Pork Chops

Not long ago, Congress passed--and President Bush signed--a transportation bill that's just the ticket for solving some of our nation's most pressing needs. Just consider the $30 million earmarked in the bill for the city of Altoona, Pennsylvania. The money will go toward the construction of a high-tech moving sidewalk. I don't know about you, but this warms my heart. Just think of all the poor people of Altoona who until now have been forced to get around on old-fashioned, stationary sidewalks. It's pure coincidence, of course, that Altoona is located in the district of Representative Bud Shuster, ranking Republican on the surface transportation subcommittee. Critics might charge that the moving sidewalk project is pure pork barrel. I'm sure there's something in it of great national significance. But let's go on. There are other worthy plans in the transportation bill. Representative John Paul Hammerschmidt had the foresight to insert a provision to erect signs along a national highway in Arkansas. The signs will identify that part of the highway as the "John Paul Hammerschmidt Highway". Now, isn't that resourceful? Here I was, wondering how our government could possibly improve the transportation system--we need it--and along comes one of our hard working representatives in Congress, always ready to serve the greater good, and tells me my tax money can be used to plaster his name over Arkansas. I never would have thought of it myself. And there's more. The transportation bill allots nearly $150 million to West Virginia for a demonstration project on how to eliminate traffic congestion. Now, if you've driven through West Virginia, as I have, you're probably wondering where all the traffic congestion is in that low-population state. But not to worry. The traffic solutions we figure out there can be applied to other places. Like Montana. Or Alaska. I hope no one is cynical enough to think this bill has something to do with the fact that the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee is from West Virginia. Critics like to point out that the national debt is already over $4 trillion. And that it's jumping $1 billion a day. Right now, paying off that debt would require $15,000 from every man, woman and child in America. But just look at all the wonderful things Congress is doing with that money. It's creating jobs. That's what President Bush said when he signed the transportation bill. "Jobs, jobs, jobs," he said. You see, says journalist Dave Barry, when the government spends money, it's creating jobs. But if you leave the money in the hands of taxpayers, well, there's no telling what they'll do with it. Dig a hole and hide it maybe. Anything to avoid creating jobs. So when members of Congress appropriate several million to build a shrine for Lawrence Welk in North Dakota--the one President Bush mentioned in his State of the Union address--or when they earmark millions for an Abraham Lincoln Center in Illinois, we really should trust their judgement. They know what's best for the nation. They know what to do with our money. After all, that's why we elected them. Right? And if we didn't agree with them, why, we'd just kick them out of office.


Chuck Colson


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