Senator John McCain calls NW Salmon restoration projects “Pork-Barrel”

Isn’t politics wonderful? Here’s a reader challenge: Find one small part of the military budget that is not involved in direct combat activities, cut it, and save all the money being spent by our government on salmon restoration in the NW, including Alaska. As Chris points out, apparently $884M is being spent on Salmon recovery this year. A good start on figuring out what the military spends is located here:

As you can see, in the last budget, military construction was up 19% (!) to 23.9 Billion dollars. This 19% was above what the President requested. Perhaps the correct answer is to call salmon restoration “Military Construction” as it protects our local free food sources in the event of a war? Then we could add it to the budget, and find that Senator McCain suddenly needs it funded. Has there ever been a military program he has not wanted to fund? (update:actually this is happening already. The mitigation funding for environmental degradation that the Navy is providing to the Hood Canal Coordinating Council to help distribute to environmental restoration projects includes salmon recovery. Mission Accomplished!)

Or perhaps we can find $880B under the “Operations and Maintenance” budget, since likely we could feed restored salmon runs to the military. That budget was up 4.2% last time.

Let’s make sure we understand this fact, that the total of all salmon restoration projects for all the Pacific NW including Alaska is approx. $880M, which we will round up to $1B. This is 1/683rd of the last total military budget. But please, check my math. It’s not my strong suit.

And this isn’t all we are spending our tax dollars on to protect us. The list is long.
DOD which we have been describing is separate from: FBI Counter-terrorism, International Affairs, Energy Department defense spending, Veterans Affairs,Homeland Security,NASA defense related satellites, Veterans Pensions, Other defense related mandatory spending, and yes, interest on debt from past wars. (!)

While I am not advocating cutting spending on all these (as the Republican fueled sequester is actually doing), I am saying that to come out against salmon recovery when these budgets are not even being evaluated for waste reduction, in an era when our troops are coming home and we are getting out of a war, is quite the ‘whipping boy’ for the real issue. It seems that some of our politicians cannot see to give us any kind of “peace dividend” for our 10 years of sacrifices, both in taxes of our incomes, to the funding for young men and women that have been killed and maimed for our politicians demands of invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. A good friend lost his son there, so this is real to me. And Patty Murray still has to fight against the other side of the aisle, McCain’s side, to get any real increase in Veterans’ funding for the wounded coming home. The Sequester will slash spending there, too.

If we ever decided that our needs for this kind of spending of our tax dollars on our maintaining a world wide military against the possibly of a war, were not as high as we thought, we might see not only real substantial spending to restore salmon, far beyond what we are doing now, but also might see the kind of local investment I see in Canada. There, almost every small town has a nice swimming pool for their citizens, courtesy of the federal government. They have universal health care so mothers don’t have to make the hard decision if they can afford to take their sick children to the hospital ER and also afford the cost of medicine for them, as I’ve heard some of our local mothers talk about. And then there’s the issue of properly funding education. The list is long. This isn’t a hard thing to understand. We spend a huge portion of our budget (20%) on defense related spending. But even the Canadians have allowed their latest government to swing the priorities into decreasing everything but defense.

Senator McCain’s ‘side-show’ of political off the cuff comments is very much in line with his long history of this kind of balderdash. To put a lot of stock in his comments is simply to give the fool more PR. But since he asked for it, I think he deserves a bit of retort. Frankly, given the disasters he has helped foment in the last two elections for his party, it’s likely time for him to retire to one of his many homes around Arizona.

This is a good reason to subscribe to the Kitsap Sun. They still are supporting real journalism.

U.S. Sen. John McCain has thrown together a list of “egregious pork-barrel projects” found in the Democrats’ proposed spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. To my surprise, his list is topped by funding to restore Northwest salmon runs. In a news release, McCain said he couldn’t understand why such funding wasn’t cut from the proposed continuing resolution to fund the government until the end of the fiscal year.

Chris Dunagan blogs. Saving salmon tops McCain’s list of wasteful projects

One Response

  1. I just find it sad that salmon restoration cannot be put through as a stand-alone bill that will be supported by both parties. It certainly SHOULD be. Also everyone should understand that ALL of the money for restoration will be wasted if the fish net pens now being forced on us by the WA Department of Ecology happen. I understand they are fully in support of the fish farmers and helped stop HB1599. See “Salmon Confidential” at the website for more background on how the fish net pens are destroying native fish in BC.. next door.

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