I am Jack’s lack of surprise
As many of you have no doubt heard/seen/read in recent days, there is a Senate Bill that has a lot of bi-partisan backing (and Presidential) push to establish a “Pork” database. It would catalog any spending project that was worth more than (if memory serves) $25,000. Strangely, a Senator decided to put a halt to it in an obfuscated manner. This caused an up roar in the Blogosphere and main stream media as well as pushing a number of other Senators and governmental officials to try and smoke out who it was.
Now we know that it was none other than Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska.
As some of you probably remember, it’s Ted Stevens that brought us the Gravina Island Bridge, infamously known as the Bridge to Nowhere. He’s also the one that summed up the Internet as a “series of tubes.” I’m sure he’s wishing now that it was just that so he could have blocked up the flow of information through them.
While it doesn’t surprise me at all that it was Ted Stevens who was behind this, I wish I could say that it was an isolated problem in Congress. I also wish I could say that the Senate itself would have fully turned to find out who it was if it hadn’t been for the public outcry. My guess is that if it wasn’t an election year and Pork Spending hadn’t become such a flash point issue, then this would have likely passed out of the limelight and disappeared.
I’m very much in favor of the database authorized by this bill being created. There needs to be more oversight and accountability when it comes to pork spending in Congress. Yes, I understand that people want to get re-elected. Yes, I understand that people want to do things for people in their districts. Unfortunately what far too many of them forget once they get to Congress is that it’s not just the money from the people in their district with which they’re dealing. They also seem to lose a lot of their ideas of fiscal responsibility because of how desensitized to the source of taxes they (and we) have become. I’m sure that many members of Congress are much more frugal with their own finances than they are with tax dollars. After all, it’s much easier to spend someone else’s money than your own.
My hope is that this database will lead to greater accountability for pork projects such as the Gravina Island Bridge. My hope is that it will lead members of Congress to think twice before attaching such projects as riders to other bills to sneak them through outside of the public’s eye. It depresses me on some levels at the lack of reaction to such projects and the general reaction from tax payers being to push their representatives and senators to get them their piece of the pie rather than pushing them to put a stop to it altogether. I suppose that’s part of why I would really like to see Rep. Ron Paul’s annual bill to require quoting of the authorizing passage from the Constitution whenever a bill is introduced to be passed. That would hopefully require a bit more forethought on the part of Congress before putting these bills to committee and to the floor for a vote.
Unfortunately, despite this outcry, it’s likely just another in a long line of temporary rallies for a dying Republic. The American people as a whole have become far too complacent and are only looking for what’s in it for them in the short term and for someone to relieve them of as much responsibility as possible. But hope springs eternal, and I’d love to be proved wrong in this case.