NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Bringin' Home the Bacon

April 8, 2004

Congressional Pork is expensive. This year some 630 projects, totaling $3.1 billion, will contribute to our $521 billion deficit and $7.1 trillion national debt. The most egregious and blatant examples are outlined in the Congressional Pig Book, published by Citizens Against Government Waste, which reveals that Congress porked out at record levels.

The total number of pork projects hidden in the 13 appropriations bills, seven of which were lumped together into one omnibus spending bill and passed in January, is a record 10,656, 13 percent over last year's eye-popping total of 9,362. It is an increase of 384 percent over six years. Total pork-spending also increased to a record $22.9 billion, 1.6 percent higher than last year's historic high of $22.5 billion.

Examples from this year's Pig Book:

  • $50 million for an indoor rainforest project in Coralville, Iowa.
  • $18.5 million for the International Fund for Ireland.
  • $15 million for dairy development programs overseas under the U.S. Agency of Intentional Development.
  • $6.1 million for wood utilization research in 11 states.

The states or districts that led the nation with the most pork projects were:

  • Alaska with $808 per capita ($524 million), or 26 times the national pork average of $31.
  • The runners up were Hawaii with $393 per capita ($494 million) and the District of Columbia with $321 per capita ($181 million).

Unless Congress enacts serious and meaningful budget reform, there could be another record level of pork in fiscal 2005. Tax dollars should be focused on protecting the nation, instead of being used to protect the incumbency of members of Congress, according to the Pig Book.

Source: "2004 Congressional Pig Book," Citizens Against Government Waste, April 7, 2004.


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