Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott is often portrayed as a pro-defense fiscal conservative. But in Washington perceptions often don’t match reality.
Monday, November 15, 1999
Republicans are proving just as good as the Democrats at spending lots of wasteful pork in their districts. Which party you belong to doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is whether you’re a career politician.
There’s a big difference between honest competition to win contracts for work that needs to be done and pork barrel make-work programs. The make-work hurts our military readiness by stealing precious resources from the useful projects.
When the military said it didn’t want the LHD-8 helicopter carrier, Senator Lott ferociously lobbied the Navy to support the spending. Why? Because it was being built in (you-guessed-it) Mississippi. Lott got his way. A spokesman for the Senator explained, “If there’s some help he can bring to his constituents to alleviate a need or provide a job, he’s not going to make apologies for that.”
Fiscal conservative? Champion of military readiness? Nope. Spending defense money for any purpose other than defending the country is just plain wrong. And Senator Lott’s pork sure isn’t helping the average person in Mississippi, the state with the highest percentage of citizens living in poverty.
The longer career politicians stay in Washington, the more eagerly they pursue their political interests at the expense of the public interest. We don’t need the politicians’ pork. We do need to defend our country.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.