Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What You Call Earmarks, I Call Pork

Wisconsin's Democratic Congressional delegation has posted their annual earmark requests for fiscal year 2011. I say "Democratic" because the Republican members of the delegation are honoring a one-year moratorium proposed by that party. For those who are unfamiliar, "earmarks" are specific spending request tied to larger budget packages--which usually direct federal tax dollars to small local projects in a Congressman's district. You may actually know earmarks by their more common "outside the beltway" name of PORK.

Let's begin today's discussion with a little fact: The national debt just went over 13-trillion dollars. That is $42-thousand dollars for each man, woman and child in the US. You can check it out at this website:

Those numbers apparently mean nothing to the Democrats in Congress--as they have gone about their merry way coming up with billions of dollars of earmarks for next year. Congressman Steve Kagen is requesting an extra 114-million dollars in spending for 73 projects. You can check them all out here:

I won't bore you with going through the entire list--but there are a few that I do want to point out.

Like 3.8 million dollars for "cranberry research" in Wisconsin...3-million dollars for the City of Green Bay to tear down a former mall to build everyone's favorite development: downtown riverside condominiums...720-thousand dollars to find eight to ten housing units for the chronically homeless in Green Bay...339-thousand dollars for something called a "kitchen incubator" at NWTC...a quarter-million dollars for the Native American Indigenous Games in Milwaukee next month....a million dollars for a riverwalk for students in De Pere...and 900-thousand dollars for development of a Specialty Meat Development Center in Madison.

I would encourage you to read through the "purposes" of all these earmarks on Congressman Kagen's website and then ask yourself "Is this the best use of my tax dollars--and worth adding to a 13-trillion dollar debt?" Then remember that there are 256 other Democrats in the House asking for even more of those "necessary funds" and 56 Democrats in the Senate (Russ Feingold is not one of them--to his self-congratulating credit) adding to the debt pile as well.

Until we learn to prioritize in Washington--that National Debt Clock will continue to race faster and faster to a total meltdown.

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