Defending Spinach Spending

Posted: Apr 26, 2007 3:30 PM

I was amused as well as shocked today after reading an article in the San Francisco Chroncile. It reported that Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) is fuming that his $25 million pork request for spinach growers hurt by last years E. Coli outbreak was removed by the Senate during negotiations on the emergency war spending bill. He was quoted as saying "The sadness is the Senate didn't have the fortitude to stand up for what the House saw as damn good public policy in an emergency.''
Good Policy?
With all due respect to my colleague from California, it is not the fault of the American taxpayer that some spinach got contaminated and the growers of this crop ended up losing money. If my colleague was handing out his own money I would say do with it as you wish, best of luck -- but he's not -- this is the peoples money. With that solemn duty comes a responsibility to spend revenue appropriately and prudently. Following the logic of Rep. Farr's argument, means that anytime a business loses money for some unforeseen reason the government then has the responsibility and businesses have the right to expect that they get some form of assistance or handout. Totally untenable, unreasonable, and unfair to the taxpayer. What's more, the emergency war funding bill is supposed to be just that, an emergency war funding bill. Spinach has nothing to do with the war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The kind of mentality articulated by Rep. Farr is exactly the kind of mentality we must change in Washington if we are ever going to return fiscal sanity to Congress.