Paul Jacob

Which came first, the Chicken or the Egg?

It’s a funny question, since the subject at hand is pork. I ask it because House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) brought it up. You see, Hoyer is supporting pork-barrel spending in the forms of earmarks totaling $96 million, including a $438,000 grant to the California-based InTune Foundation Group, to provide music education.

Or something.

InTune officials say they aren’t sure what they are going to do with the money. The group’s director offered that, “It might be music camps. It might be lessons. It might be how to be a DJ. It might be how to create a television show.”

The future of our republic no doubt hangs on InTune’s decision.

Just two years ago, InTune received $500,000 from the federal government. But the group failed to report what they did with the money. In fact, the Department of Education says they’ve tried but can’t even reach the group, whose telephone and email address were no longer working.

Thank goodness for American governance — Hoyer apparently has a good address to which the feds can mail yet another big check.

Obviously embarrassed by the disclosure that InTune was completely out of tune on any accountability for the money taxpayers had already been forced to fork over, Hoyer did tell The Washington Post, “If in fact they are not compliant with the requirements that the Department of Education has, they shouldn’t get the money.”

So, of course, a chastened Hoyer, upon diligent investigation, immediately dropped his earmark. No? He didn’t? Nope. Instead, this particularly profligate piece of political pork just passed!

The InTune grant was part of the omnibus spending bill. Other parts include over 10,000 additional, out-of-tune earmarks.

Now, I’m all for music education. Mainly because I can’t play a note. Or sing — at least, not on key. My side of the family has the art talent; my wife’s the musical ability. Today, I’m very proud that my three daughters can all play the piano (as evidenced by the fact that I’m wasting your time with this less-than-totally-relevant disclosure).

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.