May 27, 2018
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Comments for: Not so egregious earmarks

I’m going to say something that might just get me excommunicated from the Republican Party. I like earmarks. All right, that’s not entirely honest. For the most part, I loathe them. I hate spending money, especially on things that I don’t think the federal government should… Read More
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  • Anonymous

    The reason for the congressional “power of the purse” is to limit the power of the Executive, not to provide a trough for the Legislative to bury their snouts.

    I am against earmarks as a taxpayer, not as a Republican.  I send my delegation to DC to run the federal g0vernment…not to bleed it on my behalf.

    • Right, but again, the thesis of this piece is that if earmarks are banned, that money is still spent… the “trough” still exists, except it is bureaucrats who bury their snouts, and end up paying favors to those legislators… and worst of all, no one knows how egregious the waste is, because the transparency no longer exists.

      This is not an argument in favor of using earmarks to spend millions of dollars on pork… I do not, and never will, support projects like the bridge to nowhere… 

      • Anonymous

        Are you suggesting that earmarks buried in bills that have absolutely nothing to do with the earmark in question is an example of a more transparent method than say allocating $30M to state government in the form of highway funds?  I tend to think when it’s transferred to our state government to spend then we have greater chance to see how it’s spent than when it’s buried in a federal bill as condition for voting yes or no on an entirely unrelated piece of legislation.

        • Well, yes it is more transparent, because regardless of what it is attached to, we know what the project is, it receives a vote, it has a specific dollar amount attached to it, etc.  Giant pots of money given to the executive departments for them to spend at their liesure on whatever projects they see fit is not transparent, it is not specific, and we don’t know what our money is spent on to anywhere near the same degree… but more troublesome, the decisions are made by bureaucrats…

          • Anonymous

            But that is what Oversight is all about.  It is certainly not perfect, but eliminating earmarks, I believe, can limit the Byrd Effect of a legislator deliberately drawing off the Treasury to send money home to secure his/her own office…either by currying favor with the voters or a donor.  Without getting into a lot of inside baseball about term limits and House/Senate rules, I seek every opportunity to shine a light on where our taxpayer dollars go and limit the ability of all legislators–including mine–to siphon them.

            Thanks for the thoughtful responses.

      • Anonymous

        … and worst of all, no one knows how egregious the waste is, because the transparency no longer exists.

        The term you’re groping for is “congressional oversight.” Congressional Republicans prefer to avoid giving it more than lip service since finding something wrong might raise expectations of their doing something.

  • Anonymous

    But that’s what this party does. They screech about ear marks, incumbents, regulations, etc. Then, when you break all these things down and get specific, suddenly they make all sorts of exceptions for their battle cries. These things are bad, except when they benefit me is usually how it goes.

    • Let’s not kid ourselves… Murtha and John Murtha Airport, among the hundreds of other insane projects that guy managed to get undertaken, are incredibly wasteful, un-needed, and ridiculous.  The earmarking process is very much abused, and that fact is not in dispute.  The problem is, however broken and bad the system is, it is infinitely more desirable to the alternative of non-transparent funding through the executive.

  • Anonymous

    Matthew, please don’t blush, but this piece is brilliant! It’s given me something new to think about and that hasn’t happened in a long time. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, weak. Executive branch control of spending exists because Congress ducks responsibility by passing vague legislation that pushes real law-making off onto the executive branch. The earmark question is something else entirely, and if I can’t bribe a senator to vote my way, I don’t see why the Majority Leader should be able to. Using tax money doesn’t make payoffs acceptable.

    • What you are missing is the fact that it all still happens… it just happens in different ways that are no longer seen by the public, which is a disservice to the system.

      I want to know that Ben Nelson got the “cornhusker kickback” in return for his vote on Obamacare… I want to see the filthy deals made in the open, so we can call a spade a spade and expose these people to the light… allowing them to crawl around in the darkness and channel their dealmaking money in secret does not do that.

      • Anonymous


        What you are missing is the fact that it all still happens… it just
        happens in different ways that are no longer seen by the public, which
        is a disservice to the system.

        Making bribery legal for the sake of making it obvious hardly seems like a good idea. The problem is, it’s still bribery.

  • Anonymous

    It becomes a battle, for Maine, to get our share of earmarks. Nothing will change, and probably get a lot worse, without a revolution.

  • So waste and corruption is OK as long as it is done with transparency? It sounds like moral decay to my way of thinking.

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