Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungHopes for DC, Puerto Rico statehood rise Florida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum House Democratic campaign leader predicts bigger majority MORE (R-Alaska) is Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) April Porker of the Month for ignoring the detrimental effect of earmarks and pledging to continue his state’s disproportionate harvest of federal tax dollars.

During an April 9 KTUU-TV (Channel 2, Anchorage) interview, Rep. Young defended his pork, saying, “People don’t understand that this so-called cry for stopping earmarks, it does not add to the national debt. If you have a budget that’s the budget we just voted on that that we work in, what we do is decide within the budget where those dollars will go.

First of all, the annual budget resolution is non-binding. Since Congress can exceed its spending limits without penalty, the budget does not negate the cost of earmarks. Second, Congress has no obligation to spend all of the money in the budget. Instead of going to pork projects, the money could go toward reducing the national debt or, even better, back into taxpayers’ wallets. In 2006, the last year all appropriations bills were passed, total pork spending reached $29 billion. With roughly 300 million people in the U.S., each person could have received almost $100.

Earmarks add to the national debt by acting as the gateway drug to Congress’s spending addiction. Pork-barrel spending allows politicians to target benefits to specific groups at the taxpayers’ expense. That vote-buying mentality spills over into other areas of the budget, like entitlements, leading to higher overall spending. Pork also conditions voters to re-elect incumbents based on their ability to “bring home the bacon.