Thursday, 13 January 2011

pork barrel

n: government projects or appropriations yielding rich patronage benefits

As usual, the congressional candidates decried the government pork barrel while simultaneously promising to deliver all sorts of lucrative projects if elected.

Did You Know?

You probably think the original pork barrels were barrels for storing pork - and you're right.  In the early 19th century, that's exactly what "pork barrel" meant.  But the term was also used figuratively to mean "a supply of money" or "one's livelihood" (a farmer, after all, could readily turn pork into cash).  When 20th-century legislators doled out appropriations that benefitted their home districts, someone apparently made an association between the profit a farmer got from a barrel of pork and the benefits derived from certain state and federal projects.  By 1909, "prok barrel" was being used as a noun naming such government appropriations, and today the term is usually used attributively in constructions such as "pork barrel spending" or "a pork barrel project."

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In My World

What what an appropriate vegan version of this be?  Bean barrel?

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