December 29, 2007

Because Oil Companies And Pizza Hut Couldn't Afford It

I've figured out how to get conservatives and liberals together on the issue of pork. All we need to do is show how earmarks put money in the pockets of a progressive bete noir, and if possible, throw in a dash of Congressional cluelessness. That would give us a broad-spectrum motivation to kick some porkers out of the Capitol Hill barbeque.

Bingo! One Representative's failure to gas up created an earmark to build a gas station:

More than 25 years after he nearly ran out of gas there, Rep. Dave Hobson was finally able to fill up in Wilberforce Thursday at a new Speedway SuperAmerica gas station at U.S. Route 42 and Brush Row Road. ...

The development, named the Tawawa/Dave Hobson Plaza at a 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting, is joint project between Speedway SuperAmerica, which has its corporate headquarters in Enon, and the Tawawa Community Business Development Center.

In addition to the 2,500 sq. ft., 24-7 gas station and convenience store, the plaza contains 500 sq. ft. of retail space that is expected to be leased to a pizza parlor or other take-out restaurant. Officials at CSU and at Wilberforce University believe that’s something vitally important in a community with hundreds of college students and no pizza delivery or nearby fast food options.

Hundreds of college students, and no fast-food options anywhere? How did they survive for 147 years? How else could we expect the young men and women of Wilberforce and Central State University to find their path to obesity? Thank goodness the federal government stepped in to provide a much-needed solution!

This comes as no great shock from the Ohio Republican. Although he scores better on the Club for Growth's 2007 RePork Card than most Democrats, he still only earned a meager 6% for his efforts to fight pork. Anyone who can't figure out when to refill the tank -- before a long drive, let's say -- probably believes that the oil companies need financial assistance in building gas stations almost as much as pizza joints do.

Pork projects like these don't just waste money; they project federal power and distort markets as well. If an area only has a limited market -- hundreds of students rather than tens of thousands -- it will likely not generate much investment in fast-food joints or gas stations. However, if the need really exists, and not just for clueless Congressmen who forget to fill the tank when they're in town, the market and the investment will follow, and it won't come with the strings attached to federal grants. Washington has no business building gas stations and pizza parlors and using our money to score points with the hometown folks.

Let's see if our friends on the port side of the blogosphere note this pork paean to "Big Oil" (or SuperAmerica, which really is more Corporate America). Hey, it even features a Republican! Can we all agree that earmarking should get banned altogether now?

UPDATE: Bruce Kesler has more thoughts on this. He also finds a few more pork pulls worthy of his excellent skewering.

UPDATE: Libby's in! Of course, Libby has been on the case for a while, but it's good to get the momentum rolling.


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» The Taxpayer Funded Gas Station from Adam's Blog
Podcast Show Notes The result of a taxpayer earmark in 2001: a gas station and a pizza parlor named after Congressman Dave Hobson (R-OH). Hobson calls it his proudest accomplishment, I call it pork gone mad. (Hat Tip: Club for Growth and CaptainR... [Read More]

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