I’m so fucking tired of this earmark business.
Hang on; I’m not against them. What tires me is the ceaseless political frisbee toss over their usage.
Earmarking is now a hot-button word. Yet I wonder just how much the public really cares about earmarks. I wonder how many people actually know what they are. From where I’m standing, it seems like a wank session between the news, a few blabbering Congresspersons and a watchdog group.
Taxpayers For Common Sense– non-partisan budget hounds, from what I can tell. Purportedly has saved taxpayers 5 billion dollars since 1995. Considering that the government has spent about 23 trillion dollars since then, their continuous appearance when a budget is being released seems a little self-aggrandizing.
Jeff Flake (R-AZ)-consistently gaining exposure for his steadfast opposition to creating earmarks, he has annoyed Congressional committees and mayors in his district for hamstringing his cities in favor of ideological purity. Had no Democratic challenger in his 2006 re-election.
John McCain(R-AZ)-requires no introduction. Singlehandedly made “pork barrel-spending” an election issue last year. Clever; the very evocative and pejorative nature of the term itself was a mnemonic for his campaign. Still won’t shut up about them.
John Boehner(R-OH)-Minority House Leader. Sees earmarks wherever he looks. Must be frightening, to be haunted so.
The Media-although not a singular entity as many claim, devotes most of its time to repeating sensationalism and dinner bell chimes like “pork barrel” and “earmarks” to catch the attention of idiotic viewers and readers for the purpose of giving them something to bitch about.
That’s all, folks. Mostly. Anyway, as the above prattle on about earmarking, guess what? Forty percent of earmarks in the new budget are from you-know who, the party of fiscal discipline and family values, the Republicans. Either the right hand not knoweth what the other right hand doeth, or the party’s platform on earmarks is missing some nails. I’d go with a little of both.
In the wake of such hypocrisy, let’s hear a little sanity on the concept of earmarks. Now that we are starting to re-grasp the idea that government spending helps everyone without precondition of profit, is the public ready for this type of straight talk?
Despite the criticism, many members of Congress in both parties defend the use of earmarks as one of the most effective ways to get their fair share of federal tax money for their constituents. In the case of Massachusetts, Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry, as well as all 10 House members, are given credit in the legislation for inserting earmarks.
“These are my earmarks. I’m very proud of them. They are all strongly supported by the people I represent,” said Representative Barney Frank. The Newton Democrat and powerful chairman of the House Financial Services Committee backed earmarks that included $935,000 for a bus terminal in Fall River, and $475,000 for a community center in New Bedford.
Kennedy and Kerry took credit for a number of projects, including $950,000 for construction of a ferry dock on Long Island in Boston Harbor, $285,000 for “downtown streetscape improvements” in Haverhill, and $190,000 for the renovation of the Berkshire Theater Festival facilities in Stockbridge. “We stand behind every penny,” Kerry spokeswoman Jodi Seth said yesterday, stressing that the process has been “transparent.”
Representative Michael E. Capuano, a Somerville Democrat, is among those who believe that earmarks are a worthy use of congressional power. He criticized the decision to leave them out of the stimulus bill because he said that left too much decision-making in the hands of state officials who are receiving large pools of federal money.
“I didn’t run for office on the presumption that I don’t know anything about my district,” Capuano said. “If you don’t have some earmarks, all the decisions are left to the executives. There is no legislative input.”
James McGovern, a Worcester Democrat, said that earmarks are not pork, but are “nourishment.” McGovern’s earmarks included $665,000 to replace buses at the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority and $475,000 for a neighborhood revitalization project in Worcester.
“It creates jobs, it helps people,” McGovern said. “The earmarks I fought for are to help colleges and universities, to help hospitals with emergency rooms. . . . I think I know more about my district than some faceless bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.”
This is reality. I betcha there’s alot of people out there employed to perfom work on this “pork”. It’s quite clear to me that there’s not a whole lot wrong with coming home with the bacon. It makes people happy. And if Jeffy, Johnny, and Johnny want to damn a bill based on 1% of its content, I think it’s time to call these stiffs out for the microscopic irrelevance of their concern.