Your Tax Dollars At Work – More Pork, Less Bridges.

Flipping through Sunday’s newspaper I came across a little blurb about how some of our tax dollars are being spent. While there had been some big talk lately in Congress about stopping the funding of “pork” projects in order to fix our nation’s infrastructure due to the bridge collapse in Minneapolis in August, an amendment introduced to do just that was rejected by the Senate by a vote of 82-14. Seems they don’t want to give up their little pet projects in order to fix our roads and bridges, but would rather spend $2.5 billion on some gems like the following:

Volcano Monitoring in Alaska for $3 million

A hiking and biking trail in W. Virginia for $1 million

A prototype streetcar in Oregon for $750,000

A minor league ballpark in Montana for $500,000

The renovation of a peace garden in N. Dakota for $450,000

Seems that the Senate approved a whopping $1 billion for repairs of our roads – when the Department of Transportation says that they need $65 billion to fix the backlog of repairs. Sure, they gave them $1 billion, but check out the list above…just those 5 pork projects are worth another $2.5 billion that could have gone towards the prevention of another catastrophe like that bridge collapse. According to the Citizens Against Government Waste, $29 billion in pork projects were funded in 2006! One biggie that our tax dollars were spent on during the year include a $1,000,000 added in the House for the Allen Telescope Array in Mountain View, Calif. This “alien” project is part of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). Yep, we are funding the search of aliens with our tax dollars. Nothing could be more important! Who cares if our roads and bridges fall apart, we gotta find UFO’s!

I love paying taxes.

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Comments (14)

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  1. I agree that we spend far too much money on “pork” projects that could be much better spend elsewhere, such as safer bridges, health care, or education.

    I live in Alaska, and we are by far the worst offenders. “Uncle Ted” Stevens continues to “bring home the bacon”, so most people in this state are afraid to vote him out, for fear of losing out on all those federal dollars.

  2. david says:

    That must be tough up there – Ted’s the worst! Good luck!

  3. Thanks – he’s been under quite a bit of scrutiny lately after being investigated by the FBI and IRS, so there’s actually a pretty good chance that someone may be able to beat him in the next election. (fingers crossed)

  4. david says:

    He should be in jail by now – let’s hope you guys can get rid of him!

  5. chrisL says:

    You criticize the paltry sum of $1,000,000 for SETI – There are far better examples of pork in the budget than this (refer to your $9billion on marijuana laws post)- the SETI project has many valuable scientific achievements to its credit and the cost/payoff potential here is not even quantifiable in a dollar figure.

  6. david says:

    Chris – of course there are worse things in there, but I think looking for UFO’s and aliens rank right up there with the government paying for baseball stadiums, bridges to nowhere, and assorted other things that should not come out of my tax dollars.

    $1,000,000 is not paltry – not by any means.

  7. KMC says:

    Congress actually passed a law requiring the public posting (via the internet) of all these earmarks…

    only they waived the requirement this year.

    Wonder why?

  8. Lazy Man says:

    I’m fine with volcano monitoring. It sounds like a pretty valuable use of money to me.

    I’m also okay with funding that money for SETI. I think it’s a worthwhile cause.

    I’d like to read more about the bridge proposal in Minn. Sometimes there’s an unrelated bill attached to it that makes it not feasible to do either.

  9. Laura says:

    It’s definitely frustrating. One of the trade magazines in my office had a feature article on the crumbling highway system in America. It’s frustrating to read that piece and see this post.

  10. Brip Blap says:

    Yeah, I’m OK with SETI, too. Sometimes the government should fund open-ended scientific research with no corporate/consumer/profit angle, just because it should. I imagine the year’s funding for SETI probably equals .000000001% of the war. You want to talk about pork, talk about no-bid contracts in a war zone.

  11. David says:

    Science is OK with me, but searching for aliens is not, at least not with public money. Private money, sure…

    As for the stupid wars we get ourselves into, that’s an entirely different subject and could probably be a subject for a whole blog.

    I guess the point is that while some people might think SETI is a good idea, I just cannot even fathom it with all the other money we waste on stupid crap. Take out some of the crap and I might be up for searching for aliens.

  12. @Brip Blap – I agree with you completely about no-bid contracts in a war zone. Have you seen the documentary “Why We Fight”? It’s an excellent film, and looks at some of the financial advantages of going to war.

  13. Carol says:

    Mark Twain was right when he said “If you put a frog in boiling water he will try to jump out, but if you put him in cooler water and gradually turn up the heat he will not notice” (well, something like that)– don’t you think we are the frogs? What have YOU done to stop this maddness –did you write an actual letter to your state reps, or congressmen or the president to tell them that you are sick and tired of this foolishness, are you registered to vote, did you AT THE VERY LEAST VOTE? Old hippies (like me) had it right — If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Step up, spend the postage and demand that your concerns be addressed my the person in charge, not an aide, or an intern, and follow up when you hear from them. The revolution WILL be televised — see you there.

  14. David says:

    Carol – Yes, I do all of these things. I am incredibly active in politics and environmental issues and give a ton of money towards these issues.

    Thank you for yelling at me, though…