but try for once in your lives.

This is a problem endemic to both sides of the political spectrum and it deserves a bi-partisan solution. Bills that enable large spending surpluses without responsibly allocating the money for necessary projects are simply irresponsible and the practice needs to end but unfortunately the only ones with the power to do so are also the same people who profit the most from the waste. These are the consequences we incur by allowing American citizens to become entrenched career politicians.


Anonymous said...

What's wrong with pork? As Homer would say it comes from a wonderful, magical animal.

The government, in this case.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

I lobbied my states Senator Durbin and two Congressmen for aid for businesses in my hometown. (Along with others with far more clout than I will ever have of course. But I do have some nice photos with important people.) One mans pork. Oh screw the snark. We saved and created lots of jobs. If anyone on the right or left doesn't like it go lobby your own senator.

JBW said...

I agree that some pork spending is necessary and does a lot of good. Maybe there should be a rule that allocates a certain amount of funds to each senator and congressman to allocate to their state or district as they see fit. You could base it on population and other factors but after they get their share they're cut off. That way the spending doesn't get out of control and they don't have to worry about hustling money to get reelected.