Is it me or am I getting sick and tired of watching the government use my hard-earned dollars to fund some frivolous project? I hear it every night on the evening news or read it every morning in the newspaper that the government is funding some sort of wasteful “bridge to nowhere” project. As a taxpayer, I say, “enough is enough.” I struggle from paycheck to paycheck wondering how I am going to pay my rent or student loan debt. Not that I am complaining, I budget and watch my spending.
This year, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, “the government has identified 11,610 projects at a cost of $17.2 Billion in the 12 Appropriations Acts in 2008.” Why doesn’t this surprise me? The tax and spend liberals (and RINOs…oops, I forgot that is a curse word) have earmarked billions on some wasteful projects. Here is a little sampler of the earmarks and the legislator behind them:
- $3,737,652 for six projects by Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee member Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), including: $1,646,394 for the McDowell Grove Dam Rood Plain/Wetlands Restoration Project in DuPage County; $107,244 for wildlife habitat improvement; and $36,741 for conservation science at Lincoln Park Zoo. This “free” zoo was established in 1868 after a pair of swans were given to the Lincoln Park Commissioners. Today, the zoo can be rented out for weddings, picnics, corporate events, and holiday parties.
- $148,950 by Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and John Tester (D-Mont.) for the Montana Sheep Institute. According to the organization’s website, “The Montana Sheep Institute (MSI) is a cooperative project between Montana Wool Growers Association and Montana State University. The MSI is dedicated to developing and implementing non-traditional adjustment strategies that will increase the competitiveness of Montana’s lamb and wool in the world market. Our goal is to explore opportunities to increase the utilization of sheep in weed management programs and improve the profitability and competitiveness of the Montana Sheep Industry.” This is a b-a-a-a-a-d earmark. Since 2002, CAGW’s Pig Book has identified $2.8 million in pork for this research.
- $11,972,075 for 17 projects by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), including: $2,350,000 for Teach for America, New York, to engage teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); $893,000 for the National Aquarium in Baltimore Conservation and Education Programs for conservation and education programs of the marine environment National Aquarium of Baltimore; $178,600 for Johns Hopkins University Baltimore for the Johns Hopkins Prisoner Career Re-Entry Program to provide job training and placement.
- $188,000 by Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Rep. Thomas Allen (D-Maine) for the Lobster Institute. The group’s website says, “The LOBSTER INSTITUTE is a cooperative program of research and education with the lobster industry at the University of Maine…” Not only has the Lobster Institute been working on its “Lobster Cam (TheLobstercam.com),” one its major accomplishments has been lobster dog biscuits: “Your dog can now be a lobster connoisseur. Blue Seal Feeds, Inc. has launched the newest addition to its dog biscuit line Blue Seal Lobster ‘Bisque-its’ based on a concept devised by the Lobster Institute at The University of Maine, and their commercialization partner Saltwater Marketing LLC.” That isn’t much of a treat for taxpayers.
- $121,400,000 for 44 projects by House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-Pa.), including $23,000,000 for the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC). Rep. Murtha became infuriated by Rep. Mike Rogers’ (R-Mich.) motion to remove the NDIC earmark. According to Rogers, Rep. Murtha warned, “I hope you don’t have any earmarks in the defense appropriations bills because they are gone and you will not get any earmarks now and forever. … That’s the way I do it.” Since 1992, more than $509 million has been used to fund NDIC, which is administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ.). But DOJ has asked Congress to shut the NDIC down because its operations are duplicative. This project helped Rep. Murtha win CAGW’s 2007 Porker of the Year award.
- $4,800,000 by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) for the Jamaica Bay Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area. The Gateway National Recreation Area’s website describes the Jamaica Bay Unit as “a wealth of history, nature and recreation, from New York City’s first major airport and coastal fortifications to a wildlife refuge and pristine beaches.” A nice place to swim away with defense dollars.
- $787,200 by House appropriator Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) for advanced green design at the Museum of Natural History in Minneapolis. Admission to the museum is free to University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students, while adults are charged $5.
Earmark legislation has become a huge problem for our elected officials in Washington. We elect them, trusting that they will look out for the taxpayers’ interests, yet they choose to spend our money like drunken sailors. The Republicans keep calling for a moratorium, yet Congress still keeps passing the earmarks through. One would think with the government being officially bankrupt, there would be gradual cutbacks of earmarks. I guess not!