Taxpayer Rip-Off of the Week: $250,000 for National Cattle Congress

If American taxpayers are wondering why their hard-earned dollars are going to the cows, they should ask Sen. Tom Harkin (D.-Iowa). After all, they have Sen. Harkin to thank for the $250,000 he doled out to the National Cattle Congress (NCC) in Waterloo, Iowa for renovation and construction of facilities from the 2006 Transportation Bill (H.R. 3058).

According to its website, the first Dairy Cattle Congress opened at Waterloo on October 10, 1910. Over ninety years later, people keep "coming to the Dairy Cattle Congress in Waterloo to be entertained. Many of them find this entertainment by walking through the barns or experiencing the nostalgia and adventure when viewing farm machinery."

Besides for its regular attractions, the NCC sponsors an annual fair at an admission price of $7.00 per person. At the 2005 fair, main attractions included: the Second Annual Cattle Congress Cage Combat, Nervous Nocks, the "Survivor" Family Game Show, Jocko and the J’s Monkey Show, Steeples Wild West Bear Show, and the Cedar Valley Expo.

Fortunately for the NCC, it has plenty of help. Its website boasts a long list of sponsors, including CFU Cable, KWWL-TV, and Pepsi. But a careful look at the list will leave one wondering why the NCC left off one of its most crucial sponsors: the American taxpayer.

If our representatives in Washington don’t clean up their act soon, this country will be faced with a huge financial mess. The Washington insiders like to spend first, think later, if they bother thinking at all, but recklessness comes at a price — a price this country can’t afford.

Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee voted in favor of spending tax dollars on Iowa’s National Cattle Congress (Senate Roll Call Vote #264) on October 20, 2005.