John Stossel

As for Sen. Stevens, last year, the congressional transportation bill included $450 million to build two bridges to little-populated parts of his state, Alaska. One of these "bridges to nowhere" would connect Ketchikan to a nearly uninhabited island.

When Sen. Coburn proposed that the money instead be spent to repair a bridge over Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain that had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina, Sen. Stevens had a little tantrum. He stood on the Senate floor and said if his state's loot was cut, he'd resign and "be taken out of here on a stretcher!"

Good! Sen. Stevens, please go. I'll help carry the stretcher.

The Senate shot down Coburn's proposal 82-15. Big spenders stick together.

I'm skeptical of Sen. Stevens's demand for a cost-benefit study. Congress estimates it would cost $4 million to build the database and $2 million a year to run it -- small potatoes next to the hundreds of billions Sens. Stevens and Byrd spend on pork.

And the benefit? Can you put a dollar figure on the good that would result if the big spenders were inhibited because the people were watching them?

Maybe we wouldn't need a user-friendly database if the government weren't so big. But it is that big. So at least let's make it visible. Let's get rid of secret holds and secret spending.

John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at > To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at ©Creators Syndicate