With the April 15 income tax deadline at hand again, some U.S. taxpayers may be wondering what their mandated contributions to the respective state and federal government coffers will be used to finance.
One group that makes an annual habit of outlining some of the more questionable expenditures is Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), which late last week issued the latest version of its infamous "Pig Book" [PDF: 7.5 MB] publication -- which includes listings of so-called "pork-barrel spending" in Washington, DC. (Members of Congress who fund pet projects in a home district are often accused of "bringing home the bacon.")
In previewing the release a few weeks earlier, the CAGW noted that "as hardworking Americans struggle to pay their taxes before April 15th, the Pig Book is bound to induce anger from taxpayers and prove embarrassing for politicians."
The 60-page document introduces the problem and the criteria used in determining the most wasteful projects that, according to the non-partisan CAGW, "represent a corruption of the budget process":
"The 630 projects, totaling $3.1 billion, in this year's Congressional Pig Book Summary symbolize the most egregious and blatant examples of pork. As in previous years, all of the items in the Congressional Pig Book Summary meet at least one of CAGW's seven criteria, but most satisfy at least two:
Requested by only one chamber of Congress
Not specifically authorized
Not competitively awarded
Not requested by the President
Greatly exceeds the President's budget request or the previous year's funding
Not the subject of congressional hearings
Serves only a local or special interest
Special dubious recognition goes to 14 winners of the CAGW's Oinker Awards, given in recognition of "dogged perseverance in the mad pursuit of pork." Honorees include such projects as:
The Soaking the Taxpayers Award
to Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) for $50 million for an indoor rainforest in
It's the Real Pork Award
for $100,000 to restore a historic Coca-Cola building in Macon, GA
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