Is The Government Wasting Our Taxes On Pork?
Slop It Up
I am appalled, ashamed, and outright indignant about the state of our current government. There is idiotic legislation and wasteful spending on both sides of the aisle. And all of that costs me money. I want my tax dollars to be spent on useful things, like the new F-35 fighter plane. The government should be spending money to protect my private property, not to promote the arts or sciences.
The U.S. is a big country with a lot of diverse needs. If the Public Art Fund gets a federal grant to erect a statute in Central Park which looks like an 18-wheeler took a gigantic dump, then that money is not available for projects that help all Americans, like the Star Wars missile defense shield. Military spending is necessary spending, judicial spending is necessary spending, but spending on local beautification projects is not.
I know, you’re going to say that local projects create jobs, and that if the government doesn’t spend money on research no one will, but I say to you: What do you want your government to be doing? If we don’t draw a hard line in the sand, frivolous projects will continue to suck our hard-earned tax dollars into a black hole of fiscal irresponsibility and debt. Let’s spend our money on defense and justice – everything else is just pork.
Austerity is the new watchword for government. Therefore, if a politician wants to discredit his rival he does so by accusing him of “pork barrel spending.” Oftentimes, what one politician considers pork is another politician doing right by his constituents.
Of course, there is corruption and wasteful spending in the government. There needs to be more accountability so that doesn’t happen anymore. That, however, is not what I mean when I speak of pork barrel spending. I am instead speaking of government funds procured through legitimate channels to further local, scientific, or artistic endeavors that would otherwise halt from lack of money. These projects can be distorted by the sound-bite media so that a legitimate study on the nutritional value of farmed shrimp turns into the absurd spectacle of shrimp on a treadmill.
All of this spending comes back to the idea of the social contract on which our nation was founded. The social contract is a bargain made between individuals and their government. In exchange for surrendering some freedoms, the individual receives protection and succor from the government. By living in the United States and paying taxes, we are all taking part in this social contract. Government spending on local projects is merely part of the succor they are giving us. We should be grateful when a local project takes place in our city and not become spiteful simply because all of the funding doesn’t come our way.
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