T
H
E

L
I
B
E
R
T
A
R
I
A
N

E
N
T
E
R
P
R
I
S
E


I
s
s
u
e

2
5


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 25, April 1, 1997

Reeking Economic Indicator

By Vin Suprynowicz
vin@lvrj.com

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

         Citizens Against Government Waste, the Washington-based nonprofit pork-watchers, released their seventh annual "Pig Book" on March 20.
         The pink-bound volume compiles 241 congressional spending projects which the authors say meet one or more of their seven criteria: requested by only one chamber of Congress; not specifically authorized; not competitively awarded; not requested by the president; greatly exceeds the president's budget request or the previous year's funding; not the subject of congressional hearings, or serves only a local or special interest.
         Items cited in this year's book include $473,000 to develop low-fat snack foods in Iowa, a $500,000 grant to two universities in California and New York to study and improve U.S. grape farming methods, a $4 million grant to the Gambling Impact Study Commission, and $15 million to keep open a federal facility in Alaska (home state of Senate Appropriations Chairman Ted Stevens) which was formerly ordered shut down due to budget constraints.
         The Alaskan facility will now study ... I'm not making this up ... the Aurora Borealis.
         Americans have been killed because some jerk thought they hadn't paid enough taxes -- remember, the raid on the church at Waco was conducted by Treasury agents -- and they use the money to study the Aurora Borealis.
         CAGW President Tom Schatz stressed that those projects were only the most "egregious" examples gleaned from a list of nearly 1,600 projects totaling $14.5 billion in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.
         That marks a 16 percent increase over the previous year ... in an era when politicians of both parties (or should I say -- both branches of the incumbent Republicrat Party) routinely run on platforms promising lower taxes and leaner, less intrusive government.
         The bulk of the spending projects were oiled up and slid into appropriations bills by members of the powerful Senate and House Appropriations Committees, often at the last minute, CAGW spokesmen report.
         "I'm shocked ... shocked," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., his voice dripping sarcasm, as he noted that the 10 states with the most pork-barrel projects have key members on Congress' appropriations panels.
         (The 10 "piggiest" state are Texas, Hawaii, Florida, California, Oregon, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, New York and Virginia.)
         Along with Rep. David Minge, D-Minn., and Ed Royce, R-Calif., McCain said he would join a CAGW "pork patrol" to develop a hit list of items to be presented to President Clinton for removal via his line-item veto.
         Noting that the current president is the first president specifically authorized by Congress to wield such an item-by-item veto, Sen. McCain said "There's no excuse for Congress to put this pork in, and now there's no excuse for the president not to veto it out."
         It's particularly interesting that the authors included the $4 million grant to the Gambling Impact Study Commission -- an unmistakable attempt to put the camel's nose under the tent when it comes to federal regulation and taxation of gaming -- a matter in which an amazing run of 104 consecutive previous congresses managed to forget they were even authorized to meddle.
         In her great novel "Atlas Shrugged," Ayn Rand so well understood the socialist/collectivist mind that she predicted a day when -- Colorado having become the most prosperous state -- the federal government would enact a specific "Colorado Tax," designed to force the citizens and industrialists of Colorado to share some of their wealth (which of course must have been gained by some mere fluke of luck; energy and diligence never having anything to do with such matters) with the residents of other states less fortunate.
         The result, of course, was to kill the last Golden Goose.
         What state in America today, do you suppose, is the least collectivist, the most laissez-faire, and (oh, these darned coincidences) the most prosperous and fastest-growing?
         Would that be Nevada?
         And in what lone state do we find the greatest concentration of legal gambling (the industry that is finally, single-handedly, raising the Indian nations from poverty) ... not to mention legal bordellos, and all kinds of other enterprises which the cold, clammy hand of Washington just can't wait to smother and shut down?
         Would that be Nevada, as well?
         Indeed, if Mr. Clinton is the "New Democrat" under which label he was sold to us, dedicated to pounding the final nails into the coffin of the "era of big government," I assume the White House must be stocking up on red pens to start crossing out this kind of nonsense, even now.


Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The web site for the Suprynowicz column is at http://www.nguworld.com/vindex/. The column is syndicated in the United States and Canada via Mountain Media Syndications, P.O. Box 4422, Las Vegas Nev. 89127.


Now Available in Hardcover. Sexual Correctness: The Gender-Feminist Attack on Women, by Wendy McElroy [McFarland Publishing]. Reviewed in The Libertarian Enterprise Issue 16, article 5. Carried by Laissez Faire Books (800)-326-0996.



Next to advance to the next article, or Previous to return to the previous article, or Index to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 25, April 1, 1997.