Saturday, August 06, 2005

Pork and you

Mike at Cooler Near the Lake and I were apparently of a similar mind on Friday. On Friday morning, Mike wrote a great post on all of the pork for Wisconsin in the transportation bill. Around the same time, I was jotting down a few notes on pork that dovetail nicely with his post.

It has been fairly common for those of us who are fiscally conservative to vent our frustrations at our Republican congressmen. After all, we've swept Republicans into congress and the White House in order to reduce government spending. I think a good number of us have felt betrayed by our representatives as congress has done little to put the reigns on spending, and also by our President for failing to veto any of these spending bills. I think we need to start looking a little deeper, though. Our elected officials would not be spending our tax dollars like drunken soldiers unless we were demanding it of them. If they felt spending more would actually lead to fewer votes, they'd stop in a heart beat. The problem is most people view pork in the same way that they view special interests-it's only pork or a special interest when the money is going to someone else. Everytime we advocate for a bike path in our district, everytime we push for that road that is not an economic necessity yet, we are advocating for more pork in our districts while grumbling about the pork in other districts or states. And this is happening in every district in the country. Voters are watching to make sure that their fair share of tax dollars come back to their districts or states. When it doesn't, they crucify the politician who failed to bring tax dollars back home. Meanwhile they slap down all the other districts and states that are bringing home more tax dollars.

Controlling spending by the Federal Gub'mint requires discipline by our elected representatives, but it also requires discipline by we, the voters. Until we start to display our fiscal conservatism here in our home districts and communities, our representatives sure as hell aren't going to display theirs in the Federal Government. Or state government, for that matter.

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