Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What’s the right metaphor for the endlessly complicated assemblage of porkbarrel stuffed into federal spending bills?

Is it a Rubik’s cube, something to be finally and fully revealed when you figure out how to untangle all the interlocking layers? Or more of a matryoshka doll, the nested Russian figurine that reveals yet another copy of itself every time you open it up and think you’ve finally reached the last?

A new book by Winslow Wheeler details an approach to national defense many voters may not know about. Nor even students of porkbarrel. It’s called The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages U.S. Security. And it’s all about how congressmen scrub defense-related budget items to make room for pork.

Wheeler spent thirty years as a congressional staffer working on national security issues, on both sides of the aisle. He learned that lawmakers are not simply using the opportunity of a spending bill to lard it with unrelated spending. They’re actually cutting defense expenditures on training and equipment and the like. A kind of sausage-making that’s simple in essence, complicated in ugly political detail. In one chapter, Wheeler recounts how $2.4 billion in actual defense-related items was chopped from a bill while $4 billion in pork was added.

Military spending can also be ill-conceived. But obviously, it should be advocated or opposed on the merits. Not arbitrarily funneled into wasteful favor-trading.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor

1 Comment

  1. Clark Dillon says:

    What can conservatives do to get the attention of those in need. We cannot use Congress now. Is there a way to raise money for use in creating jobs or manufacturing consumer items that will create more jobs in a particular area. Perhaps and idea can be generated and then an appeal to democrats, unions, etc. to see what they’re really made of?Get rappers to pu up millions for businesses in LA.

    Get Al Gore to raise money for clean coal in W. Virginia. Have Oprah put up millions for some restaurants that would hire many jobless

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