Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

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March 30, 2007

Porking Iraq

by Jason Pye

Thomas Schatz, from the Citizens for Government Waste, penned an editorial in the New York Times over the pork in the emergency Iraq appropriations bill:

Behind all their lofty rhetoric about the Iraq war and bringing home the troops, members of the House and Senate were busy tacking on $20 billion and $18.5 billion respectively in unrelated spending to President Bush’s $103 billion request. (He intends to veto the bill.)

Despite their campaign talk about earmark reform last fall, the new Democratic leadership shamelessly used pork to buy votes — before the vote, Representatives Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Peter DeFazio of Oregon acknowledged that add-ons for their districts would influence their decisions.

The heavyweights also led by example: the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, added $20 million to eradicate Mormon crickets, and David Obey of Wisconsin, the House Appropriations Committee chairman, came away with $283 million for the Milk Income Loss Contract Program.

Schatz also includeds a handy PDF of all the different pork projects included in both versions of the appropriations bill.

My favorites from the list are…
- $2 million for the Ugandan peace process (Senate)
- $5 million for breeding, rearing and transporting of live fish (House)
- $13 million for Ewe lamb replacement and pretension (Senate)
- $20 million for Mormon cricket eradication in Nevada (Senate)
- $24 million for Sugar beat production in Minnesota (Senate)
- $25 million for Spinach growers in California (House)
- $74 million for Peanut storage here in Georgia (House)
- $100 million for the Democratic and Republican National Conventions (Senate)
- $214 million for Kosovo assistance (Senate)
- $283 million Milk Income Loss Contract program (House)

This is how our tax dollars are spent by Congress. But God bless Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC), who tried to get some of these wasteful earmarks stripped from the budget. Coburn sponsored a variety of amendments to get the pork stripped out. DeMint took to the floor of the Senate and urged fiscal responsibility.

Then there is George W. Bush. He has complained that the bill has too much pork, which it does…there is no denying that, but do not stand there at a press conference and complain about it after the spending spree Republicans had during your administration.

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24 Comments

  1. Yeah, Bush went on such a spending spree, that the then Mayor of Baltimore, now the Democrat Governor of Maryland Tom O’Malley, referred to Bush in 2004 as a “9/11 Terrorist” for all his deep spending cuts to local governments.

    But typically, Libertarians instead of attacking O’Malley for his idiotic statement, attack Bush. Because Lord knows, they just can’t be seen on the same side as Bush on anything.

    So, in typical Libertarian fashion, they completely ignored O’Malley’s statement.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — March 30, 2007 @ 8:41 pm
  2. Dondero, you’re embarrassing yourself.

    Bush has increased spending by more than 52% since 2001. Earmarks are at an all-time level. The spending has been criticized by many members of the GOP in Congress (Flake, Westmoreland, Coburn, DeMint and Hensarling) over the reckless spending.

    You come here and make what are some of the dumbest statements I’ve ever read in my life with little to no evidence to back them up.

    Comment by Jason Pye — March 30, 2007 @ 8:49 pm
  3. Let me ask you something Jason. Where is the American Electorate?

    What do you think would happen to Bush if he hadn’t increased spending in some areas?

    Bad enough that idiots like O’Malley call him names like a “9/11 Terrorist,” for supporting spending cuts in some areas.

    What do you think Democrats would call him if he favored deep spending cuts?

    Look in the mirror Jason. Blame yourself. Don’t blame Bush.

    It’s because of the lack of political activism for the libertarian movement and libertarian beliefs by libertarian couch potato computer geeks like you, that we’re in this position.

    Perhaps if we libertarians were a stronger force in the American electorate Bush would have the cajones to make some cuts.

    As it is, the Leftist American Electorate – i.e. the Soccer Moms – who control the debate.

    We libertarians are mostly silent or worse, viewed as fringe.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — March 30, 2007 @ 10:31 pm
  4. Computer geeks like me? I’ve seen you post on about 15 different blogs…RedState, Peach Pundit, my site, Crazy for Liberty and Third Party Watch just to name a few.

    I am involved in my local parties, not just the Libertarian Party. I am active in the RLC and I run a blog that is widely read at the Georgia Capitol. So, again…you have a lack of evidence to prove any point.

    Bush holds the power of veto. He let the spending go and the fault lies with him and Congress. My Congressman has been fighting for economic liberty.

    You on the other hand are a damned fool that runs around claiming to be a libertarian while defending the Bush Administration’s spending and economic policies. Your opinion isn’t worth shit to me.

    Comment by Jason Pye — March 30, 2007 @ 10:49 pm
  5. And if you want to bring up the American electorate…haven’t they rejected the war that you so zealously defend? Haven’t they rejected the President that you believe is so damn great?

    Comment by Jason Pye — March 30, 2007 @ 11:08 pm
  6. Let me ask you something Jason. Where is the American Electorate?

    What do you think would happen to Bush if he hadn’t increased spending in some areas?

    Bad enough that idiots like O’Malley call him names like a “9/11 Terrorist,” for supporting spending cuts in some areas.

    What do you think Democrats would call him if he favored deep spending cuts?

    Reagan didn’t give a shit what he was called, but he cut taxes and fought to control spending at the very least.

    It’s called leadership Eric, something that Bush doesn’t know anything about. The results, from Baghdad (mishandling of the Iraq War) to Washington (where do we start) and from New Orleans (Katrina and its aftermath) to Caracas (our failed Latin America policy) show that.

    Comment by Kevin — March 30, 2007 @ 11:18 pm
  7. How’s that for a slice of fried gold?

    Comment by Jason Pye — March 30, 2007 @ 11:20 pm
  8. Doesn’t seem so bad when compared to the republican congress’s bridges to nowhere funding.

    $220 million compared to $28 billion?

    Yeah, it does seem as bad as it looks.

    No Reagan didn’t cut spending. He ran up the biggest deficit in history.

    Who controlled the money? The Democratically controlled House. Reagan managed to get his tax cuts through, but the Democrats weren’t able/willing to cut domestic spending.

    Comment by Jason Pye — April 1, 2007 @ 4:23 pm
  9. Deficit spending is slavery.

    No, taxation is slavery. Deficit spending is the by-product of spending outside of the limits of the Constitution. You can’t complain about deficit spending because it has been the bread and butter of Democrat policies since FDR, which were based on the Keynesian model, as were LBJ’s policies.

    The only good thing about the republicans died with Abe Lincoln…

    Abe Lincoln was a protectionist. Many similar policies hurt the American economy in the 20th century.

    I’m not defending Bush. The Democrats came in to power promising to reform earmarks and it simply hasn’t happened. Don’t cry about it because the bastards are getting called on it.

    Comment by Jason Pye — April 1, 2007 @ 8:22 pm
  10. The very idea of taxation, specifically direct taxation, is theft. The forceful transfer of funds or property from the individual to government. How is that not slavery?

    If you refuse to cut spending and ignore the Constitution, the end result is going to be deficits. The Constitution limits the functions of Congress in Article 1, Section 8. Republicans and Democrats both conveniently ignore it by dipping in the taxpayers wallets for more money.

    Keynesian economic policies are not to be admired.

    No Democratic president including fdr ever spent at the astronomical levels these repubs do.

    With the exception of George W. Bush, I find that hard to believe.

    Comment by Jason Pye — April 1, 2007 @ 9:31 pm
  11. Jason,

    You can’t even call what these morons are doing Keynesian. Keynes said that we should engage in deficit spending to spur the economy IN A RECESSION, and then should run a surplus otherwise. We’ve only been in a surplus for about 3 years since Nixon closed the gold window in the early 1970′s, through a number of tremendous boom cycles.

    They’re deficit spending even when Keynesian economics doesn’t call for it.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 1, 2007 @ 10:00 pm
  12. chicaRex,

    If you had a choice between slashing government spending or raising taxes, which would you choose?

    I think just about every contributor to this blog adamantly opposes the deficit spending this administration has undertaken. We also have opposed the fact that Bush has raised total government spending by roughly 50% during his tenure. But we see the problem for what it is, the fact that the government wants to keep buying votes with bread and circuses, and we want them to stop, not reach farther into our pockets to balance the books.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 1, 2007 @ 10:04 pm
  13. Mr Chikarex,

    I am confused by what you mean when you announce no more immigration. Do you mean nobody should be able to move to within the United States from outside of it? Or do you mean that people cannot move between states i.e. Californians should not be allowed ot move to Massachusetts etc.

    Or do you mean that immigration into towns and cities should be prevented? I.E. everyone should be forced to stay in the wtowns they currently live in.

    Could you explain why you draw the line where you do? For example, if you want to permit free movement within the United States but forbid movement into it, I would be interested to know why it is a bad idea for someone from Honduras to rent a house next door, while it is OK for someone from California to do so.

    As to your estate tax, why should the wealth go to the government? After all, govenrments tend to be controlled by dynastic families with multiple generations of politicians. Wouldn’t turning over all that wealth to politically connected elites result in more wealth controlled by people who hadn’t earned it?

    I would think that the guy who created wealth should have a say in how it is disposed of, not someone whose daddy bought him a seat in Congress.

    Comment by tarran — April 1, 2007 @ 11:48 pm
  14. Would you be referring to Military Keynesianism?

    Comment by uhm — April 2, 2007 @ 6:53 am
  15. chikaRex,

    Are you seriously making the assertion that America is anywhere near the limits of its food supply?

    Chrissakes, our government PAYS PEOPLE NOT TO FARM and tries to subsidize food because WE CAN PRODUCE FAR MORE THAN IS DEMANDED!!

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 2, 2007 @ 9:46 pm
  16. Oh, and the number of rich “families” who remain rich in perpetuity is the exception, not the rule. Most rich families which are able to keep it for several generations due so by managing to teach their kids how to care for the wealth.

    You think the Hiltons, two generations hence, will have the money they have today? Their kids know only how to spend, and eventually will beget children just like them, spoiled in opulence ’till the well runs dry.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 2, 2007 @ 9:49 pm
  17. Brad, the majority of chikaRex’s position is drawn almost directly from authoritarian socialism’s playbook. The only pieces that aren’t is ending the war on drugs and allowing gay marriage. Other than that, he would have fit right in with the ideas proposed by German Socialists from 1880 to 1920. Of course, the dominance of German society and politics by that brand of socialism enabled the rise of nationalist socialism to power, but that’s another tale.

    Comment by Adam Selene — April 2, 2007 @ 11:52 pm
  18. Chikarex,

    I am quite baffled as to your positions:

    1) The population of the United States is nowhere near the limits of its food supply. I think our land and water supply is sufficient to feed a much larger population. anyway, price rationing takes care of such scarcity. I know that we in the U.S. waste lots of water thanks to the water socialism we practice, but certainly if there was a shortage fo food, one would see a long term rise in the cost of food relative to other goods. This would attract more pople to get into the food manufacturing business since there was money to be made there. It would also prompt people to economize at home and make immigration or having children less attractive.

    Yet good food is getting cheaper and cheaper all the time, and an old friend who is a farmer out in the midwest is constantly fretting over whether or not he is picking a mix of crops that will make a profit. This implies not a shortage of food but a surplus.

    2) On your concerns about trust-fund babies making us less free, I a just don’t understand how that could be. Paris Hilton with all her riches does not impoverish me in any way. I may envy her wealth as I struggle to make ends meet, but if she decides to purchase a gucci dress or hires a full-time hairdresser for he poodle*, it takes not a dime out of my pocket.

    If anything Paris Hilton is a boon to society. Her wealth attracts entrepeneurs who try to sell her stuff. Some of the frivolous luxuries they come up with turn out to be amenable to mass production and useful enough that they eventually are produced in such quantities as to be accessible to guys like me. Bill Gates, for example, put digital picture frames into his mansion that could be programmed to display different paintings or photographs. He did this at great costs. Today, you can buy picture frames that do the same thing at Target for $20.00.

    Additionally, the ultra-wealthy often choose to use their money to solve some form of social problem. examples are all the wealthy people who funded entrants to the X Prize. In such cases the financiers take a great personal interest that their money is spent wisely.

    If the money was taken away by force by a government, the government officials administering its spending will use it more wastefully. This is inevitable.

    By its nature, government is not subject to the profit-and-loss
    test, to the domination by the consumers, of the free market. Even
    voluntary non-profit organizations, while not seeking maximum
    profit, at least have to be efficient enough to avoid severe losses or
    bankruptcy. Furthermore, such voluntary organizations at least
    must satisfy the values and demands of their donors, if not the users
    of the good or service as in the profit-making market. But
    government is unique among organizations in attaining its revenue
    via the coercion of taxpayers. Hence, government suffers no
    worries about losses or bankruptcy; it need serve no one except
    itself. The only limit on government is the enormously wide one of
    people rising up to refuse to obey its orders (including taxes); short
    of such revolution, however, there is little to limit government or to
    check the entrenchment or burgeoning of its elite.

    Murray Rothbard

    Incidentally, I can rattle off the names of multiple political dynasties. The Kennedys, the Gores, The Bushes, the Rockefellers, the Taft family, the Dewine family, the Byrds, the Turmond family, the Daley family, the Cuomo family, the Roosevelts (although they seemed to drop out of politics in the mid 90′s). I fear those guys far more than someone who comes from a family that maintains its wealth and prominence by making and selling stuff that people want to buy.

    Comment by tarran — April 3, 2007 @ 10:58 am
  19. Do we have enough water to sustain population growth in the Southeast US?

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/11/061121-florida-water.html

    Comment by uhm — April 3, 2007 @ 11:10 am
  20. chikaRex,

    You said:

    My goals are as follows. No more tax breaks for churchs, no more immigration. We’re full and have been for over 100 years.

    You said “we’re full”. Coupled with your mention about the food supply, I figured that’s what you were talking about.

    So based on your previous comments, what does the food supply have to do with immigration, if we can produce more than enough food for the people we have and the people which may immigrate? And thus how do you come to the conclusion that “we’re full and have been for over 100 years”, if such a conclusion has nothing to do with the food supply?

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 3, 2007 @ 7:30 pm
  21. chikarex,

    Honestly, the only people who seem to be concerned about “accumulation of wealth” are the social engineers. I repeat, how does my neighbor inheriting his wealth make me poorer? The answer is that it doesn’t.

    If Bill Gates was truly concerned about wealth accumulation he could give his fortune away. The fact that he wants to force other people to also give their fortunes away, and to give it to an organization that depends on violence rather than peaceful commerce for its income strikes me as extremely ill thought out.

    When someone produces a great deal of wealth, more than they can consume in a lifetime, someone is going to get the wealth without having earned it. You, and Bill Gates evidently, think that the people who get that extra wealth should be government officials. I see no reason to overrid the default, that the wealth should go to whomever the earner wishes to give the wealth to. Note well that this does not prevent the money from going to the government. Nothing is preventing Bill Gates from giving everything he has to the United States treasury upon his death.

    You accuse me of going to bat for the super-rich against my own interests. I am not. It is in my interest to live in a society where people are not robbed or plundered of their justly acquired property. today they can go after Bill Gates, tomorrow they can come after my much poorer family. After all when the modern income tax was first proposed, assurances were given that it would only strike the wealthiest 10% or so of Americans, and the tax rate would never rise to the unconscionable level of 10%.

    Today, the income tax is my biggest expense after housing.

    Opposing the estate tax is in my best interest, because it will eventually be used against me and my family.

    A thief who robs my neighbor will some day come to my house too.

    Comment by tarran — April 3, 2007 @ 8:25 pm
  22. Oh Chikarex, you disappoint me…

    When you say, ” The 2% of the population, who have direct control over 60% of the wealth won’t be deprived of anything. ” you are being dishonest. Of course they are being deprived of something: the amount of money that is taxed. I think what you mean to say is that they won’t miss it, and that is baloney. Some people will miss it; for example the people who have to sell the family business to cover the cost of the tax.

    So, please be honest. The consequence of the policy that you advocate is large quantities of wealth will be taken from some segment of the population. You may feel that their loss is not worth worrying about, but pretending its not there is quite dishonest.

    Nor is your implication that it is not justly acquired at all accurate. Yes, some people earn their money through use of government subsidies and political influence. This is, for example, how Abraham Lincoln became rich. Other people earn their wealth through producing goods and services that people want, such as John Rockefeller did while at the helm of Standard Oil. Now, you may resent their wealth, but to assume that the must be guilty of some crime to gain their wealth is, well, as prejudiced as the people who were convinced the Scottsboro boys must have raped that white woman because they had black skin.

    I also find your comment about land sales laughable. The Federal Government is the largest land owner in the United States. The government owns I think over 600 million acres of land, including the majority of Alaska, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. It would have a long way to go before it ran out of land. In fact, I think the government has throughout history primarily financed itself with excise taxes.

    As to the functions of government, I propose that the government earn its money like any other organization, by convincing people to pay for its services. Google a guy named Gustave de Molinari. This is a good jumping off point

    Comment by tarran — April 3, 2007 @ 11:39 pm
  23. Ha!

    Comment by tarran — April 4, 2007 @ 9:25 am
  24. Hey, why did you guys delete Chikarex’s comments?

    Yes, his arguments were weak, and his “facts” were usually flat out wrong, and he based his political philosophy on that of Plato (shudder – the Republic describes an anthill, not a pleasant human society). Yes, as he crashed an burned he became somewhat abusive, and such abuse can ruin a site. However, as the only target of his abusive vitriol, I hope I can influence whomever removed his comments to restore them. Deleting his comments implies that he was speaking a heresy we could not stomach.

    I would rather that the trainwreck of his arguments, the blanket assertions, the wrong “facts”, and appeals to authority all be visible to the world to see, than have people speculate as to whether he was a fool or a wise man.

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents as a freeloader who occasionally comments and consumes a fair bit of bandwidth. :)

    Comment by tarran — April 5, 2007 @ 11:33 am

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