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Pork barrel politics

Created date

April 9th, 2009

Particularly with the passage of the latest stimulus bill, there s been a lot of talk about pork amongst political commentators. While the term today refers to the funding of a state-level project through a federal bill as a way of garnering the votes of those legislators who otherwise would have opposed the law, its origin connotes a dark period in American history. In the 19th century, slave holders would on holidays sometimes put out large barrels of salted pork for the slaves to eat. It s said that the typically underfed captives would rush the barrel to secure themselves a piece of meat. Now, swap out that barrel for a $50 billion transportation bill and watch the legislators rush the table to secure an earmark for that bridge or new highway their constituents need. That s where it comes from. "That bill looks good on the surface, but it's so full of pork that we're all going to end up paying for a bridge in one state."