Why I Don't Love Earmarks

Roland Martin at CNN has a piece up titled “Why We Secretly Love Earmarks.” The title is pretty self-explanatory but the gist of the article is that earmarks are harmless and insignificant in the big picture and we love them when spent on our communities. Congratulations Chuck Schumer- you’ve got a new lunch buddy.

I couldn’t disagree more.

The only place I agree with Martin is his position that earmarks are an equal opportunity drug between both Republicans and Democrats. I had high hopes for the Republicans to show leadership in this area and they failed me miserably.

John McCain is dead on when he says earmarks breed corruption. At the root earmarks are an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” except it’s not back-scratching, it’s something far more intimate which I shan’t detail here.

Earmarks should see the light of day as they truly are- federal spending for state-specific and in most cases town-specific issues. For this reason, earmarks should have to be introduced one at a time as a standalone bill by the person whose constituencies will be the recipients of the money. That person will need to debate the bill on its’ merits and explain why federal dollars are required for their local issue.

This does three things- it provides full transparency to what is a murky process at best today. Two- it demands debate on every dollar of spending. Three- simply because of time constraints, it ensures only the most critical and relevant earmarks come to the floor.

Mr. Obama- if you truly want to provide reform in this area, and not just continued lip service to another legislative disaster, this is the way. Veto the Omnibus bill and send it back to get re-worked. Do it for America.