Number of Pork Projects in Federal Spending Bills
2005 - 13,997
2004 - 10,656
2003 - 9,362
2002 - 8,341
2001 - 6,333
2000 - 4,326
1999 - 2,838
1998 - 2,100
1997 - 1,596
1996 - 958
1995 - 1,439
Also, while the amount of pork in the budget is reprehensible, you shouldn't be confused into thinking that even eliminating it can solve our nation's budget woes. Citizens Against Government Waste is an advocacy organization, but even it admits that pork accounts for only about 1% of the federal budget and that eliminating it would only reduce the federal budget deficit by a little more than 6%. Pork is a big problem, but the deficit is primarily a function of tax policy and the amount spent on non-pork spending programs.
Q: Doesn’t pork make up a small percentage of the overall federal budget?
By anybody’s estimation $27.3 billion is a considerable amount of money. The $2.57 trillion discretionary federal budget is composed of thousands of programs and projects, most of which waste money in some form or another. Each program is small compared to the overall federal budget; this does not excuse them from scrutiny. CAGW believes in rescuing every tax dollar from the abyss of government waste.
Furthermore, pork-barrel projects deserve special emphasis because it is Congress’ job to stamp out waste in the federal bureaucracy. Most members of Congress are more interested in taking credit for new programs and projects than eliminating the waste where it already exists.
Pork-barrel spending is one of the most blatant and egregious forms of waste because it involves deliberate action taken by members of Congress. In this way it epitomizes the congressional mentality of looking out for special interests and one’s own re-election at the expense of the nation’s deteriorating fiscal health. It’s every politician for himself and to hell with the big picture! Even if pork-barrel spending makes up a small part of the $427 billion budget deficit, it is a perfect illustration of why we have a $427 billion budget deficit.
Plus, the practice of pork-barrel spending has a ripple effect by pitting one state against another and one district against another at the expense of taxpayers nationwide. Also, by voting for the member that beings home the most bacon is in essence offering your vote to the highest bidder, a not-so-subtle form of bribe taking.