Apparently the federal government is tired of hearing about pork spending on highway projects so they went out and actually bought some pork with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”) money. The Department of Agriculture actually purchased over three-quarters of a million pounds of ham slices to the tune of $1.2 million.
Fox News did the math and you or I could have purchased similar products at a retail store for about half the price. As a Costco and Sam’s Club member, I can appreciate purchasing in bulk, however, that much pork is impressive.
On the defensive after the news article appeared on Drudge, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak explained that the ham was to be distributed to the needy through food banks and soup kitchens. In addition to ham slices Vilsak shopping list also included $2.5 million for cooked frozen ham, and nearly $17 million for cooked canned pork (could this be Spam?). No explanation was given as to why they failed to purchase beef, chicken, or fish.
Vegetarians should not worry, however, they also purchased over $1.5 million of mozzarella cheese and nearly $6 million of “processed” cheese. That is a lot of Velveeta! The list released by Agriculture did not seem to contain any purchases of bread, lettuce, tomatoes, or mayonnaise. I personally prefer cheddar cheese on my ham sandwich.
There is still no response to comments from critics of the Department of Agriculture that the purchases were insensitive to vegans and persons who are of the Jewish or Muslim faiths and do not eat pork. There is also a story about a homeless man who is allergic to mozzarella and processed cheese and really can only eat Swiss cheese. Is it really fair that he has to have a ham sandwich without any cheese while rich people can have any cheese that they want?
How many of you thought that ARRA (Stimulus) money was to be used for infrastructure to create jobs. I am not sure how ham and cheese relates to bridges, roads, or sewers. Actually I am sure and there is not any relationship. The food may actually make it to the needy people and that would be good, but ARRA money should not have been used. I would suggest that they overthrow a few of the president’s czars and use that savings for pork. That would be fitting.
All of the controversy could have been avoided if they had only limited their purchases to BACON. Who does not love bacon?