Categorized | Opinion

It’s the Way Earmarks are Used the Makes Them Evil

What is an earmark?

According to Taxpayers Against Earmarks:

In general, it is a provision inserted in the text of a Congressional bill or report that allocates money or a tax benefit for a specific project, program, or organization, circumventing a merit-based or competitive allocation process.

There are many reasons to be “against earmarks.” Earmarks provide federal funding for projects benefiting only a state or local interest, or a private company, university or non-profit. In other words, most earmark-funded projects do not benefit the nation as a whole — though the “giving” of an earmark by a Member of Congress certainly benefits that Member.

But going one step beyond that, earmarks have evolved into the centerpiece of how bad legislation is passed.

Have a horrible bill and need votes to pass it? Toss in a bridge to nowhere that gives a lawmaker plausible cover on his vote, and you can cover up a whole lot of ugly in a bill.

Consider this: The ObamaCare legislation would never have had a chance without earmarks.

Remove the Louisiana Purchase, the Corn-husker kickbacks and most of the votes would have fallen away from this horrible bill and we would not now be forced to right a wrong through the courts and repeal and de-fund procedures.

Instead, a Health Reform Bill would actually have to reform health-care in a way Americans would support. Legislators would actually be forced to work to find a solution we would all agree with.

What a novel concept. Our government would be forced to do the hard work we sent them to Washington to do. They would actually be forced to produce legislation that stands on it’s own merits without the need sweeten the pot with earmarks in exchange for a vote. Which is another way of saying bribery, or vote buying.

Any legislator supporting the continued use of earmarks is admitting their desire for business as usual. They also admit they have no interest in producing legislation in the best interest of the public and would rather resort to bribes and trickery to get things done than produce quality legislation.

Earmarks themselves are not a huge piece of the budget, and in the grand scheme of things only a minuscule portion of spending.

I have heard the arguments from both sides on earmarks. Those arguing that earmarks are small and insignificant are not factually incorrect.

Those who argue that earmarks send the wrong message are also correct, especially in a recession.

And the argument by some Republicans that the money will be spent anyway, and it is better to have those closer to the people appropriate the funds is more an argument as to why these individuals need to be defeated in the next primary and sent packing than a viable argument. If earmarks were not used to buy votes, this argument would be somewhat valid, as it is, it is simply a lie to perpetuate the ability to buy votes for bad legislation.

In the end, it is not so much the earmarks per se that are bad, it is their use as a tool to have legislators vote for a bad bill simply to grab the pork to aid them at reelection time.

Or how about using earmarks against a politician who favors neither the earmark nor the bill?

For instance, a legislator is against a bill and believes it to be bad legislation. He is also against earmarks. Others manage to stick a mega million dollar earmark for the legislator’s district in this bad bill. The legislator now faces the dilemma of voting for a bad bill to take home the bacon to the people who put him in office, or doing the right thing and voting no, fully aware that the no vote will be used against him in the next election. “Senator so and so even voted against jobs at home.”

The legislator is put in a position of doing the right thing and voting against a bad bill, giving a potential opponent a powerful weapon at home to defeat him, or checking his conscience at the door and grabbing the pork.

Earmarks have evolved into a punishment and reward system to manipulate the votes of our elected officials.

Earmarks = manipulation. Period.

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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