Saturday, March 19, 2022

10 Absurd Examples of Corrupt Pet Projects and Handouts Congress Slipped Into Its Latest Massive Spending Bill

Basically, nobody would support funding these things if they were put to a vote on their own.

by Brad Polumbo - March 15, 202 - In a sad commentary on the state of America’s priorities, the $1.5+ trillion spending legislation passed by Congress last week barely made headlines. Little attention was paid to the 2,700-page spending bill or the fact that it was released at 2:30 a.m. on the day of the vote, meaning most members of Congress voted on it blindly without even having skimmed the legislation. 

In a less dysfunctional country, this would be an outrage. Yet there’s even more scandal lurking beneath the surface-level incompetence of our elected officials. 

The latest budget bill features an astounding 4,000 “earmarks,” pet spending items slipped into the fine print that fund projects and handouts to special interests in members' home districts. The money funneled to earmarks totals a whopping $10 billion. (To put that number in context, it’s roughly one-fifth what the federal government spent on COVID-19 vaccine and treatment development.) 

The full list of earmarks is 367 pages long. It’s far too long for most journalists—let alone an average American who doesn’t follow these things for a living—to actually go through in detail. However, a look at a few highlights gives you an idea about the kinds of things our money is spent on through this corrupt process. 

Here are 10 of the most absurd earmarks in the latest spending legislation. 

  1. $995,000 for a project on “soil health” at New Mexico State University, requested by Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico.
  2. $1.5 million for “tree restoration” in Ohio, requested by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
  3. $1 million for the “Multicultural Innovation Center” at the Rhode Island Black Business Association, requested by Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island.
  4. $60 million to “renovate” the research facilities at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, requested by Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama.
  5. $160,000 to study the “sustainability” of astronaut food at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, requested by Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.
  6. $109,000 for facility improvements to a local arts center, requested by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
  7. $200,000 to provide tech support for women and minority-owned businesses via the Vermont Center for Women & Enterprise, requested by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
  8. $2 million for a pilot program to try an electric-vehicle-based ferry system in Alaska, requested by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
  9. $600,000 for the YMCA of Southern Arizona, requested by Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona.
  10. $110,000 for a food truck and refrigerated van for the Spanish American Center in Massachusetts, requested by Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts. 

As you can see, these are pet projects and crony handouts for special interests, not essential items that require federal funding. Out of all 4,000+ earmarks, few seem like things that need to be funded by taxpayers at all—let alone at the federal level. 

Can anyone explain why a Virginia taxpayer like me should have to pay for Alaska’s electric ferry experiment? Or why a Californian should have to pay for Spanish food in Massachusetts or tree restoration in Ohio?

I’d hold my breath waiting for a good answer, but then I’d probably pass out. Basically nobody would support funding these things if they were put to a vote on their own, or even as a part of smaller legislation that could be properly scrutinized. That’s why they aren’t, and why earmarks are so inherently corrupt.

The famed economist Frédéric Bastiat once deemed the government “the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.” And though you couldn’t tell from the way Congress behaves, there is no blank check from which the federal government can draw. 

When our elected officials funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to their corrupt handouts, that money must, directly or indirectly, come out of our pockets. Americans shouldn’t stand for a political class that wants to live at our expense—or more precisely, since the federal government is more than $30 trillion in debt, living at the expense of future generations.  

Brad Polumbo
Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

This article was originally published on Read the original article.

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Friday, March 18, 2022

What happened at the Metro Council: first-ever pre-budget public comment period, Community Oversight Board License Plate Reader bill passes 3rd reading.


by @startleseasily, The Nashville Scene, March 17, 2022 - Tuesday’s meeting included the first-ever pre-budget public comment period, the last-minute brainchild of CM At-Large Burkley Allen, who currently serves as the council’s Budget and Finance Committee chair. It was capped at two hours, ... Since we don’t actually have a proposed budget on which to comment, this was more of an open-mic night. ... Housing vibes were high on the list, with multiple speakers and organizations requesting that Nashville do more to support its most vulnerable residents — instead of spending time negotiating sports deals ... Education vibes also got top billing. 

CM Mendes’ bill to ensure that the Community Oversight Board has the same kind of LPR access as the district attorney and public defender — to ensure the COB is able to investigate complaints of misuse or abuse of LPRs — passed on third and final reading Tuesday night. (read more)

Nashville residents call for next budget to prioritize affordable housing and raises

The Tennessean, March 17, 2022 -Nashville residents and advocacy groups took advantage of a first-of-its-kind opportunity Tuesday night to voice their priorities for the city before the budget is released. 

Metro Council members heard remarks from more than 25 people and organizations during the two-hour comment period, with most asking for the next budget to prioritize affordable housing, cost-of-living wage increases, food insecurity, public infrastructure and support for Nashville General Hospital. (read more)

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More trouble for former House Speaker Glen Casada

 State regulators to ask Williamson County DA to investigate former House Speaker Glen Casada

Stockard on the Stump: Calfee links Casada, governor to National Guard promotion offer

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Bill To Remove Obscene Materials From School Libraries Slated For Senate Committee Hearing

Bill To Remove Obscene Materials From School Libraries Slated For Senate Committee Hearing

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Weak E-Verify Bill Only Applies To Companies With 35 Or More Employees


Read the Story, Share and Comment by clicking below. 

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Michelle Foreman is launching her campaign for State Representative for the NEW 59

Michelle Foreman
She is a wife, mom, nurse, and a recent grad of Nashville School of Law. How good is that? Let's get excited because we have a new district in Davidson County that leans Republican. 

We can help Michelle Foreman take her place in our General Assembly where today 

Republicans in Davidson County have NO representation.

You are Invited to the Kickoff for Michelle Foreman for State Rep in the NEW 59!

Thursday March 24  5-7pm    

Address provided upon RSVP to

 $250/ per person OR $400/couple

     Maximum contribution per person is $1600 in the Primary 

and the same for the General Election

  Make checks payable to
   Or donate online at

Read more about Michelle here: 

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