Tuesday, October 20, 2015

True pork barrel politics

"Whether you like it or not," the sheer size of the federal government dictates that its purchases, or lack thereof, will have a huge impact on the economy. This will impact various special interests, who will then contact politicians to save the nation from untold horrors resulting from H.R. whatever.

Which brings us to the Bureau of Prisons. No, this isn't about tilapia. This is about pork. Specifically, the Bureau of Prisons determined that pork should be eliminated from federal prison menus.

The decision didn't stick, in part because of the intervention of Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who heads a Senate committee that oversees prison menus. Senator Grassley, who happens to be from the state of Iowa, made the following statement:

“The pork industry is responsible for 547,800 jobs, which creates $22.3 billion in personal incomes and contributes $39 billion to the gross domestic product.”

Or, to put it more bluntly, the pork industry has lobbyists who give out money.

Of course, the chicken and beef industries also have lobbyists, which probably helped grease the initial decision to eliminate pork. According to the Bureau of Prisons, prisoners just don't care for pork. Even bacon - which sends social media practitioners into drooling ecstasy - doesn't sit well with the prison population, which caused the Bureau of Prisons to eliminate bacon, sausage, and pork chops from the menu.

According to The Crime Report, one special interest group that didn't take a stand on the issue was the Muslim community. Muslims do not eat pork, and there are active Muslim prison ministries, but Muslim groups apparently feared that any anti-pork statements on their part would result in an anti-Muslim backlash. However, CAIR did lend support to the original proposal.

And Senator Grassley is presumably happy, based upon the kinds of things that he says to the National Pork Producers Council:

I am glad to be here with you, and I hope you had a good breakfast that included either ham or bacon to get your day started.

Of course, there are some types of pork that Grassley just can't stand.
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