Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pork 2

According to the article by John Ellwood and Eric Patashnik, pork may not be desirable, but may be necessary to provide incentives for congressmen to make some tough decisions. Those decisions include cutting programs or raising taxes to try and decrease the ever expanding budget deficit. It is wise to limit pork and try to only use it for sensible, helpful programs, but it is not wise and probably not possible to eliminate it entirely. Instead the object of politicians and pork ought to be, as the article states, to "harness the pursuit of self-interest to public ends." In other words, pork may be necessary in some situations as an incentive for congressmen to work towards more important legislation that may be originally unfavorable.

The above paragraph is what the article says and to a certain degree I agree with it. I agree that it would be difficult to convince politicians to give up pork entirely because pork allows them to play the hero in their constituencies. However, I don't think that pork should necessarily be used as a bargaining chip. It may be idealistic, but I would like to think that politicians ought not need an incentive to work for the betterment of the nation instead of for their own self-interest. However, as I said that idea is idealistic, I understand that it will not come to fruition. Politicians will forever be working for their own reelection and the interests of the nation, of reducing the federal deficit, will generally take a back seat to the self-interest of our politicians. Therefore, I once again agree with the article that the best the country can hope for is simply the harnessing of the self-interest of our politicians, possibly, although I dislike the idea, with the wise apportionment of pork.

harness the pursuit of self-interest to public ends

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