- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 25, 2001

President Bush has been attempting to extract a small measure of tax relief from the self-proclaimed servants of the people, even as they have engaged in breathless rhetorical flourishes about the corrupting power of money in the body politic.

Fed by billions of surplus dollars, that body grew to gargantuan size and grotesque proportions, according to the "2001 Congressional Pig Book," a recently released report from Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW).

In this little pink book of pork, CAGW describes well over 6,000 porky projects, totaling nearly $20 billion taxpayer dollars a 46 percent increase over last year.

The spending was as obscene as it was silly, as each stuffed suit attempted to engorge his political prospects on pork. Choice cuts include:

m $500,000 on peanut allergy research (couldn't we just tell people not to vote for Jimmy Carter?), $250,000 on Vidalia onion research, and $198,000 on tropical aquaculture.

m Hands Across America (which sounds like a convention of jaywalkers) received almost $6 million; $1.5 million went to the Milwaukee Safe and Sound program (which most people believe has happened when you are home from work watching "Laverne and Shirley"). Instead of simply buying the Guinness themselves, politicians spent $500,000 on Boston's Irish Institute and $25 million on the International Fund for Ireland. Speaking of which, some pols should be delighted that $8.5 million went to the Gallo Center for Alcoholism Research.

Meanwhile, New Mexico got a palatial $10 million for the Palace of Governors; Canton, Ohio, dragged taxpayers for $500,000 for the National First Ladies Library (which features tours by a male guide in the guise of Helen Taft); and the South Carolina Rice Museum received a sack of funding worth $250,000. The Please Touch Museum touched up taxpayers for $925,000, and the University of Idaho Institute for the Historic Study of Jazz was jazzed up with $700,000.

Begging the question, "Where are they parking?" The Alaska State Fair received $1 million for a Park and Ride program. Begging the question, "How could it happen?" Two million dollars were spent on earthquake hazards migration research in Missouri. Begging the question "Why did they bother?" Four million dollars were spent on bus improvements in Newark.

With this in mind, there seems little reason for any taxpayer to disagree with a recent New York Times editorial which stated, "The Bush tax cut seems intended to be an assault on government by starving it of revenues."


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