Sunday, July 31, 2005

Alaska Congressman Brings Home the Bacon

Don Young, the representative-at-large of Alaska, is taking home over $1 billion of pet projects to the last frontier this summer, according to CNN.

The most astounding aspect of the article details the project that will take over a quarter of that funding: a bridge that goes from the town of Ketchikan, population of 8,000, to the island of Gravina, which has 50 inhabitants. Perhaps he's one of 50, and hence, he's used his position as chairman of the transportation committee wisely.

However, all humor aside, what exactly has the GOP become? It would be crude to simply point to one Republican that engages in pork barrel spending and blame the party, however, especially in an individualist state such as Alaska, Republicans are supposedly sent to Capitol Hill to combat large government, not to encourage it. If money is wasted on initiatives such as welfare, which are deemed anti-capitalistic, then what exactly is a $250 million bridge? I dare guess that if Mr. Young was asked for the reasoning behind the bridge he would tout the use of bridges as "economic development".

From our urban-biased perspective, it seems that every kind of economic development that's meant for the inner cities is dismissed by Republican leadership as a "government giveaway". Now, these projects aren't subject to the type of bigotry that they endured under Newt Gingrich, instead, the current Republican speaker, Dennis Hastert (R-Il,) recently boasted to the press of the hundreds of millions of dollars he was taking back to his Illinois district. Tom DeLay got over $1.5 billion for Sugarland.

The Louisiana Libertarian puts it succinctly: "Why worry about Democrats when the Republicans pass this garbage?"

Go to Grist Magazine for more insight on specific projects.


At 12:15 AM, Blogger Chris Woods said...

Thanks so much for the great comments and the link...tomorrow I'm actually officially launching the blog all over again at Political Forecast on its own domain. Hopefully I'll get a link to you soon. I'm in the process of making some changes there, so I don't know if I can get it up by tomorrow morning, but expect it up soon.

So, please stop by the new site. Thanks again for the comments!


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