Two groups, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR) and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (APF), were part of the “Ending Earmarks Express” that is traveling the country in an effort to bring attention and put and end to government pork-barrel spending. Yesterday, they hit home with a visit to the National Storytelling Center in Jonesborough.

Sure, it hurts a little when people call something in your neighborhood a product of “government waste,” but the TCPR and the APF are absolutely correct in their assessment. The Federal Government has absolutely no business funding things like Storytelling Centers and “bridges to nowhere” (the most famous example of government waste).

The Storytelling Center and things like it are merely payoffs to lobby groups in Washington – a standard “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” philosophy that has so permeated Washington (and Nashville, for that matter.)

It matters not how good the Storytelling Center is for the local economy – there is no question that it is very good. What matters is the Constitutionality and simple fairness of the Federal Government funding such endeavors.

Here’s a crazy thought – if the government cut out “earmarks,” there would be more money in our pockets to pay for things like the Storytelling Center, so we wouldn’t need to rely on the government for the economic health of our communities – we could do it ourselves. So if you’re angry about taxes – and I think that most of us are – then blame the Storytelling Center and things like it around the country. They’re one of the major reasons our paychecks are slaughtered by the government each week.

Like I said before, it hurts a little when my hometown is targeted as a product of government waste, but one can’t play favorites. If I complain about the “bridge to nowhere,” I should also complain about those things in my own backyard. Keep in mind, too, that Drew Johnson, president of the TCPR, is a hometown boy. Drew and I went to high school together at Science Hill in Johnson City (who knew Science Hill could churn out TWO great conservatives!), so, having seen Washington County before and after the Storytelling Center was built, neither of us can deny the economic impact. What we can deny is the validity of the Federal Government paying for such an impact. Is it not up to us to “take care of our own,” rather than begging the Feds to do it for us?