Sid Salter’s column attacking the Club for Growth for opposing Senator Thad Cochran’s stance on the practice of pork barrel spending, otherwise known as “earmarking” deserves a response.
It’s entirely true that Thad Cochran has brought a lot of money back to Mississippi, and that money has funded some valuable projects in the state. What Salter doesn’t mention is what Senator Cochran spent our tax dollars on in exchange for those projects. Projects in Mississippi didn’t just appear out of thin air. They came because Senator Cochran supported earmarks in other states, oftentimes wasteful ones. A Woodstock Museum in New York. A Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Oklahoma. A Mule and Packers Museum in California. A Lobster Institute in Maine. All of which, like Senator Cochran’s earmarks, received millions of dollars in taxpayer funds. All of which was paid for by you, the taxpayers of Mississippi.
Probably the most well-known example of a wasteful earmark is the infamous $400 million “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska, which connected an island of 50 people to mainland Alaska. Not only did Senator Cochran vote for the bill that contained the Bridge, but while he was Chairman of the Appropriations Committee he also voted against an amendment offered by Senator Tom Coburn that would have cut funding for the Alaskan bridge and shifted that funding to Louisiana to repair a bridge damaged by Hurricane Katrina. I’ll leave it to Mississippians to decide what was more important –the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska or repairs after Hurricane Katrina in neighboring Louisiana.
Chris Chocola, a former Congressman from Indiana, is president of the Club for Growth.