Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!
His bloated form, shaking like a bowl full of pork, bestrides not the North Pole but Capitol Hill. From across the Potomac he showers down tax-funded goodies to both the naughty and nice. To the former, in hopes they will vote for him in the next election. To the latter, in hopes he will keep their votes.
His gift to Virginia this cheerful spending season is a half million dollars for the Amherst County River Walk Trail. He also gave the Old Dominion State $200,000 for a Vermont Civil War Monument. And he has been generous to Virginia’s sisters, too.
For example, Alaska received $443,000 to develop salmon-fortified baby food. I assume the baby food we have now just isn’t good enough. Maybe that’s the reason so many Americans are overweight — the non-salmon-fortified baby food they ate as a child is responsible for their poor eating habits now.
But that’s just the beginning. Kentucky received $2.3 million for an animal waste management research laboratory in Bowling Green. Who knows what wonders of science will be revealed in the important study of animal waste.
Washington received $1 million for the Enumclaw welcome center. I have a suggestion — let the welcome center charge admission or sell soft drinks and candy bars if they need money to operate. Or better yet, let the businesses that profit from the welcome center support it.
Pennsylvania received $250,000 to promote tourism in the Allegheny National Forest area. Now why would they want to promote tourism? Why, to improve business and collect more tax revenues, of course. The question is why are people across the nation paying to help improve this one area? If the service industry there can’t do enough business without government pork, they don’t deserve to stay in business.
Illinois received $1.4 million for the construction of a sound barrier along Interstate 55 near Darien. Every American must be thankful they had the privilege of giving up a portion of their hard-earned cash to help keep the annoyance of noisy traffic at bay.
Massachusetts got $1.2 million to repair the Cape Cod Seashore Eastham/Dennis Bike Trail. I’m sure all the residents of Catoosa County are glad to know our tax dollars will pay for some blue state liberals to have their bike trail fixed.
But there is more: $750,000 for the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, $1.5 million for a “fuels-in-schools” project in Montana, and $6.28 million to Oregon State University for wood utilization research. Wood utilization research? If they don’t know what wood is used for by now then they’ve got some serious problems out west.
The list of beneficiaries to this massive spending package goes on and on. Maybe I missed something, but I thought we were supposed to be worried about the deficit.
Do you like paying for nature trails, sound barriers and other projects that not only will never benefit you, but are also of highly questionable benefit to anyone but special interest groups? If not, write your congressional “leaders.” Go to www.congress.org to find the physical and e-mail addresses for your senators, representatives, the president, and other elected officials and write to them.
Perhaps if we, the people, incessantly bombard our elected officials with the fact that we have no interest in how wood is used in Oregon, they will get the message. Our tax dollars should go for something that is actually to the national good or go back into our pockets — not for the pork in which every state in the union wallows.
This obsession the politicians have with redistributing wealth through pork is inexcusable. And perhaps the pork that best represents what the spending package is full of is the gift to our neighbor, Alabama, of $4 million for the International Fertilizer Development Center.
The stench you smell, however, unmistakably wafts from the direction of Washington.Jeff O’Bryant is an amateur historian and holds two degrees, a bachelor’s in education and a bachelor’s with honors in history. He is a columnist and staff writer for The Catoosa County News and Fort Oglethorpe Press and can be contacted at email@example.com.