Saturday, September 09, 2006

Pork Pecking Order

An excellent article in the Hill about how pork is distributed. Neither party can be piously self righteous about this system, it has been used by both to gain and keep power. Real change will only come from pressure from citizens, politicial power is simply too addictive.

An excerpt:

"The Labor-HHS-Education measure is just one of the House’s dozen annual appropriations bills, but it provides a glimpse into how power and electoral strategy influence the expenditure of public money.

Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ralph Regula, the bill’s chief draftsman, set aside millions for his northeast Ohio’s Canton-based 16th District. Thirty-nine earmarks totaling $10 million dollars are headed to Regula’s district, nearly 30 percent of the $34 million haul for Ohio. Regula also may have been active in securing money for Democratic Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones’s 11th District in nearby Cleveland, which houses Case Western Reserve University’s National Center for Regenerative Medicine and other institutions important to the region they share.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (Calif.) San Francisco district leads the pack among Democratic earmarks in the bill with a total of $7.9 million in earmarks headed there. But Wisconsin’s David Obey, the top Democrat on the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee and the full Appropriations Committee, is sending a sizable sum to the northwestern part of his state as well. Obey’s 7th District is in line to receive 23 projects worth $6.8 million.

The 17 districts represented by subcommittee members, Republican and Democratic, would receive at least $65 million, according to the bill analysis, or $3.8 million per district.

Next in line are the vulnerable incumbents in both parties."