PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Jason DeParle reports:
Exasperated by his party’s failure to cut government spending, Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, is seeking cyberhelp.
Coburn wants to create a public database, searchable over the Internet, that would list most government contracts and grants – exposing hundreds of billions in annual spending to instant desktop view.
Type in “Halliburton,” the military contractor, or “Sierra Club,” the environmental group, for example, and a search engine would show all the federal money they receive.
A search for the terms “Alaska” and “bridges” would expose a certain $223 million span to Gravina Island (population 50) that critics call the “Bridge to Nowhere.”
While advocating for openness, Coburn is also placing a philosophical bet that the more the public learns about federal spending, the less it will want.
“Sunshine’s the best thing we’ve got to control waste, fraud and abuse,” he said. “It’s also the best thing we’ve got to control stupidity. It’ll be a force for the government we need.”
But Coburn’s plan, hailed by conservatives, is also sponsored by a Democrat, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, and applauded by liberal groups that support activist government.
Yes, the anti-pork movement is pretty bipartisan. And why shouldn’t it be? Sadly the pro-pork movement is pretty bipartisan, too . . . .