Tuesday, November 16, 2010

End earmarks

The abolishing of earmarks is an issue that is supported by the Tea Party and President Obama. With the election of many candidates that were supported by the Tea Party, it is now becoming a hot issue.


Here is a definition of earmarks:

"Provisions associated with legislation (appropriations or general legislation) that specify certain congressional spending priorities or in revenue bills that apply to a very limited number of individuals or entities. Earmarks may appear in either the legislative text or report language (committee reports accompanying reported bills and joint explanatory statement accompanying a conference report)."[3]

That is the formal definition. But, the common definition is when a representative’s or senator’s vote is gained for a certain piece of legislation by directing some – if not all – the money allocated in the legislation to the home state or district.

Sounds to me like a kick back to certain projects that supported the legislator during the elections.

In balance, we all expect our representatives and senators to bring back the bacon. They are our representatives and not others. We all want them to vote for the things we want them to and support our community the best they can.

But, if all things were fair and we attempted to keep politics out of any spending process, a mix of market and need should determine where money is spent on any project or program. To “earmark” (to use the term in the definition) money directly in the legislation is to subvert the market and need distribution process.

That point was driven home by Senator Mitch McConnel. He said that he supported a proposed ban on the addicting habit of directing money to a specific district. President Obama has criticized the process as increasing the budget deficit. This places many in congress between the White house and the Capital. [ In this after election climate, between two very hard places.]

If we as a community believe something needs to be done then we should allocate money. Then a need assessment should be conducted to be determined where the money should be spent. Where the need is most, a competitive process based on the market should be implemented. By “earmarking” money in the legislation this fair and equitable process is damaged.

End earmarks.

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