It seems that “everyone” is demanding that the President and Congress “do something” to aid our ailing economy. Republicans demand tax cuts to stimulate investment; Democrats demand that we spend more tax funds on make-work projects to jump-start the economy.
All these proposals falsely assume that the Federal Government can (or should) plan our economy. We should cut taxes — not in a futile effort to micro-manage the economy, but because justice demands that the American people be allowed to spend their own money.
We are indebted to Congressional Quarterly for publishing “Where the Money Goes.” It’s a wonderful 168-page explanation of how our tax dollars are spent by a little oligarchy of Democratic appropriations subcommittee members who meet in secret and divvy up the billions that are extorted from the American people.
In the House, the 13 Democratic subcommittee chairmen gather privately and divide up the pork to benefit their own districts and perpetuate their incumbency. In the Senate, Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) just summons the subcommittee chairmen one by one, then makes the allocations. Republicans are irrelevant to this process.
Senator Byrd is the champion pork barrel appropriator. Since relinquishing his national role as Senate majority leader three years ago in order to run the Appropriations Committee, he has funneled more than a million dollars to his home state. Goodies in the 1992 budget include tens of millions of dollars for projects in West Virginia, such as $trooo,000 for a demonstration of a model wellness community in Wheeling, and a $o million grant and another $32 million to Wheeling Jesuit Co1lege.
The agriculture appropriations bill included $5.12 million ordered by Subcommittee Chairman Jamie L. Whitten (D-MS) for new construction at the National Center for Natural Products in Oxford, Mississippi. Rep. E. “Kika” de 1a Garza (D-TX), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, wangled $1.7 million to complete construction of a research center in Weslaco, TX, studying how to make Africanized honey (“killer”) bees less aggressive.
This bill also included $225,000 to build a vidalia onion storage facility at Tifton, GA, the home state of Wyche Fowler Jr. (D-GA), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and $39r000 for celery research at Michigan State University in East Lansing, requested by Bob Traxler (D-MI), a House Agriculture committee member.
The Commerce, Justice and State appropriations bill earmarked $3 million for a durable-metals center at Iowa State University, the district of Neal Smith (D-IA), chairman of this House Appropriations Subcommittee. It also included $1 million to buy a 154-acre tract in Beaufort County, South Carolina for a nature park in the state of Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC), and $1.7 million for Pacific tuna management, urged by Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI).
The defense appropriations bill included $l-l-.7 million earmarked for military museums in or near the districts of House subcommittee members W. G. Bill Hefner (D-NC), Norm Dicks (D-WA), and Les AuCoin (D- OR). Senate Subcommittee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) got $750,000 for a Pentagon conservation agency to help replenish stocks of Hawaiian mullett (a saltwater fish).
The energy and water development appropriations bill gave construction money to Bridgewater State College in the district of Rules Committee Chairman Joe Moakley (D-MA). J. Bennett Johnston (D- B), chairman of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, got $10 million for the Institute of Micromanufacturing at Louisiana Tech University.
The foreign aid operations bill earmarked $5 million for international development projects by dairy cooperatives, promoted by House Appropriations Foreign operations Subcommittee chairman David R. Obey (D-WI). Also designated by this bill were $10 million for the North-South Center associated with the University of Miami, which was promoted by alumnus Dante B. Fascell (D-FL), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Interior appropriations bill included $1.2 million to keep open one office in Chicago and another in Portland, Oregon to answer questions about wetlands regulations, in the districts of key appropriators Sidney R. Yates (D-IL) and Les AuCoin (D-OR).
The 1abor, health, welfare, and education appropriations bill included a special request in its report by House Subcommittee member Joseph D. Early (D-MA) directing HHS’s Health Care Financing Administration (which oversees Medicare and Medicaid) to “suspend all activities” toward collecting alleged overpayments to the Worcester, MA city hospital.
Chairman of the House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee W. G. “Bill” Hefner (D-NC) saw to it that funds from the money allocated to close obsolete U.S. military bases be used to build a new hospital complex at Fort Bragg, NC at a projected cost of $240 million.
These are just samples of the pork barrel appropriations itemized in the 168-page CQ book. Those of us who don’t live in the districts of Democratic subcommittee members deserve a tax cut as a matter of justice.