Pigs rolled out to protest government spending as Tax Day approaches
With the April 15 tax day right around the corner, the taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste rolled out a couple of pigs to press their case against $19.6 billion in lawmakers’ pet projects for the 2009 fiscal year, calling them “re-election currency.”
While the pigs Dudley and Minnie snorted around the luxurious National Press Club (better digs than they’re probably used to), the organization rolled out its annual “Pig Book” decrying the projects as pork-barrel government spending that did not get proper or public scrutiny or vetting by Congress.
“Pork has been used by both parties as re-election currency,” said David Williams, vice president of policy at the Citizens Against Government Waste. “There is no moral high ground here when it comes to pork-barrel spending because most of Congress partakes in this process.”
The group highlighted more than 10,000 projects stuffed in the 2009 annual spending bills and while there were fewer of the so-called earmarks than in fiscal 2008, the money in 2009 was 14 percent higher than the previous year.
Many of the projects were already highlighted earlier this year during the debate over a $410 billion omnibus spending bill, including some $1.8 million to study pig odor and manure management.
The group also decried some $465 million for an alternative engine project for the Joint Strike Fighter, which they argued would not save any money.
President Barack Obama has promised to cut down on the pet projects, and last week requested Congress to keep them out of the $83.4 billion he requested to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that was met with skepticism.
“We have some hope that it will be reduced, on the other hand the budget is very large,” said Thomas Schatz. “It depends on how strong the president feels about earmarks and how much of an issue he wants to make out of them. It has to be different than what he did in the omnibus bill.”
With a human in a pig costume standing next to them, Schatz and Andrew Langer, the president of the advocacy group Institute for Liberty, urged Americans to participate in so-called “Tea Parties” around the country to protest the taxes on the day they are due.