The disgrace of earmarks continues

( – Termite research, walrus rehabilitation and pig manure are among the more than 8,570 of earmarks in the omnibus spending package currently before the Senate. Critics charge the bill is stuffed full of so many pork barrel projects — $7.7 billion worth — that President Barack Obama should veto it.

via – Giant Omnibus Bill Includes $7.7 Billion in Earmarks for Bugs, Pigs, Parking – and La Raza.

The article is worth a read. The list of earmarks is surreal — you have to think this is just a dream nightmare and we will wake up soon. Do you know how YOUR Senator is voting? Do you know what your Senator is SAYING about this?

My curiosity is that while it appears the entire nation is against the runaway spending and especially earmarks, and many in Congress at least give lip service to agree, the practice goes on. Is there a “wink and a nod” going on? Notice in particular the following item out of the list

— $1.7 million for the honeybee lab in Weslaco, Texas, requested by Sen. Jim Johnson (D-S.D.)

And a Sen. from South Dakota cares about this in Texas because … why?

I prefer to think that my Senators are not only not behind the earmarks hijinks, but that they speak out against them — that they try to shine the light of day on this practice.

Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison — I hope we hear from you on this — loud and clear. Please.

And in another piece from CNSnews, here is an example of the tepid attempts made to “excuse” if not justify the earmarks practice:

On Tuesday, the Senate voted down McCain’s amendment that would have stripped the earmarks from the bill by a margin of 63 to 32.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) defended President Obama, who has indicated he will sign the bill even with its earmarks.

“When you are trying to deal with energy, health care, and an economy in free fall and get an administration started – they have tried to do more than any administration in history in a shorter timeframe – to pick another fight after it has already been substantially reformed and changed, I think is not rational,” said Blumenauer.

via – Obama Should Veto Pork-Laden Budget, McCain Says.

Meanwhile, off to the post office to see if my personal stimulus check has arrived ….   😉

About Gil Jones

CPA/Attorney/Judge by training and trade. Hobby nut at heart with BMW m/c, computers, ham radio, kayak fishing, photography, hiking and, starting in 2010 some semi-serious running and bicycling (road and mountain bikes). Retired after 16 years on a Texas District Court bench and since 2013 have been mediating cases. I am a Credentialed Distinguished mediator (TMCA).
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6 Responses to The disgrace of earmarks continues

  1. Gil Jones says:

    llabesab – They may not be a “disgrace” per se, but they are wrong. Here is the OMB definition of earmarks:

    OMB defines earmarks as funds provided by the Congress for projects or programs where the congressional direction (in bill or report language) circumvents Executive Branch merit-based or competitive allocation processes, or specifies the location or recipient, or otherwise curtails the ability of the Executive Branch to manage critical aspects of the funds allocation process.

    via Earmark Definition on OMB site.

    In my book, that circumvention of the normal process, both in Congress and in eluding the proper authority of the Executive Branch, makes them flat wrong. Ethically wrong at that, if not unconstitutionally wrong.

  2. llabesab says:

    Earmarks, per se are no disgrace. They only become a “disgrace” when hidden between massive spending authorizations for which no one accepts responsibility.

    Think how quick Congress would respond to the people’s wishes if EVERY dollar spent/authorized had to have a “face” on it; someone who we could all blame–or praise.

    If we, the people, could track every dollar authorized by Congress. responsibility would make every Congressman sit up and listen to the phone calls and e-mails they receive.

    Think what “YOU” would do if, as a Congressman, you had to put your name-your face on every dollar you wanted to spend. I’ll bet you would think twice–maybe thrice, before you acted. “Total Earmarking” could be the one, single act that would balance the budget. It would certainly stop a lot of frivolous spending. Especially if the Watch Dog organizations began to publish lists of the failures and the successes. One could take those listings into the voting booth.

  3. Gil Jones says:

    Couple of things. First, over on Tom’s site I posted:

    Not to at all minimize the problem, but I think it’s important to read the snippet carefully:
    “The report analyzes data from 2005-2006. It estimates that 1.5 million children experienced homelessness at least once that year, . . .” (emphasis added)
    via FOX News –
    That is far different from 1 in 50 being homeless on an ongoing basis.

    Second, Don makes the most important point above in speaking of matters that are not federal problems. Most of what the federal government is involved in is not a federal problem. I’ve talked before ( about the need to reduce government, not simply by eliminating people, but by eliminating areas of involvement. Reduce programs, reduce regulations, eliminate whole departments!

    Neither the bloated budget nor the disgraceful earmark process is the root problem: rather it is (a) the excessive intrusion of the federal government and (b) the unethical use of federal programs and doling out of money in “entitlements” (to which only a few are truly entitled) to create an underclass which then, of necessity, remains beholden to the doler-outers (a word? of course it is).

    Make no mistake, many of our sisters and brothers are in true need and deserving of help in many areas. And help, we, as a people, must. But between the fraud, the wasteful delivery mechanisms, and the constant “handing out” instead of “handing up” suggests a system designed more for perpetuating congressmen and senators in office than to being our brother’s keeper.

  4. Don Bynum says:

    Ultimately Washington is out of control (as far as us voters are concerned) because it has breached virtually all of the firewalls constructed by the framers of our constitution to PREVENT the government from becoming as invasive, powerful, and infested with power-seeking interests as King George’s court.

    Prioritizing or reprioritizing how to have the government spend money doing things it should not do, should not mandate that states do, and which, if it does them, will concentrate the flow of treasure and power through the nation’s capital is a waste of effort. If the money and power are allowed to flow through a distant government then the courtesans will flourish and our freedoms will perish.

    1 in 50 kids being homeless IS a travesty, but it is not a Federal Problem because the root causes of homelessness are local and regional in both intensity and nature. Perhaps the recently published report showing Texas #1 in homeless kids stimulated that comment. I suggest a look at what years the report coverted and whether there were events which may have distorted the numbers during the study period (like Hurricane Katrina, following which, for a year or so we had many thousands of “homeless kids of homeless families.)

    At any rate, if you want something to get screwed up, involve congress (without regard to which party is ruinning things at any moment). If you want to assure justification for congress to involve itself, spend federal taxpayer money on a problem. Ootherwise, keep the money, power, and the people spending and weilding them closer to home where they have to meet the people who are paying a little more often.

    Even good people who go to DC become influenced (corrupted sounds so dirty…) by the vast flows of treasure and power and by the forces which seek access to or control of that treasure and power and of the people who allocate both… congress.

    As for Toms view that the President’s stimulus package should be increased… Tom, it is Pelosi’s stimulus package. it was written in The House, not the Whitehouse (a fact) and it reads more like a laundry list than a “plan”. Have you read that thing? Actually?

    Seriously… read it, then support it. That would put you ahead of vitually every congressperson and Senator who voted for, or against, it.

    And that is why Washington is busted. They don’t even know what they are writing checks on our bank accounts, yours and mine, to do. No one could have read, much less understood an 1,100 page document in the time allowed, much less read and understood. Without that, prioritizing or reprioritizing is a nonsensical exercise.


  5. Gil Jones says:

    Tom – I would argue more that the entire federal budget needs to be prioritized — not RE-prioritized, just prioritized. It’s my feeling that there is not true focus and priority given to critical needs. I cannot imagine anyone who would fail to agree that 1 in 50 kids being homeless is a travesty.

    The earmarks and other waste in federal government sucks away money that could, in some manner, address those needs of children.

  6. Tom Awtry says:

    I agree with much you have said, but feel the President’s Stimulus package must be enhanced and increased:

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