T Nation

Combatting Pork


For all the platitudes, does anyone think there's a real chance of ridding this country of pork? If so, how? It's such a huge part of the process. Many times, bills simply would not get passed without pet projects to sweeten the deal.


I agree 100%. It seems that the system has become so ridiculously flawed that the only way for decent bills to be passed is to sneak BS pork spending in.

When either side brings up the other voting down defense spending or whatever, alot of times you have to look at what pork was in that same bill.

The only way to rid this country of pork is to cut the government involvement in everything. A majority of people in this country are so dependent on the government for everything, these people fuel the fire for these senators and reps to fund their own interests.

I know that was a buch of random thoughts, but I have lost alot faith in the people in senate and congress. This election I believe I am voting against every incumbent in senate and congress regardless of party. As for the presidency, I will be voting for Paris Hilton.


It's the idea that government can spend on anything and everything that is flawed.




Yes. But pork goes way beyond that. It's not just whether the bill itself is wasteful and spends too much money. It's that somehow it became accepted practice and business as usual that a Senator or Congressman finds it entirely appropriate to refuse to vote for a bill. Not because of its merits but because they can't wrangle something for their constiutents out of the federal budget. It's really just ludicrous.


Well.. I agree.

It's a shame that more people don't know what you talk about... a lot of people think there's just one thing on a bill, and that voting down said bill is a vote for or against that one issue. They don't realize the massive amounts of garbage tacked on.

I don't think there's a cure, to be honest.


There is a cure. It is called a veto. Bush never used it and he deserves full blame for it.

The President needs to have some balls and veto shit out of hand if it contains bullshit spending.

People like to complain that this gridlocks congress, but this should be considered a very good thing as the more time it spends grid locked the less time it has to pass bullshit spending bills.


And then they'll add even more pork to get more reps to vote for it to get 2/3 of the House to override the veto!


Actually, that's a pretty smart political move if there was a president with balls enough to go against his party.

It would certainly give him the populist vote.

But Congress, very plainly, sucks, and they want to go on vacation and shit. I'd hate to see them have to put that off in order to actually *gasp work on the fucking government.


Well, if they don't have the power to spend on anything and everything, they'd be wasting their time withholding votes for their pet pork projects. After all, they wouldn't have the power to distribute taxpayer dollars for such things in the first place.


Well, that's all well and good. But like I said in that other thread, that constitutional interpretation was defeated in practice over 200 years ago. It's official death knoll came in 1936 in U.S. v. Butler when the Supreme Court held that the federal government had independent power to tax and spend, provided only that the 'general welfare' was served. Mourning over this accomplishes nothing.

But even under the modern view of the Taxing and Spending clause, everyone that's not in Congress agrees that $1 million set aside for the water-free urinal conservation initiative in Michigan in a federal bill that has absolutely NOTHING to do with it is totally inappropriate.


Mourning over it accomplishes nothing? Then why are you complaining? They get to spend on anything and everything.


Spending to fund something that may not be specifically enumerated in the constitution but that benefits the entire NATION is entirely different that using federal tax dollars to fund a Senator's pet project that in no way benefits anyone outside his state and doesn't even tangentially relate to the purpose of the bill.

You may not agree with some of things the federal government spends on or progams that are nonetheless available to those across the 50 states. But you cannot equate that to $5 million to finance waterparks in Idaho being tacked onto a bill that's about supposed to be about funds to maintain and repair federal highways.


Like what, Medicare? Doesn't benefit me at all. Only serves to redistribute what I money I earned. It actually HARMS me.

The public needs urinals. Maybe the other Senator's should make sure their states get more urinals, or whatever best serves the "general welfare" of the public. As far as it belonging on a bill, that's subjective.

(some? probably the vast majority)

Why not? Waterparks and urinals serve the "general welfare" of the people.


Serves the general welfare of the people of IDAHO. Medicare may not serve you. But it still serves people in ALL 50 states and is obviously much more appropriately financed by federal taxes than something that uniquely benefits citizens of ONE state.

You baffle me. Just because the legislature and court long ago adopted an approach you dislike doesn't mean you should throw up your hands and ignore a much more flagrant abuse of federal funds. That's like saying, hey I'm injured and can't train right now so I shouldn't eat a proper diet either and am best off loading up on McDonalds, Krispy Kreme, and Sara Lee Cheesecake.

You'll also note I've made no Constitutional argument here. I've just said, federal money shouldn't be spent to finance pet projects of the States.

Anyhow, this is one debate I'm not getting into. If you want to compromise any legitimate agenda by fighting a battle that was lost a long time ago, that's your business.


Medibroke doesn't serve the general welfare of the nation. It serves a class of people within the nation, at the expense of others. And who cares if it's Idaho? Who says serving the "general welfare" has to be done as one size fits all federal mandates? Maybe it's urinals for this state, overhead projectors for another, and a botanical garden for yet another.

What's more abusive? The bit of slop that gets handed out to states, or federal programs headed for bankruptcy? Pork is the least of our spending concerns. Damn near dead last.


Much more urgently, federal money shouldn't be spent on pet welfare projects.

I don't consider it lost. What was done can also be undone.


I said I wouldn't debate it and I won't. I'll just say one thing.

There's no reason why abusive federal spending and innappropriate free-for-alls for the States can't BOTH be fought against.

Good luck trying to fight it at a constitutional level. I see it as totally misguided and a waste of efforts that could be geared towards achieving fiscal responsibility.


And when has pork been found unconstitutional? Good luck fighting that too, I guess.


Not sure what you're trying to say here exactly. Have a nice saturday night...


line item veto.