LLR Pages

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Earmarks Racket

The Republicans' wailing over earmarks is laughable at best. That even goes for the mainstream media as well.

The claim that they are spreading is that earmarks account for 1% of the federal budget. That's hogwash! That's a cute ruse employed by the thugs in Washington to obfuscate the real picture of the budgeting itself. It's rather paramount to put this matter in its proper perspective. It actually accounts for 1% of discretionary spending, which only constitutes 37% of the entire federal budget. That said, earmarks only make up 2.70% of the budget itself. Still, that is a meager amount, and the elimination of them wouldn't make a dent in the entire spending whatsoever.

Another ruse that the media proliferates is that earmarking is spending, which is an absurd canard on its face. Earmarks are merely an allocation of appropriated ("assigned") tax ("stolen") funds to a politician's district for various political interests such as economic development, infrastructure, and other purposes. Remember the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" under former Governor Sarah Palin's watch?

Senate Republicans are already posturing as grand opponents of earmarks by signing on board with a two-year moratorium on the issue, although that is simply a farce by itself. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his fellow GOP colleagues are known on record for requesting earmarks for their districts. The Center for Public Integrity, which focuses on "investigative journalism for the public interest" by investigating congressional and senatorial politicians and their legislative records, points out that McConnell appeared on CNN in July of 2009, asserting the following:

The stimulus was a big mistake. I think we can fairly safely declare it now a failure.

The Center even went further:

Two months later [McConnell] signed five letters requesting funds from the Department of Transportation for a variety of stimulus projects, including a railroad rehabilitation program that he said could "attract industry, create jobs, and move goods through areas underserved by national highways."

At least one of McConnell’s requested projects was accepted, with $20 million being earmarked by the Department of Transportation for a bridge replacement between Milton, Ky., and Madison, Ind.

What's more, McConnell is also on record for requesting a $1 billion in pork for Kentucky. Now McConnell is having a crisis of morality years after supporting earmarks for his own district? Balderdash!

This is nothing more than political showboating and grandstanding from the Republicans as a way to snooker the public into believing that they are really cutting spending when that couldn't be further from the truth. Earmarks enable them to buy votes from their constituents and their special interests. The absurdity of their opposition to earmarks would be hilarious if it weren't terribly pathetic. Not that I'm defending this practice (as I really don't), but the reality is that, if they ban earmarking, it would destroy any political capital they could reap during every midterm and presidential election season.

Earmarks should absolutely be abolished; however, what the Republicans are calling for is nothing short of a racket. They must be called out on this fraud, which they are perpetrating.