25 March 2007

One Amazing Earmark

The Politico website reports that the "U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act” in the house has a good portion of pork in it. For the $96 billion of troop funding there's an additional $28 billion for earmarked spending - pork. So 22.58% of the total $124 billion in the bill goes to projects which have little or (more often) nothing to do with the war.

What is most offensive is that, according to the article, "$165,200 to the widow of Rep. Charles Norwood (R-Ga.), a promoter of patients’ rights legislation who died of cancer and lung disease in February, three months after he was reelected." One person, $165,200. There's lots of other, more expensive pork in this bill (the article gives their top 10), but I find this single payment the most offensive.

I'm not trying to belittle any one's death or the grief felt by the family. But does it make any sense for US taxpayers to give what looks like a life insurance payment to this one person? How does this qualify as even remotely thoughtful spending by the federal government? How many worker's income taxes for 2006 will go to pay this one person? And, if taxpayers are meant to pay this, what is the criteria for equal treatment when one of their loved ones dies?

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