Government Spending =)

Listening to: Petrified – Fort Minor

I’m not really a big fan of politics, but I feel the need to talk about another issue that is really relevant to our lives. I might make one on the 700 billion dollar bailout plan or Nixon’s Watergate scandal, but those will be for later. This Blog is about a term that I have always heard in political discussions but never understood what it meant until I asked my history teacher what it was. It greatly deals with the issue, where does our tax money go, anyways? So, let me introduce you to the wonders of Pork Barrel Politics

So What IS It, Anyways?
Pork barrel spending is when the government uses taxpayers’ money to fund for public service projects. And, maybe for some people, that might be okay to fund for a public project that is beneficial to a certain area with really bad roads or high crime rates because there isn’t enough law enforcement, to name a few examples. But government officials are using ALL taxpayers’ money to focus on a specific area. When you add in more factors such as the frequency of the projects and their cost, the subsequent damages to our money outstrips the project’s actual necessity.

Where Does the “Politics” Factor In
This is where it starts to get ugly. Public service projects look really good on a government official’s record, right? So, come around election time, officials can boast about all these projects that “help the environment,” or that they’re “looking out for the public” by constructing road projects. That’s when the excess, or even the lack of need for such projects factors in, when considering the percentage of tax money that’s being spent.

Some Examples
I’ll let you make up your own mind on whether some of the government’s public projects are worth the money. Personally, I disagree on most of these projects, so you know my opinion. But it’s a relative thing – maybe you think they are worth the money. So look into for yourself and decide on your own. I’ll list one of the most notable projects, and then I’ll give a link that will give you a PDF file for every year that lists every government public service project, who came up with the Bill, and how much money was spent. I never looked through them all, NO WAY, but I skimmed through this year and last year’s file to get an idea of what the projects were like. Took like ten minutes.

* I’m using Wikipedia as a source for statistics and all, but they have references for their information, which sound pretty legit.

The Big Dig: The Interstate 93 in Boston, Massachusetts was starting to get ridiculous hours of traffic every day. It was predicted that by 2010, there would be 16 hours of congestion. So, this project spent $14.6 billion dollars of federal and state tax money, will cost another $7 billion in interest, and will not be paid off until 2038. What this did was relocate the I-93 underground and re-map it to decrease traffic. It was successful despite some leaking, poor work quality in early stages, and a ceiling collapse. There was a 62% reduction of vehicle traffic; peak hour traffic was reduced by 85.6%.
- My Point: Is it worth billions of dollars of OUR money to reduce 16 hours of traffic for one city? Not paid off until 2038? Our kids are gonna be paying off that one.

- Link to the “Pig Book,” where you can get the PDF file for a summary of yearly government public spending. From my limited research on it, I don’t remember seeing Obama or McCain on it, but I do remember Clinton, Joe Biden, and a few other people who were running for Prez. I recall Romney on there quite a few times.

So you have my stance on it. If anything, I hope that this at least got some people thinking more about government motives or what's really happening to our money, regardless if you think that pork-barrel spending is okay or not.
Posted on October 25th, 2008 at 02:20pm


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