In Defense of “Pork”

I’m sorry, maybe I’m dense, perhaps a little too libertarian or just plain too distrustful of our government, but this push in Washington to disallow any “pork-barrel’ spending has got me confused. 

Since when did Americans begin believing that the decisions of some DC-based bureaucrat become better than those of our very own elected officials? 

Yes spending has gotten out of control and should be limited, but I’ll be damned if you’re gonna tell me that some paper pusher knows what’s best for me in Savannah, GA – or knows better than Jack Kingston or John Barrow.

I say open it up and put names next to the requests, rein in the spending (limit it like we do in GA – on expected tax collections and growth), but don’t tell me that OMB should be the final decision on what our nation needs.

10 comments

  1. Bull Moose says:

    Demonbeck, the House passed new rules to require the sponsors of earmarks to attach their names to it.

    Some earmarks are good and have the right purpose, other earmarks are not so good, but rather kick backs to friends, etc… as we saw with Duke Cunningham…

    The more open government the better.

  2. Calybos1 says:

    True, but I see nothing wrong with having a starting point of “nothing allowed” and working our way up, rather than the reverse.

  3. Demonbeck says:

    Calybos,

    that’s easy to say, but when you look at all the projects in your area that wouldn’t be funded otherwise, it’s a different story.

  4. Brian from Ellijay says:

    Yes, Coburn in the Senate does not want any earmarks, period! Senator Coburn is a true conservative.

  5. Bull Moose says:

    Well, Demonbeck, if the Congress would assert its authority, we wouldn’t have to have earmarks.

    They are not good for the legislative process and usually are just gimmes for lobbyists, etc… who don’t want to work through the legislative process…

    I think that all earmarks that have been authorized for the past 5 years need to see sunshine so that we can see which of our Members of Congress have been abusers of the system.

    What say you to that?

  6. Demonbeck says:

    Bill,

    It’s not part of my own personal Shahadah, but I do think that earmarks are a necessary piece of a representative government. Without them, our government fails to represent the needs of all people in all areas.

    If we allow our elected representatives to fight for projects that are vital to the growth and prosperity of our areas and relinquish their ability to seek funding for those projects to some faceless bureaucrat in Washington what is the next step? Taking away the rights of our elected officials to decide on matters of policy because they might be beholden to “special interest groups?” Why not just have an elected monarchy?

    Taking away earmarks completely from the hands of Congress is an attack on our freedoms as citizens. Limit them. Place some sunshine rules around them. But we must not allow them to be banished altogether.

    The best answer to limiting the size of government is not through earmarks. The best answer to limiting the size of government is to place a Constitutional cap on the total amount of funds that are allowed to be spent.

  7. Demonbeck says:

    Bull Moose,

    Earmarks are an assertion of the Congress’s authority over that of the Executive Branch. They are changes in the President’s budget giving direction to the Administration’s departments and agencies as to how to spend the money appropriated.

    They are not good for the legislative process, however, should the legislative process really be all that efficient in the first place? I believe our founding fathers wanted all decisions by our elected officials to be slow and cumbersome. They also wanted to ensure that the voices of all people were heard and represented. Earmarks slow down the process and help ensure that our government represents all voices, not just that of the presiding administration.

    For a lobbyist to work through the federal legislative process, he/she must have their project authorized before money can be appropriated. The authorization can be for a gazillion dollars, but the actual amount spent is decided by the Appropriations Bills. That is the proper legislative process. Without earmarks, the administration usurps the power of the Congress to control this process.

    I would be fine with providing some rays of light on who requests what for the earmarks that are ultimately approved. I believe fully that this would enable us to weed out the few legislators and lobbyists who are abusing their power. To abolish all earmarks in the process, though, would not only punish the innocent, but would take away the freedom and the voices of a majority of America.

    To insinuate that a majority of earmarks are an abuse of the system is just flat out incorrect.

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