Gabriel Schonfeld

New Federal Budget Just an Enormous Barrel of Pork

Members of the Republican Congress, embattled by ethics scandals and the declining popularity of the Bush administration, desperate to raise their chances of reelection in the contentious midterm elections, made dramatic changes in the Federal Budget yesterday. The bulk of the change in the budget has come in the form of “pork barrel appropriations.” However, these are not the “pork barrel” earmarks of MONEY so familiar to advocates of a slimmed down federal budget, but are rather allocations of actual barrels of dead pig meat to districts in which Republican candidates appear to be in a precarious position.

Republican Representative Sam Johnson of Texas attempted to explain the subtle difference: “We all want to help our districts, but so called “pork barrel appropriations” have attracted suspicion of waste as of late. We feel the need to correct the misuse of the term in the strongest way possible. When the people of our district get word of the massive load of REAL pork that is coming their way, they will certainly get that warm, fuzzy, “voting Republican” kind of a feeling without any lingering questions about whether the government is appropriately using their money.”

Shrewd Washington watchers are marveling at the cunning political instinct possessed by Congress to conceive of such a revolutionary tactic. John Worthington Farthingsworth III Esquire had this to say: “The onslaught of pork into districts with close races will be undoubtedly credited to the incumbent. It has long been standing political fact that incumbents benefit by earmarking pork to their districts, and I see no reason to believe that anything will change this time.” The proposal has spawned a sea of copycats in all fifty states by legislators eager to jump on the porking bandwagon.

Political scientists have rushed to establish key features of the act of porking a district so that it may quickly be integrated into our nation’s education. The provisional definition is as follows: PORKING is the act of taking the government’s meat and cramming it into every deep dark crevice, nook, and cranny of a district in which the incumbent is in danger of losing an election. The intended effect is that the insertion of the meat spurs feelings of warmth and passionate affection for the endangered incumbent among the electorate, which compels it to vote the incumbent back into office.

However praised by the political crowd, porking does have its detractors. One of the most prominent detractors of the practice is Jonathan Ruvenstein, an “average Joe” father of two and an American Jew. He complained that the porking process was anti-Semitic insofar as it excluded Jewish voters from the feeling of wellness that comes with the meat. Because Jewish candidates could not in good conscious take part in the sort of process that may cause other Jews to violate the tenets of their faith in the service of their mad lust to be porked, Ruvenstein charged porking with excluding Jewish politicians from success. Also opposing the tactic are various physical health advocacy groups, including the American Medical Association. The AMA warned that wanton porking could worsen the obesity epidemic currently faced by America today by cramming fat meat inside districts and their residents. They also cautioned about allowing the government to pork you and your family without proper protection from election fraud.

While the finer details of the appropriations are still being worked out in committee, the range of pork products available is sure to be massive and able to serve any district’s needs. Broad bipartisan support has been shown for ham (whole), bacon, pork chops, and pork ribs. Some members of congress have expressed concerns about the inclusion of pork leg, pork shoulder, and pork loin, while a fringe group in the senate is threatening to filibuster the key bill unless chitlings and trotters are promptly struck from the list. When asked why there was so much contention over chitlings, which has the two fringes of congress battling with a previously unheard of viciousness, a congressional aide quickly developed an intense need to examine the ceiling tiles in the senate office building as a glassy stare came over his eyes.

Voters have taken an instant liking to the concept, with recent polling showing that as much as 70 % of the electorate spends an hour or more per day “waxing lyrical” about their moist, fragrant, Government Issue hams, and that nearly 60% of those polled reported “an almost homicidally psychotic lust for bacon.” With a slightly higher margin of error, a few polls have reported figures as high as 65% of registered voters saying that they would “gladly kill” for the man or woman responsible for satisfying their pork-lust. However, some voters expressed concern over the government’s track record for fair distribution of earmarks. A point of particular contention was the per capita pork allocation to sparsely populated states such as Alaska. Whereas populous New York State will be receiving 1500 calories of pork per capita, nearly deserted Alaska will be receiving almost 4000 calories of succulent pork, bacon, and ham for each and every citizen of the state. Some have proposed a pork “bridge” to link the inhabitants of a small island to the mainland. Critics have countered that it would be more economical to simply purchase each and every inhabitant their own personal Learjet made out of pork.

The senate has tentatively scheduled a vote on the bill for early next week, but until then, the debate over porking the public shall continue unabated.


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