Earmarks – Bah Humbug!

Posted by Larry Miller on November 14, 2010 under Why | Be the First to Comment

porkerStanding against earmarks, the process of setting aside a portion of allocated funds for a particular (sometimes pet) project has been the basis of many tea party backed campaign strategies. It is an easy shot at Washington establishment practices that smacks of personal power and privilege… two concepts the American people simply will not abide. It has become a bone of contention in the Senate where the brahmin legislators see such as the proper function of the ruling class to which they belong.

But, what is the impact of the congressional tradition? They are correct in telling us that earmarks only comprise two or three percent of the spending of our tax dollars. On one hand, if it were a morally and economically neutral event, we may be inclined to over look it’s hazards. On the other hand, when faced with such massive deficits, it would behoove us to start somewhere – where ever we can, even if it is only one percent.

We are also told that earmarks really don’t increase the amount spent. There are merely specifying where dollars that have already been allocated will be used for. In a way, it makes sense for our elected representatives to have more control over the destination of our dollars than leaving it to a bureaucrat making twice what a private sector employee would be paid for a similar job function.

Some earmarks have proven to be dollars well spent, like for additional armor for Humvees that help save lives of American service men and women. Others have been used for enhancement to the John Murtha Airport in Hick Hollow, PA, that serves two flights a day. When our country is facing the faltering economy, brought on by whoever one chooses to blame, taking money from taxpayers that they spent part of their lives to earn for projects with such uplifting names as: Wayne Gomes Youth Baseball Diversity Foundation, Versailles Borough Stray Gas Mitigation, FDR Presidential Library renovation, LBJ Presidential Library, JFK Presidential Library, and maybe best of all, Formosan Subterranean Termites Research.

Money is spent on these projects of questionable universal value by both Republicans and Democrats, and these people have gall to tell us if we don’t roll over and let them dig deeper into our pockets, that teachers, policemen and firemen will have to be laid off. What about the Formosan Subterranean Termites Research project? Couldn’t the FDR library hold off on renovations for another year or two or three… or heaven forbid… go to the public and see if they value the place enough to kick in the money voluntarily?

This is not to say that the overpaid bureaucrats would not make equally foolish use of the public’s money. However, absent the presence of an individual congressman or senators chunk of pork, they may not be quite as inclined to vote for other fiscally disastrous spending packages. So while they may not actually be allocating additional funds for their pet projects, fewer costly bills may make it through without the disreputable practice.

The biggest problem with those who have dug in their heals to protect their privilege of setting aside portions, sometimes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, for their own use, essentially, is their failure to consider the way their actions appear to the voting public. I Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV) tells Christians to “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” What this means is that, whatever our intentions, we need to be careful that we do not even appear to be taking part in dishonest or corrupt behavior. It is a higher standard than just being a straight shooter… we also need to appear to be doing the right thing so as not to bring disrepute on our character and our Creator.

Now, not all in congress claim to be Christians, yet this wisdom from the Bible would serve them well in dealing with their constituents. Both houses of congress have fallen into disrepute with the people funding their schemes. Approval ratings are approaching single digits. The unwillingness to give up this, what they see as their “right” only leads the public to assume that more unscrupulous behavior is carried on behind closed doors.

The members of congress want us to believe they are acting in our best interest. Some are. Some have sworn off earmarks, while the less principled have kept on grabbing chunks of cash here and there to enrich their districts or their supporters. In effect, as often happens in life, the conscientious have their districts short changed while those of lower standards are “bringing home the bacon”. It’s time those who covet our votes and respect begin concerning themselves with what the people said on November 2nd and act like they are worthy of this respect and the title they love, “The Honorable”.

Bookmark and Share

Add A Comment