Friday, January 30, 2009

In Praise of Pork

The New York Times today reports that the Metropolitan Transit Authority expects to receive over four-hundred million dollars from the Obama stimulus package in order to complete one of its moribund holes in the ground: the Fulton Transit Center.

This is great news for any of the millions who pass through this currently warren-like, construction-hobbled, George Tooker-esque gateway to one of the great commercial hubs of the world (I am referring to Lower Manhattan).

Every Republican that can fog a mirror will deride it as "pork".

To the no-tax, bleed-the-government-white crowd, pretty much any item that a tax dollar might be spent on, especially those producing tangible results like buildings, bridges and child care programs are cursed as the political incarnation of something that snorts, rolls in mud and stinks.

It's the Republican way of letting folks know government can't be bothered with doing anything of value. Build a planetarium in Chicago (so kids can see stars)? Pork! Renovate the lawn on the Washington Mall (and employ lots of landscapers)? Pork! Study a debilitating disease by testing a mutation of it on fruit flies (curing thousands of sufferers)? Frivolous, pointy-headed pork!

I want to call an end to Pork-bashing. Sure--let's not spend money on nuisance projects--like, for instance, the NSA domestic spy program (or paying Blackwater's invoice)!--but since we're going to get taxed no matter what, how about we spend the money on some seriously porky stuff. Like libraries, maybe, or transit centers. I can smell the bacon just by thinking about it.