Power of the Purse

Pork Barrel Spending.

Pork barrel spending is one of the most controversial topics in recent American political history. Generally, pork barrel spending is the appropriation of public money for programs and interests that do not serve the larger public good, but specifically benefit a particular legislative district or area.  Examples of pork included federal money for research, infrastructure projects, and military aid that is not requested by the Pentagon.

One of the biggest critiques of pork was the late Senator John McCain who routinely lambasted Congress for this practice and introduced several reforms for this practice. Despite some critiques, pork is vigorously defended by politicians as the grease which makes budget deals happen.

Check out the clip below from CBS news and  answer the questions that follow

Questions for Completion

1.  Are you troubled by pork in our political system? Why or why not?

2.  Despite negative attention from Senator McCain and many negative news stories, pork is still is a part of our political reality. Why do you think this is?

3.  Research one pork project from your members of Congress. Does the program seem wasteful or important to their work? Why or why not?  It may be useful to check out their official website to see what government spending they have secured for their district or state.


Photo/Image: (It’s not the real sack of money they keep up there. Source: 401kcalculator.org