Why is "pork barrel" spending important?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pork barrel spending (also known simply as “pork”) is important for two main reasons.  It helps to make it easier to pass legislation, but it also tends to contribute to overspending by the government.

Pork barrel spending is not easily defined because a project that looks like pork to one person will seem truly important to another.  However, the general idea is that pork is when the government spends money on pointless or unnecessary projects just so that government money can flow to the district of a given member of Congress.

Pork makes it easier to pass laws.  A representative who is reluctant to vote for a certain bill can be persuaded if the leadership offers him or her some pork programs.  Alternatively, leadership can threaten people who vote the wrong way too often by threatening to take away pork from those members’ districts.

However, pork does lead to unnecessary spending.  It leads to money being spent on things that are not important just to help some members of Congress politically.  This helps to build up the national deficit and debt and is therefore a bad thing.