Where’s the Pork?

I’ve been excited by anyone by the efforts of both NZ Bear’s Porkbusters and the Sunlight Foundation to root out government waste. Plenty of web luminaries are chatting up today’s rollout of the Exposing Earmarks project; I found Jay Rosen’s summary of the movement (which includes Josh Marshall and Glenn Reynolds) particularly helpful. I set aside some time to play around with the G maps mash-up of HHS appropriations earmarks, starting with two my two most recent homes, Chicago and Philadelphia. Living in Chicago, where some official or other always seems to be on trial or under investigation, I have no lack of enthusiasm for identifying waste. Despite this skepticism, Chicago’s cut of the federal pie seems pretty legit: funding for hospitals, housing assistance for homeless families, and education. The map for Philly lists a couple of projects that raise  questions, but overall, I can’t complain about well regarded workforce training programs and health care.  So, pork pickings are slim in two of the cities with with worst reputations for waste. Coincidence– or is there less pork than was feared?

One thought on “Where’s the Pork?

  1. And what if you were to dig a little deeper and find that the price of the hospital equipment being “purchased” with federal money via an anonymous earmark is made by a company owned by one of the earmark-sponsoring congressman’s biggest campaign donors or former college buddy? Or the congressman owns stock in the equipment company? The problem is not the purpose of the spending, it is the anonymity of the process for authorizing the spending.

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