On to part 3 of reasons to vote for John McCain and be happy doing it. I would not call John McCain a pure conservative but I do view him as a conservative-leaning principled politician. As you all well know conservatism speaks to two fronts. The first is being conservative on a social level. This would include things such as honoring all life, protecting family values, or defending our constitutional gun rights. The second front is being a fiscal conservative. This denotes favoring smaller government, less spending, and lower taxes. I would like to focus on one of the most anti-conservative actions of our legislators -- PORK BARREL SPENDING. If you ask anyone in the know of politics they will tell you that John McCain is the STRONGEST OPPONENT of pork barrel spending. This has helped to give him the name of "Maverick" and made him enemies in both political parties. Here we go:
1 -- What is pork barrel spending?
The term pork barrel politics refers to government spending that is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes. The term originated early in American history, when slaves were sometimes given a barrel of salt pork as a reward and had to compete among themselves to get their share of the handout. Typically, it involves funding for government programs whose economic or service benefits are concentrated in a particular area but whose costs are spread among all taxpayers. Public works projects and agricultural subsidies are the most commonly cited examples, but they do not exhaust the possibilities. Pork barrel spending is often allocated through last-minute additions to appropriation bills.
THIS IS HOW POLITICIANS WANT YOU TO VIEW PORK
2 -- How does pork barrel spending get into bills?
Pork-barrel projects, or earmarks, are added to the federal budget by members of the appropriation committees of United States Congress. This allows delivery of federal funds to the local district or state of the appropriation committee member, often accommodating major campaign contributors. To a certain extent, a member of Congress is judged by their ability to deliver funds to their constituents. The Chairman and the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations are in a position to deliver significant benefits to their states.
OR MAYBE SEE PORK LIKE THIS
3 --How do the candidates fare on wasteful spending?
Democrats promised to reduce the number of earmarks when they gained control of Congress, however, that did not happen. The only apparent change is that each earmark must now include the name of the congressional sponsor requesting money for their pet projects.
So how did the presidential candidates fare on earmarks? Tom Schatz is president of Citizens Against Government Waste, and he says that one presidential candidate in particular stands out from the rest. "You compare the 261 [earmarks] that Senator Clinton received to the zero that Senator McCain received, which is the same number he gets every year," notes Schatz. "And even Congressman Kucinich, viewed as a very liberal member of congress, only got six earmarks."
Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) got 46 earmarks, less than one-fifth the number Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) received, and Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) got 10 earmarks in the budget.
THIS IS A WHOLE LOT MORE HOW THIS PORK REALLY LOOKS
4 -- Who is the biggest opponent of pork barrel spending?
In his second major policy address in a week, McCain said Republicans, after winning control of Congress, “forgot who we were: tight-fisted stewards of the federal treasury who keep our priorities straight.”
The senator, who has a long history of fighting government waste, said spending has gone from irresponsible to indefensible, claiming “pork-barrel politics balkanizes America into competing interests groups just as race-based or religion-based or class-based politics do.”
McCain vowed to use the veto power often to fight pork-barrel spending.
“Give me the pen, and I’ll use it,” the senator said at a speech to the Economic Club of Memphis. “I won’t just talk about it or threaten it, or use it once and put it back in the drawer to gather dust. Give me the pen, and I’ll veto every single pork-barrel bill Congress sends me, and if they keep sending them to me, I’ll use the bully pulpit to make the people who are wasting your money famous.”
5 -- What is McCain's official stance on pork barrel spending?
Seal the Pork Barrel
Among the most glaring abuses in Washington is the willful setting aside of taxpayer dollars for the pet projects of special interests, often through last minute additions to appropriations bills. Pork barrel spending is an insult to taxpayers, a waste of public resources, and an abdication of our leaders' responsibility to be good and honorable stewards of the public treasury, for the benefit of all Americans, not just a few.
Too often it appears that elected leaders use the treasury as a campaign kitty, channeling taxpayer dollars for pet projects to preserve incumbency rather than to meet national needs. John McCain has been a tireless warrior against wasteful spending, and one of the few leaders who has the guts to challenge abusive Congressional earmarks and the pork barrel politics that grip Washington. John McCain understands that, fundamentally, wasteful spending is an issue of ethics.
As he pointed out recently as part of his longstanding, principled, and often lonely vigil against pork barrel earmarks in Congress: "Earmarked dollars have doubled just since 2000, and more than tripled in the last 10 years. This explosion in earmarks led one lobbyist to deride the appropriations committees as favor factories. The time for us to fix this broken process is long overdue." As President, John McCain would shine the disinfecting light of public scrutiny on those who abuse the public purse, use the power of the presidency to restore fiscal responsibility, and exercise the veto pen to enforce it.
AND THIS IS WHAT PORK DOES TO YOU AND I
BTW -- Pork barrel spending accounted for 29 BILLION (yes, with a B) dollars in 2006. Any questions?