December 26, 2010

The Irrelevance of Pork Barrel Spending

Harry Reid, along with appropriations chairman, Senator Daniel Inouye, have dumped a trillion-dollar-plus spending bill on the Senate floor a few days before Christmas.  Of course, the bill’s loaded with pork.  Apparently the Democrats want us to fund a $10 million foundation for the late Congressman John Murtha.  They also want $8 million for the Edward Kennedy Institute.  And $36 million more for public broadcasting so they can fire more people like Juan Williams.  The list goes on and on.  More than $8 billion in absolute waste.

Although I’m not a defender of such spending projects, it’s important to remember that they total $8 billion, which, in relation to the entire federal budget, is almost nothing, 1/5th of 1% of a $3.8 trillion budget. Again, I’d be the last to defend these wasteful projects, but I’m also not going to waste my time railing against them, just as I wouldn’t go to my blog ranting against some teenager picked up for shoplifting a can of soda when people like Bernie Madoff are out there robbing people of their life savings. 

O’Reilly continues:

There is no question that Congress has spent this country into near bankruptcy, and what do we have to show for it?  Do we have high speed trains?  Nope.  Do we have an honest public broadcasting corporation?  Nope.  Do we have updated roads and bridges in most places?  I don’t think so.  Do we have a secure border?  No, we don’t.  How about a smooth airline security system?  Nope.

But the reason we’re nearly bankrupt is not because Congress has dumped money into these pork projects.  Rather it’s because of the $1 trillion we’re spending every year on defense.  One trillion dollars a year.  That’s a lot of money, roughly 50% of all discretionary spending.  Adjusted for inflation, that’s nearly twice as much as we were spending ten years ago.  That’s more than we spent at any point during the Cold War.  You remember the Cold War, right?  When our biggest threat was the Evil Soviet Empire, which had thousands of nuclear missiles pointed our direction, and not this group of pathetic, underfunded, incompetent jihadists who are only at war with us because we’re occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, supporting Israel in its brutal oppression of the Palestinian people, and propping up dictator after dictator throughout the Muslim world. 

Yet O’Reilly would never dream of scaling back the American Military Empire and thus doing anything that might actually save us from bankruptcy.  Nor would he ever dream of ending corporate welfare.  Indeed he was one of the nation’s staunchest defenders of the 2008 Bailout.  Here’s some O’Reilly fearmongering from September 2008:

If the government does not bail out the financial industry, foreign investment will cut and run. That will lead to a worldwide depression. You might lose your job. You will certainly lose value in your house and investments.

Yes, God forbid Bill O’Reilly ever stand up to the establishment.  He’ll spend all day ranting and raving against the likes of NPR, which, by the way, receives only 16% of its funding from taxpayers.  But I doubt you’ll ever find him taking a real stand against his friends in the military industrial complex and on Wall Street. 

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