The Hypocritical Debate over Earmarks

The whole earmark debate is so much hypocrisy.  When the Republicans controlled Congress for 12 years, they had no problem promoting pet projects to improve the economic and social conditions in their congressional districts and states.  Now that the Democrats have regained control, suddenly it is the crime of the century, even though many Republicans are also getting projects for their districts and states.

People have seemed to forget that one of the roles of members of Congress is to provide for their district’s needs, which includes public works projects, and educational, medical and cultural improvements.  Everyone wants public programs in their district or state, but not anywhere else.  If these activities were to stop completely, the country internally would suffer greatly and never improve its base.  But of course, when there are cost overruns on defense projects, that is dismissed as the cost of doing business.

Pushing earmarks through to law makes more sense than pushing favors for wealthy corporations and banks and failing to promote proper regulations for the benefit of the American middle and lower classes.  Earmarks or "pork" or whatever other term is used in the past or present are part of what the American political system is all about. 

2 comments on “The Hypocritical Debate over Earmarks

  1. Michael Brian March 3, 2009 11:25 pm

    I’ll keep it short and simple; there is one word to describe the current crusade by some, such as John McCain, against earmarks- grandstanding. It’s holier than thou posturing for good PR.

  2. BS-Killer-​BS March 4, 2009 11:25 pm

    In regards to McCain, He has not sponsored an earmark ever. This is a bright spot of contrast to Washington’s usually hypocritical speech vs. behavior.

    I disagree that earmarks are good for the country at large. They redirect funds from the intent of a spending bill to very specific projects and usually to very specific companies without the use of cost/benefit bidding. They also direct more money to the districts of the most powerful congressmen. Unless we assume that the most powerful congressmen represent the districts with the most actual needs for federal dollars, the argument that earmarks are good for the country at large cannot hold weight.

    For example, A highway bill might include funds for expanding I-95 to 7 lanes each way. Without earmarks, the job would be put up for bid and go through the normal process where the cost, schedule and quality would be analyzed. An earmark would say Joe’s Road Repair Co. gets the job for x million dollars and no cost benefit analysis or competitive bidding is done.

    Using earmarks doesn’t reduce corruptive forces or wasteful spending, it increases both. The difference is that instead of using corruption to taint the bidding process and those who evaluate differing proposals, they are now corrupting the congress members directly. The big difference between the corruption is that it’s illegal to corrupt the bidding process and lobbying a politician is very legal.

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