NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Pork Ahead

January 20, 2004

The omnibus appropriations bill for 2004 scheduled for a vote in the Senate this afternoon has the most pork of any spending bill produced by Congress, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Among the unnecessary spending items:

  • There is federal money for the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and one traffic light somewhere in upstate New York.
  • Some $50 million for an indoor rain forest in Coralville, Iowa and $2 million for a golf awareness program in St. Augustine, Florida.
  • The number of such federal earmarks -- spending for very specific projects -- has quintupled in the past five years to about 10,000, worth $23 billion, for 2004.
  • Passage of the omnibus bill would raise total discretionary spending to more than $900 billion in 2004.
  • By contrast, the eight Clinton-era budgets produced discretionary spending growth from $541 billion 1994 to $649 billion in 2001.

Nor can recent increases be blamed on the war. At 18.6 percent, the increase in non-defense discretionary spending under the 107th Congress (2002-2003) is far and away the biggest in decades. In 2003, total federal spending topped an inflation-adjusted $20,000 per household for the first time since World War II.

Source: Editorial, "GOP Spending Spree," Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2004.


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