Tag Archives: pork

Just Say Neigh

I have a post over at the AmSpec blog about a $4.6 million bridge used by 50 horses and the people who ride them. That’s $92,000 per horse.

You Can’t Make This Up

$150,045 of stimulus money is being spent to restore a bridge that doesn’t connect to any roads and ends in an 8-foot drop.

Stimulus backers claim that the project created 1.9 jobs. That’s $78,971.05 per job created. That’s not a very good deal. Especially considering that no jobs were created on net, because that $150,000 was taken away from somewhere else in the economy.

Without the stimulus, that money would have been spent in other ways. Given that most jobs cost less than $78,971 to create, it may well be that the bridge restoration project meant fewer jobs were created than if the government had just left the money where it was originally — your pocket.

Sen. Shelby Lifts Holds

Sen. Richard Shelby, who placed holds on over 70 of President Obama’s nominees, has lifted all but three of them. Politico reports:

A spokesman for the senator said Monday that with attention brought to these two concerns, the political maneuver had “accomplished” its goal and was no longer necessary.

Translation: “We were getting too much bad publicity.”

The three holds that Sen. Shelby is keeping in place have directly to do with the Alabama-based pork projects that he believes will make him look good to the Alabama voters he will be facing in November. So, in a way, nothing has changed.

This brings up a legitimate question: can earmarking abuse sometimes be an agent for smaller government?

Few, if any, of President Obama’s appointees will work to decrease the size and scope of government. Now that their path is cleared, they will probably do net harm to taxpayers. This is the nature of government workers, whether Republican or Democratic.

Sen. Shelby’s motive for blocking them is despicable: stealing from taxpayers to improve his re-election prospects. But one wonders if those same taxpayers would have been better off if Sen. Shelby had stuck to his guns.

Regulation of the Day 112: Importing Pork Rinds

The federal government is loosening its restrictions on importing pork rinds from Brazil. Rudolph Foods, Inc., an Ohio company, owns a factory in Brazil, and stands to benefit from the ruling.

Competitors are up in arms. Citing exotic illnesses like foot-and-mouth disease, one competitor told The Wall Street Journal, “It just takes one pig” that is infected to spread a disease… “The risk is low, but the consequences are really high.”

If that is his strongest argument, then the case against liberalization is as weak as it gets. Instead of using the power of government to hobble its rivals, this company should go out and improve its product. Make its pork rind recipe even tastier. And cheaper. Use the import liberalization to its own advantage if possible.

Sen. Richard Shelby, Thief

One reason Democrats were so upset about losing their 60th Senate seat was that it would make it easier for Republicans to obstruct legislation.

Fair enough. But the revived possibility of a filibuster may turn out to be the least of their worries.

Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, has placed a hold on more than 70 of President Obama’s nominees.

His motivations are not partisan. He wants money. A lot of it. If Democrats simply throw a few billion federal dollars at his home state, he promises to release his holds.

Basically, Sen. Shelby is requesting a wealth transfer from federal taxpayers – that’s you and me – to politically favored groups in Alabama. Presumably the earmarks would make him look good to Alabama voters. Sen. Shelby is up for re-election this November. Who doesn’t like free goodies? Vote for Shelby!

But they aren’t free. The money to pay for them has to come from somewhere – us. Let us mince no words, then. Sen. Shelby is a thief. What a shame that such stealing is perfectly legal.

Legislative Inertia

Senator Tom Coburn offered several amendments to an appropriations bill yesterday. The most notable of these would have saved $454 million by cutting two dubious pork projects in Alaska. The fury Coburn aroused in his colleagues bordered on the absurd. Senator Patty Murray of Washington made threats to Coburn and anyone who voted with him. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska actually threatened to resign on the Senate floor.

Keep in mind that, from the current $2.5 trillion federal budget, you need four decimal places before that $454 million even shows up.

The amendment failed by 15-82, a margin of 67 votes. The Senate can’t even bear to cut 0.02% of the federal budget without someone threatening to resign. Is it really that hard?

Grow up, children.

Excellent coverage of the whole fiasco is at The Club for Growth, The Daily Kos, and at National Journal.