Congress and the president say they want to get serious about earmarks … federal money spent on specific projects in lawmakers’ home districts. Also called “pork barrel spending”, this has been a popular target for fiscal conservatives for years. That’s because some of the projects … but not all … are just plain outrageous. Remember “the bridge to nowhere” and goofy studies of animal flatulence?
I realize getting tough on earmarks is popular with the voters. My problem is that some of these projects might be worthy of taxpayer support. But all the infuriating stories over the years have convinced many Americans that earmarks are something we can do without. And of course, their elimination will help the federal government’s dismal budget picture.
In 2010 the House passed legislation that included about 5,000 earmarks at a total price tag of around four billion dollars. That amounts to one percent of the discretionary spending in this year’s federal budget.
When it comes to spending restraint, I suppose we should be happy with anything we get.
Our thought for today is from Bernard Berenson:
“Governments last as long as the undertaxed can defend themselves against the overtaxed.”