CAGW’s 2008 Pig Book Names Names

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released its 2008 edition of the Pig Book. CAGW found $17.2 billion in pork for fiscal year 2008 and this time, they named names.

The top 5 porkers in the Senate were:

#1 Cochran (R): 241 projects costing $892.2 million.
#2 Stevens (R): 150 projects costing $469.4 million
#3 Shelby (R): 206 projects costing $464.5 million
#4 Landrieu (D):161 projects costing $458.5 million
#5 Byrd (D): 111 projects costing $386 million

The three senators running for president where ranked as follows:

#13 Clinton (D): 281 projects costing $296.2 million
#70 Obama (D): 53 projects costing $97.4 million
#96 (tied with 4 others) McCain (R): 0 projects costing $0.00

In the House the top 5 porkers were:

#1 Wicker: 43 projects costing $176.3 million
#2 Young, Bill: 87 projects costing $169.5 million
#3 Murtha: 73 projects costing $159.1 million
#4 Abercrombie: 29 projects costing $153.6 million
#5 Hoyer: 98 projects costing $149.1 million

At the bottom of the list:

#495 Boehner, Broun, Flake, Fossela, Foster, Kline, Latta, Pitts, Shadegg, and Terry: 0 projects costing $0.00

Where’s Ron?

In case anyone is wondering, Ron Paul (R) ranked #196 with 8 projects costing $22.7 million (I was very shocked and saddened by this).

  • Jeff Molby

    I was wondering when someone would post this. However, I was hoping you’d mention that the entire “pork list” accounts for only 0.6% of federal spending.

    Every organization in the world wastes at least 0.6%, so this list is a distraction from the true problem.

  • C. Clark

    I know the top ones had to have huge amounts of waste, I would have to see the projects that Ron Paul put up to see if it sadden me any, on the other hand I have to wonder when there is no other project given by someone, it is like are you totally oblivious to needs of your people. There is a balance line needs vs wants vs kickbacks.

  • oilnwater

    if you’re going to pay Federal taxes anyway, why not use some? and those $0.00 people like mccain and boehner:

    what’s worse, taking payers’ money back for their district, or supporting unending treasury destroying war. or borrowing $150B from foreign debt to pay people with greenbacks that won’t be worth the interest on the debt to pay it back? try to be serious and use logic.

  • Stephen Littau


    It seems to me that if 10 representatives and 5 senators can manage not to support pork, we can expect the rest of them to do the same. Even if your 0.6% figure is correct, $17.2 billion is still a LOT of money. That’s money which could have been used to pay down the debt or return to the taxpayers. The taxpayers could have used this money to buy their own healthcare, put their childeren in private schools, save for their retirement, put money down for a more fuel efficent car, vacation, or any number of other things more valuable than these programs and projects.

  • Stephen Littau


    Was that comment directed at me? I really didn’t give much commentary at all in this post; I merely reported what I found in the pig book. This attitude that we have a right to feed at the trough because others do is a major part of the problem. We should be advocating eliminating waste instead of asking “where’s mine?”

  • Stephen Littau

    C. Clark:

    I think I will get deeper into the pig book next week. We’ll find out exactly what kinds of projects this $17.2 billion went to and I’ll let you decide if these programs are really wasteful or not. I am very interested in the kinds of projects Ron Paul supported. I fully expected that he woud be among those who supported $0.00.

    If you don’t want to wait that long, feel free to review the pig book yourself :)

  • Jeff Molby

    Even if your 0.6% figure is correct, $17.2 billion is still a LOT of money.

    It is correct, plus or minus a couple tenths of a percent.

    Tell me, Stephen, if you were held captive, would you fight with your captor over the number of crumbs in each meal or would you instead focus on the bigger picture?

    Yes, $17 billion is a ton of money. Now let’s assume we can wave a magic wand and make that waste disappear. Would that make any difference in our lives as libertarians? Would we not still live in a country with a $3 trillion federal budget? Would we not still live in country where a large majority of the people believe government should be interfering in all facets of our lives?

    Yes, all problems must be attacked incrementally, but we need to focus on the right increments. If we’re to be successful in the long run, we need to teach people why government intervention, in and of itself, is bad. The “Pig Book” does not come close to addressing that.

  • Stephen Littau


    The pork is just a place to start. I’m not suggesting we ignore the remaining unconstitutional programs or services – not by a long shot. The majority of Americans apparently want more government in their lives because for some reason they believe government can fix problems individuals cannot. The majority of Americans seem to distrust industry more than government.

    The pig book is a great way to show non-libertarians examples of how government wastes money. Is this the government that we want to take over healthcare or do we want to trust individuals to vote with their dollars in the free market?

    I guess I never thought that writing about waste would be inappropriate for our target liberty-minded readers. But I also think that those congressmen who support waste should be exposed. The taxpayers have a right to know how the money which has been confiscated from them is being spent, who is being irresponsible, and who is not.

  • Jeff Molby

    The pig book is a great way to show non-libertarians examples of how government wastes money.

    It’s really not, though. It’s not the right kind of waste to talk about. Every department of every organization in the world has some sort of tiny pet project that is something less than an efficient use of resources. That’s just a fact of life. If that kind of waste was the only difference between public and private sector organizations, I wouldn’t bother fighting against the trend towards the public sector.

    We need to focus on the hidden waste; the waste that comes the near-absolute lack of incentives and accountability. The masses will never understand us until that understand that.

  • oilnwater

    Littau: i understand. but just keep in mind that Paul advocates bye-bye Federal income tax. by his own iniative, he wouldnt be able to score an earmark after that. not that eliminating Federal income tax is possible without getting killed or something similar.

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