Skip to main content

Pork barrel projects or earmarks are added to the federal budget by members of the appropriation commitees of the United States Congress.  This allows delivery of federal funds to the local district or state of the appropriation committee member, often accommodating major campaign contributors.  To a certain extent a member of the House of Representatives (or Congress) is judged by the ability to deliver funds to their constitutents.  The Chairman and the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations are in a position to deliver significant benefits to their states.

According to ( the term pork barrel, while literally meaning a barrel in which pork is kept, is more commonly used as a political metaphor for the appropriation of government spending for projects that are intended primarily to benefit particular constituents or campaign contributors.  

Pork barrel politics refers to government spending that is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes.  

Typically it involves funding for government programs whose economic or service benefits are concentrated in a particular area but whose costs are spread among all taxpayers.  Public works projects and agricultural subsidies used to be the most common examples from years past but George Bush has significantly changed that.  Pork barrel today can range from any pet project by Congress and most have become the favored spending habits of Republicans.  Most pork barrel spending is often allocated through last-miniute additions to appropriations bills, which has become the ‘norm’ in the last decade.  Remember Sen Ted Stephens from Alaska and Sarah Palin who spent millions of Americans tax dollars to ‘build a bridge to nowhere’!

Citizens Against Government Waste has done a host of research over the past several years, documenting pork barrel spending by Congress, allocated dollars and government sponsors.  I encourage every American to visit their website and see where your money is being allocated.

Below is a summary of Pork Barrel projects and the costs to taxpayers over the past 18 years!  It is easy to visualize how the government has substantially grown and how it does not matter whether it is a Democrat or Republican Administration or a Democrat or Republican Congress.  Both feed equally at the American tax payer trough; therefore the coined phrase "liberal Democrats" now includes "LIBERAL REPUBLICANS". That being said, Republicans have excessively fed in greater dollars and greater numbers during the Bush Administration that at any other time. George W Bush's increases are almost double those of Bill Clinton's and his do not even include the dollars spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
This is party of John McCain and Sarah Palin

US Government Pork Barrel Spending See full chart

Year    Administration  # Projects  Cost

1991 George H Bush   546 $3.1 Billion
1992 George H Bush   892 $2.6 Billon
Total projects 1,438 Cost to taxpayers $5.7 Billion

1993 Bill Clinton 1,712 $6.6 Billion
1994 Bill Clinton 1,318 $7.8 Billion
1995 Bill Clinton 1,439 $10 Billion
1996 Bill Clinton   958 $12.5 Billion
1997 Bill Clinton 1,596 $14.5 Billion
1998 Bill Clinton 2,143 $13.2 Billion
1999 Bill Clinton 2,838 $12 Billion
2000 Bill Clinton 4,326 $17.7 Billion
Total projects 16,330 Cost to taxpayers $94.3 Billion

2001 George W Bush 6,333 $18.5 Billion
2002 George W Bush 8,341 $20.1 Billion
2003 George W Bush 9,362 $22.5 Billion
2004 George W Bush 10,656 $22.9 Billion
2005 George W Bush 13,997 $27.3 Billion
2006 George W Bush 9,963 $29 Billion
2007 George W Bush 2,658 $13.2 Billion
2008 George W Bush 11,610 $17.2 Billion
Total projects 72,920 Cost to taxpayers $170.7 Billion

Total All Projects 90,68 Total All Costs $270.7 Billion

* George W Bush spent 44.76% more than Bill Clinton- * George W Bush spending does not include costs for the Iraq War.

Originally posted to Texas Cowboy on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 02:39 PM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site