Donald Lambro
Recommend this article

-- $100,000 in building improvements at the South Airport Industrial Park in Toledo, Ohio.

-- $100,000 to develop and create "interactive, education and historical exhibits" at the Hunting & Fishing Museum of Pennsylvania in Tionesta.

-- $50,000 to build a National Mule and Packers Museum in Bishop, Calif.

If all this sounds like our lawmakers think they have money to burn, that is exactly what is happening here -- only it's with your hard-earned taxes.

Citizens Against Government Waste, a nonpartisan organization that zealously tracks and exposes such spending practices calls these and other line items in this spending bill "outrageous." They were inserted into funding for an obscure federal program called the Economic Development Initiative that is supposed to aid depressed economies with federal grants.

Numerous government studies and audits, however, have shown over the years that such spending has had little, if any, impact on improving poor economies or creating jobs. Indeed, money taken from other parts of the country to pay for these pork-barrel projects results in less growth in those areas and fewer new jobs overall.

While the vast majority of lawmakers are up to their armpits in pork and fight to get their provisions into these waste-ridden bills, there are still a few waste-fighters in Congress who are leading the fight to strip these projects out of each appropriations measure.

The leader of this group of fiscal warriors is Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who last year offered 19 amendments alone to kill billions of dollars in pork on the House floor.

One organization keeping track of how members of Congress vote on Flake's amendments is the Club for Growth, an aggressively pro-tax-cut group that advocates policies to promote economic growth.

It found that, in the past two years, only eight House members tallied a perfect 100 percent score. Apart from Flake, they are: Reps. Trent Franks and John Shadegg of Arizona, Mike Pence of Indiana, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, all Republicans.

Sadly, the vast majority of lawmakers regularly vote to bring home the pork.

Even sadder, they are rewarded by their constituents at re-election time.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman once famously said that if you want to find out who is to blame for the billions of dollars in wasteful pork spending that goes on year after year, "look in the mirror."

As long as Americans are willing to re-elect lawmakers who squander their tax dollars on needless parochial projects, the federal pork scandal will never end.

Recommend this article

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.