Thursday, March 11, 2010

Earmark Theater

You can tell it's an election year because the Congress starts fooling around with theatrical "reforms" like banning earmarks. The Democrats and GOPers are presently trying to one up each other on the subject. The Democratically controlled House committee banned "for-profit" earmarks and the GOPers countered with a caucus wide pledge to ban "all" earmarks.

Of course, these dramatics are meaningless. They all will find ways to bring the pork home to their districts but in a way I wish it really was true. Not that I think earmarks are a big deal. In terms of spending, they're a tiny drop in huge vat of money. Additionally, many earmarks are actually for good projects. But I've long believed the horsetrading that goes on to get the earmarks included in bills in trade for votes is what slows the process of passing legislation to a crawl on Capitol Hill.

I wouldn't be unhappy to see earmarking abolished and make that spending a normal appropriations process instead. It would make it all the more transparent and we would be spared the endless, senseless carping on the subject from soundbyte addicted pols.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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