Tuesday, November 16, 2010


To me it is a black mark when it is proposed by some self-serving Democrat or Republican legislator to try to ensure their re-election to office, or to make “brownie” points with their constituents back home. No matter if the “earmark” is needed or not, they want “to bring home the pork” because they want to show the hometown or home state folks that he/she is doing for them as only he/she can do in representing them – or so they rationalize.

Granted, it only makes up a very small portion of the budget, but it is in what it conveys, the symbolism, that makes this process so invidious. Some members in both parties have railed against this practice over the past two election cycles, but with the election of a great number of Tea Party endorsed candidates, the issue has now come to the forefront, and rightly so. It is the “career” politicians who seem to be fighting against the ending of the “earmark” practice, as they have been the biggest abusers over the years.

President Obama condemned this practice during his campaign for president, but upon signing the last proposed budget he forgot his promise and agreed to over a thousand earmarks that was contained in the budget proposal. He succumbed to the pressure of the powerful legislators of both parties. These earmarks included all kinds of projects with dubious benefits for the greatest good for the greatest number of U.S. Citizens. Some of these “earmarks” were of such a questionable nature, that even the bureaucrats, who would supposedly benefit from it, didn't even request it. But, that doesn't matter to the power-hungry politician who wants to be re-elected over and over again. And in their quest, damn the taxpayers.

Over the years we've heard of a “Bridge to Nowhere”, studies of the sex lives of bees, buildings bought or constructed with taxpayer money to honor the politicians by naming the building after themselves or to one one of their contributing cronies. The late senator, Robert Byrd (D) of West Virginia, was known as the “King of Pork”. During his almost 50 years of service in the senate, he had hundreds of buildings, parks, roads and schools named after him at a taxpayer cost of many, many millions of dollars. Two other “porkers” of note, who also have passed on, Ted Stevens (R) of Alaska, and John Murtha (D) of Pennsylvania, were both notorious for “bringing home the bacon” for their state and/or congressional district. Rep. Murtha was responsible for getting the the “Airport for No One” through the “earmark” process. This boondoggle project cost over $200 million and it now serves a small area of Pennsylvania with just 3 flights per day only between Johnstown (the John Murtha airport) and Wash. D.C.

Why do we, the taxpayers, allow this rape of the U.S. Treasury to take place? Diffidence or ignorance are some of the words that can be used to explain why these career politicians can get away with this fraud. It must be working because, up until this past election, the incumbent was re-elected approximately 95% of the time.

When a politician, who uses “earmarks” to direct funds to a particular project in his/her district or state, he/she in turn expects that the beneficiary of that earmark, a person, company, or organization, would be expected to contribute (some may call it a kickback) to that politicians campaign fund as a gesture of thanks. I'm sure the politician, contrary what he/she would say in public, takes careful note of the largesse of the contributor's contribution to his/her campaign fund.

Is this an outright bribe? Probably not, but it stinks to high heaven anyway you slice it. The perception of corruption is just as bad as actual overt corruption, and as a result the voter becomes more and more cynical and jaded to the ethics of our elected representatives. And rightly so!

I think all “earmarks” should be exposed to the light of day and each elected representative should have to justify the reasons behind his/her request. If it is a worthwhile project, let the legislators vote on its viability with a yea or nay vote. It's time to make the surreptitious “earmark” a thing of the past so that we can erase the “black mark” that surrounds it.

Conservative commentary by Chuck Lehmann

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Giro Briganti said...

Can you imagine if the Tea Party protesters weren't around, we wouldn't be having this moratorium of "earmarks" in the Congress? It seems that all the career politicians, of both parties, are the staunchest defenders of the use of "earmarks". I wonder why? Could it be that is the main reason they are able to get campaign funds to be re-elected time after time? Thank God we have a Congressman-elect like Allen West who will do the right thing and vote against the use of unauthorized "earmarks".

BlaquePatriot said...

We need earmarks for the Black Caucus. We need the cash to bail out Charlie Rangel since William Jefferson had his cash stolen from his refrigerator. It looks like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have their eyes closed when there is corruption from Democrats.

Scrap Iron said...

What about the projects that truely need the help of the federal government?
I have an idea, that would save localities money through a concentrated recycling effort.
At best, my plan makes money and can be run as a for profit business and at worst, allows cities to extend the life of a landfill.
In any event, the local taxpayer is the winner.
So I ask again, is there a place for ideas like mine to be given special consideration?