Commentary

Let’s All Give Thanks for Bounty of Government Pork

This article appeared on SpringfieldNews.com, November 25, 2005.
In recent weeks, efforts by some congressional Republicans to cut federal spending have created a partisan brouhaha on Capitol Hill. But this Thanksgiving week, they’re taking a break from their heartless attacks on government’s bounty.

“Thanksgiving is a day very much in keeping with its name, a day of thanks.” Those sage words come from Girlpower.gov, an important government-sponsored Web site that reaches out to pre-teen girls. So let us heed Girlpower.gov’s advice and give thanks to our federal government. Without its many agencies and programs, we certainly would not be able to enjoy this grand federal holiday.

For instance, how many people would forget to buy a Thanksgiving turkey if not for Uncle Sam’s help? Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has stepped in, putting out a press release noting, “Before preparing your meal, you must of course shop for a turkey.” Let us give thanks for that advice.

And, if not for the federal government, what would happen to people who have serious problems cooking their turkey? Fortunately, the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline will have special Thanksgiving hours of 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for cooks who want to know how long to cook their turkeys, why frozen turkeys come covered in plastic, and whether it’s OK to eat raw turkey giblets. So let us also give thanks for the Meat and Poultry Hotline.

For very young cooks who are helping their parents in the kitchen, the USDA offers Thermy, the cartoon mascot of the Food Safety and Inspection Service. Thermy is a smiling meat thermometer with a chef’s hat and a sweating problem. You may have seen him in a previous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade uttering his famous catch phrase, “It’s safe to bite when the temperature is right.” So we should also give thanks for Thermy.

Indeed, the federal government offers a cornucopia of Thanksgiving advice. To sample some of it, visit the Federal Citizen Information Center’s Web site. Visitors can find holiday recipes, fitness tips and food safety suggestions - everything to make Thanksgiving day a happy one. So let us give thanks for the Federal Citizen Information Center.

Of course, Thanksgiving is no time to forget sound environmental stewardship. Thus, to save the environment during the holiday season, the Environmental Protection Agency encourages us to “consider renting more formal tableware that you might not use very often.”

Thanksgiving is a time for our country to come together - not a time to consider cutting the important programs and agencies that Americans depend on for holiday joy. So on this Thanksgiving holiday, please join me in giving thanks to the federal government:

Thank you, Girlpower.gov. Thank you, Thermy. And thank you, Congress, for not trimming the fat.

Brandon Arnold is director of government affairs at the Cato Institute.