Declan McCullagh's Politech list had a piece titled A sampling of the very tasty pork in huge Fed spending bill on Tuesday. (BTW, there's an easier-to-read version of this sampling of the pork contained in the FY 2004 omnibus appropriations bill here.) The total is only a little over $69 million—about 25¢ per capita—but this is just a sampling; the whole bill is for roughly $820 billion—about $3,000 per capita. Are members of Congress really the appropriate people to be deciding which of these causes are the right ones to fund? Can they do a better job than I can with my own money? Let's look at the just grants going to my own home state of Pennsylvania. They total $2.2 million. (Hey! We're not getting our share. We had 4.36% of the U.S. population in 2000 but are only get 3.18% of this pork!)
They're getting $725,000. Here's what they say their mission is [emphasis theirs]:
PTM is proud to be one of the country's best children's museums, specifically designed for children seven years and younger. Since 1976, Please Touch Museum has dedicated itself to enriching the lives of children by providing learning opportunities through play.
Great! I love children. Especially little ones. I have two such for grandchildren and maybe someday I'll take them here. But is this an appropriate use of tax dollars? (Boy! Is Flash a pain! I had to scroll through this statement one line at a time and could not copy and paste it. Boy! Do I hate Flash! The content is always all gaud and no substance.)
They're getting $150,000. Their mission? "The Rock School is dedicated to enriching the lives of all students and preparing those students who are specifically gifted in ballet for careers as professional artists." I'm all in favor of enriching the lives of students. I'm all in favor of the arts. I'm sure Shirley Rock was a wonderful person. (Can my local performing arts center get it's piece of this pie? How about some funding for the local coffee house for whom I am the webmeister?)
THERAPEUTIC HORSEMANSHIP IS COMING TO HH! Our strategic planning for this creative therapy program is proceeding at a brisk pace. Several months ago we formed a therapeutic horsemanship advisory council to assist in planning for this challenging new addition to our clinical program.
We have hired a new Coordinator of Therapeutic Horsemanship, Ms. Heather Erno, who is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist in addition to being a certified therapeutic riding instructor. We will have a pilot program running by Fall of 2002. After the Capital Funds Campaign kicks off and fund raising is underway, we will expand the program to include an indoor riding arena.
So it's a little out-of-date. I suppose their indoor riding arena has become a reality. (Can my therapist get a grant to help me in my therapy?)
They're getting $100,000. Here's where I start to have real trouble. I thought the government supporting religious institutions was unconstitutional!
I'm religious. I'm Christian. But this is not right.
They're also getting $100,000.
The only museum in The United States that portrays the entire story of the American Civil War. Equally balanced presentations are humanistic in nature without bias to Union or Confederate causes.
Really? I wonder if I'd agree if I visited. I'll actually be in Harrisburg next month, so maybe I'll stop by. After all, I've already helped pay for it. Ah, but there's an admission fee; it will cost me $7. And what's this link at the bottom of the page? The North American Railway Association
They get $400,000. Their mission statement seems to be worthy of Federal support. But doesn't the National Park Service do these things? Why is a private organization involved? Are we doing away with the NPS?
They're getting $50,000. They're the only canal museum in the U.S.
Visit the only museum focusing on the nation's historic canals and how they developed into today's inland waterways. Through various interactive exhibits you will see what life was like on board an actual canal boat, the impact canals had on industry, and the technological advances they introduced.
It's also another private organization.
Jim Thorpe Bridge Renovation Project.