Monday, September 26, 2005


On Porkbusters

Mostly I've been watching the Porkbusters folks with interest from a distance. (Yes, I certainly do wish the Transportation Bill was smaller; yes, I do wish our government could get by with a little less of its collective hand in my pocket. But somehow this doesn't inspire outrage in me, as it does in some. So it goes.)

James Lileks, however, got off a brilliant comment in one of his Screeds:
But it’s not hopeless. Say we reset the budget to the last bacon-stuffed multi-bazillion-dollar deal. Give every state delegation jurisdiction over the pork outlay for another state. The delegation that cuts the most gets a 10 percent increase in its own outlay. Let them bleed one another dry instead of the rest of us, in other words.

Now wouldn't that be nice?

Perhaps more to the point: let each state be assigned another state as an auditor, totally at random. The auditor's Senators (and their staffs) go through their assigned state's pork with a fine-tooth comb, and display the most ridiculous examples of it on the floor of the Senate. (This part is easy; most of the combing has already been done by the blogosphere.)

Then let each state's Senators be required to defend, on the record, the silly projects that they've insisted the entire country pay for. Defend them, or cut them -- and let a majority vote of the Senate determine success. Say, one hour each to display (and ridicule) a state's pork projects; another hour apiece to defend them; then a roll call or two for cutting them. That's two hundred hours, not counting the votes, or a little over a month of eight-hour business days.

Yeah, I know, that's still far too long. But it sure would be fun to watch.


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