One of the dangers in the aftermath of Sept. 11 is that congressional spending may get out of hand. We're bailing out New York City, which is fine. Already, $20 billion has been pledged, and another $20 billion may be necessary. President Bush wants a $75 billion stimulus package to revive the economy. And members of Congress can be counted on to load up these spending bills with more pork. They always do.
As Citizens Against Government Waste points out, pork is only the tip of the iceberg of misspent taxpayer dollars. The organization estimates that Washington will throw away $1.2 trillion through waste and mismanagement in the next five years. While all waste should be and can be addressed, cutting pork should be immediate. The president ought to make it an issue of national security and label as unpatriotic anyone who won't go along. Patriotism is "in" right now, and doing things unpatriotic would be injurious to the career of a member of Congress, which is every member's first priority.