Pork-Barrel Politics

A slang term used when politicians or governments "unofficially" undertake projects that benefit a group of citizens in return for that group's support or campaign donations. This spending mostly benefits the needs of a small select group despite the fact that the entire community's funds are being used.

Also referred to as "patronage".

For example, let's say a city has a large number of potholes, spread evenly throughout its communities. If the mayor took campaign contributions from a group of wealthy residents in exchange for a promise to fix the potholes in their neighborhood first, this would be pork-barrel politics.

One possible derivation for the phrase comes from the practice of country stores keeping a barrel of salted pork open and available to the public. Certain high-ranking citizens would come by daily to dip into this common fund.


Investment dictionary. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • pork-barrel politics — ➡ budget * * * …   Universalium

  • pork barrel — pork ,barrel adjective AMERICAN INFORMAL pork barrel politics or spending uses government money to give benefits to people in a particular area, so that the politician who represents that area will be more popular …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • pork barrel — politics involves investing money in an area to get political support rather than using the money for the common good …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • pork barrel —    Pork barrel politics involves investing money in an area to get political support rather than using the money for the common good.   (Dorking School Dictionary) …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • Pork barrel —   Pork barrel politics involves investing money in an area to get political support rather than using the money for the common good …   Dictionary of English idioms

  • Pork barrel — In United States politics, the term pork barrel refers to the appropriation of government spending for projects that are intended primarily to benefit particular constituents, such as those in marginal seats or campaign contributors. This usage… …   Wikipedia

  • pork barrel — also pork barrel N SING: usu N n (disapproval) If you say that someone is using pork barrel politics, you mean that they are spending a lot of government money on a local project in order to win the votes of the people who live in that area.… …   English dictionary

  • pork barrel — noun (singular, uncountable) AmE slang a government plan to increase the amount of money spent in a particular area in order to gain political advantage: the pork barrel politics of military production contracts …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • pork barrel — UK / US adjective American informal pork barrel politics or spending uses government money to give benefits to people in a particular area, so that the politician who represents that area will be more popular …   English dictionary

  • pork barrel —  Government spending designed to favor a politician’s constituents.  ► “The reason freight railroads make good profits and render excellent service whereas Amtrak loses heavily and delivers shoddy service, is pork barrel politics and labor unions …   American business jargon

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