ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bustin' Pork

It's time to make sure that the GOP knows who brought them to the dance. I cannot stand to listen to Kerry and the Dems claim that they're more fiscally responsible. Let's show them just how responsible the GOP can be...

Cuts for Katrina
September 21, 2005; Page A26

Last week we suggested that cancellation of $25 billion in pork projects -- euphemistically known as "earmarks" -- in the recently passed Highway Bill would be a good first step to offset some of the cost of rebuilding the infrastructure in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast.

The idea of a pork-for-reconstruction swap had already been denounced as "moronic" by a spokesman for Don Young of Alaska, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee and proud father of the now-infamous $223 million "bridge to nowhere" near Ketchikan. Since then the White House and Congressional Republican leadership have been acting as if the cost of Katrina relief should have no impact on the course of an administration that has presided over the fastest growth in discretionary spending since Lyndon Johnson.

But thankfully, a grassroots Internet campaign and a handful of House GOP conservatives have refused to give up on the idea that spending cuts should be found to defray the estimated $200 billion federal price tag for hurricane relief. In the Senate, John McCain is proposing a similar pork-for-Katrina swap.

The Internet campaign picks up on the idea of revisiting the earmarks in the Highway Bill. A Web site called Porkbusters (www.truthlaidbear.com/porkbusters.php) helpfully lists these projects by state and directs readers to the appropriate Representatives and Senators to ask what they would cut. Around the country a flood of letters to local newspapers has echoed the theme.

And if revisiting the Highway Bill is too much to ask, how about a one-year moratorium on all non-defense earmarks for fiscal 2006? Rep. Ron Lewis (R., Kentucky) proposes just that in a "Dear Colleague" letter dated Monday. Other suggestions include across-the-board spending cuts at federal agencies of 2.5 cents on the dollar and delaying the introduction of the Medicare drug benefit by a year. We should be hearing more today when members of the House Republican Study Committee -- led by consistent spending hawks such as Mike Pence, Jeb Hensarling and Jeff Flake -- announce "Operation Offset" and a list of specific options to find savings in the budget.

I fear that the base won't turn out in 2006, if all they get is a bunch of Borrow and Spend GOPers that aren't willing to push through needed reforms (such as Social Security and Tax reform).

Visit N.Z. Bear's Porkbuster page and report any committments from your Reps / Senators in Congress. I know Talent & Bond will be hearing from me!

***UPDATE***
Forgot to mention that here's a list of Pork by state...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler