With this week’s Senate vote not to ban earmarks, it is clear that a number of Senators still haven’t got the message of the election results. I am not surprised at the vast majority of Democrats who voted to retain earmarks, but I am disgusted at the 8 Republicans who demonstrated that they are still clueless. A number of these are the usual suspects (RINO Susan Collins at the top of the list) but I was really disappointed to see normally sensible people like James Inhofe going along with this lunacy.
I keep hearing the defenders of pork barrel spending saying “it is only a small part of the budget” and that banning it “won’t balance the budget”. That may or may not be true… but you have to start somewhere and this corrupt practice is as good a place as any. Besides, stolen “nickels and dimes” eventually add up to “real money”:
We are also told, falsely, that earmarks don’t increase the federal budget. The 2007 Water Bill is a prime example of how earmarks inflate appropriations. The House and the Senate each passed preliminary bills, one for $14 billion, the other $15 billion, both of which roughly doubled the agency-requested appropriation value. Rather than split the difference, as is customary, the House/Senate conference committee reported out a $23-billion bill — more than half again each house’s starting point, and greater than three times the original request. Both houses overrode the president’s veto. The additional amount was for special projects inserted by members of Congress. Congressional Earmarks: Embracing and Ignoring a Message From Voters.
This is just one example. I’m sure that if you went through all the earmarked appropriations bills you would find many, many more and that the total would be much higher than we are being told.
If these projects are truly needed, then they should be presented and debated out in the open on their merits rather than secretly slipped into mammoth bills where its hoped no one will notice them.