Oink, Oink, …the 2008 Pig Book is available

Most of us have heard the term, pork barrel spending. The origin of this expression dates back to early American history when slaves were sometimes given a barrel of salt pork as a reward and had to compete among themselves to get their share of the handout.
Today however, this phrase is addressed to Congressional members, when their sponsored legislation includes government spending for projects that are intended primarily to benefit their particular constituents or campaign contributors. The problem with such programs, is that their costs are spread among all taxpayers, while only a few actually benefit from these government sponsored programs.

Since 1991, the Citizens Against Government Waste, (CAGW), has annually published the Congressional Pig Book Summary…the little pink book Washington does not want you to read, which lists all of the pork projects for the current year, and their sponsors. This year, Alaska led the nation with $556 in pork per capita ($380 million total), followed by Hawaii with $221 ($283 million) and North Dakota with $208 ($133 million). New York was at the bottom of the list at number 50 with $16.76 in pork per capital, ($323 million).
CAGW has identified $271 billion in total pork since 1991.

Projects are considered “pork” if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
Not specifically authorized;
Not competitively awarded;
Not requested by the President;
Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
Not the subject of congressional hearings;
Serves only a local or special interest.

To see Pig Book, click Documents in the News


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