Cutting earmarks from the federal budget is tough, writes New York Times columnist Gail Collins. In the quest to look efficient, the Department of Education “proposed to eliminate seven programs, consolidate 38 others and wipe out $123 million in earmarks.”
Good work, Department of Education! And good luck actually getting rid of them.
After all, the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, set up to celebrate the 500th anniversary of 1492, is still in business. Among other things, it sends middle schoolers with community improvement ideas to Disney World.
My own favorite target for extinction is a $9 million annual appropriation for museums and educational programs that highlight the “shared culture and tradition” of Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians and “children and families of Massachusetts.”
In other words, whaling.
In 2006, Congress made the Choctaw Indians of Mississippi eligible for whaling museum money, apparently to pay off “the state’s earmark-loving senior senator, Thad Cochran,” rather “than Mississippi’s rich whaling tradition.”