Cal  Thomas

Last March, Congress attached $14 billion in additional unrelated spending to the president's war on terror supplemental bill, but after a credible veto threat by President Bush, Congress relented and removed the pork.

CAGW estimates Congress saved between $12 billion and $15 billion last year by eliminating more than 7,000 earmarks. Unfortunately, it wasn't a real saving because members spent the money on other programs.

Here are just two examples of the kind of stuff taxpayers need to watch out for from last year's budget because they could be back this year: $1,190,000,000 for 20 F-22A fighter jets. Last summer, according to CAGW, "the General Accounting Office sent a 13-page letter to then-House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman C.W. (Bill) Young, urging Congress to stop funding the jets due to their high cost and the fact that the aircraft is out of date." Such things never deter Congress when it spends other people's money. There's much more waste in the Defense Department budget, which can be found in detail in the "Pig Book" (

A personal favorite is $4.5 million in last year's budget for Homeland Security for the misnamed Secure Border Coordination Office. This would be money well spent if it actually made the border more secure, but no one seems to have the political will to do what is necessary to achieve a secure southern border.

There's so much more and it's all in the "Pig Book" and on the Heritage Website ( If you care how your money is often misspent and you want to keep the Democrats from following the Republicans, who followed the Democrats in larding up appropriations bills, you will inform yourself and act accordingly.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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