Ever wonder how the politicians decide what’s the best way to waste your hard-earned money on pork-barrel projects that only a few people care about? You probably think that our political leaders hide away with a pocket calculator and a complicated formula to figure it all out. Hey, would you wake up?
That is just not how these things are done. Instead, what happens is that the guy who wants the money tries to put the guy who holds the purse strings in a good mood, so that he’s more willing to cough up the dough. And how better to do that than with a nice freshly baked pie?
I just learned this myself from an article in the National Journal . It seems that shortly after he was first elected, former Representative George Hochbrueckner wanted money to dredge some inlet or other in his district, real crucial national-priority type stuff. To get the dough, he needed the backing of Representative Tom Bevill, who chaired the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee at the time. Hochbrueckner wanted to get on Bevill’s good side. He asked his wife for help. She said, honey, why don’t you give him one of my homemade strawberry-rhubarb pies. Hochbrueckner gave Bevill the pie, which was received very gladly. Next thing you know, a tasty $3.6 million to dredge an inlet was being tossed Hochbrueckner’s way courtesy of one well-fed subcommittee chairman.
And, of course, courtesy of the unsuspecting taxpayer. That sure was an expensive pie. As National Journal puts it, “Welcome to Politics 101.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.