Lawmakers Carelessly Fatten Up Pork Barrel Projects


Balancing the government budget is a tough issue. How are lawmakers handling it? By coming up with unnecessary projects to increase more spending, of course.

The Hill has the details:

When you tally up all 435 representatives, 100 senators, and the needs of 50 states, the spending grows so large that ridiculous projects can be shoehorned into bills with little oversight.

Members of Congress love earmarks. They make great reelection fodder and present a stellar opportunity to get on the cover of the Palookaville Picayune. After all, if you have money from the other 434 districts for an in kind donation to your next term, then why would you not take advantage? Since a 2011 soft ban on earmarks, members of Congress switched from direct budget requests to using the federal bureaucracy to steer money to their districts. Spending bills include additional funds, which are divided at the discretion of government agencies as well as the White House.

The rotten culture on Capitol Hill seeps down Pennsylvania Avenue to a number of those agencies. Several operate under a “use it or lose it” budget, where there is a mad dash to spend before the fiscal year ends, because if they do not extinguish the last nickel, their budget will fall to the amount actually expended. As a result, when the fiscal year ends each September, agencies will blow through the rest of their budgets on suddenly “necessary” projects. These totaled nearly $100 billion in the last fiscal year, with over half spent in the last week of the calendar.

Congress has a spending problem. It should be a priority to cut unnecessary spending now while requiring the federal government to spend just one penny less next year out of every dollar spent this year. Congress needs to make balancing our federal budget a top priority.