Time for a non-partisan attack to eliminate earmarks

Regardless of how you view the Nov. 2, 2010 election results, we still have the future to worry about; and one of the most worrisome features of Congress is the concept of “earmarks” a/k/a “pork barrel projects.”  I suggest that earmarks constitute the most divisive, dishonest and dangerous of procedures threatening the republic. Why do I say that? Continue reading “Time for a non-partisan attack to eliminate earmarks”

Making Everett Dirksen proud

Sen. Everett Dirksen, in the 1950’s on the floor of the U.S. Senate during budget debates, is said to have quipped “a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon it adds up to real money.” It is now well-accepted that he did not actually make that statement so often attributed to him, but he was well capable of saying such, and likely should have. So what would he think about the current spending spree? Who is at fault? It’s Congress (led by the nose by Pres. Obama) and while the following article (which appears to have the facts) faults more the currently Democrat-led Congress, neither party can claim to have been fiscally responsible in recent decades.

A little-known fact is that federal spending rose by only 2.8% during fiscal 2007 under the final budget passed by a Republican Congress. I know, zero percent would have been preferable, and it was way too little and too late for a bunch that had let spending grow way too quickly during the previous five years.

Then came the Democrats. Spending during the fiscal year that ended in September 2008, the first full budget year under the control of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, increased by 9.1% to almost $3 trillion. That percentage increase was greater than any Republican Congress under George W. Bush.

They were just warming up. Fiscal 2009 brought the beginning of the $787 billion (before interest) “economic stimulus plan.” All but those in serious denial acknowledge that it has failed to revive the economy, which economist David Rosenberg described on August 25 as already being in a depression. Despite representations to the contrary, the stimulus plan had 9,000 earmarks, including that $2 billion Illinois energy debacle. More generally, entitlement and other spending went into overdrive. Fiscal 2009 ended with a reported deficit of $1.416 trillion.

via Pajamas Media » It’s the Spending, Stupid.  (The above links are mine)

Where does it end? When? What does it take for us (you) to get mad enough to make your voice heard? If the general idea of spending doesn’t get your dander up, focus on the following comment from the above article:

Despite representations to the contrary, the stimulus plan had 9,000 earmarks, including that $2 billion Illinois energy debacle. More generally, entitlement and other spending went into overdrive. Fiscal 2009 ended with a reported deficit of $1.416 trillion.

via Pajamas Media » It’s the Spending, Stupid.

The stimulus that isn’t

The Wall Street Journal calls it the “40-year Wish List”. Michelle calls it the “Generational Theft Act”. Others have started calling it the Obama-Pelosi-Reid Debt Act. Whatever name one gives it, the least likely is stimulus. The WSJ calculates that no more than 12 cents on the dollar in the trillion-dollar whale goes to actual economic stimulus, and that the rest go to Democratic wish lists for electoral advantage:

via Hot Air » Blog Archive » The Democratic Porkfest Bill of 2009.

Pay attention folks. While the pork is not in the form of classic “earmarks” it’s still pork. It’s one thing that the so-called “stimulus” bill is laden with pork, it’s quite another that it’s being marketed so dishonestly. Let’s look at it.

First, you can hear congressmen defending the bill because “it contains no earmarks.”  While that may be true in a technical and literal sense, it begs the true question thereby misleading the public — and that’s dishonest. We expect better from our citizen representatives who go to Washington temporarily out of a sense of duty and public service (I wish!).

Second, if the WSJ estimate is even remotely correct that only 12 cents on the dollar goes to stimulus, and much of what you hear about the plan is for projects that go far into the future, then the bill can’t be said to be about stimulus at all! Its major premise as a short-term stimulus to the economy fails.

Lastly, President Obama is himself conflicted about what to do and why.  About a week ago he states that only government can get us out of recession. Now, in the last day, he speaks Reaganesquely of the importance of private enterprise and how only business, large and small, can pull us out.

What? Has the President had an epiphany? Or is there some sort of “gaming” going on here.

There are promises that we will have a website where we can track every dollar and know exactly where it’s spent. Why can’t we know about the proposal in advance and be able to let our representatives know our thoughts and feelings? No, this is not a democracy where all the citizens get to decide issues, but we should be able to give (and the representatives listen to) our opinions. In this representative republic, that’s how it works … in theory.

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