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Pork barrel

Pork barrel refers to the utilization of government funds to benefit a politician’s local constituents, ultimately to garner votes. Pork barrel is used to describe a certain type of politics or political spending, it is an American term. Before refrigeration, butchered pork was often preserved in a barrel filled with salt. This pork barrel became a symbol of a family’s prosperity. By the 1860s the U.S. Treasury was metaphorically referred to as a pork barrel, within ten years the meaning took on a negative tone to imply skimming off the national riches to benefit a small number of local constituents in exchange for popularity and votes. Pork barrel is sometimes hyphenated as pork-barrel.


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Examples

In the wake of the scandal that erupted last year after Aquino and his sly budget manager were caught manipulating the national budget through the so-called “disbursement acceleration program” (DAP)—which the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional—the “Bottom-Up Budgeting” program was hastily conceived as a substitute and pitched to the public as a “clean” program that eliminated the DAP and the “pork barrel” that is doled out to congressmen and senators. (The Manila Times)

A perfect storm of less-than-favourable economic conditions and long standing pork barrel policy practices have left Malaysians wondering what subsidy the government will cut next. (Free Malaysia Today)

Silver’s successor as Assembly speaker, Democrat Carl Heastie of The Bronx, swiftly reaffirmed the pay-to-play ethic in his house, making it clear that member items — pork-barrel-patronage traditionally used to keep lawmakers in line — will be a part of his regime. (The New York Post)

The Conservative government continued to shower money on the capital region Friday as critics blasted the string of recent funding announcements as “old-fashioned pork barrel politics.” (The Edmonton Sun)

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