Thanks to Congressman Jeff Flake’s 19 anti-pork amendments, we now have every House member on record regarding their positions on earmarks. Before now, House members have been able to avoid scrutiny because their pork was co-mingled with other projects and tucked into the dark corners of big spending bills. Or they were able to withstand the scrutiny because they were attacked as a whole chamber and not directly attacked themselves.
But because of Flake’s amendments, they were recently forced to cast up-or-down votes on specific projects. They could no longer deflect attention.
The reaction by Congressional leaders is telling. These guys see the hand-writing on the wall (thank a teacher, someone). Here’s their statement, issued earlier this week:
The following statement was issued today by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), and Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-CA):
“The House-passed lobbying and ethics reform bill includes a series of significant reforms meant to bring greater transparency and accountability to the congressional earmarking practice. House Republicans are committed to extending these reforms to all committees and implementing them during the current session of Congress, before any spending or tax bill for the upcoming fiscal year goes to the President’s desk.
“After Labor Day, the House is likely to consider, among other items, a number of important appropriations conference reports for the upcoming fiscal year. If the House and Senate have not produced a final lobbying and ethics reform conference report by the time we return from our August district work period in September, the House will move to immediately adopt and implement a comprehensive earmark reform rules change independent of the ongoing lobbying and ethics reform discussions to ensure these new rules apply to all spending and tax measures that will go to the President’s desk this fall.
“The American people want meaningful change in the way in which Congress spends their money. House Republicans are committed to delivering this change.”
Notice they do not commit themselves to going clean. See, they know they can handle it, so they’ll just earmark a little bit. They can handle pork, see. No need to quit entirely. Have your ever seen the list of questions that Alcoholics Anonymous uses — or used to use — to ascertain if your drinking is out of control? This questionnaire, developed by a psychiatrist dates, back to 1930. There are newer ones now, but this one is instructive, especially if you substitute “earmarking” for substance abuse. In this questionnaire, you only have to answer three or four items positively to be squarely in “the-guy-with-a-problem” category:
1. Do you lose time from work due to your drinkingporking? ( i.e., are you away from the office being wined and dined by the hordes of lobbyists on the Hill? 2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy? (is anyone back in your district muttering about fiscal responsibility?) 3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people? (how much courage does it take to say “NO!” to your peers’ earmarks?) 4. Is drinking affecting your reputation? (are you going to have to fend off questions about your fiscal restraint or lack of it in the coming election?) 5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking? (bet you do, especially if you voted for that bridge in Alaska) 6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of your drinking? (i.e., have you raised concerns about our deficit spending?) 7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking? (you know, those sleazy lobbyists with their come-on, bedroom eyes) 8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’scountry’s welfare? 9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking? (or has it increased? Or, are you looking at the possibility of another line of work if you get fired for excessive porking? See question 7: you may end up as a lobbyist) 10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily? (that is, when you go without earmarking for too long, do you suffer withdrawal effects?)
To use the terminology of the Platonists and Christian theology, our congressmen are suffering from a disordered appetite, a poorly-developed faculty of reason, and a problem with their God-given will power.
Time for citizens to help them recover their spiritual side so they can stop RUNNING THIS COUNTRY INTO THE GROUND! As you know, the first step is to admit that the problem is bigger than you are. Surrender would be tremendously difficult for a politician.
As much as I admire our Congressman, Virgil Goode, he failed the Pork test. This is very sad, considering that several years ago he’d moved from the “wuzzadem” category to the right side. But he’s been voting fiscally left. That hurts.
UPDATE: Here is the voting record for all the congressional representatives in Virginia:
In the overall rankings of states who benefit most from pork, Virginia doesn’t fare so well: it’s #32, with a per capita pork chop of $26.19.
|2006 Rank||State||2006 Pork||Population||Per Capita||2005 Rank||Change|
Read it and weep, knowing that the confiscatory tax rate you are paying is going to fund things like the International Fund for Ireland, which received $13.5 million dollars, including monies for the World Toilet Summit. Follow the link to Ireland’s funding and read the long, long list of oinkers. Something has to be done. Anything from “throw the rascals out” to a flat tax would suit me fine.
This is beyond scandal. To lift a phrase from the Baron, this is Pork Porn.