Friday, June 09, 2006

More Pork

I have begun compiling a list of pork barrel spending that I will display here. If you have a project that you would like to include please contact me by e-mail at Enjoy! This should be amusing. For a full list of wasteful spending you can visit Citizens Against Wasteful Government by clicking here
I have not combed through all of the reports yet. So if you find an interesting one let me know and I will post it here. Thanks!
Note: Not all of these items are current.

New: It has been discovered that over $1.25 billion in Katrina aid money was given to fraudulent claims

My personal favorite: $13,500,000 to finance project in Ireland, which among other things, included helping to finance the World Toilet Summit

$500,000 for a University to set up a program examining how Congress makes budget decisions

$2 million to pay for a Navy study exploring the use of "no flush" urinals

$250,000 for a museum dedicated to tea pots

$180,000 for research on berries

$700,000 to give the Largo, Florida Police Department laptop computers in their patrol cars

$79 million for wood utilization research since 1985

$2 million for the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage

$1.4 million to replace a working dog kennel at a military base

$500,000 for design, planning, and equipment for a forensic laboratory in Vermont

$225,000 for the Beluga Whaling committee

$250,000 to fund Pinellas County, Florida's Police Athletic League

$447,000 for halibut data collection

$300,000 for the County Neighborhood Watch Program in Prince George, Maryland

$3,768,000 for research dealing with shrimp aquaculture

$500,000 for a Virtual Perimeter Video Surveillance System for the Pittsburgh Police Department

$249 million for the now infamous Bridge to Nowhere

$750,000 to give the Snohomish County, Washington Sheriff'’s Office palm-imaging technology

$200,000 to the city of North Pole for "recreational improvements"

$50 million to build a five acre indoor tropical rain forest in Iowa

$200,000 to the University of Hawaii to produce a film on the Kalahari Bushmen (does anyone even know of what the Kalahari Bushmen is?)

$1,700,000 for the International Fertilizer Development Center

$1,000,000 to conduct marine mammal population surveys

$100,000 to the Institute of International Sport to prevent youth crime

$100,000 for the University of Pittsburgh Center for Sports Medicine to research the knee injuries in female athletes

$100,000 for a high school to enhance its metalworking program

$50,000 for an elementary school to start an International Baccalaureate Program

$400,000 for AIB College of Business to maintain a program that recruits and trains students in captioning and court reporting

$1,500,000 for to record data aboutAlaska'ss currents and tides

$2,700,000 for the Wood Education and Resource Center

$2,500,000 added for Pinellas County, Florida. The bill does not specify the purpose of this money.

$18,500,000 to help create jobs in Ireland through such programs as building a replica Jeanie Johnston (a Canadian ship that brought famine victims to North America)

$2,000,000 forminiaturee golf in St.Augustinee

5,000,000 for the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP)

$2,000,000 for a program called Seniors vs. Marketing Scams

$1,000,000 to produce a video which promotes the significance of National Patriotic Holidays for young people

$150,000 for the Military Sexual Integrity Program

$270,000 for wool research

$225,000 to repair a swimming pool that a Congressman and his friends filled with tadpoles in their youth.

$238,000 for the National Wild Turkey (NWTF) Federation

Here is a great discussion of pork spending

Alaska, the pork state

Tell Sen. Stevens what you think of his pork spending by clicking here.

When politicians talk about fixing the debt one of the first things they mention is cutting wasteful spending. Wasteful spending is a serious problem. In fact, according to Sen. Tom Coburn R-OK the government wastes $200 billion a year. Cutting this spending would be a logical and easy first step in reducing the deficit.

Unfortunately there are powerful members of Congress who will do anything to get money into their district, no matter how frivolous.

One of the most powerful of these members is the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Sen. Ted Stevens R-AK. You may remember Sen. Steven for his $250 million bridge to nowhere that was to link would link a small Alaskan town with a pop. of 8,900 to a small island of a pop. of 50. For that much money the federal government could have purchased a 100' yacht for each resident of the small island to ferry them to the mainland so that the already effective ferry service would no longer have to work!

Sen. Tom Coburn R-OK attempted to divert the money to fund the rebuilding of roads damaged by Katrina but, Stevens threw a fit and offered his resignation "if the senate decides to discriminate against our state and take money only from our state." unfortunately, the Senate voted not to take up the Senator's offer 82 to 15.

Despite Sen. Steven's rhetoric, no one is discriminating against Alaska. For every tax dollar Alaskans pay to the government in Washington they $1.89, and because Alaska pays it citizens surplus money, this funding goes directly into the pockets of Alaskans. The state also ranks first in per capita federal spending, the government spends $12,279 in Alaska for every resident of the state. It appears that Sen. Stevens enjoys taking your tax money and racking up the debt to line the pockets of his constituents.

Some of Sen. Stevens (who coincidently chairs the appropriations committee) previous projects have included:

$2 million for the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage

$1.4 million to replace a working dog kennel at a military base

$225,000 for the Beluga Whaling committee

$447,000 for halibut data collection

$249 million for the now infamous Bridge to Nowhere

$200,000 to the city of North Pole for "“recreational improvements"

You can thank Sen. Stevens in part for both the national debt and your tax bill, unless of course you live in Alaska. It is estimated that Alaska recieves $808 worth of pork for every resident!

"No state has gone through this….I urge my friend from Oklahoma to reconsider this, reconsider what he is getting us into. The amendment may pass, but if it does the bill will never be passed. If it does, I will be taken out of here on a stretcher."
Senator Stevens reacting to Sen. Tom Coburn's requested ammendment to to scrap Sen. Steven's $250 million Bridge to Nowhere.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Who Owns the U.S's Debt?

"Debt is such a powerful tool, it is such a useful tool, it's much better than colonialism ever was because you can keep control without having an army, without having a whole administration."
Susan George

One of the most frightening facts about our debt is that a good portion of it (about 25%, or $2 trillion) is owned by foreigners. Some of these countries, such as China, are buying our debt for political leverage, other countries are using our debt as an investment vehicle. Regardless of the motives, every bond that we sell overseas means less money in our economy in the long term.

So what countries own our debt? Take a look.

(in billions of dollars)
All Data Current as of March, 2006


Japan _____________ 640.1
China _____ ________ 321.4
United Kingdom 2/ ____179.5
Oil Exporters 3/ ______ 98.0
Korea ______________72.4
Taiwan _____________68.9
Carib Bnkng Ctrs 4/ ____61.7
Hong Kong __________ 46.6
Germany ___________46.5
Mexico ____________ 40.1
Luxembourg ________ 36.8
France _____________34.9
Canada _____________34.7
Singapore ___________33.1
Switzerland _________32.0
Brazil _____________31.4
Turkey ____________21.0
Ireland ___________19.6
Sweden ___________ 17.9
Thailand __________17.5
Belgium ___________17.1
Netherlands _______ 15.3
Italy ____________13.7
Israel ___________ 12.3
Poland __________ 12.2
India ____________11.2
All Other _________151.3

Grand Total _______2087.2

reported under the Treasury International Capital (TIC) reporting system are based on annual
Surveys of Foreign Holdings of U.S. Securities and on monthly data.
2/ United Kingdom includes Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
3/ Oil exporters include Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria.
4/ Caribbean Banking Centers include Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Netherlands Antilles and Panama.

Data courtesy of
the U.S Department of the Treasury

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