Enough with the earmarks already

If I hear another mention of “pork”, or “earmarks” in the news I’m going to scream.  Today the news was filled with the hand wringing being done over President Obama signing the Omnibus bill that had almost 9000 earmarks in it.  John McCain has been especially vocal over it.  Here are my thoughts:

  1. It’s less than 2% of the total of the bill.
  2. Not all earmarks are bad.
  3. John McCain’s state is bringin’ in the pork.
  4. Some earmarks are bad.  Lets hope things get better.
  5. This bill was negotiated before Obama became President.
  6. It doesn’t matter if Obama staffers had earmarks.  Would be odd to me if former Senators didn’t have them in there.

Seriously.   You’d think that a significant portion of the bill was pork when the reality is it was a very small percentage of total spending. This piece by McClatchy loves to point out the numbers without really explaining them in context:

Then he signed a spending bill that contains nearly 9,000 of them, some that members of his own staff shoved in last year when they were still members of Congress .


The bill contains 8,816 earmarks worth $7.6 billion , according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.

and best of all….

Notable among them are $155.9 million worth of projects that six members of the Obama administration who were members of Congress last year, when the bill was originally written, inserted into the bill.

Why is it notable that six members of Congress had earmarks in the bill that now happen to be members of the Obama administration?  There are legitimate reasons to have earmarks in spending bills.   Let me know what they were for and I’ll be the judge.  In fact one of the examples the authors give is from Vice President Biden, when he was a senator, for “$190,000 to help build a children’s museum in Wilmington”.  This is an example of wasteful spending???

I’d also prefer when you do mention their purpose to let me actually know more than a snippet.  McCain loves to use snippets to try to decry earmarks.  Why is he being intellectually dishonest?

The truth of the matter is that the government would have had to shutdown at midnight tonight if this bill would have been vetoed.  I’d rather have the President and Congress working on getting us out of this mess instead of niggling over 7.6 billion dollars out of 410 billion dollars.

But I saved the best quote for last:

The president could have done better. He couldn’t have eliminated the earmarks in this bill, but he could have at least cut them back significantly,” said Steve Ellis , the vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group. “We appreciate how he kept them out of the stimulus, but we think he’s only batting .500.

Talk about an awful analogy.    If you’re going to use a baseball analogy to decry something at least have it make sense.  Batting .500 is fantastic.

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