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Ted Stevens: Reaching the End of his Bridge to Nowhere

August 10, 2010

Today reports were confirmed that mark the passing of Senator Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican Senator in U.S. history. Much has been and will be written by people who knew the esteemed Senator, I will not attempt to add to the collection of obituaries and memorials which will no doubt extol Stevens’ many admirable qualities, instead I wanted to write about one of his more controversial qualities. I am writing about his pork barrel spending.

Ted Stevens, in his decades on the Appropriations Committee got billions of dollars of government money funneled into the State he basically helped start. In fact, he made Alaska the highest per capita recipient of Government funds. Just a month ago we also saw the other Senator who brought home the bacon, Robert Byrd, pass away and with his death I also found myself considering this method of getting money for one’s home state. Is this practice wrong or right? Internal conflict time

“It’s wrong” A voice in my head screams. “It’s a waste of tax payer dollars for useless projects. By choosing the location for Government money based on where Senators happen to reside we allow inefficiency to take the place of common sense. Robert Byrd built the headquarters of the Coast Guard in West Virginia. What the hell? Furthermore it is essentially buying votes by paying off the constituency with easy money even though Government projects, if not strategic, cannot sustain long term economic growth. This isn’t even mentioning the astronomical deficit we now face!”

The other part of my brain yells back, “But weren’t these Senators elected to do what’s best for their states. Should they have let these projects, which were going to have to happen anyway, go elsewhere. Hasn’t our government decided that seniority is the best way to prevent disunity among the committees and the entire Senate and these senators were simply doing what was expected and what they earned?”

“Why are you talking to yourself!?!” A final part of my brain shouts!

Well, I’m going to go figure this all out with my schizophrenic self. RIP Ted Stevens.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Aptronym permalink
    August 11, 2010 1:41 pm

    Advocating one’s state: good. Buying votes and encouraging government hand-outs: not so good. That’s how it falls for me, anyway.

  2. August 12, 2010 5:56 pm

    I would like to point out that the term “Bridge to Nowhere” is an absolute joke, essentially because the bridge was going somewhere. In fact, the bridge was going to connect mainland Ketchican to the airport which is located on an island. Let me repeat that, the airport of Ketchican is located on an island. To get to the airport you have to wait 30 -45 minutes for the ferry. I’ve been there and it’s a pain in the ass. Was the cost of the bridge ridiculous, yes. Should other solutions been used, like perhaps a faster more efficient ferry? Perhaps. But the facts are clear, “the bridge to nowhere” was definitely going somewhere.

    • socialistocrat permalink
      August 12, 2010 6:27 pm

      Dear John,

      Do you troll the web for references to “the Bridge to Nowhere” just to correct people? If you’d read my post you’d see I use it as a metaphor for reaching the end of life in the title and never again refer to the the bridge. Did you ever think thats because I know that it goes somewhere? did you ever think that its because I’ve felt the pain of the 30-45 minute wait to the ferry personally? No. you didn’t think. I hope you start walking down a literal bridge to nowhere…don’t stop until you reach the end.

      Thank you for your readership and comment, all participation is valued.



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