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Neck Deep in the Pork Barrel

September 17, 2018

|Daniel A. White

When it comes to government spending, usually Democrats take the blame for being loose with the purse strings, while Republicans claim fiscal conservatism.

That’s not playing out right now.

With full control of the government, the GOP is the party with out-of-control spending.

Under its control, the federal budget has gone up every year. And this year, the Republican budget is about to set a record for the most earmarks in history.

What’s an “earmark,” you ask? At one time, earmarks were known as “pork barrel spending” and other such terms.

Essentially, an earmark is spending tacked on to nearly-passed legislation with the primary aim of winning the earmark author some points back home.

Many times, politicians will cast votes that are unpopular with their parties, but result in receiving more money in their districts back home. Frankly, it’s how many elections are won.

Earmarks were quite popular in Congress in the 2000’s. But they became scandalous and were banned in 2011.

Of course, they never really went away. The name simply changed.

In 2011, “earmarks” were banned. But “Congressionally-directed spending” and “carveouts” were alive and well. And wouldn’t you know it, they were just like earmarks!

This type of spending can breed corruption, is excessive, and mostly makes lobbyists rich. Many folks still remember the “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska and other examples of waste.

After two years of complete control, the “fiscally conservative” party has caused an historic jump in pork spending.

Contrary to the rhetoric, the swamp seems to be getting larger and deeper.

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